YOGA THERAPY FOR EVERY SPECIAL CHILD

Reviewed by Katherine Smits, Irish Yoga Association

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As a yoga teacher I found this book inspiring. It clearly shows how to bring joy into a child’s life through a well-balanced yoga programme. The book starts has a general introduction describing the needs of special children and the similarities between yoga and neuro-development therapy. Nancy Williams is a paediatric speech pathologist and a neuro-developmental therapist, Hatha yoga instructor and yoga therapist. She has found that yoga has extra attributes that neuro-development therapy does not have: the use of the breath throughout the practice is the key to yoga and also discovering the breath in itself is a complete practice. The delicate skill of moving energy through the body, relaxation and mindfulness complete the programme.

“YOGA MEETS THERAPY GOALS” Physical/Structural met Energetic/Regeneration
The importance of the space or setting for yoga therapy is vital to retain the simplicity, balance and calmness that pervade the author’s programme. She adds extra tips constantly, for example, the importance of the yoga mat being instrumental in defining one’s sense of place and that rolling it up assists in bilateral integration. To be well prepared with background knowledge on the child is a must to fully understand what approach is needed for each individual child.

A clear concise sequence of illustrated postures comes next. Each posture is detailed with precise instruction, followed by the benefits and special considerations for the less able. Twenty-six simple postures make up the practice incorporating flexion, extension, rotation, balance, weight bearing and emphasis on breath work. The sequence is completed by relaxation in shavasana, guided imagery, mudra (hand positions) and mantra (sounds); chakra (energetic alignment) shows her understanding, expertise and skill on a different level.

Yoga games bring in the creative, playful and imaginative aspects of yoga and help to release and let go in a fun and open way.

‘Yoga for specific conditions’ reminds us that everyone is unique and shows us how to adapt the yoga sequence for each individual. The responses from the ‘yogis’—their parents and carers—are wonderful and reiterate all the benefits that yoga brings.

I would highly recommend this book as a handbook for yoga teachers who would like to work with special children or for parents/carers who have a good personal yoga practice. The book would be an invaluable guide for parents/carers whose special children attend yoga therapy, to help them explore and develop their understanding and, perhaps, to start their own yoga journey with their special child by attending workshops or classes with them. This book has struck the right balance between simplicity and information and sets the scene with clarity for calmness, playfulness and balance in yoga.

YOGA THERAPY FOR EVERY SPECIAL CHILD by Nancy Williams
Illustrated by Leslie White Singing Dragon ISBN 978-1-84819-027-6