Yoga Movement Breaks for Autism, ADHD, ADD, PDA and Mental Health
An article by our Well-being Ambassador Giuliana Wheater
Most of the children and young adults I had sessions with last week were all saying how tired they felt, and the week had dragged. With the nights slowly drawing in, transitions happening all the time and the stress of tests, it seemed to have been taking its toll.
Especially on those with different abilities or disabilities who quite often need to concentrate twice as hard to survive a school day compared to a neurotypical student.
The stress, tests and transitioning also take their toll on teachers, who are under incredible pressure also.
In 2016 alone 120 YEARS of teaching were lost due to stress.
And this was before Covid!
So, what can we do about this?
Well, wherever I go to train schools or simply share sessions I always talk about Movement Breaks.
They only need to be for five minutes and be spaced out between lessons or tasks – or even halfway through, as breathers, exercises for the body and brain, to recharge and refocus.
They are incredibly powerful and benefit everyone, teachers included.
Any “sillies” get shaken out, the breathing and body calmed, the diaphragm opened and the serotonin (neurotransmitter of happiness, confidence, and self-esteem) and dopamine (the neurotransmitter of reward, motivation, drive, focus, concentration, and attention) all encouraged up from the gut and into the brain.
These movement breaks also boost immunity and promote better sleep.
Kids with dyslexia, dysgraphia or dyscalculia will also hugely benefit along with students in wheelchairs. Neurotypical kids will also reap the rewards because they might have stuff going on at home or friendship issues or anxiety. It’s inclusive of everyone, regardless of age, ability, mobility, or neurodiversity.
The learning environment is hugely boosted for EVERYONE as a result of movement breaks. Stress and tension are eased. Attention, focus, and memory are boosted. Any aggression or overwhelm is regulated. Every school should do it regularly throughout the day.
Stand like a mountain – seated or standing. If seated, if you can put your feet flat on the floor, preferably with no shoes. If standing, ensure your feet are shoulder width apart.
Squeeze your fists as hard as you can and then either just release or fling, your tension/stress to the floor. Repeat several times.
Either seated or standing just shake all those giggles or anger or sillies out using your whole body.
Draw circles clockwise and anti-clockwise and figure eights above your head. This also helps with motor skills, coordination and balancing the brain.
Cover one nostril and inhale slowly through the other. Then block the other nostril and exhale slowly. Then repeat doing it the other way around.
Here is a link to my YouTube video demonstrating these techniques.
Have fun with them and boost those learning environments!!
See you next week,
Take care, Giuliana.