Yoga has now come up as an instrument to help kids with autism. Yoga is well-known for its positive effects on coordination, flexibility, concentration, and social-emotional skills. As children with autism have trouble in developing their cognitive skills and social-communicative behaviors, yoga will be of great help to them. Keeping their focus on one thing is a challenge for autistic kids. Also, high level anxiety is often seen among them. Yoga could take care of these concerns to a great extent. It could help them develop sensory and body awareness. To begin with, make them practice these simple yoga poses to increase their self-regulation and self-esteem.
Engaging a kid with autism in any activity is difficult. With regular yoga practice, you may be able to manage them in a better way. As you begin the yoga session with sitting pose, it will help you give him/her a sign that the session is about to begin. This will prepare them for the regular yoga routine.
Let them sit on the mat, crossing their legs. Ensure that they are comfortable in the position. Ask them to close their eyes and take deep breaths. Try to make them focus on the changes their body feels. Repeat the breath for three times.
This pose could help you increase concentration in children with autism. As you know, any activity that can boost their focus is of considerable value.
Make them stand as straight as possible with arms by the side of the body. Ask them to bend their right leg and place the heel of their right foot on their left ankle. To help them keep balance, keep the right toes on the ground. Gently raise their arms over their head and ask them to look straight ahead at a distant object. If they find it difficult to raise their arms, let them leave it at their side. Take three deep breaths in this position. After several days of practice, they may have better balance. Then you can ask them to try to keep their right foot high up on the left thigh.
This pose looks like a cat stretching. It will be easy for kids to visualize it. Cat pose helps you increase coordination in autistic kids.
Let them keep their hands and knees on the mat like in a ‘tabletop’ position. Their hands should be positioned directly beneath their shoulders. Make sure their knees are in line with the hips. As they exhale, round their back upward while tucking their tailbone down, changing into a cat position. Release the head toward the floor. Staying in the position, take three deep breaths.
This is a continuation of cat pose and a gentle way to warm their spine.
Let them keep their hands and knees on the mat like in a ‘tabletop’ position. Their hands and knees should be in the same position as in the cow pose. As they inhale, ask them to lift their sitting bones and chest toward the ceiling. Their tummy should sink toward the mat. This should create a curve shape in the spine. Lift their head to look straight forward. Staying in the position, take three deep breaths.
Yoga practice can be incorporated into a child’s daily activities at home or school. You can modify these poses and adjust the timings according to your kid’s comfort. As you practice yoga with your kid, you help them stay calm and relaxed. Moreover, as an adult taking care of autistic kids, yoga will also help you de-stress your body and mind.