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Top 3 benefits of yoga for kids with autism

The Inhale Pose
The Inhale Pose
Illustration by Kathleen Rietz and adapted from The ABCs of Yoga for Kids

As well as some of the benefits typically associated with yoga such as improved strength, concentration, and flexibility, there are 3 additional benefits for kids with autism.

  1. Reduced anxiety
  2. Reduced obsessive and aggressive behavior
  3. More control in regulating emotions.

Children with autism who practice yoga begin to feel more calm and comfortable in their bodies. As a result, they experience less anxiety and it becomes easier for them to control their behavior and emotions.

In fact, a recent study found that elementary school kids with autism spectrum disorder who participated in a daily yoga program had reduced aggressive behavior, social withdrawal, and hyperactivity.

Autism is a developmental disorder that typically appears in the first three years of life,

Whether mild or severe, autism spectrum disorders nevertheless interfere with a child's ability to communicate and understand social cues. This causes anxiety, obsessive behavior, and difficulty managing emotions.

Yoga can help to decrease anxiety, improve concentration, and regulate self-control.

The first place to start with yoga is breathing. Deep breathing in and out through the nose calms the nervous system and builds core strength at the same time.

The Inhale Pose, adapted from The ABCs of Yoga for Kids which is published by Stafford House Books, Inc in Pacific Palisades, California, encourages kids to utilize this deep breathing. "One of the most important parts/Of any yoga pose,/Is remembering to breathe deeply/By inhaling through the nose."

Yoga helps children with autism gain new motor, communication and social skills. The end result is an overall improvement in their quality of life.