Benefits of Yoga
- Breathwork reduces anxiety, helps kids cope with stress, and behavioral regulation
- Helps calm the mind, improves concentration, attention-span, memory function, and learning ability
- Improves balance, body awareness, alignment, strength, flexibility, and posture
As an OT, I have made the experience therapeutic from start to finish. The students assist with rearranging the furniture in the room, which provides some heavy work prior to yoga. Next, the students retrieve their Mats, unroll them, and remove shoes (and sometimes socks), which addresses self-care skills and independence. I have the students begin by checking in and letting me know how they are feeling at the beginning of the group which involves social skills and self-regulation. We turn off the lights and play calming music with a visual on the smart board, which provides auditory and visual input. We start with breathing and stretching. Then move into yoga poses and movement, which provided proprioceptive and vestibular input. We end the session with mindfulness, deep breathing and laying on the mats. Clean-up is similar to set-up in that students provide feedback on how they feel, put shoes back on, roll up mats, and replace furniture.
The progress has been great! I have one student who wouldn't remove his shoes at the beginning of the year but is finally comfortable with that transition. Several of the students has improved their motor planning and ability to imitate positions which is huge for students with Autism.