Music is universal and has the ability to connect people from every walk of life. It provides an outlet for everyone to put aside their struggles in life, and feel embraced by the lyrics and rhythm. Artist Ryan Montbleu, the featured artist for Accessible Festivals’ upcoming Inclusion Dining & Jams, has a variety of songs that offer uplifting and positive messages, providing hope and inspiration for people who may be experiencing moments of darkness or doubt. Ryan’s songs provide an outlet for anyone, particularly helping those with disabilities feel uplifted and included.

Accessible Festivals’ Program Director, Leah Barron, has appreciated the power of Ryan Montbleu’s lyrics since the artist’s earlier days. While attending the music festival Gathering of the Vibes in 2013, Leah, also a multi-talented yoga instructor and special education teacher, was scheduled to teach children’s yoga during Montbleu’s set. Not wanting to miss a favorite musician, Leah decided to take her young students on a “filed trip” to the main stage, where her concept of a “yoga jam” was born. Later that day, Leah was able to catch up with Ryan, sharing what a perfect fit his lyrics are for yoga-like dance moves set to live music.

The following year Leah returned to Gathering of the Vibes, again scheduled to teach children’s yoga. This time she proactively connected with Ryan, sharing a suggested set list and inviting him to play along during her class. He accepted the invitation and together the two created a second “yoga jam.”  Leah fondly remembers a class participant requesting Bob Marley’s “Bend down low,” to which Leah led a series of forward folding postures, and when Ryan willingly changed the lyrics of his song “Stay” from “home, home, home” to “om, om, om.”

On April 11th at Musikfest Cafe, Leah will again have the opportunity to coordinate and teach a “yoga jam” with Ryan. Simple, yoga-like dance moves will be shared online ahead of the show and at the show for participants to follow along. Both yoga and music have many healing properties, amplified when together.

Leah teaching a “yoga jam” at Inclusion Festival 2019