Lianne Bassin, Children’s yoga + mindfulness teacher and singer/songwriter shares about her experience as a kids yoga and mindfulness educator and songwriter. Plus, check out her tips + resources for how to use songs/music in your classes.
About Lianne Bassin
New York-based children’s musician Lianne Bassin is an Early Childhood Yoga Instructor at Rodeph Sholom School and is a certified Mindfulness and Yoga Instructor through Little Flower Yoga.
Lianne has written and recorded two children’s mindfulness albums, Breathe In and Everyone Grows, which help children to internalize mindfulness concepts. Her music has received Parents’ Choice and NAPPA Awards. Lianne has presented about music and mindfulness at the Young Child Expo and Conference as well as at the National Kids Yoga Conference. She enjoys performing her songs regularly in front of children, parents and educators.
1. How long have you been teaching kids yoga? What’s your inspiration for doing so?
I started teaching children’s yoga and mindfulness my first year teaching, 15 years ago!
My initial inspiration for wanting to teach children’s yoga was my own yoga and meditation practices. These practices brought me stability, joy, routine, space, creativity and so much more. I wanted to share the benefits of yoga and mindfulness with my students but I needed to learn more!
When I saw that Little Flower Yoga had a teacher training at Omega, I jumped at the opportunity. Eight hour days of 5 days a week of children’s yoga training, and I was hanging on every word. I never got bored and I was fascinated by LFY’s approach.
After that training, I knew that I had to incorporate children’s yoga into my teaching because I truly felt that it could change children’s lives for the better. I read every children’s yoga and mindfulness book I could get my hands on and started small by incorporating yoga poses and breathing exercises into my classroom.
2. How did you become a children’s yoga songwriter? What inspired you to write your first song?
I have been writing songs for as long as I can remember. Songwriting has always been an outlet for me to express myself. When I started teaching children’s yoga, it felt really natural to put concepts that I wanted to teach into song form.
Yoga isn’t just about teaching the poses, it is a tool that can be used to help children understand more about themselves. I knew that I could be creative with this. There are so many life lessons that can be incorporated into children’s yoga classes. My inspiration for my first songs came from wanting to teach children about how to express their feelings and how to identify their feelings. I feel that this is a stepping stone into getting to know ourselves better.
3. Where do you find your inspiration for writing songs?
Inspiration is such a funny thing to me! It’s not something someone can plan, it comes when it comes. For me, it is important to make space for the inspiration to flow. Without space, I wouldn’t be able to receive. Part of me feels like all my songs are already written, they’re out in the universe, just waiting for me to grab them! My daily meditation and reiki practices as well as my yoga practice allow for the songs to flow.
I have had times when I am sitting in meditation, and it feels like a song just drops into my brain. By the time my meditation is over, I have a whole song written in my head and I run to put it on paper. Sometimes though it’s not as easy! There are times when I go months and months without writing or even touching an instrument.
4. Why do you think music is important to incorporate into children’s yoga classes?
Music is another tool we as teachers can use in our toolbox. For me, songs get stuck in my head really easily! Most of the day I have a song stuck in my head, singing the melody and words. Why not use music as a tool to convey meaningful words and messages to children? Music is also just fun! Teaching through music is fun and learning through listening to music is fun.
5. What are your “go to” songs to us in your kids yoga classes?
Beginning of Class
I always start with my welcome song. Before even speaking to the children I sing this song at the beginning of class to get them settled into the space (either virtual or in-person).
Watch Lianne sing the song below + hear other songs she uses in this short video:
“Welcome to yoga find a comfortable seat
Relax your body from your head to your feet
When you’re quiet then I’ll know
It’s time to ring the singing bowl “
Transitions (moving from one movement or activity to the next)
For transitions I have songs as well. They are short, but they work to get children’s attention! Using songs for transitions can also be a great tool for parents at home to use with children.
Ways to use songs for transitions could include singing instructions to go from sitting down to standing up, to go from a seated position to laying down, or to go from standing to sitting in a kids yoga classes. At home, it may be creating a song to use to accomplish a task like getting your child put on their shoes or to get ready for bed.
Here are some examples of the songs Lianne uses for transitions:
For standing: “It is time for a no hand stand, can you stand up without hands”
For lying down: “I’m a starfish swish swish swish, I’m a starfish swish swish swish, I’m a starfish swish swish swish, now I can lay down.”
For sitting down: “Slowly lower down on your tippy toes to the ground”
Examples of these songs are:
- Another go to song I like to sing is by Donovan called “Happiness Runs.” I sing this song during boat pose. Using this during boat pose can be a little more fun to help hold the pose for longer!
NOTE: There are also versions of the song “Happiness Runs” by Lana Reed (formerly Shakta Khalsa) of Radiant Child Yoga has a version. You can also check out Bari Koral’s version of “Happiness Runs.”
I also always sing my ending love song. I use this at the end of class as a way to send loving kindness to the world and to ourselves. After we sing this song we each share where or to who we send our love that day.
“I send love to the earth and love to the trees; Love to the animals and love to me; I send love to my family and love to my friends: The love inside my heart will never end“
For Shavasana/Relaxation Time
During shavasana, I like to sing one of my more relaxing songs for children. Using songs during shavasana can help children to relax more deeply.
6. What’s your favorite way to incorporate music or rhythm into your classes with kids?
One of my favorite ways to incorporate music during my classes is during breathing ball time.
How to: During breathing ball time we each take a turn with the breathing ball, breathing in and out, and gently passing it along to the next person. You can choose any calming piece of music to play during this time. I wrote one of my songs specifically for this time, it is called, “Watching My Mind.” Playing calming music during this time can help children to focus on their breath and supports them in getting less distracted by the things around them.
7. For those who don’t think of themselves as musically inclined and may be hesitant to include music/songs/rhythm into their classes would you say to them?
I would say don’t worry about not being musically inclined! All that matters is the intention behind what you want to teach. Children are very forgiving when it comes to singing, they’re not paying attention to your every note. If you bring enthusiasm, authenticity, and passion to whatever music you would like to share with your children, they will respond in a positive way.
Mini Concert + Q&A
We hosted a mini concert and Q&A with Lianne on Facebook LIVE. Check out the replay below to hear many of Lianne’s newest songs.