Yoga therapy for autism: A dance between the limitation and the limitless…..

Yoga for Autism: insights from a yoga therapist

As a yoga therapist the insights I have experienced from this week of sessions have been about the dance that we do between our known and unknown limitations and the limitless potential we can experience.

When I talk about “we” I am talking about my ASC client(s) and me. During sessions it is often obvious that we are working within some kind of limitation. This can be in motor-coordination, how well the messages from the brain travel to the body (or viceversa), impulsive sensory needs and responses, organization skills, or how the nervous system processes information.


I start our sessions with meeting each client where they are and work from there; in effect I jump into how they are experiencing the world (as best I can), their bodies and their sense of self. Here I gain insight into the limitless potential in a world that they (or a parent) may see as limited: to understanding, response, structure, routine, sensory need and more.


Time and time again each individual shows me their limitless potential. The things they had never thought of being able to do just happen easily once we are safely in the flow. Abilities increase, connection speaks for itself and the dance commences.


All learning starts somewhere and new research into neuro- plasticity in the brain and nervous system means that science is on our side: we know that learning is limitless.


A 16 year old girl this week showed me how to tango (so to speak). She can have struggles with organising her body, attention and the biggest of all, relaxation. We have often had what I perceive to be quite limited relaxation periods as they do not last for long; it seems the breath and frequency don’t change their rhythm and she is always chatting and onto a topic of interest immediately afterwards.


I have never doubted that the intention or slightest moment of relaxation that we have together has profound and powerful effects on her. However over time I have been feeling a sense of limitation and was stuck in improving this. Nearing the end of our session today she intuitively picked up a wooden spiral with a large crystal jade marble on it that I have on the window sill in my studio and sat mesmerised, silent, concentrated and controlled for 5 minutes (it can be hard to keep the marble spiraling without falling off). After that she lay down and relaxed for a full body awareness relaxation of around 6 minutes and at one time even closed her eyes.


When she came round from this relaxed state it was as if a sprinkle of magic had been poured over us and the world of the limitless opened up.


This is just one example of the potential I am experiencing daily as I remain fully open and conscious to a dance that has no choreography yet flows flawlessly.


By Nicole Zimbler – 21st March 2017

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