What is the I-CAN programme?
My elder boy who is turning 14 has been doing teens’ yoga for over 3 months weekly and he loves it. For a boy with ADHD and dyslexia, it has helped him in many ways, especially in staying more focussed and managing stress.
I decided to design the I-CAN activities, which can benefit children with conditions such as ASD, ADHD, Down Syndrome. Many parents get turned away by either the unsupportive learning centres or the higher fees just because they are not prepared to cater to these children. My almost 7 year old with autism absolutely loves being there with his 2 new friends.
FIRST Kids Yoga for special children in Singapore and possibly Asia
12 January was an awesome start to the year as the FIRST kids’ yoga class for special children was started in partnership with Om Shiva Yoga, taught by the ever so passionate and patient Juliana Phua@ Om Shiva Yoga.
Here’s what Juliana has to say
“After some years of teaching adults, I was one day asked to teach a Kids Yoga class and I quickly realised that teaching Kids requires a whole different skill set and I could not just do the same things as I do in an adults’ class. Kids benefit immensely from Yoga but if it is boring they would not be interested. Kids are innately wise, they can feel if the teacher was interested in them or if the teacher was confident in teaching them. I managed to adapt to the children at that time while doing the best that I can.
As I wanted to learn more about teaching children yoga, I brought in Kids Yoga Teacher Training from all over the world so I can learn from the best. I believe that Kids Yoga will help our new generation in so many ways and to prepare them well for their adulthood. I wanted my own children to start young as well.
Yoga brings back balance – Our children now have busy lives where they face pressures from parents, school, tuition and enrichment classes. They are constantly surrounded by video games, mobile phones and social media. With all these constant hustle and bustle, our children now face overstimulation more than ever. Yoga is an amazing form of activity that teaches them practical ways to release stress and bring their body back into equilibrium.
Dr. Howard Gardner, an author and professor of education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, describes eight intelligences innate in all of us—linguistic, logical, visual, musical, kinesthetic, naturalistic, interpersonal, and intrapersonal—and emphasizes that children should be given the opportunity to develop and embody as many of these as possible.
In keeping with this theory, Kids’ Yoga classes usually integrate storytelling, games, music, language, and other arts into a complete curriculum.
Benefits of Kids’ Yoga
- Improves/ Maintains flexibility and strengthens growing bodies
- Develops motor Sskills
- Better balance, stability, coordination and body awareness
- Enhances concentration
- Increases self esteem, confidence and social skills
- Teaches present moment awareness
- Cultivates a peaceful, relaxed state of body and mind
- Deeper connection with their inner self and the natural world outside
- Gives coping techniques, and tools for stress management
- Teaches tools for self – regulation of emotions
- Sparks creativity in ripe imaginations
- Encourages kind peer and social interactions
- Teaches discipline and responsibility
Now this sounds like a long list of benefits and we sometimes wonder if it is possible to accomplish in one yoga class. The answer is no. That’s why we as teachers have to be patient and we ask parents to be patient as well.
Yoga practice for the long term – Yoga is a lifelong journey. We cannot expect one class to cover it all, we work slowly but surely towards letting our children experience all these, and commitment is important, from the teacher, the children and the parents. Being impatient and pushing it too fast may end up having the opposite effect.
For more information about the Kids’ Yoga class, please contact Juliana from Om Shiva Yoga at 9689 5392 or Lilian at 9105 8929.
About the I-CAN activities
The activities are specially designed for children who just need to start off in a smaller group before they join the regular classes. Each class is no more than 5 children and activities are well-thought through. These actvities help the children develop a routine, understand expectations, grow to love the activity and have fun keeping fit. Once they are ready to join the regular classes with other neuro-typical children, they will progress to another level to help them develop the much needed social skills, focus and resilience. Brought to you by 8under8.