The Wholeness of Yoga for Children with Special Needs
Sep 03, 2020
We're getting ready for a week-long advanced training October 11-17...the Therapeutic Applications of Yoga for Children. There has been a lot of deep thought and mindful meditation as to whether or not it's prudent to be conducting in-person training given the current situation with Covid-19.
In the end, we are certain we can provide a safe environment for our students, the retreat staff and ourselves. Just as important...it's so NEEDED right now. Children are struggling with anxiety, attention and focus issues, autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, depression, obesity and trauma - all exacerbated by heightened levels of stress that so many are experiencing.
Any lingering doubts about moving forward with this training were lifted when we reviewed comments from last year's students. Each had the chance to share an "aha" moment. A common insight was the recognition that Yoga is a holistic practice. It’s not just about the physical practice; it’s about the whole being – mental, emotional and spiritual.
Listening to this thoughtful group share their insights was inspiring and affirming. There was a real understanding of the power of Yoga regardless of an imbalance, “condition” or diagnosis a child may be facing.
Many commented that they knew on an intellectual level that Yoga is so much more than the physical postures (asana), but after a week-long intensive of practice and study, they really got it at a visceral level.
One woman commented that she now had, “an understanding where all of the pieces of Yoga are integrated into a whole, balanced practice.” Another recognized how she can help by, “being flexible and adapting the practice to the day, time, place and person.” Her comment reminded us to meet oneself, the student you are teaching, and the situation as it is. As shared by another student, “I feel inspired to keep allowing things to unfold.”
Yoga is a holographic approach. Touch in at any point because it is all connected. It’s a paradigm shift from the standard Western mindset of categorizing, labeling, specializing and dissecting. Choosing to serve others from this holistic perspective takes courage and faith. Courage, because it requires constant checking in with our habits of thought and assumptions. Faith, because the research model we rely on as a society doesn’t capture it.
There was a real, deep recognition that Yoga is a holistic system and we can meet an individual right where they are and simply hold space for them to come into a recognition of the truth of who they are. This is the deepest healing and the deepest benefit of Yoga.
All these insights coalesced into this one central notion, “keep it simple.” A problem can’t be solved at the same level of thinking (awareness) that created it. Complex, stressful lives beg for a simple solution. Yoga is this solution.
We hold this training once each year. This year, it feels like the perfect opportunity to safely get away and connect with others in an inspiring and uplifting way.