Yoga for Children with Special Needs

Every Child Can Practice Yoga

"Love is the greatest force on earth. It is the basis of everything.” Sri Swami Satchidananda

 

Celebrating All Children

 

Yoga is a deeply personal practice. The teacher who brings yoga into your child’s life needs to be intuitive and loving in order to connect with him/her at a deep level. Only then, when a connection and trust is established, can a student be open to receive the joy of Yoga. It is my mission to establish that connection so that I may better guide my students in strengthening their bodies and minds.

 

In my work, I see children with varying abilities and challenges. One child may have cerebral palsy with muscle tightness and spasms, one child may have Down syndrome with low tone, and another child might have autism and struggle with sensory issues. Each child has a unique way of seeing, feeling and processing information from the world and from his/ her body.

 

When I teach, it doesn’t matter what label or diagnosis a child has. Each of my students engages in a full Hatha Yoga class complete with chanting, breathing, eye exercises, asanas (yoga poses), and a deep relaxation. It will not look the same for each child; in fact, it may look very different. The important thing is that each class brings out the student’s particular skills and strengths, joys and breath. Thank you for visiting this website and for giving me the opportunity to introduce Yoga therapy to your family. Om Shanthi!

Testimonials

  • “Jessica can soar into unknown bodies peacefully.”

    “When we chant, I answer from the inside. I see colors when we sing. Yoga makes introductions to body parts I didn’t know that I had.”

    ~ Danson M., age 14 “non-verbal” with autism (via RPM – Rapid Prompting Method)

  • “By doing Yoga, Jessica was able to improve my daughter’s balance, attention and overall disposition. She handled my daughter with care and expertise.”

    “Jessica very skillfully conducts a 45 minute class for children with autism and varying abilities as if it were a piece of cake.”

    ~ Val P. mother of 15 year-old daughter with autism (“non-verbal”)

  • “I have seen my daughter blossom this year due to her yoga practice. She has learned to calm herself when she is anxious and I see she has also learned to control her balance, and coordination. After only nine months, (my daughter) has gained confidence and a love of something that I know will last a lifetime.”

    “You don’t have to know Jessica long to know how much she cares for the children in her classes.”

    ~ Tracy F., Mother of 9 year-old daughter with Sensory Processing Disorder

  • “When I do yoga with Jessica, my whole brain relaxes and doesn’t rush around. My body feels strong.”

    ~ Kira R., age 8

  • “I have been practicing Yoga with Jessica for 3 years and I notice I am calmer and have more patience when I practice. I learned how to breathe the right way, too. I have better core strength and stronger arms now. I love Yoga!”

    ~ Emma D., Age 14

  • “Since practicing Yoga with Jessica, I’ve started seeing a change in the way my daughter carries herself. She practices deep breathing and I see her taking more initiative with her friends.”

    ~ Colette Z., Mother of 13 year-old daughter with anxiety

  • “Yoga makes me feel happy. I can balance better and I’m calmer since I started Yoga with Miss Jessica.”

    ~ Ryan P., age 7

  • "Jessica is one of the best things that has happened in my son’s lifetime! She is a brilliant and knowledgeable teacher, but more than that, she loves what she does and she loves her students. In his weekly yoga sessions, my son was able to learn so much about the asanas and grow physically. He learned about balancing his own body and finding peace, which is not easy for an adolescent with autism. His teacher has also told me that my son is calmer and able to concentrate for longer periods of time following his Yoga for the Special Child® sessions. Jessica taught him to meditate and we now meditate every night for 20-minutes at bedtime. It helps us both to let the stresses of the day go. Jessica is like sunshine--she lights the world, celebrates every little thing a student does, and enriches the spirits everyone she meets. Jessica is the essence of yoga and lives the principles--so much so that my son embraced her the moment they met, which never happened before. They connected on a soul-to-soul level immediately.  Quite simply, I love Jessica Zander and we are forever grateful!"

    ~ Michele B., mother of a 14 year old son with autism and epilepsy

  • “Yoga makes me feel like I can do anything. I feel relaxed and cool.”

    ~ Anna D., age 13

  • “I love to do inversions. Yoga makes me feel calm and relaxed.”

    ~ Michael T., age 9

  • “I’ve only been practicing Yoga with Jessica for a few months, but I feel like the yoga has changed me physically and mentally and I love it! I have better posture and I am more balanced and strong. I feel calmer and more laid back now.”

    ~ Sophia Z., age 13

  • After a year of practicing Yoga with Jessica, my son has gained core strength, balance and his fine motor strength has improved. I’ve also noticed his attention span has improved.”

    “Jessica is connected to the children in class. She has a true understanding of their needs and struggles.”

    ~ A.T., Mother of 7 year-old son with ADHD and low muscle tone.

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