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8 Ways Yoga Helps Kids with Special Needs

by on 04/11/2020 883

Yoga is getting increasingly popular these days—and for good reason. It helps people feel great and perform better in different aspects of their lives. The physical and mental practices of yoga are also beneficial for children, and can be particularly therapeutic for children with special needs.

Ready to find out how yoga can help kids who have autism, ADHD, Down’s syndrome or other conditions? Read on for the 7 advantages of this wonderful exercise.

1. Helps to relieve stress

Kids with autism or other special needs may find themselves feeling a lot of anxiety or stress. Yoga, which is typically done in a tranquil setting, teaches breathing techniques that helps kids calm down and relax. This practice of focusing on the breath and ‘slowing things down’ can be used outside of yoga too, as a way to cope when things get extra stressful throughout the day.

2. Sharpens gross and fine motor skill

Yoga brings attention to different parts of your body and makes you more aware of big and small movements. This can improve kids’ gross and fine motor skills.

3. Builds strength and flexibility

Yoga can go from easy poses to advanced ones. The lovely thing about yoga is that it’s considerate of individual needs, which means that almost all poses can have modifications. When a child learns yoga with a good teacher, he will be taught exercises that fit his current level of ability, then slowly progress to build more strength and flexibility.

It can be a slow, relaxing experience—or a heart-pumping, full body workout!

4. Improves self-control

Kids who do yoga learn to ‘pause’ and breathe. There is a lot of meditative practice, where one stays in a pose and allows their mind to focus on the present moment. All these practices help children build better self-control and emotional regulation, which can be especially valuable for children struggling with behavioural difficulties.

5. Fosters confidence

Low self-esteem can be prevalent in kids who have special needs, due to unsupportive social or academic environments. Being able to do poses, focus better, develop mindfulness, and let out stress, can lead to more confident kids. When kids have confidence, they become happier and more resilient.

6. Supports a good night’s rest

As we now know, yoga exercises relieve stress and encourage relaxation. This results in children getting better sleep at night. When kids get adequate, good quality sleep, they become healthier physically and emotionally.

7. Provides consistency

Lots of kids, especially those with special needs, enjoy consistency. If yoga is incorporated into their daily or weekly routine, it gives them something to look forward to. Besides that, kids doing yoga can learn a sequence of poses, to do repetitively, giving them something to work on and remember.

8. Brings lots of fun

Are you concerned that your child might find yoga ‘boring’? Well, don’t worry, because yoga made specifically for kids can be heaps of fun, with creative movements and bright energy. Try checking out this imaginative Cosmic Kids Yoga video that kids can follow along with at home. 

Does your child struggle with behavioural issues? Read this article about how to use a token economy to teach your child new behaviours and skills.