Rita guides you through a most loving and sacred yoga practice. Her gentle nature and lightness allow for the most wonderful unfolding to take place in her class. As a fellow student and teacher I am always appreciative of her gifts and radiant smile she shares with others. ... Aarti Ganesh           Read more...

Yoga for Special Children

Yoga is a stimulating way to reach children, especially those with Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Attention Deficit Disorder, Learning Disabilities and other developmental delays. Yoga stimulates all affected areas & develops strength, flexibility, concentration and balance in those. Yoga calms the physical body thus making the mind peaceful & quiet. Gradually, the child becomes more organized and focused and develops tolerance for longer schedules. Yoga has a positive effect on gross motor, fine motor & visual motor conditions. It also promotes strength and self-esteem. Anyone can maximize his or her potential from consistent practice of Yoga and these children are no exception.

Katiuthanasana

Paschimouthana


CASE STUDY OF JAYASHREE

I first met Jaya three months back in my Yoga Studio with her mother Madhu. Madhu is one of my oldest Yoga students. Jaya is 19 years old; a sweet young girl who has been a case of mild spasticity with borderline intelligence since the age of four. From then on, she has been undergoing regular physiotherapy and special education, both of which have tremendously contributed to her improvement. She attends the school for slow learners (Shraddha Centre for Exceptional Children) at Rasoolpura, Secunderabad. She is a student of Level “H”. This school has and is continuing to play a vital role in developing her all round personality.

Jaya got enrolled along with Madhu in regular Yoga class which had other students also. I was quite apprehensive as to whether I'll be able to teach Jaya along with others in a regular adult Yoga class. My doubts proved unfounded. She just took 2-3 weeks to understand about the Asanas & Pranayama techniques. It conveyed that her IQ level is very good & she has an excellent memory. Today, Jaya is familiar with all the nuances of the Yoga routine & she has begun to show great enthusiasm for all activities. She now seems to be one-step ahead of herself in everything & without my assistance. With each passing class, her body condition is improving & I am so contented to see her improvement.

She is also able to sustain a prolonged period of deep relaxation at the end of each Yoga session and in fact is very fond of this quiet time of awareness. I find her to be extremely disciplined & regular and does not want to miss any class. At times when her mother wants to miss a class for some reason, she prevails upon her. She has developed the capability to climb up two flights of stairs during this time.

Jaya's mother has in her feedback says that she appears much calmer after our sessions & there are lots of improvements in her behaviour. Further, she has noticed the following benefits that have enured to her:-

1. Increased focus and concentration
2. More friendly and co-operative
3. Absence of Irritability
4. Better clarity in Speech-engaging in longer conversations spontaneously
5. More zestful and enthusiastic
6. Enjoying her Yoga classes thoroughly and not taking very kindly when we ask her to miss a class!
7. Improved repartee

Now I want to bring her attention to the muscle groups, encouraging her to breathe deep regularly & work on perfecting her standing poses. I am sure all this is achievable in the near future. Jaya loves this class and the other students are greatly impressed by her newfound ability to perform asanas, as well as her overall attitude and maturity. She has become the darling of our Yoga class. I know how proud Jaya would be to see herself in this article. I can well imagine her innocent & pure smile and I am equally proud of her.

YOGA PRACTICES USEFUL FOR THESE CHILDREN

Modified Head Stand
By reversing the pull of gravity, this asana redirects the flow of blood and lymph throughout the entire body, benefiting the brain, central nervous system and upper endocrine glands. Hold the pose for only a few seconds and then gradually increase the duration.

Viparitkarani, Sarvangasana, Matsyasana, Halasana, Suptavajrasana
These help in increasing blood flow to the head region.
Padahastasana, Trikonasana, Veerabhadrasana
They increase the energy level.
Vrikshasana, Ardhachakrasana
These postures increase balance & concentration
Suryanamaskara
It improves flexibility of the body.
Bhujangaana, Ushtrasana, Chakrasana
These are useful for improving their self-confidence level and improve the body stance.

BREATHING EXERCISES

Omkar chanting, Kapalabhati, Bhastrika and Alternate Nostril Breathing
All these breathing exercises are very useful because these are noisy types of techniques & help to capture the attention, create a focus for the asanas that follow.

MEDITATION/ DEEP RELAXATION

Om meditation as well as loud chanting of longer mantras gives very good effect in these children. These are useful in maintaining their concentration and improve their alertness with rest and relaxation. Helps in strengthening the nervous system and calms the mind.

DAILY FOOT MASSAGE
This helps to work out points of tension in the body.

NOTE TO PARENTS

Every child has different needs and capabilities. A pose that is beneficial for one child may be harmful to another. Please do not attempt any of the exercises or poses described in this article without first consulting your paediatrician and scheduling an evaluation of your child with a certified Yoga for the Special Child practitioner. All parents can be good role models and nourish their child's development and home program by engaging in a yoga class themselves.

Courtesy:Dr Rita Khanna
Aum Shanti

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