Autism is a neural condition which affects children usually around the age of three. It is characterized by social malfunctioning and repetitive behavior. Autistic people show signs of compulsive behavior, stereotypy, restrictive behavior and even self-injury. Such patients often suffer from misplaced communication; for example autistic kids may have a problem translating symbols into language and experience difficulty with imaginative play. Even among adults there are various symptoms that cannot be diagnosed by professional medical practitioners. Here’s how Yoga can help tackle these problems in an autistic patient:
Uttanasana: This asana works wonders for autistic patients in regulating the blood flow to the affected parts of the brain. Asana may be performed by inhaling, raising your hands, exhaling and bending down to the floor. Make sure you don’t push the person too much to bend further down towards the floor. The feet must be shoulder-distance from each other. The arms may be entwined or left loose.
Pashchimottanasana: It maybe difficult initially to motivate a patient to perform these asanas. Nevertheless once performed, Paschimottanasana is great for the brain stem, located in the front of the cerebellum in the brain. Increased flow and exercise of this part of the brain helps cure the maladjustment and disorderly communication in an autistic patient as brain stem is responsible for passing messages between the cerebral cortex and various parts of the body. Here you have to sit straight, raise your hands, exhale and bend over to try and touch your toes. Once again, don’t try pushing too hard.
Tortoise Pose and the Sleeping Tortoise: These two poses, different versions of one and the same Kurma Asana , are very beneficial for activating the cerebellum, located at the back of the brain. In order to perform this asana, you have to first sit and spread your legs to leave enough space for your head in between. Bend your legs, slide your arms under the bent knees on either sides, and place your chin down on the floor. This asana helps improve motor activity, regulate balance and body movements in an autistic child. Improved communication, especially intrapersonal communication in a human-being may drastically show positive changes in the diseased person.
Shoulder Balance: This asana, too, works wonders for the brain’s cerebellum structure as the back of the brain gets rejuvenated here. In this pose you are supposed to lie down on your back, bend your legs, place your hands on your back to support it and lift your body gradually off the floor, raising your legs up in the air. Ask for support of your family and friends to help you lift your legs in the air initially. Do this for about a minute. The patient will have improved speech and body coordination.
Practise these asanas daily for about fifteen minutes in all, supplement it with deep breaths in the end and you will notice milestone changes in the patient. Complement a good yoga routine with lots of social activity, community service and theatrical exercises. Autism is more of a condition that can be worked upon rather than treated with medical aid.