Tuesday, January 19, 2016

What Should a Kids Yoga Teacher Know About Autism?

cobra pose
By Kimaya Singh

What can be done about autism for children? Maybe, the first actions on the part of education systems should be awareness, recognition, and a Yogic solution.  It is unknown to many teachers that autistic children will benefit dramatically from engaging in Yoga techniques and practice.  The benefits are many and varied for the children who suffer from this disruptive condition. Below are six things that children’s' Yoga teachers should understand about autism and the benefits these kids gain from Yoga.



1. Nearly All Autistic Children Suffer from Over-Stimulation

Over-stimulation is such a central problem for children with autism. Yoga is nearly the perfect antidote for this dilemma, as it is designed to calm down and de-stimulate the nervous systems of those who participate in it. These techniques are so dramatically effective with autistic children that teachers should not only teach the students the techniques, but also the parents and any assisting caregivers so they can help the autistic children and their families at home with Yoga as well.


2. Victims of Autism Experience Several Benefits from Practicing Yoga

Everyone who practices Yoga gains from better breathing, flexibility, and more strength. Those children with any autistic condition including Classic Autism, High Functioning Autism, Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Asperger's Syndrome, and Sensory Integration Disorder benefit from the following improvements:

Less pain
Decreased aggression
Less anxiety
Decreased obsessive and self-stimulatory behaviors
Greater control with regulating emotions and anxiety
The satisfaction of sharing classes with peers and experiencing new friendships

As a sufferer of autism is able to experience greater comfort and calm in his or her body and lessened amounts of anxiety and pain, he or she can better control the behavior, benefit from productive social interaction, and pick up new and improved skills.


3. Practicing Yoga Enables Autistic Students to Escape from the Fight-Flight-Freeze Response

When autistic students feel anxious and stressed out, their bodies switch into the fight-flight-freeze protocols in an attempt to defend themselves. After the victims escape from this natural state, their blood flows return to normal and digestive and respiratory systems function regularly once more. There are even yoga postures designed to improve the digestive and excretory systems' functions. Sadly, those children suffering from autism experience sensory perceptions radically differently, causing them to get stuck in the fight-flight-freeze response mode. This is a self-destructive spiral for them, as their digestion is impaired, their breathing becomes labored and shallow, and their heart rates increase. All of this combines to create emotions of anxiety and fear.


4. Yoga Allows for A Calmer, More Relaxed Exhaling, Inhaling, and Nervous System Function

Yoga does so much more than simply build up core inner strength. Especially with autistic children, it encourages deeper, more meaningful respiration and so promotes a far healthier organism. Once an autistic individual feels calmer and comfortable within himself or herself, he or she is able to more effectively work on the challenging behavioral issues.


5. Yoga Practice Helps to Develop Motor Skills Effectively

A major problem that children with autism suffer from is motor development that is impaired or delayed. This can be strengthened when frequent Yoga exercise tones up the muscles, develops coordination, and improves stability and balance. Once children's motor skills increase substantially, they gain a better sense of their place in space and relationally to others around them. This helps them to increase their stability and gait.


6. Yoga Yields Sensory Integration.

One of the main complaints of child autism sufferers is that their nervous system is very sensitive, and so they are all too easily over-stimulated from loud noises, bright lights, strong smells and tastes, and even different textures affecting their sensory perception. One of the most appealing features of Yoga for these poor victims lies in its smooth mats, softer music, dimmed lights, and quieter speaking voices that all combine to provide a calming environment that is safeguarded from aggressive and unknown influences that disrupt their calm and sense of inner peace. The physical postures of Yoga provide an outlet for the over abundance of nervous energy to find release out of the person's body in a regulated manner that leads to calmer sensations. When the stimulation is less, the uncontrollable behavior also diminishes apace, along with repetitive nervous actions and uncontrolled outbursts.

Autism is a difficult mental and physical condition to overcome, but the good news is that it is not impossible to work around. Thanks to calming and soothing activities like Yoga, these unfortunate children can move past the uncontrollable urges and fears. It is nothing short of miraculous to watch the ways that Yoga improves the lives of children who suffer from autism and their struggling families along with them.

© Copyright 2016 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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1 comment:

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