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Saturday, September 6, 2014

NESCA Therapeutic Yoga Services: Introducing "Yoga Connects"


By Hannah Gould, M.Ed., RYT
August 20, 2014

Yoga offers a holistic, safe and empowering approach to healthy development. Many studies have shown the benefits of yoga for children, particularly those with Autism Spectrum Disorders, ADHD, and Anxiety. Mind-body approaches are becoming increasingly popular as a means to directly to address self-regulation, attention, and emotional reactivity.

At the cutting-edge of this treatment revolution, NESCA has provided therapeutic yoga services to children for the past several years, with excellent results.

The NESCA yoga program is rooted in the belief that self-awareness and self-regulation skills are essential foundations of success and general well-being in all settings. NESCA is pleased to offer the following therapeutic yoga services for children and adolescents:

NEW! Yoga Connects with Hannah Gould, M.Ed, RYT

Yoga Connects is a unique parent-child yoga program designed to meet the needs of young people with autism and other special challenges. Parents participate side-by side with their children, sharing the experience of yoga together. Yoga Connects utilizes a visual yoga curriculum and specialized teaching approach developed by Hannah Gould.

Yoga Connects is a six-week program that empowers parents to facilitate effective sessions at home. With Yoga Connects, yoga becomes a meaningful shared activity and provides a daily respite from stress for both parent and child.

No yoga experience is required - the curriculum includes all of the yoga sequences and visual supports parents will need, and the trusting relationship between parent and child provides the safe ground for yoga to be a successful experience.

Therapeutic Yoga Sessions with Ann-Noelle McCowan, M.S., RYT

Therapeutic yoga uses movement, breathing, mindfulness exercises and meditation techniques to bring children to an awareness of what is happening in their bodies and minds and to provide them with specific tools they can use to regulate themselves. Games, music and other fun yoga-based activities are incorporated to engage children and teach targeted skills.

Many children respond better to the body-based approach used in therapeutic yoga than to traditional talking-based therapies. This approach can be especially powerful for kinesthetic learners and those with language processing difficulties.

About the NESCA Therapeutic Yoga Teachers

Hannah Gould, M.Ed, RYT received her M.Ed in the education of children with special needs from Simmons College in 1999. She worked as a special educator in a public middle school for two years, and as an activity-based social skills counselor at Academy Metro-West for 8 years.

Gould received her certification as a yoga teacher in 2005, and she has enjoyed bringing yoga to children and adults in a variety of settings. Since 2007, Hannah has offered private and small group therapeutic yoga sessions at NESCA. Hannah also teaches adaptive yoga classes for adults with physical and cognitive disabilities through Jewish Family and Children’s Services.

In addition to her yoga certification, Hannah has completed trainings in the Every Kid’s Yoga and Integrated Movement Therapy programs for children with special needs, and has received certification to teach Divine Sleep Yoga Nidra.

Gould developed the Yoga Connects curriculum and teaching method in response to the particular learning strengths and needs of her students with autism spectrum disorders. Hannah believes yoga is a natural fit for this population, and has affirmed this belief by witnessing the incredible focus, boundless joy and inspiring growth of her Yoga Connects students.

Ann-Noelle McCowan, M.S., RYT has spent the past fourteen years working with students, primarily as a middle school counselor. She is currently in her 10th year as a guidance counselor at a local high-achieving middle school, and prior to that, she worked for the San Francisco School District in both middle and elementary school settings.

In San Francisco, she began her study of yoga while earning her Master’s degrees in Marriage, Family and Child Counseling, as well as in School Counseling.

While employed at her current school counselor’s job, Ann-Noelle worked part-time for three years at Academy MetroWest in Natick, MA. There, she ran activity-based therapeutic groups for children in which the focus was on developing social skills, self-esteem and self-regulation.

In her school counseling role, she incorporates cognitive-behavioral strategies, relaxation and mindfulness into individual and group sessions, and is actively involved in working with her students' families and outside providers.

She enjoys combining her counseling experience and knowledge of brain-based learning with the positive effects that yoga, meditation and mindfulness can have on student anxiety, depression and attention-related issues.

Ann-Noelle completed her yoga teacher certification in the Shri Yoga program, and has also completed yoga training specific to children in the Kidasana program.


  1. Yoga service is excellent service for every human. I have liked this post and sure we can make a good therapy for people who are very excited for taking therapy Yoga.