What We Do

What We Do

YogAutism, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization founded in 2008 by yoga teacher Scott Anderson. We offer training sessions, classes and other programs centered around a specific set of yoga-inspired techniques designed to down-regulate the nervous system and enhance wellbeing.

YogAutism is governed by a Board of Directors. Our programs are supervised and facilitated by experienced, dedicated staff. Our classes rely on financial support, as well as a team of trained, volunteer teachers who share our vision.

The 5-Part Recipe

The primary focus of YogAutism 's programs is the "Recipe": Five foundational exercises, or techniques, that facilitate a sense of embodiment and healthier breathing:

  • Grounding Typically done as a foot massage by oneself or by the facilitator, with or without supportive materials (e.g. tennis balls, golf balls, massage tools).

  • Psoas wake-up Waking up this muscle allows people to achieve deeper breathing, thus better body modulation and regulation/relaxation.

  • Supine twist Helps quiet the nervous system.

  • Shoulder reset Helps open the chest for deeper breathing.

  • Facilitated breathing Support by another or through exercises to help teach and practice breathing that helps regulate the sensory system and establish calm in the body

Why Yoga for People with Autism and/or Other Neurophysiological Differences?

Yoga has long been known to improve strength, flexibility and breathing in the general population. YogAutism helps connect people to their bodies and their breath. The YogAutism technique does more than just provide relaxation and calm like a typical yoga session would, it is built on a physiological mechanism that has been shown to reduce levels of cortisol, which is among the primary expressions of stress, and support fuller, diaphragmatic breathing. It also provides a safe and comfortable space for people to enter the world of physical activity. The YogAutism program has been known to provide profound benefits such as:

  • Greater freedom from physical discomfort

  • Reduced anxiety and self-soothing activity

  • Improved regulation

  • Increased impulse control

  • Greater balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems

  • Improved sleep and digestion

  • Improved transitions or changes in routine

  • Integration for "postural insecurity" which helps with core gravity challenges

  • Improved mood regulation and stability

  • Improved ability to focus

  • Greater sense of ease, comfort and connection with one’s own self

  • A feeling of acceptance and being respected

  • Joy in greater access to one's own movement and awareness within their own body

Physiologically, the 5-part recipe addresses key areas of the body responsible for healthier breathing. Because people with autism have such different sensory experiences, their bodies often get stuck in a ‘fight, flight or freeze’ response . Yoga helps a student’s body to get out of the ‘fight, flight or freeze’ response, by facilitating deeper inhaling and exhaling, which calm the nervous system. Yoga also builds core strength, which supports deeper respiration and, in the long run, will create a much healthier body.

At its core, yoga is meant to deepen self-awareness and spiritual connection. Many of us who work with people on the autism spectrum believe that our students have untapped spiritual gifts. YogAutism sessions are an opportunity for our students and our teachers together to explore self-understanding and spiritual growth that can be carried out into the world and into all of our interactions.

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