Yoga Beneficial for Children with Autism


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The ancient art of yoga is proving to have great benefits for children on the autism spectrum. Yoga comprehensively addresses their heightened anxiety, poor motor coordination and weak self-regulation, something that otherwise is very difficult to do. 

Yoga is particularly instrumental in helping kids with autism learn self-regulation. By becoming aware of their bodies and aware of their breathing, yoga provides them with the ability to cope when they start to feel anxious or upset. 

Many yoga for autism classes teach yoga poses or breathing techniques specifically intended to help children contend with their escalating emotions. Since these children are visually oriented, savvy instructors add a visual element so that the child has a colored picture of each pose near his or her mat. Parents are also given pictures of the poses so that they can do them at home with their child. 

Often, classes incorporate other experiences known to benefit a child on the autism spectrum, such as massage, music, dance, rhymes and stories. Music engages the brain and promotes communication. Massage aids in relaxation and facilitates the giving and receiving of affection. Being able to dance about in contrast to the stationary poses of yoga and the addition of the language element of rhymes and stories complete what amounts to amazing and fun intervention.

Some schools go so far as to offer their students with autism yoga in the classroom, which is very smart on their part and helps create a successful classroom experience for autism spectrum students. My son had a teacher in middle school who let him lead the class in yoga and it bolstered his self-esteem and helped him go the last half of the school year with nary a meltdown. 

Early on, I realized that managing my sons’ autism was energetic rather than disciplinary. Good teachers know this as well. Parents find that the quality of their child’s life improves through practicing yoga, that they become more communicative, calmer and sleep through the night. Teachers greet children who demonstrate more focus and less volatility and the child experiences the pride and self confidence that comes with gaining new skills.

21 Responses to Yoga Beneficial for Children with Autism

  1. averil25 says:

    Because of the experience I had with yoga, I understand its tremendous value. Whether it’s a yoga exercise or a Yuen method or another energy based modality, I know that it works. But what is most important to me is the healer. I have found Paul (Ym practitioner) to be among the skilled healers I have encountered. His energy is powerful. He’s healing and corrections done to me have completely healed my physical and emotional issues in just a short session. And my symptoms were all reduced. He helped me improve my health conditions and as I go perform the yoga exercise I got strength and my flexibility improves when I do my moves.

  2. Susan says:

    I’m glad for you that you’ve found healing through yoga and that you can attest that it works.

    Susan Moffitt

  3. Cirra Turpin says:

    Geoff Eddy teaches Tibetan Heart Yoga and is embracing his call to work with children with autism.

    Please RSVP for this class as space is limited. 602-614-5081

    $10 per class or prepay for a 10 class card for $70. Parents – you may go next door and have breakfast, relax in our lounge, get a natural spray tan, try one of our services or just watch your child interact with Geoff’s teaching style. You deserve a break and your child will love this class!

    Offered every Wednesday morning at 8:30 am. Let us know if you would like this class to be offered on other days & times!

  4. Susan says:

    Thanks for letting us know.

    Susan Moffitt

  5. It’s so lovely to read this article. I have several autistic students attending classes at the kids yoga studio that I own in Los Angeles and I can attest firsthand to the benefits yoga provides. It has been a beautiful journey for me to observe the joy and passion of my students as they develop a new form of awareness for the connection to their bodies, not to mention the tremendous pride I feel in watching my students bond and support one another regardless of background.

    Tiffany Craft
    Founder & Director
    kidsrevolving
    http://www.kidsrevolving.com

  6. Susan says:

    Thank you for including these children in your classes…SM

  7. Mira Yordanova says:

    Thank you for that lovely article.

  8. Amy H. says:

    I teach a self contained classroom for children on the Autism spectrum. I just participated in a workshop that integrates drama and feelings and also yoga. I am excited for my students and the positive impact that yoga can have on their well being. I practice yoga at home and see benefits in my well being.

  9. Susan says:

    I admire your creativity and devotion.

    SM

  10. Amy H. says:

    I am always looking for new innovative ways to reach my students. Unfortunately public schools usually cut special ed. funds first. I am excited to introduce drama and yoga to my students.

  11. Susan says:

    That’s why it always slays me when parents of neurotypical kids think special ed is somehow at their kids’ expense.

    Your drama and yoga curriculum sound really inspired and inspiring.

  12. Amy H. says:

    I look at it this way, these could have been my child. I try to put my self in the shoes of the parents. What kind of teacher would I want my child to have? I believe that every child deserves the best education. This will be my 4th year teaching children on the Autism Spectrum. I find myself learning from my students. I constantly find myself like a detective trying to understand and teach them how to communicate their needs. You have to think outside the box and be willing to try more innovative ways of educating these great individuals.

  13. Rena Graham says:

    i remember the movie and book eat.love and pray, the character portrayed by Julia Roberts devoted herself on yoga as a way of suiting the spirit and soul.

  14. Susan says:

    Yeah. I love the way yoga is available to anyone at any time in their lives.

    I grew up a dancer with the expectation I would be washed up by thirty. My training was done for presentational purposes. In my forties I took up yoga and it was a great relief that I could still carry on bodywork, and it was a relief to do it for myself instead of an audience.

    SM

  15. Beautiful..
    Now you can understand the significance of yoga and one should put his child in yoga classes from the beginning to make them fit forever.

  16. Rena Graham says:

    i think Yoga really helps these beautiful and special kids. they could help them to stay focus and concentrate. calms the mind and emotion.

  17. Susan says:

    Yes. They respond so well to treatments that are natural and close to the earth. It’s the most heartening thing I’ve learned about autism.

  18. Robin says:

    Hi Susan – thank you for sharing this and how wonderful you describe your parenting as energetic vs. disciplinary. I used yoga with my son too and his sibs for all kinds of reasons from sensory, to calming, to social skills, etc. Because of this it became part of a free family program we run in the Philadelphia area and we have taught in classrooms. We now have trainings for people wanting to learn more about Yoga and Spectrum children. Here’s a link for anybody Philadelphia region based https://www.facebook.com/#!/events/313304945374350/.

    I hope you and the others continue to enjoy the benefits of Yoga!

  19. Susan says:

    Thanks for writing. Your program sounds truly awesome…

  20. Sarah says:

    Stretch What Matters, http://www.stretchwhatmatters.com is a company located near Boston, MA that offers a comprehensive yoga system – mat with preprinted hand and foot prints, cards showing poses, a DVD and wristbands – for use with autistic children and adults. Classes are taught locally, but the yoga system can be purchased and used at home. It is amazing to see how yoga can transform one’s state of being!

  21. Susan Moffitt says:

    My twitter account is dormant, but I appreciate the question. Might get back to it sometime…

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