This blog post comes from Elissa Cirignotta, one of our Imagination Yoga teachers. Elissa has been teaching Imagination Yoga since 2011. This year Elissa, along with the Imagination Yoga team, developed our new curriculum Imagination Yoga with the Special Child. Elissa has had the pleasure of teaching this class to a group of children she works with and this is where her story comes from.
Have you ever experienced a moment where you realize that everything you’ve done, everywhere you’ve gone, everyone you’ve met, and everything you’ve said has led you to this exact point? My first memory of this phenomenon was in July of 2011. I knew that I was here, in Portland, because it was exactly where I was supposed to be. Soon after, I met Imagination Yoga… and that feeling kept reappearing.
I’ve been working with Imagination Yoga for the past two years and I’ve found myself in a constant state of awe over how it affects my special friends. I know yoga works, I know kindness works, and I know creativity inspires; when you combine the three the results are truly awe inspiring.
In my classes I have seen students move from full blow breakdowns when they see Teacher Elissa come in the door, wanting nothing to do with me or “my” yoga, to excitedly waiting quietly at the front of the room for Teacher Kind Hearts, Kind Words, Kind Thoughts (This has become my new name; and I have graciously accepted it.).
Just recently, during a parent meeting, I was informed that one of my non-verbal Autistic students was spending his evenings telling and teaching his brother about his yoga classes. That’s right, you read that correctly. He was using his words and his body to teach yoga! My student had found in Imagination Yoga a new way of expressing himself and communicating with others. For his parents it provided an opportunity to experience something most take for granted; hearing the sweet sound of their children talking and playing.
I rarely have all the answers, and sometimes I can hardly make sense of this crazy beautiful world we live in, yet for now I’ve found something that makes complete and total sense. The best part is that it seems to make just as much sense to my students.
Elissa is a special education teacher that added Imagination Yoga into her curriculum with tremendous success. We are so proud of her and the gifts she is bringing to the children in her community. Imagination Yoga is beneficial for children with physical, cognitive and social communication deficits. This may include: Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, Autism, ADHD and other emotional and behavioral challenges. We look forward to offering even more one-on-one and small group classes for children with special needs. To learn more, or to schedule a session, please click: http://www.imaginationyoga.com/special_needs_children.html