On 4/20/11 I led a yoga class over at the Morrison Hotel Gallery to benefit Guitars in the Classroom. As I work with young 5th graders, I've been brought closer to the exact reason why education has always been a critical issue at the forefront of my mind. I feel quite lucky to have received a terrific education, and I know a lot of it was due to the fact that, along the way, I've had a few stellar teachers who exposed me to new perspectives and frames of viewing the world at the right times in my growth. Anomalies, stand out human beings.
The 3rd grade teacher who took it upon herself to teach her students French- via children's songs- in an early-90's Astoria. The albino-haired 10th grade English teacher who so clearly didn't belong in suburban New Jersey (but DID belong at the school) -- dressed in Gucci, former lawyer, TERRIBLY intelligent and refined in the subjects he asked us to think about critically. The art history teacher who made you want to work so hard for her love. Because she made you love the subject so much.
Those kinds of teachers are there before you can choose the world for yourself, they open the doors to new places, and those kinds of characters inspire me, and all those they touch, to search deeper; revealing a few decadent crumbs along a trail to exhilarating discovery.
And they do this how? They become art themselves. They've touched that place inside themselves that then radiates the works and spirits, drives, emotions and creations, and they pass it on; the gatekeepers to our curiosity and capacity to live full lives through meaningful work, whatever that means to you.
To me it means passing on yoga and art to children when they're still fresh, but also beginning to feel the pressures of the world around them. The high expectations of tests. The struggling parents, the moves and losses of friendship, the latest Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, or Beyonce songs they will hum in class, while saying "I wanna be a fashion designer". Pop and locking, sliding in a funky grove with an "I'm going to be a lawyer". All while we figure out how to sound a Sanskrit word (s = sh), what values are and what they want theirs to be, locating spinning wheels of energy in their bodies that connect to love, or ego, or creativity, and how to hold their bodies to be more compassionate, less egotistical, more creative. How to enjoy the silence. They are 10 years old. And when they fight over mats I get to remind them about non-attachment. It's a trip! I digress, I also hope that these little seeds planted, make their lives a little bit richer. Like those farmer-teachers did for me...
I want to spread this kind of enrichment. Enable other teachers to take creativity into their own hands and then share it with their students directly, every day. Yes, kids, we have to learn about the rules of grammar, but what if we all got together for our lesson today and wrote a song about it? And then sung it together?! So I got together with Guitars in the Classroom. And took their teacher's workshop. And saw, experienced firsthand what this charity is doing. Am learning guitar so I can sing with my students! And I can only imagine the benefit to so many more children right here in New York City. Maybe ESL students in East Harlem who could really ease and enliven their learning of English with a song. Giving enrichment to schools that might be in trouble (seen Waiting for Superman?) , teachers getting some art in their own lives, learning how to play the guitar, maybe even holding a guitar for the first time. Democratizing the making of music so more of us can carry a tune in our hearts, a tune we helped create.
Taking the edge off city life.
Doesn't that sound amazing?
So we did some yoga at the beautiful, warm, good-vibe-filled Morrison Hotel Gallery Loft to raise some money. So that more schools, more students, more teachers in New York City can get this beautiful chance.
Looking forward to more....
Want to get involved? Know a school that could use GITC?
email : yogaforGITC [at] gmail [dot] com