Yoga and Neuro Diversity

Mini Me Yoga encourages all ages and abilities of children and adults to experience yoga in their own way. To be creative, use imagination and build confidence by just having a go and not worrying about perfection! Using and encouraging mindfulness, Kate Bartram-Brown, the founder of Mini Me Yoga has created a fantastic programme for children to explore and develop self esteem through having fun and engaging experiences through yoga.

This week’s blog is written by our lovely Ambassador, Melissa.

One of the questions I am asked most as a practitioner is how can yoga help my child? When we think yoga I get the impression most of us think of the amazing Zen like Yogis or the super fit across fitness Yogis we see in the media. It is true these people do exist but there are many variations of the practice. When we have these ideas in our minds as soon as someone mentions Kids Yoga it must be difficult to imagine our children taking part. This can be even more daunting if you have a neuro diverse child.

When we talk about Neuro Diversity we are describing a natural form of diversity in the way the brain processes information. While everyone on the planet could be described as Neuro Diverse it is commonly understood to be a term which describes Dyspraxia, Dyslexia, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Dyscalculia, Autistic Spectrum, Tourette Syndrome, and other conditions collectively.

While most of us understand the benefits of Yoga to be improved physical and mental health I feel it important to break this down further when linking to neuro diversity. Many children and adults with neuro diverse brains not only think and process information differently but they may have developmental delays or in some cases they may have developed in a way which meant they skipped a vital part of their learning. For example, a child which bottom shuffles and never learns to crawl before walking has missed the experiences gained from spending time on their tummy, using the arms and legs in unison and tracking with the eyes. However, this does not mean they will never develop appropriately but we can put practises in to support them on their journey.

Now if we consider the part of Yoga which everyone is familiar with we can start to see how we can encourage development in children. Yoga Poses. In kids yoga we encourage children to do the postures to the best of their ability. We do not correct or ask them to hold them for longer than they are comfortable. This way we are able to see any improvements straight away. The postures we use each have their own specific benefits but as a whole Yoga Poses encourage motor skills, balance, co ordination, concentration and strength all of which aid development.

Yoga encourages self awareness, being kind and compassionate, self regulation, relaxation and works on the sensory and nervous systems. It is a simple yet effective way for parents, teachers and therapists to implement 15 mins a day of fun yet therapeutic movement.

Melissa started her career working with 0-19s and their families and specialised in CAMHS.  She has also worked as a family support worker within her Local Authority.

Melissa has 4 children; two with an Autism Spectrum Conditions and one with additional needs. She is currently a trustee for YESS Mental Health charity for children and the Autism Spectrum Pyramid group who support families who have children with Autism Spectrum Conditions.

She is also a Reiki Master and hopes to teach and use Reiki with children alongside being a Life Activation Practitioner with the Modern Mystery School.


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