Donna’s experience with bringing her Yoga into her Speech Pathology Practice

The Magic of /OM/ – The Connection between Yoga and Speech Production

As yogis, we are familiar with the wonderful benefits of the integration of mind and body. The sound of OM centers us, grounds us and allows us to join a greater universe in which our voices merge. The connection between clinician and child is deeply enhanced through support, motivation and intention, all of which can be found on a yoga mat.

As a speech-language pathologist working with young children with developmental disabilities, I am fascinated with the relationship between the motor aspects of learning to speak and the basic tenets of yoga. It is clear that respiratory support, the foundation of our yoga practice, is critical to the ability to speak. The ability to phonate, or produce voice, is greatly enhanced by improving a child’s muscle tone, sensory integration and attention through basic asana practice. Postural control, strengthened on the mat, contributes to jaw stability, which is so important in being able to move the lips and tongue.

Children are very motivated by the opportunity to become doggies, cats, cows, airplanes, etc., all of which engage the neuromuscular and kinesthetic feedback systems and help a child learn to imitate motor movements. For many children, combining yoga movements with speech sounds and early words provides an inherent motivation and increases opportunities for success. I have found that when the principles of motor learning are imbedded in joyful learning experiences, new motor patterns that underlie speech tend to be acquired and maintained.

I have experienced numerous anecdotal moments during my long career as a speech-language pathologist, but the most memorable are the ones that were created through a combination of the principles of both yoga and speech science. One of my preschoolers had learned to produce /a/ (“ah”) and /m/ sounds in isolation, but was not capable of joining the sounds to produce words. When I referred him to a yoga program for children with developmental disabilities and also worked with him on my yoga mat in the office, he produced his first word: “OM”! After that came that longed for word, “Mama”, and many others.

More recently, I began working with a non-verbal 11 year-old with multiple disabilities who also attended yoga classes. He had struggled to produce two words, “yes” and “Mom”, communicating largely through sign language and occasional use of his iPad. Seated on my yoga mat for his first speech therapy session, this young man was able to move his body, stimulating sensory feedback systems, improve his sitting posture and breath support. During his first session, he learned to say “mat”, “o(n) mat”, /ha/ for “hi”, “up” and last but not least, “om”. Observing the smile on his face as he brought his hands together to say “om” was a priceless and heartfelt moment!


Garden City Studio:

Christopher Banker – This studio helped me take the next steps in yoga to deepening my practice. I had no idea what I was getting into… Looking back, it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life! Thank You so much to everyone who has passed through, teachers and students alike. I am a more peaceful person today. Namaste!!!

Lisa Harris – A warm, welcoming and supportive environment. What a wonderful studio, home to a wonderful community!

Karen Chan-McKie- Great place. Wonderful people. Excellent instructors. Perfect place to help me relax and be at peace every week!

Veronica Reimers- Best place on earth after the beach.

Jaclyn Wallach – My home away from home 


Long Beach Studio:

Christina Nicole – The space is one of the most gorgeous I’ve ever practiced in. It’s clean, well designed and the staff are just delightful. It’s a hidden gem. Take a class to detox or to restore your body and mind. Well worth it.

Terri Stuart – The instructors at Yoga Long Beach (Eugene / Kristen) are so dedicated to their craft – their classes are fun, a fabulous workout, meditative, and challenging. I ❤ Yoga Long Beach

Catherine Bruno Torres – Great variety of classes with wonderful instructors in a beautiful studio. Its the whole package.

Maggie Rose Barrett – Moved here from Hawaii and usually I have to check out a bunch of places before finding a Yoga studio that is right for me. Yoga Long Beach was the first studio I came to because it was right around the corner and I was floored. I absolutely love it and feel like I have felt a home away from home. I love you Yoga Long Beach!

Terri Rubenstien Experience With Yoga Nanda

Dear Cara & Yoga Nanda Staff,

My heart felt thanks and gratitude go to you and the yoga Nanda studio for offering me the richness of life changing yoga practice.
The energy and spirit of yoga has fulfilled a curiosity need for me that I will have within forever I go weather it is on a mountain top in Colorado or walking down a street, my spirit will keep me grounded and strong to pursue every challenge & opportunity that life has to offer. Community is everything to me & I am also thankful that Yoga Nanda community has always welcomed me(and the drummers) your teachers are very special who have shared their gifts on so many levels.
I am strong, I am Healthy,
I am great-full, I am happy.
Thanks to Yoga Nanda.
Love Namaste Terri Rubenstien