It is understood how important yoga can be in helping us live our daily lives so that we find balance, calm and contentment, and this maxim can of course apply to our children too. With this in mind the class I run is set to invite a special cohort of children to Unity to experience the benefits of yoga with their peers. Alternative needs vary from child to child and at the moment my classes seem to attract children with genetic disorders such as down syndrome; children with high anxiety; those on the autistic spectrum; or children with general learning difficulties such as dyspraxia.
The children aged 4 -7 mostly come to Unity straight from school so we start with a relaxation and hand massage, and deep pressure in a warm up sequence through activities like ‘pizza rolls’ which is a particular favourite with this early group. We follow on with breathing techniques such as train breath, bee breath; or activities like feather blowing; then action songs to help the group interact a bit.
The middle section focuses on yoga postures through dance or story telling, with balances and stretches to strengthen and mobilise muscles and joints. All are performed 1:1 with a parent or helper. We wind down with circle games that offer opportunities for developing interaction and attention skills and finish with a yoga story before Namaste.
Gaining attention and interest, varies from child to child. Group dynamics and size also vary. When they first come along, little ones with complex needs, may remain unsettled for weeks while they accept and settle into the new environment, some circle the room, vocalise, run, and hide. Others refuse to participate’ often for weeks using a range of avoidance tactics. Success comes from staying with the child wherever s/he is, gaining trust, and offering calming techniques. None of these behaviours are a problem here, so don’t be put off joining the group if your child is a runner!
Jenny has 20 years experience working with children with special needs. She brings playfulness to her compassionate and gentle teaching style, believing that the use of various yoga techniques bring children into a calmer, and more relaxed state to support each child’s journey, towards reaching their individual maximum potential. So if your child has an additional need yoga might well be a useful tool in their weekly routine.
Jenny Watson teaches a weekly class at Unity on Tuesdays from 4.30pm – 5.15pm
For further information please contact Jennyfirstname.lastname@example.org
Also if any yoga practitioner is interested in gaining experience, please do get in touch.