Sunday, April 11, 2010

PLAYTime (Peace, Love And Yoga)

Mindfulness. Breathing. Stillness. For kids who struggle with sensory integration, along with other developmental issues, being able to take a breath and become more deeply aware of themselves is a great thing. Skills learned during yoga classes create improved focus, greater strength, flexibility, balance, confidence, and the ability to self regulate how they process sensory stimuli and stress, which might lead to emotional overload.

Our classes, which are for children and specialize in the Autism Spectrum, are good fun and the families are reporting many improvements. One family is surprised that what the mom thought she was doing was bringing her son to improve his physical fitness, found that it has increased his social skills as he is speaking to everyone about yoga and showing people poses and breathing. Another noticed her child using the breathing exercises to calm himself as he gets upset. Another mom uses the kinesiology exercises to warm her son up for homework, and the teacher has reported him using yoga during his break times at school. All the kids have said they love coming and ask for more classes.

The combination of teaching greater body and mind awareness through postures and breathing does much to improve functioning for the kids. Adding in fun and imagination as we tell stories and act out the stories in all kinds of yoga poses stimulates creativity, expression and social interaction. Playing games builds social awareness and skills as well. The chant provides positive affirmations for the children. And the relaxation and meditation time is truly amazing. For parents who are used to nonstop kids, seeing them lay still, breathing deeply and simply being is incredible. Each of the children reports they like the way they feel when doing it.

How is yoga relaxation different than a normal "rest"? After doing yoga, the body is ready to recover as it allows toxins to move through and integrates the "happy" hormones and neurotransmitters. The awareness of mind and body during yoga creates a grounding and centeredness which anchors into their body as they experience the few minutes of relaxation. By the time class is done the kids feel more "whole" and more present. Yoga means union, and it seems the gift of yoga for the children is them feeling healthier and more unified in their existence. In turn, they experience greater confidence and performance in the other areas of their lives.

In all, it is good for the kids and the adults, and the PLAYTime in Happy HeARTs Yoga classes promotes true quality family time. Namaste!

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PLAYTime and Happy HeARTs Yoga are registered trademarks of HHY 2010.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Diane - a wonderful work of heART

Hello - our first blog is a tribute to a woman who is my friend. Diane and I have sons who are 12 years old and on the Autistic Spectrum. Diane was a devoted, single mom. She was one of the first families to join HeARTs for Autism.

She passed away suddenly a week ago. Heartbreaking in so many ways.

We created HeARTs for Autism in 2005 as a way to help families with support and advocacy. We use the Arts in therapeutic ways with spectrum kids and their families. Diane loved the program and even renamed it to just be "Hearts." When we asked her why she said, "It's because I and the others can just feel the love ooze out of the rooms and flow all over helping everyone to feel better." Diane told us she found joy at our meetings, which for her was a healing.

A few of her son's pieces of art are popular display pieces when we do art shows and educational outreaches. Diane created beautiful art also as a tribute for her son.

We are saddened by her loss, and yet even more inspired to reach out and support more spectrum families.

Sending much love to her son...and family...

Peace and Love to you Diane...what a wonderful work of heART you have been for us all!