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Oaklands School

Making Learning Fun

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Oaklands School

Making Learning Fun

Yoga

Yoga

Classrooms can be very stressful environments for autistic children for reasons such as sensory difficulties and the requirement for high levels of social interaction. Many autistic children will also experience high levels of anxiety which can present with breathing patterns that are out of regulation.

 

Frequent shallow breathing and breathing through the mouth consistently stimulate the sympathetic nervous system at a low level. This means that being ‘stressed out’ becomes the norm. When the nervous system reacts with a fright or flight response, breathing quickens and becomes shallower. When we slow the breath we change the physiological response.

 

By consciously slowing the breath, especially the exhalation, we can facilitate the relaxation response and develop some control over how our nervous systems responds to our environment. We develop the ability to change our emotional state.

 

Working with the breath can therefore effectively ‘wake up’ or ‘calm down’ the child. We might for example:

  • Put the child’s hand on their belly to ‘feel’ their breath.
  • Stretch the body to help open up the capacity for the breath - rhythmic movements of arms up and down done slowly can really help here.

 

The Benefits of Yoga

Some of the many benefits of Yoga and Mindfulness practices include:

  • improving motor planning and control
  • improved self awareness emotionally, psychologically and physically
  • developing the ability to self regulate across environments and demands
  • developing balance, strength and flexibility
  • developing the ability to relax and release tension, fear and frustration
  • reducing stress reaction and improving resilience
  • improving immune function
  • improving quality and quantity of sleep
  • enhancing respiratory ability and capacity
  • enhancing a sense of wellbeing, calm and peace
  • enhancing a sense of emotional balance

 

Videos such as Cosmic Yoga can be used within classes and homes to help our children regulate.

Cosmic Yoga Channel https://www.youtube.com/c/CosmicKidsYoga

Cosmic Yoga Space https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZAaZDVqCiA

Cosmic Yoga Hungry Caterpillar https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhWDiQRrC1Y

 

More information can be found:

https://www.autism.org.uk/advice-and-guidance/professional-practice/yoga-schools https://specialyoga.co.uk/

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