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Moments of Wonder

Yoga For Special Needs Children

Children with special needs benefit greatly from the practice of yoga. With these kids, the first rule is that the child feels no pressure to compete. Let them go at their own pace, attuning the journey to the needs of the child.

Deep breathing, sounds and chants, yoga poses for better posture, flexibility, balance and strength lead in one direction, while confidence blooms as the child is able to remember the sequence of action and movement, perhaps even creating one of his or her own. Words that help guide a child through the routine can be most helpful, as well as playing music that sets the mood for the yoga practice that day.

A child connects more with others and with the world when practicing yoga with another person – perhaps a teacher, a classmate, a friend or family member. Facing each other and assisting one another in the poses provides important opportunities for the special child to communicate. The poses that relate to nature – tree, mountain, sun - all provide wonderful and imaginative ways to connect to the things in our world that are beautiful and interesting to a child.

Taking a road that encourages calm and relaxation, and provides a way to go inward and self-regulate can be an invaluable tool for any child. Experiencing a time of peaceful tranquility with calm music and perhaps some imagery can help restore energy and vanish unpleasant thoughts or experiences that had previously been at the forefront.

Special needs children see the connections and benefits when practicing yoga. As one of my students put it: “Yoga helps you stretch your body, tune your mind, and lift your spirit!” Enjoy the journey with your child, and discover all the possibilities along the way.

Linda Lara

Recommended Reading: Yoga for the Special Child by Sonia Sumar and Yoga Therapy for Every Special Child: Meeting Needs in a Natural Setting by Nancy Williams 


Anonymous commented on 28-Jun-2010 03:23 PM3 out of 5 stars

I highly recommend reading "Yoga Therapy for Every Special Child" by Nancy Williams - who has been a yoga therapist for children with a wide range of special needs for nine years. I find the book - which offers specially-designed yoga program sequences for use with children of all abilities - to be an indispensable resource. Each posture is explained in detail and accompanied by an illustration. I am a kids yoga teacher and refer to it often. Namaste.

Linda commented on 02-Jul-2010 05:06 PM5 out of 5 stars

Thank you so much for your recommendation - it sounds great, and I will definitely check it out.

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