Yoga is a unique type of exercise that is great for producing good balance, improving flexibility, and helping you become more self-aware. It produces these great benefits through yoga poses as well as measured breathing techniques. Unlike many other types of exercise that mainly benefit the body, yoga truly produces a unique mind/body connection that you cannot find elsewhere. For that reason, it may be incredibly helpful for your special needs child.
Yoga requires a great deal of self-awareness. As your child practices, he must remain very aware of where each of his limbs is and how he is breathing. This depth of concentration not only benefits the mind during the practice but also makes it easier for the child to concentrate on school or other activities that day.
Increased awareness of body positions can significantly improve overall coordination in some children while also improving gross motor movements. You may even notice that your child becomes more graceful.
Improved deep breathing calms the mind by slowing down respirations and ensuring that there is enough oxygen in the brain. Yoga also decreases anxiety by forcing the child to focus on his movements in the moment, stopping him from thinking about past or future concerns that could be causing him stress.
Your child will feel proud of himself as he begins mastering new and more difficult yoga poses all the time. The improvements in self-regulation and self-calming will help him feel confident anywhere he goes.
If you already practice yoga yourself, this new practice for your child can prove to be a great way for the two of you to build your relationship. Your child will be able to watch your practice and find inspiration and help for his own practice. Plus, the two of you will be happy to find a new way to relax together.