May 01, 2015
Today’s blog post comes to us from guest blogger Lynndy Mobley. Lynndy shares her positive experience with yoga and how it has helped her journey through autism.
On March 5, 2015, I was diagnosed with high functioning autism. Through learning and teaching yoga, I have seen firsthand how it can benefit all types of people mentally, emotionally and physically. My first experience with yoga was when I was sixteen years old. I was in Leysin, Switzerland for the summer attending Leysin American School. When given the option to attend a performing arts class, I chose to study yoga and ballet.
By taking the yoga class, I became more relaxed and better focused. I could feel my anxiety melting away. I liked how yoga could be practiced anytime and anywhere, alone or with a group of people. I discovered that the focus and discipline of practicing yoga taught me how to manage my emotions better. Since the age of sixteen, I have incorporated it into my daily life. I highly recommend others with autism to make yoga a daily part of their lives.
After I received my official diagnosis of ASD, I decided to research how yoga could help autistic people. While researching, I came across YogAutism. It is a Madison, WI-based non-profit specializing in yoga for autistic children as well as adults.
In my experience, benefits included: reduction of pain, aggression, anxiety, obsessions, and self-stimulatory behaviors. It can enable students to have more control in regulating anxiety and emotions. Plus, the experience of sharing class with others helps to make new friends. Yoga may assist students in getting out of the flight, fight or freeze response, leading to lessened anxiety. Yoga also tones muscles, enhances balance and stability, and helps develop body awareness and coordination.
The typical yoga studio focuses on the body, mind and spirit. YogAutism takes a different approach. It focuses on the body, mind, spirit and the common physiological patterns of people with ASD. This may lead to a corresponding reduction in anxiety, and an increase in the abilities to self-regulate and remain calm in response to external stimuli.
I chose to write about yoga because I wanted those living with autism, their families, and their friends to know about my positive experience with this practice. Those of us with autism know that moments of peace are few and far between in the world of an autistic person. A precious moment of peace and relaxation is truly a gift for the autistic.
About the Author: Lynndy Mobley is an activist for people as well as animals. She is married and has three children who are seventeen, fifteen and thirteen years old. She has spent two years working as a teacher’s associate in special education with seventh and eighth graders. She is a certified yoga instructor, certified medical assistant and certified nursing assistant.