How Children with Disabilities can Benefit From Yoga
Yoga benefits everyone. Centuries ago, men in India were only doing yoga. It has slowly become available to everyone and once it hit developing countries in Europe and North America, it became everyone’s way of finding peace and maintaining health. Even more recently, children have started to become involved in yoga. It can calm the mind and teach kids to be present in their own bodies. This has been found to have direct and indirect benefits. Kids may even make better food choices because they learn to listen to what their body says. If the body starts to tense up or become inflamed from sugary foods, they might be more inclined to stop.
What about kids with disabilities? Yes, yoga can be very helpful in this area too. Here’s how.
Kids with Cerebral Palsy
Experts in special needs patients strongly believe that yoga has a positive impact on them. Yoga helps with mobility, strength, and digestion for those who have disabilities like cerebral palsy. People that work with kids who have cerebral palsy know how important it is for them to be able to sit up on their own. The practice of yoga helps promote the body to be strong, especially in the core area. Kids will get greater stamina and learn how to breathe for maximum energy.
There are special classes where specialized yoga instructors will help the patient move arms and legs to put them into relaxation. Instructors will then ask the individual to touch their feet onto the floor or perhaps lift their heads. The movements are challenging for someone with cerebral palsy. These movements are also helpful for those with ADHD and autism.
The Meditative Process of Yoga
Yoga is a process of being mindful and the practice helps to keep people more relaxed. As you slow down, you can more easily focus. It is an empowering practice no matter what your physical capacity because it meets you where you are at. You can slowly achieve great physical goals and there is no judgment. It is only meant to bring greater inner peace, better balance, and greater strength. Any limitations are accepted. Special instructors can help kids with special needs to work through the struggles they have. There are adapted versions of cobra and downward dog for whatever limitations children have.
Yoga and Body Awareness
Children with special needs may have problems with how they grow or how strong they can become. Yoga helps to promote awareness in the body. This might not be easy for some kids but the low-impact nature of yoga is good for kids who can’t do other physical activities. Yoga classes for kids are said to benefit kids and their body awareness at a young age.
For kids who have ADD or other learning disabilities, yoga can help them with concentration. Doctors believe that any kind of activity that promotes concentration is a good thing for children with learning disabilities. Even the easiest style of yoga teaches children to focus on their breathing. If they try to balance poses, they have to use their concentration. The poses and breathing itself are believed to help concentration more than any other activity that’s been used before.
Physical Exercise is Necessary for All
We all need to do physical exercise. While we may not understand what it’s like to have limitations at a young age, it’s great that there is something children with disabilities can do. It gives them the chance to have that self-esteem from physical activity. They get to improve their physical body and maintain their health. Yoga doesn’t pose risks in the same way that other low-impact activities do making it friendly for everyone. You can do yoga anywhere too. You don’t need much. You can help your child at home with a yoga mat and a yoga instruction book that explains the poses of Yoga.
Helps Kids with Autism
Children who have autism will be affected by bright light, loud noises, and strong scents and tastes. With their highly sensitive nervous system, it can be hard to get them to become involved in activities. Yoga is a place we go when we want ultimate peace. The surroundings should be quiet and this serves someone with autism very well. The dimmed down lights, quiet music, and texture of the mats is all an oasis for someone autistic.
The poses in yoga allow any nervous energy to be let go of. It is in a slow and controlled way so it doesn’t create a quick change that could become alarming. The calming sensation would be a welcome feeling for the autistic child. When they experience less stimulation, they have fewer behaviors that grow out of control. Their outbursts are fewer and far between.
For parents who have children with special needs, yoga helps their children to feel calmer. Their kids can focus better and it’s easier for them to follow directions. There are specialized centers where yoga can be done for kids with special needs. These types of yoga classes are being conducted in schools too. The goal is to promote well being to kids and improve how they function in and out of the classroom.
Guest Writer: Meera Watts