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Why Yoga & Somatic Practices?



The practice of yoga for children with autism/autistic children, neurodiverse brains and other diverse needs, teaches many skills but perhaps one of the most important elements of yoga for children with diverse needs is teaching them coping skills and how to respond to stress, tension, worry, anxiety and depression.  


Many children with language processing difficulties and/or sensory integration dysfunction (difficulty with sensory processing) experience great levels of anxiety and sometimes depression.  They can be in a constant state of heightened arousal or anxiety or in a state of freeze (shut down). When we are anxious we activate the sympathetic system of our nervous system.  The sympathetic system is responsible for responding to threat or danger or a "perceived" threat or danger - the fight/flight response.  When we are in a sympathetic state, the blood in our bodies flow to the larger muscles in our limbs, away from our internal organs to prepare us to flee or fight.  Our heart rate increases and we typically exhibit chest breathing which can lead to anxiety attacks or hyperventlation.  Being in a constant state of sympathetic arousal can negatively impact our heath, mood and behavior.  We can develop digestive problems, irregular sleep patterns, tension in our muscles and joints , weakened immune systems, anger or agitation, difficulty coping, conflict with others, social withdrawal, OCD behaviors and a variety of other issues. 


Teaching children specific breathing strategies, yoga poses and somatic movement to support them in activating the parasympathetic nervous system (ventral vagal - social engagement system) which is responsible for rest, relaxation and digestion supports them in reducing anxiety, releasing difficult emotions and tension in the body, developing healthier sleep patterns, improving digestion and optimal functioning in the body and improving mood and behavior. Children with autism/autistic children, neurodivergence, developmental disability, mental health challenges and other diverse needs can learn coping strategies through the practice of yoga so they may live calmer, happier, more peaceful and healthier lives.


  • decrease anxiety and depression

  • increase relaxation

  • improve sleep

  • support healthy digestion

  • support healthy respiration

  • reduce muscle tension

  • reduce fatigue

  • improve circulation

  • therapeutic for thyroid conditions

  • improve mood

  • support positive behavior

  • support sensory integration

  • support language and communication

  • support body awareness

  • support motor coordination

  • improve fine/gross motor skills

  • improve interoceptive awareness

  • build self-agency and self-esteem

  • build capacity and resilience 

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