What is the purpose of the pose itself? Modify it accordingly to a child’s needs but keep the goal in mind, what are the benefits of the pose, keep them intact. [Adapted Yoga]

Little discussion Re: “Labeling“: sticking a “label” on a child limits us as teachers in some way, instead of seeing a child as “let’s see what you can do now and set goals and themes” we are putting a child in a certain “pocket” or a “drawer”, we see what she/he do cannot do and we never give hope and never try to do anything about it because someone says this is “genetic”, or this is “impossible” to do for the child. But a holistic approach to working with the child is to see sparks from within, the spiral movement, these dormant forces.

Instead of leaving the child helpless, we challenge, we open gates and awake the flow patterns.

Video: Jessica’s case “Selective Mutism”

We have to get into an essence why they are shutting down. It may take months for them to open up their little door. Watch for the body shutdown parts and observe what motivates them to participate OR shut down. What do they like and dislike? Find that little door by learning about their favorites! What would she/he NOT mind doing? –> this is the first step into their world and helping them to engage.

Structuring safe environment:

Swinging, transitions, concrete instructions, oscillate between structure and flow, use tapes, markers, name tags. No pressure. Icons, body contact, touch, seat with them, provide safety, it means protection for the children with special needs. Physical lifting, carrying, burrito (sushi) rolls, sleeping bag dragging. No need to start with rules. Form – Play (Flow) – Form :::

Form < > Flow (Oscillate) ::: MOTIVATION & FUN

Jessica opened up on her own terms – the video documented Jessica’s progress within 7 months.

Video: Flow – Form in the Class of Children

  • pushing wooden blocks across the room

  • jumping jacks with the help of stickers (feet)

  • front roll across the mat

  • hand massage

  • walking up two “suspended” planks

  • monkey bars

  • boat pose

  • walking together in a row (train, elephants)

  • group flower pose

  • warrior pose (aid on both sides lifted and stretched arms)

  • tree pose (& group tree pose)

(Notes: use of blankets and sleeping bags to move on the floor and connecting with the child, physcial touch, safety, helping them holding the pose longer by counting).

Action is the show: what they do with their bodies is the show, the learning is in the movement, their body is their vehicle. We are making this our central focus. Your eyes have to change from mental language (to physical), to what do they do with their bodies.

Physical Signal ← ENGAGEMENT → Physical Outcome

Little discussion: Dance and Musica:

Turning music on and dancing does not work with children where basic skills and body awareness are lacking.

FOUR STAGES (from native teachings), a universal way to look at child’s development and your role in it.


  • Dependence – your role is 100% hands-on, full involvement, do not give up!

  • Independence – experimental phase, trials & errors, you can back off a bit and guide, they are in charge of their body, they are more conscious, and understand there is a skill to do, exploring it. Give them time to explore it and make mistakes.

  • Competence – not perfect yet but able to do it themselves, not necessary getting the skill yet, but more or less, you can start building on this skill, adding onto some additional movement, you can go into more advance complex situation with your teaching in this phase.

  • Mastery – no mistakes, notice the rhythm, free flow, they are starting to move effortlessly. Let them be creative and do celebrate, have a performance, showcase that learned skill.

CIRCLE of the ACTIVITY – how to cycle the movement learning

  • model for them – do the activity

  • take them to the activity

  • do the activity with them

  • take them back from the activity


::: teaching children to gain an awareness of the whole body & to use their body in a controlled way :::


Scribble stage – Children’s Drawings – not able to represent the body in an organized way, expressing feelings.

Topological stage – Children starting to understand their body’s parts. Circles, arms, legs etc.

You don’t want to expect highly detailed yoga poses – see their drawing – unorganized way.

Adapting the poses in a way that they make sense for the child’s individual situation. It is not about doing certain pose or series of poses perfectly, but to teach them to use their bodies and keep the benefits of yoga poses intact. (Viniyoga – personalized practice of yoga asanas)

Basic Yoga Poses Poster (24):

Sitting – Crawling-Standing (adaptations)

Yoga Props: Markers – feet, hands, blankets, block, bells, weights, flowers, balls, bolsters, cards, toy objects, etc.

Making sense of each of the 24 yoga poses.: CHOOSE a POSE | Make it SECURE | Utilize a precise PROBLEM SOLVING | Think where the difficulty lies for the child and what is pose’s technical aspect? | Is it fun for the child? | Do not take the pose far from its purpose.

A subtle balance between SKILL & COMFORT.


  • Welcome activity at the beginning of the class

  • Cue for Yoga Time and a visual, cognitive tool

  • Body-mind connection – Way to represent the movement in their mind

  • Invitation and inspiration

  • Stick figures (and breaking it into steps on the chalk board)