I have been doing a lot of research in the last couple of weeks on Learning Disabilities, and exercise programs for the disabled. To my regret all I have found were mostly regular Yoga programs. Sadly, I have found nothing substantial in my search. I must tell you, that I am truly applauded after all these years. The fact that there is little to no information, or programs out there geared especially for us with physical challenges show’s how little we have expanded our way of thinking. There is barely any information, let alone programs for individuals with physical limitation in some way or another. Yes I found a few programs, on Yoga, but not enough to make a true difference in our society.
I ask you- when are we all going to work together for this vital cause? Am I the only person out here that does such a thing? Where did everybody else go? I ask you? What have you found out there in this big expansive place we call the world? I’d be interested in hearing your response.
FYI, I am very happy to announce that my chair aerobics video is now available for viewing on my web site.
I hope you are well, I have been reading a couple of news articles today, and I came across one that I thought might be of interest to you
Yoga for special children
Saturday July 26 2008 15:40 IST
Dr Rita Khanna
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YOGAis 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. 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.
CASE STUDY OF JAYASHREE
I first met Jaya three months back in my Yoga Studio with her mother Madhu. 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.
Jaya got enrolled along with Madhu in regular Yoga class which had other students also.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.
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. 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. 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. Bhujangasana, 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.
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.