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We are what we practice!

We are inundated with information. We get a lot of information daily. We have blogs, groups, webinars, and many other ways of acquiring information. But what are you practicing daily? Regardless of the information that we get, learning happens through practice.

Information is not equal to learning!

A lot of information does not make you more knowledgeable or more skilled! It may even get in the way of becoming knowledgeable and skilled.

In 2023, we are focusing on improving our methods for practicing. We are paying attention to the tools and techniques we are using to organize practice.

Our first and most successful effort is organizing dance practice. Thank you Vinayak Raj and Jaya Mulraj for this colorful picture of a dancer!

Smile Brightly and Dance

  1. We have started a 100-Day Smile Brightly and Dance project. While practice is an ongoing daily activity, creating a timed project (100-Day project) is useful. We set and refine goals for this project. We track progress. The key outcome for this 100-Day project is improvement in our daily practice routines and habits.
  2. We have created a Wakelet to organize practice.
  3. We are working with Ananth’s teacher, Shri Ujwal Jagadeesh of the Ramana Maharshi Center for Learning, to create resources in way that makes it easy to organize practice. Since December, Ujwal has been creating short 3-5 minute videos. We are compiling these videos in Wakelet. We choose videos and practice with ease!
  4. We are adding information about what we practice daily to our practice Wakelet.

Review our Wakelet here to see how we are organizing and documenting daily practice. You can use some of these resources to do your own 100 Days of Smile Brightly and Learn project!

Once we developed a clear practice approach for dance, we started replicating the same approach for coding and other activities.

Tip of the Week: Set clear practice goals for yourself and your child. Do not just think about making your child practice. There are many things that parents have to practice to become better guides and advocates for their child. What are you practicing daily?

Our Journey to Bharata through Natya

I started referring to Ananth’s journey as A Journey to Bharat through Natya. Later, I realized that it is my journey too. I started tuning into mindful practice with Bharatanatyam. I was fascinated by how instruction was organized around aduvus, structured movement patterns that are the building blocks of Bharatanatyam. The building blocks of teaching and learning are well-specified in Bharatanatyam. Hence, it is not surprising that the first process that fell into place for practice for us was Bharatanatyam. We are grateful to Shri Ujwal Jagadeesh for following this basic structure and working with us to create short videos as building blocks of our daily practice.

Announcing our New YouTube Channel: Ananth’s Adventures

Ananth’s Adventures will be used to share small daily explorations that Ananth and I do. Our focus will be on improving practice. We will do a series of 100-Day projects to continuously improve how we practice. Watch our first video on Ananth’s Adventures Channel below!

Smile Brightly and Dance: Practicing Pada Beda (Movements of the Feet) with Ananth

Rama’s Notes on the Video

A new phase in Ananth and mom’s theater explorations! Ananth has learned Bharatanatyam for over 10 years. Rama has observed and given suggestions to Ananth from time to time. We have acted together for many years. Ananth enjoys acting Ananth and mom stories. Now, Ananth is immersed in varied theater experiences through RASA. He is exploring dance from a Theater Arts for Holistic Development (TAHD) perspective. Rama is doing a parent certification in TAHD. We are exploring theater a bit differently now.

I am #notadancer and not aspiring to be a dancer! But TAHD approach is relaxing. I would feel more intimidated by traditional Bharatanatyam that I would have to be perfect in the movements etc.

The Four Es of TAHD

Exploration, Experience, Expression, Enjoyment

Ananth and I are having fun trying out some things together. I feel free to express myself. While following what was taught, if I forget something, no worries. Make something up šŸ™‚ The point is to explore together and create a positive experience!

Benefits

  1. Ananth’s teacher, Shri Ujwal Jagadeesh of the Ramana Maharshi Center for Learning, Bengaluru, emphasizes smiling while dancing. But it is hard for Ananth to practice smiling in front of a computer screen. So I started doing the basics with him.
  2. I don’t get enough time for exercise. We walk daily, I have started yoga, the aduvus add a bit more movement into my life.
  3. I keep saying don’t just make your kids do things. Do things with them. Action is better than talk. So Ananth and I can just demonstrate this in action through our new channel.
  4. I think TAHD has great potential to enhance the quality of interactions between parent and child. Hopefully, when parents see our video, they will get a glimpse of possibilities.
  5. I don’t want to just say do TAHD, it can really help your child. I believe people respond more to action than words.
  6. As a teacher, I am intrigued and fascinated by aduvus. What an elegant way of organizing teaching and learning! So I have an interest in aduvus.
  7. The 100-Day project format also increases my comfort level. I have committed to a 100-Day exploration of aduvus with Ananth.
  8. There are many small movement videos in our Smile Brightly and Dance Wakelet. Any parent can pick up some and try. Hopefully, if we share a few explorations, it will motivate others to try.
  9. Ujwal has started including simpler versions of the aduvus and telling Ananth “let us do this simple one so you can practice with amma.” So hopefully Ananth gets the message that he can teach something to others as well! It also means that the videos in our Smile Brightly and Dance Wakelet are easier versions for parents to try a little at a time.

10. Finally, remember that you are not here to fix your child. Your child has their own path. They might well lead you to change your path! I am an engineer and an academic. The sum total of my dance experience is one folk song I did while in college šŸ™‚ We can always try new things and enjoy. #happiestsaathis

Practicing Coordinated Movement

Analyze the coordinated movement in the video above.

Consider related movements: 1) setting up the IPAD for recording and laptop for playing music, 2) setting up IPAD so both are visible, moving nearer or farther way, 3) coordinating (I will play the video, you start recording), 4) stopping the IPAD and laptop.

To create this short clip, we had to do quite a bit of coordination!

Sitting tolerance or engaging through movement? What should parents focus on?

Parenting and Perfection

Finally, I was thinking parenting and perfection may be on the opposite sides! As a parent, there is much to gain by quickly adding to my movement vocabulary and improvise while interacting with my child. If I were aspiring to be a dancer, then I would go much slower to develop each movement to perfection…

Think about all the different foot, hand, face/eyes and other movements in this short clip. As parents, we are free to just play with these movements.

Thanks Dr. Ambika Kameshwar, Vaishnavi Poorna Ujwal Jagadeesh Hopefully, we will get more parents trying TAHD and benefiting from RASA’s work over the years.

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Resources

Passive oro-motor excerises

A video blog by Ms. Monika Misra on some passive oro-motor exercises.

Oro motor exercises helps to improve the coordination between oral muscles and their movements. It includes jaw, tongue, lips, gums and cheeks. When Oro motor exercises used with speech exercises they will show wonders in speech and articulation. It helps to strengthen the muscles which leads to child in chewing, swallowing, sucking, blowing, spiting and eating.

Author Monika Misra

Monika Misra
Founder of Deific Skill Portal, Lucknow
Special Educator at sunrise learning, Noida.
Parent counsellor at Kant Brain Center, Lucknow.