The mission of La Petite Ecoliere is to inspire girls to pursue their educations – inside and outside the classroom! We’re excited to launch our Role Models blog – interviewing a series of exemplary females and Change Makers who are making a difference thanks to their learnings inside and outside of the classroom. Our first Role Model features Alexandria, a truly inspirational singer, yogi and wellness guru who is looking to shake up the traditional schooling system by bringing mandatory wellness courses to the classroom. Alexandria and I conducted this interview, near her Yoga Studio - Gyan Yoga - where she took her 500 hour yoga teacher training.
Can you introduce yourself to our readers? Tell us a bit about your formal and informal education.
Hi! I am Alexandria. I am a professional singer, songwriter, yoga teacher and healing artist. I love working with people – young and old – to empower them to accept and love themselves so they can walk their purpose.
After highschool, I spent two years at McGill before deciding to follow my dream to sing professionally. I went to George Brown’s Business Music Program and I have many certifications – Reiki Master, two yoga teacher trainings, and I am a certified Dance Pl3y instructor.
A definite purpose in my life is to teach girls and women to find their worth, and know their worth without a man. I want women to know that a man and his perspective of you doesn’t shape who you are or determine your value.
In our pre-interview, we chatted a bit about your own struggles with mental health. How did you get through it and come out to be such a strong advocate for self-love
Don’t give up! Have courage and ask for help. I discovered self-love. I learned that you can’t give what you don’t have – so you need to make sure you are fulfilled, happy and love yourself in order to help make a difference and be present in the lives of others.
Everyone is on their own journey and changing the world in their own ways. Everybody can be a leader, but for some people, at some point, something was shut down. With enough self-love and healing, we can all be catalysts and help the people around us on their path and life mission.
What is the most important lesson or skill you learned inside the classroom?
The lesson I learned is that I am an individual. As I sit here, I can still remember my early days in the classroom. I constantly wanted to fit in and impress my teacher and classmates. I was definitely a teacher’s pet. When I didn’t excel in a subject, I lost my confidence and I felt like I wasn’t doing well enough. Through that, I learned that not every school subject had to be my strength.
What is the most important lesson or skill you learned outside the classroom?
Play! Life is not that serious.
I am a Dance Pl3y Certified Instructor and teach kids physical literacy through dance. Dance Pl3y promotes positive mental health through the three rules of pL3y: Be positive, Be fun, Be yourself. This program teaches kids the confidence and motivation to be active for life!
Who was your most memorable teacher?
I have two! My Junior Kindergarten teacher, Gayle and and Brigitte, my First Grade teacher had a major impact on me. These wonderful teachers accepted me for who I was and empowered me.
What did you learn today?
Thanks to this experience with you, I learned that we’re more powerful together. Us colliding and collaborating and sharing makes us both more empowered and stronger, together.
I’d love to hear more about the work you’re doing to promote wellness in schools.
I feel really blessed that I get to share such beautiful practices with students from daycare and JK all the way up to students in grade 12. I see the benefits that meditation and yoga can have on students first hand. I never got to experience these disciplines as a student in school. So it really brings me joy to be able to share these modalities with students and kids at such a young age.
One program I’ve been able to work on is with a teacher in Brampton named Joti Jando. She has created a full day of programming for the girls at their school where they get to learn about yoga, meditation and wellness. Being able to curate that experience for these young girls while they’re still in school is a true gift for me. It is vital to creating a supportive community of women who will grow up as better and more confident leaders.
What are some changes you’d like to see in the traditional schooling system?
I believe that there needs to be three types of wellness programming available in every school:
- For students
- For teachers and faculty
- For parents
It is beautiful to bring the wellness to the kids. But at the end of the day, they leave school and go home. They also spend the majority of their day in the classroom with a teacher(s). If their home and classroom aren't conducive to offering an environment where children are taught with mindfulness and love, we are failing students, especially those whose misbehaviours may be a cry for help.
One amazing shift I’ve seen in the schooling system in the United States is changing detention to meditation and yoga. Instead of sitting in detention for an hour, students are given the opportunity to meditate, to learn to breathe and center themselves. Parents have seen incredible shifts in their children’s behaviour.
For young girls growing up today who may be struggling with their confidence - what message would you like to pass along?
Let your heart guide you. You will have moments of fear and moments where you don’t think you’re good enough, and you question who you are. Just remember to find your inner love first and then let your heart guide where you need to go... And of course, don’t forget to play!
Alexandria loves bringing wellness and love to education systems and would be happy to bring her programming to schools around the GTA.