Welcome to Spectrum Yoga!
Many students and their parents come into Spectrum Yoga unsure of what to expect or with their own ideas of yoga. This page was created with the intent to support any expectations and questions you may have. Please take a few minutes to read through each section. Thank you!
What's the Point?
The goal of Spectrum Yoga is to give youth on the spectrum a safe, inclusive environment to learn about themselves and to feel comfortable in their bodies while learning techniques geared to their individual life goals, overtime. Spectrum Yoga provides a space where students can return to weekly, to practice these tools, without feeling any pressure. Because of that, there is rarely any homework or handouts as these can create stress and unravel much of what we've practiced in class. I do ask students to practice any tools they felt calmed them down, in life (which helps create the skill of observation and management/self-regulation). Often, the cue is not necessary, as they do it on their own from experience and enjoyment of the feeling. Ultimately, there is no pressure and no perfection.
Yoga Poses Really Don't Matter
"Yoga is not about touching your toes. It's about what you learn on the way down." - Unknown
What we are marketed to as yoga in the west, is generally not yoga. To many parent's surprise, the yoga poses really don't matter. In Spectrum Yoga classes, we embrace that. There is no perfect pose, the number of poses you do is irrelevant, and trying for either of those is contradicting to the entire point. So, it's best to keep an open mind and know that there is no pressure when it comes to pose performance, look, or outcome.
As it's said in yoga: "Fall out of tree pose with a smile."
If you are looking for more documentation, tracking, and completly individualized sessions, private sessions may be the route you are more happy with.
Each class is diverse with each student having differing needs and levels of ability - reflective of the world we live in. There will be some students who don't communicate verbally, those who have trouble not talking during class, some students may have high anxiety or trouble managing their emotions, and others who are super strong, bendy, and can do amazing things most yoga teachers cannot. This all does not matter. With class sizes being small, each student will be challenged and supported in what he/she needs.
One Breath at a Time
This is not a quick fix or cure. Each class is designed to provide tools for life in the hopes that each child can live life a little more fully than before she/he had the tools. Because yoga is in a way, strange - we were never taught to breathe or move in these ways - it takes the nervous system time to develop new neural pathways -just like any new skill. Most students leave the first class feeling calm and with at least one tool that resonated with them. For more significant support and opportunities for habits to develop, this practice takes time and I ask that you allow that for your child. If we pressure our children, or want to document every thing in class or at home, it makes calming the system and learning difficult for them.
If your child's goals change every week or month or day, that's ok! I am 15 minutes early to each class and available to chat should your child have changing goals or needs that week or day. Because every parent's preferences are different, please don't hesitate to bring up additional requests before class and our instructors will do their best to weave them into class if/when appropriate.
Fitness and Flexibility are Byproducts of Yoga...they are not yoga
This is not a fitness or stretching class - it is more. We definitely move a lot during class (aside from Sensory Wind Down) and yoga poses and games allow for strength, balance, coordination, and range of motion goals; however, we also work with the mind including emotions, energy, awareness, and more. In fact, yoga does not separate body and mind, it integrates and works with both as a whole.
Spectrum Yoga has a wonderful community of parents who support each other and are open to talking about common and uncommon struggles, achievements, and more. Being a parent of a child with a neurodiversity can feel lonely and can be really hard. While your child is getting self-care, you can too by being around others who have similar struggles, triumphs, and situations. Feel free to stay and chat, or head out and get some rest or grocery shopping done!
We Can't Wait to Meet You!
This is a supportive community where all are welcome. We look forward to having you join us!
*Please bring water (not needed for the Sensory Wind Down class) and have your child wear comfortable clothing.
To learn more about what to expect: What is Spectrum Yoga?
If you ever have any additional questions, I am always available via email to answer (and we can hop on a phone call if needed).
All photos by Samantha Hines Photography.