I recently taught Yoga to a group of 6 kids at a school for kids with special needs. This was a once a week ‘extra curricular activity’ over the course of a full term. The group had 3 girls and 3 boys, all of them on Autism Spectrum. Some of the mothers attended the class as well, helping the kids follow instructions and practice āsana (postures).
I thoroughly enjoyed teaching the kids and I would look forward to it every week. It was great fun. Kids learnt to chant ‘OM’ and learnt to chant it along with metronomes.
Part-2 talked about the bottom-up evolutionary organisation of the nervous system. According to Polyvagal Theory, there are three distinct stages of development of the autonomic nervous system – immobilisation (freeze response we see in reptiles), mobilisation (fight-flight response) and social engagement system (what we see in humans). Vagus nerve plays an important role in regulation of these. Continue reading
“Spine is like a windmill generating electricity.” – Sperry
Postural Yoga (i.e. the practice of physical postures and breathing exercises) in the world of therapy often tends to be viewed narrowly as a physical therapy aimed to improve muscle tone, coordination and flexibility. However, this perspective is changing. For example, Yoga is becoming popular as an effective therapeutic tool in trauma treatment. van der Kolk gives an excellent account of this.
Those who practice Yoga in its true spirit know that it has an “integral” effect on body and mind spanning cognitive, behavioural and emotional planes. Evidence from evolutionary neurobiology seem to shed light on how some of these effects come about. Continue reading
All souls are alike in Yoga.
One typically identifies with his or her thoughts and body (this is mine, I am happy, I am hurt). Since the thoughts and the body are constantly changing, this leads to interesting questions like “Who is this I now?”, “What was this I before?”, “Was the I last week different from this I?” Such incessant questioning is another path to spiritual progress. Continue reading