The Theraputic Powers Of Yoga

The Therapeutic Powers of Yoga

The Yoga and Autism
This article was published in December 2006 by Carla Douros . It highlights the therapeutic benefits that one class of autistic students received from taking yoga.

Welcome to Yoga
Gabriel Halpren of Chicago is a teacher of yoga at the Yoga Circle located in Chicago. He teaches young students who have different forms of developmental disabilities the art of yoga. Gabriel has transformed many of these students into finding solace in yoga. Carla Douros has a friend who is a drama teacher and a longtime yoga practitioner. Her friend, Tanya Sugarman, is having difficulty getting a small group of autistic students involved in drama. She decides, with the consent of the students’ main teacher, to have the group of students take yoga. The success of the students taking yoga was phenomenal. Karen Mahoney, the director of the autistic program and the children’s main teacher said yoga worked “because it is not a gym class, art or music class, the students had no preconceived ideas of with how things should be. They seemed to go with the flow, and the calming effect has been great!”(Douros, 2006)

Yoga in the Classroom
Karen Mahoney has now made yoga apart of the Lincoln School’s program. They start their mornings off with yoga for the children. Research shows that children who have autism are often withdrawn and they become engrossed in routine behaviors. Rage and anger maybe experienced if the routine behavior is broken. The teachers at the Lincoln School notice that the positive effects continue with teaching and doing yoga with their students. They feel that students view themselves as being successful in knowing how to do the positions. They also discover their favorite positions and some teachers have noticed that it has helped their students to think abstractly and metaphorically.

What this means to us
This article along with some of the others I read online does claim that yoga helps children with developmental disabilities focus and it creates a calmer environment for them to reside in. It is a known fact that teachers can experience results with students if they are giving instruction in a warm, positive, learning environment. Yoga promotes making our classroom environment more positive. Who would not want our students to achieve the highest potential that they can. Creating a positive environment supports this achievement. Conferences and classes are now being offered to teachers, parents, and therapist. They demonstrate different strategies and techniques, extracted from yoga, that can be used to relax, focus, and calm children with special needs.


Douros, Carla. (2006) The Yoga of Autism. Yoga Chicago Magazine, November/December 2006.
Wikipedian Assignment added by Andrea (Andy) Spann.