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In seemingly every gym, park and skyscraper with a view, yoga classes are in high demand. It appears that in our ever more overcrowded cities, people are looking for an escape that allows them to re-connect, relax and reaffirm the link between mind, body and spirit.
Alongside rising demand, new forms of yoga have sprung up and attempts have been made to expand yoga’s reach to groups to whom yoga was previously misunderstood or of little interest, or to whom yoga was previously inaccessible.
There are now ‘broga’ classes that aim to create an inclusive space for men, classes designed for those with disabilities as well as classes designed for pregnant women or children.
The YMCA Club has offered yoga classes for decades, and we have seen first-hand how yoga can help participants develop their concentration, their flexibility and strength, and how yoga can be a force for improving confidence and self-esteem. It is for these reasons that we have decided to partner with local London schools to roll-out yoga lessons to children with special educational needs and disabilities.
A dedicated YMCA Club yoga instructor will be visiting schools every week to teach children with special educational needs and disabilities how to use yoga to find calm within themselves and will be taking children through routines specifically designed for them.
During the classes, children learn how to use the breathing exercises and stretches found in yoga to achieve a feeling of grounded tranquillity, and can subsequently then apply these techniques as a coping mechanism when they are feeling anxious or stressed in lessons.
Often, children with disabilities and special needs have issues with rigid muscle tone and tension, as well as bad posture as a result of their conditions. The classes our YMCA Club yoga instructors have designed address this and hopefully will result in improving flexibility and fitness for the children involved.
The aim is not to use yoga just as an alternative form of therapy but as a compliment to other forms of care which will enhance their ability to learn and cope with their conditions. Ultimately though, the hope is that through yoga these children can grow in confidence and enjoy themselves.
The YMCA Club, as well as all of the other Central YMCA operations work tirelessly to improve the health, happiness and fulfilment of all young people, and we hope that these classes can do just that for the children involved.