Every Occupational Therapist has his/her “bag of therapy tools” from which they can pull. This bag contains the individualized tried and true therapeutic techniques and activities that each therapist can use to address any given set of challenges. For a rapidly increasing number of therapists, one of the most frequently used “tools” in this bag is becoming the use of yoga.
Yoga and OT are a natural fit as both disciplines focus on the individual as a whole person not just the part that may be a particular challenge. The use of yoga as a therapy technique provides many benefits for adults and children alike and the beauty of yoga is adaptability. It can be performed almost anywhere by almost anyone and the benefits can be long lasting. Yoga provides a medium for developing physical strength, flexibility and body awareness. It provides a medium for developing stress release and relaxation as well as focus and concentration. It can be a both a powerful social activity or an activity that can be performed in solitude with similar benefits.
Physical development is inherent in yoga as it is an active technique. However, the depth of the physical development goes far beyond muscle strength and flexibility. Yoga also works on motor planning skills as each pose requires a separate plan to execute. For beginners, physical imitation skills come into play as most often they are making their own bodies copy either a picture or an instructor. As the skill level progresses and familiarity comes into play, the individual can execute a pose based on the memory of the picture, the instructor in the pose or simply the name of the pose increasing the complexity of the motor plan and utilizing muscle memory. Yoga also allows the participant to develop better overall body awareness as executing and sustaining a pose requires intimate knowledge of one’s body in space to perform correctly.
Yoga is one of the most powerful methods available for stress reduction and relaxation. The concept of deep breathing can itself be used without the poses to relax but when combined with the physical demands of the pose, the relaxation effect is enhanced. The focus and concentration required to execute and sustain the poses allows the individual to center their attention and thereby further their stress reduction or relaxation. Physical exertion in and of itself has been shown to have a beneficial stress reduction or relaxation power. Yoga provides a means of combining poses that require a significant amount of physical exertion with poses that are relaxing by nature. The combination of physical exertion and relaxation serves to provide deeper relaxation at the conclusion.
The power of yoga can be perfectly provided with the Kids Instructional Yoga Mat and DVD. This set provides the perfect method of engagement for any child. The soft textured mat is lightweight and easy to carry which allows for easy transport and use in a variety of settings. The provision of a non-slip surface allows for a safe work surface in almost any setting.
The mat was specifically designed with appealing pictures of animals and the corresponding pose in order to capture the attention of the child and encourage engagement in the yoga activity. Each picture is labeled which provides a multi-modal learning method for the child. The inclusion of step-by-step instructions in the DVD in combination with the labeled pictures will help the child develop skills crucial for success in the educational setting, at home, or in the community such as following instructions, sequencing, and attending to task while providing another layer of multi-modal learning by engaging both the visual and the auditory systems. Overall, the Kids Instructional Yoga Mat and DVD are the ideal yoga companion for any child.
Take a look at these other yoga products:
Yoga for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Step-by-Step Guide for Parents and Caregivers (AP84318)
“Bal Yoga for Kids” by Glenda Kacev and Sylvia Roth – Book with CD and DVD (AP9555)
Yoga Pretzels Activity Cards (AP97819)
“Frog’s Breathtaking Speech: how Children (and Frogs) Can Use Yoga Breathing to Deal with Anxiety, Anger and Tension” by Michael Chissick (AP84819)
YogaKids® DVD Set (AP9880)
Angel Bear Double CD Set (AP90063)