Adapted Yoga

Wednesdays from 5:15-6:00PM
Why Yoga for Special Needs?

As a teacher in several different schools, I’ve witnessed the stresses put on children from the classroom demands, completing homework, abiding by his/her behavior chart, high stakes testing, and to the constant stimulation, just to name a few.  These stresses can take a toll on the whole body as a system.
Louise Goldberg states that “Yoga is a therapeutic model that increases attention by capturing imagination, generates stillness by releasing tension, and teaches self-control through breath awareness.”  Yoga has been proven to promote strength, flexibility, and enhance the capacity to focus, which so many children would benefit from.  The results of a consistent yoga program can provide positive tools for students to utilize inside the classroom, in relationships with their peers and family, and out in the community.
Here is just one example of a yoga tool that works wonders with children and adults, Sun Salutations.  Sun Salutations are an excellent way to practice the awareness of linking the breath with movement.  Why is conscious breathing so important?  Conscious breathing is a way to link to the present moment.  For some, thinking into the future and past can cause stress and anxiety.  Some may worry about what is coming up and others may be constantly comparing past experiences with present experiences.  Tuning into your breath in the present moment also activates a different part of your brain, the cerebral cortex, a highly developed part of the brain.  The cerebral cortex sends inhibitory impulses to the respiratory center and those impulses overflow into the hypothalamus, which regulates our emotions.  Ultimately, breathing can help to stabilize and balance emotions.
If you’d like more information, check out these sites: (this is the curriculum I use)

Annie DeFalco’s Bio

I was a special education teacher for 6 years and in the profession for 8 years.  Special education seems to be in my blood as both my parents were in the profession, my dad a special education administrator and my mom a teacher of the deaf.  I taught for 3 years in the urban schools of Milwaukee and then moved to back to Austin to teach at an elementary school for another 3 years.  In all my years as a teacher, I’ve worked with many students of varying disabilities.  This is what I know and love.  I left teaching in public schools to help children in a more therapeutic way.  I obtained my 200-hr license in Hatha Yoga with a foundation in Yoga Therapy.  I am currently pursuing my Yoga Therapist’s license.
In addition to my love for yoga and special education, I enjoy gardening (I have a small backyard in East Austin that I tend to), traveling, hiking with my two dogs (a Golden Retriever and Mini Dachshund) and taking in what Austin has to offer.  I moved to Austin in 2003 to attend the University of Texas at Austin and fell in love with the city.  I am definitely enjoying life here with my husband and my two pups!
See my website,, for more information.