Considering the fact autism can be very fidgety, can’t concentrate, is interested in everything around and exploring all the senses and stimming can sometimes disturb the run of the lesson or the other students themselves, yoga is a fantastic calming tool for autism. We started yoga two years ago with the experienced yoga instructor. You wouldn’t believe nearly all the students did not know where their stomach part of the body or the back is. They were all over the place. In time they have improved so much that nowadays they enjoy every movement, every posture and relaxing and calming music with it. The lessons are calmer and the students happier and more focused.
We would never realise how difficult it is for a child with autism to find out where his body parts are. I am talking about the severe autism. Some time ago we had the training on autism and the senses and we were asked to try to close our eyes and step on the stones one after another. What a struggle! And this way the child with autism struggles.
We can imagine how beneficial the yoga for child with autism is. Nowadays, when yoga is becoming more and more popular in the west, we need to implement it into our everyday process of relaxing. There exist Yoga4autism that specialises directly on autism, but I suppose when we, parents, practise Five Tibetan Rites at home, we can involve our child, too. We can start with simple warming and breathing exercises.
In my class I have got a student that can’t make a pose or sit on the floor. We have tried several strategies how to get him on the mat for his yoga session but nothing worked. The simple solution – we placed his chair on the mat and since that he does his postures from the chair. He has his feet on the mat, exercises his harms and legs and follows the instructions from the chair.
So after finishing my Foundation Course I am officially Yoga4Autism Pioneer! Next step – Advanced and Specialist course!!!! Everything on a right track to help your children and – for you, my parents, I am planning something else! Because you deserve it. But I will talk about it later.
Alongside with yoga exercising it is important to chose the music the child with autism likes. Generally I have to say the modern, too energetic music, seems to work opposite way – students are overexcited, music makes them noisy or overwhelmed, covering their ears or unable to keep the place.
Nice relaxing piano, Celtic or Tibetan music or certain types of classical music will keep our child with autism calm, quiet and relaxed. If we do the yoga postures on the mat on the floor and the student struggles to follow his instructor, he can just lay down and relax. At the end of the day – yoga is about relaxation.
So I have finished my Yoga4Autism Foundation Course and started teaching basic yoga in my class. I have got three students that have experienced yoga before and are familiar with the mats, procedures and poses but my new two students haven’t done yoga before at all. And in my first two sessions it was obvious. Whilst the experienced ones took part in the sessions without any problems, following the switching, sequencing, breathing and relaxation very well, the other two struggled to keep their places on their new mats, even sitting was difficult, one interested in the material of the mat whilst the other one using the mat as the blanket. Good fun! Never mind, we need to get used to the idea and I am 100% sure we will get the routine till Christmas in our finger. We enjoy the Tibetan relaxing music very much anyway!
Winter Performance 2015
I would want to return back to the end of the year and our Christmas performance. When we were told to think about some Christmas song and create the dance or activity or performance with it, I knew straight on I’d want to do John Lennon’s ‘Happy Christmas’. The reason is very obvious. We as yoga, forest and peace promoting group want to produce something meaningful, especially at the time of a lot of movement in the world and the political disputes (France).
What are we going to do during the song? Do we really need to do anything when the lyrics of the song is so beautiful and free and peaceful, talking about the human beings, poor, rich, black, white – about the big human family that we all are?
So we called it – ‘peace walk’. We needed the willow peace symbols which I made from the willow, we printed the T-shirts with the peace symbol, we made three big posters with symbol of peace. We walked around one lap individually for the start, then made a circle holding hands – symbolizing everybody equal, everybody together, one big family – and then walking again but still holding hands, keeping together. At the end we made a line, tried two fingers up for ‘peace’, bowed and walked away. Very simple and clear what we wanted to say – what John Lennon wanted to say. The audience was great, cooperating with us from the start, lifting arms up with two fingers up – PEACE!
I don’t know if all people felt it that time, that warm feeling in the heart, that feeling of pulling together, working towards as one. I did. Thank you!
Back to Yoga
So spring is here and we started gardening again. Unfortunately the weather in April is vey changeable, we prefer to stay inside. And so we did on Friday afternoon. We managed to do a lot of work in our books, enjoyed yoga and made ourselves a lovely herbal tea Yogi make. Focus of the postures, relaxation with the Tibetan music and meditation made us calm, kind and warm. And – at the end of the day – it was Friday afternoon, everybody felt tired and yoga seems ideal to finish the busy school week. And we enjoyed the herbal – we like keeping healthy!