yoga for special needs kids

“We believe that all children are special and that no label can define or limit a child’s potential for positive change”

Jo Manuel, Founder and Executive Director of The Special Yoga Centre, 

Did you know that there are several benefits yoga offers to children with Autism, ADD/ADHD, Fragile X, Prader willi, Down Syndrome, anxiety disorders, language processing deficits and sensory integration dysfunction and other related disabilities?

By incorporating the practice of breathing strategies and yoga poses in fun and interactive ways such as using games, visuals and guided imagery, children can learn new vocabulary, self-regulation skills and strategies to calm their nervous systems and release difficult or uncomfortable emotions.

The practice of yoga increases flexibility, strength, motor-skills, body awareness, balance, concentration and self-esteem


Any child can benefit from yoga no matter their age, ability or disability.


One of the primary lessons of yoga is: Meet yourself and others where they are at.


I believe this to be an important principle when working with special needs kids through yoga.

Meeting the kids where they are at with the trust that all kids are capable of learning to find a place of calm within themselves and giving them support that meets their individual needs through practicing yoga together. Learning yoga poses, breathing and relaxing together in fun, playful and mindful ways is central to my yoga classes for kids with special needs.

The use of song and sound, body awareness through tapping and massage and visual learning are some methods that I like to work with when practicing yoga with special needs kids.


Through a regular yoga practice we build energy, our muscles get stronger, we build up our immune system, we calm our central nervous system and our breath. We get more flexible, we are able to concentrate better, sleep better, our brain works better and we are more self confident.

Yoga helps us to bring balance to our physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. 


As kids yoga teacher and mother of a child with CHD (Congenital Heart Defect) I experience every day how yoga empowers kids with or without special needs and that as parents, teachers and yoga teachers we too feel empowered when we can help our kids to help themselves. :)

Benefits of Yoga for Special Needs Kids


Jo Manuel, Founder and Executive Director of The Special Yoga Centre, 

“With Yoga you are speaking to a child's soul, so whatever their mental or physical capacity or incapacity they can still benefit.”

Yoga is a practice that opens doors for children with special needs. It parallels and supports other therapeutic modalities in addressing challenges with attention, self-regulation, speech and language, learning, and high and low muscle tone. Through yoga, children:


*Strengthen their core musculature: improving balance and endurance and allowing for deeper respiration.


*Balance their nervous system: bringing them out of fight or flight and into a place of relaxation.


*Support sensory processing: poses offer proprioceptive, vestibular and tactile input and aide in the development of gross motor skills.


*Enhance self-regulation: offers them the ability to control energy and activity level.


*Support sequencing and motor planning skills: they master directions for moving in and out of poses and memorize pose sequences. What they begin on the mat then moves into the rest of their life.


*Enhance speech and language abilities: yoga can release anxiety and tension helping to coordinate breathing and speech


*Promote over all physical fitness: yoga promotes strength, flexibility and balance.


* yoga for concentration:

Children with attention deficit disorder, ADHD and other learning disabilities can also benefit from the improved concentration that regularly participating in yoga can bring.


*Yoga Promotes Body Awareness

For children with disorders that affect their physical growth, yoga can help to promote body awareness. For many children, this can be a difficult issue, and more traditional athletic activities may be unsafe. Instead, low-impact exercises like yoga are preferred.


*Practicing Yoga helps kids to become aware of thought patterns and stress triggers and so it allows children to begin to identify, manage and prevent stress on their own. 




If you are a special needs educator and looking to bring yoga to your class please get in touch.


If you would like more info on therapeutic yoga sessions for your child in your home please get in touch.