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Children need healthy outlets for their stress and excess energy. One such pursuit quickly gaining traction among kids is yoga. Backed by medical and psychological research, yoga can have many benefits for people of all ages, since it works to both activate the body and calm the mind. It’s also being lauded as a complementary therapy for children on the autism spectrum. 

The Benefits Of Yoga For Children With Autism

Here are a few ways yoga has shown to be beneficial to autistic and special needs kids. 

Children need healthy outlets for their stress and excess energy. One such way is yoga. Discover the Benefits Of Yoga For Children With Autism

Improving Fitness

One of yoga’s more well-known advantages is its ability to enhance fitness and physical well-being. As kids carefully stretch, breathe deeply and perform the various poses in yoga, they make physical demands on their bodies that generate positive after-effects for their health. For instance, when they practice yoga routinely, it works to strengthen muscles and increase overall flexibility. Studies have found regular sessions can also build up balance, endurance, and even aerobic capacity in school-age children. 

These physical developments can come with additional benefits for children on the spectrum. Kids may experience pain relief as well as a reduction in self-stimulatory activities. Of course, it is essential children are properly supervised and trained not to stretch too far or push too hard. Otherwise, they may be injured and reluctant to try again.

Gaining a Sense of Calm 

Yoga can also be very beneficial to the mind. As part of the process, children are encouraged to practice mindfulness regarding their breathing and body control as they change positions. This has a calming effect on the mind, specifically as it works to neutralize the sympathetic nervous system. 

The results of routinely performing yoga can be far-reaching. Children, including those with special needs, may see improved focus, memory, and academic performance. Yoga can also have positive repercussions on their personal conduct, including sleeping habits, classroom behavior, and the ability to self-regulate emotions and thoughts. Furthermore, a growing body of research maintains yoga can reduce anxiety and stress in children.

For autistic children specifically, the rituals of yoga classes can be very constructive. When the program incorporates soft chanting and sitting postures at the onset, it supports their sensitivities to the external world by providing a calming transition into yoga. Not only does that help to get them in the yoga mindset of inner balance and peace, but the process could also be translated to other activities with practice.

Opportunities to Make New Friends and Have Fun

At times, children with autism are able to develop a bond with the instructor as they build trust and enjoy the free-flowing and flexible nature of yoga. This can be pleasantly contrary to school and other activities with a focus on achieving set outcomes or results. 

In addition to bonding with the teacher, yoga classes can also present a great opportunity to make friends with similar experiences or backgrounds. Kids can bond with one another during initiation or when playing engaging yoga games together, such as “mirror, mirror” or “red light, green light yoga.” Parents can also try these games and other fun yoga exercises at home to test the waters, so to speak, and see if their kiddos are ready to give yoga a shot.

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The Benefits Of Yoga For Children With Autism

Having fun while also conditioning positive mindsets and body control can go a long way in helping children with special needs learn, grow and be their best selves. If you’re interested in what else yoga can do for your child, reach out to a teacher or yogi specializing in programs for special needs kids. You can also check out the accompanying resource for further information on the benefits of yoga for youngsters, as well as a few poses to get you started.

This infographic was created by Kids Car Donations, donate your car for kids

Kids Car Donations is a national organization that accepts vehicle donations to better the lives of children. The organization partners with a number of well-known nonprofits serving children and teens who are confronted with physical, mental and emotional challenges to provide the care they need.

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