'Why fit in when you were born to stand out' - Dr. Seuss

Yoga and Autism

Autism is something close to my heart. My son Jamie was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder at the age of three. If you are reading this section, I can only assume you have been touched by Autism in some or many ways too. It has been a journey of many emotions which is maybe a story for another time, but what I will share is that my wonderful son Jamie has taught me more in my life about myself than any other force or being. I have learned patience, calmness, to be non judgmental, to accept the possible and impossible, to take time for myself, to appreciate all the little wonders in life, to give and receive support and to encourage endlessly. 

There are many benefits of yoga for autistic children. The combination of asanas (yoga postures) pranayama (breathing exercises) and deep relaxation strengthens the nervous system, increases overall health and strengthens and facilitates the development of body awareness and concentration. Yoga can help autistic children gain new motor, communication, social skills and self esteem. The end result is an overall improvement in their quality of life. 

Here are some examples of techniques that will be added to our classes:

  • Visual aids - something that I always bring to a lesson. I think a visual timetable is a must. It gives each child the knowledge of what will be happening and in which order. The visuals will also stay the same for the first few lessons until we are happy that we could try something new.

  • The time of a class is also often shorter - a class will be around 30 mins. 

  • Sensory toys -These are great for children who are quite sensory. For example feathers or weighted bean bags.

  • Rewards - these are great for a small token to keep after class. For example a sticker or small toy to keep. 

  • Buckets of praise and encouragement - something I have learned is invaluable to all children.

  • Mudras - these are 2hand gestures which connect to the flow of energy in your body. Hand gestures are easy to do and can give focus.

  • Chair yoga, wheel chair yoga - yoga poses can be adapted to suit every child

  • Personal Support during postures from either myself or a carer/ parent

  • Eye yoga - this is beneficial for strengthening the eyes and relieving stress. This can done in many fun ways.

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