Yoga Poses for Autism

5 Yoga Poses to Help Your ASD Child

It is important that your child is supervised, and has access to modifications/support if he or she needs it. Please note that each pose can be modified to any individual needs, and may be held for longer or shorter amounts of time, or can be skipped completely. Many children with ASD tend to hyperextend due to lack of muscle, be aware of hyperextension and gently adjust your child for safe alignment. Yoga for autism can be very beneficial if conducted with the appropriate guidance.

Sitting Pose: This is an excellent pose to ease the child into a yoga session and to let them know that their yoga practice is about to begin.

Easy Pose

  • Begin by sitting at the front of your mat
  • Cross your legs in any comfortable position (you may place a blanket under hips for comfort)
  • Take a moment to concentrate on how you are feeling. Close your eyes and take a deep inhalation into your belly through your nose
  • Hold your breath and release it slowly. Feel your belly contract in towards your spine to exhale all the air out of your body.
  • Do this three (or more) times, concentrating on how your body feels
  • Try to make each inhale and exhale through your nose, and long

Cat Pose: This pose helps the child understand how breath and body connect, warming up the body for future poses. It may help if you explain to your child this pose imitates a cat stretching. This can provide a visual reference for your child.

  • Start in the center of the mat on your hands and knees. Position hands directly beneath your shoulders and your knees in line with your hips
  • Spread the hand and fingers wide, firmly pressing into the mat
  • Take a deep breath in and round your back upward while tucking your tailbone down, into a cat position
  • Hold this pose for three breaths, and then move onto the next pose

 

Cow Pose: This pose also helps the child understand how breath and body connect, continuing to warm the body. Pay attention to hyper-extension in the elbows

 

  • Start in the center of the mat on your hands and knees. Position hands directly beneath your shoulders and your knees in line with your hips
  • Spread the hand and fingers wide, firmly pressing into the mat
  • Take a deep breath in and as you exhale take your belly towards the mat, tipping your pelvis towards the mat, creating a curve in the spine
  • Reach your chest forward through your shoulders, looking up towards the sky
  • Hold here for 3 breaths
  • If this is comfortable for the child, you can lead them in between Cat/Cow pose slowly for several breaths

Downward Dog: This pose requires arm and leg strength, which can be difficult at first, but with your help and guidance this pose can be very beneficial overtime. This pose not only builds strength but also eases neck and shoulder tension while lengthening the hamstrings. Since the head is hanging, ask your child how he feels viewing the world upside down. Creating a visualization of a dog stretching may help your child ease into this pose. Be aware of hyperextension 

  • From Cat/Cow pose, tuck your toes so they are firmly pressing into the ground, press your hands into the mat and lift your hips into the air
  • Spread the hand and fingers wide, firmly pressing into the mat
  • Reach your heels to the mat. It is ok if your heels do not actually press into the mat, this will come in time as flexibility is gained!
  • There should be a straight line from the hips to the shoulders
  • Hold here for 3-5 breaths
  • If this is uncomfortable, you can support the child’s torso until strength is gained

Tree Pose: This pose continues to strengthen the legs while offering a visualization. This pose requires concentration and can help a child with ASD learn to focus, and connect to his body and breath. There are many modifications that your child may need to begin with, such as leaving his foot balanced on the ankle with toes on the ground for support, s/he can begin moving the foot up the standing leg. This pose can show progression and help with confidence if practiced overtime!

  • Come to the front of the yoga mat and take a deep breath in
  • Keeping yourself as straight as possible, bend the right leg, and place the heel of your right foot on your left ankle, with the right toes on the ground (this is to help keep balance)
  • Slowly raise your arms over your head, and gaze forward focusing on an object or spot on the wall that is not moving. This will help you keep your balance! If raising your arms is not an option, leave your arms at your side, or bring your hands to touch in front of your chest
  • Hold this pose for three breaths before switching to the left leg.
  • As strength and balance is gained, begin working the foot up the standing leg, avoiding the knee. Maybe over time the foot will be pressed into the calf, or thigh!

These specific yoga poses for autism/Asperger’s can help a child with ASD improve focus and attention, sensory information processing, communication, self-regulation, and motor control. These skills apply to other areas in life, ultimately helping those with ASD to lead more balanced, healthy, socially integrated, and independent lives.

About admin

The team behind Your Little Professor is dedicated to providing factual information for parents and caretakers of adolescents on the Autism Spectrum Disorder. We believe in connecting families to the necessary resources in order to help individuals on the spectrum succeed in day-to-day life.


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