Yoga as a Therapeutic Intervention for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

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As the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) rises, the need for effective interventions for children with ASD becomes increasingly pressing. Yoga has emerged as a promising supplementary support for children with ASD, offering a range of benefits that complement traditional therapeutic approaches.

Benefits of Yoga for Children with ASD

1. Social-Emotional Skills

Yoga can enhance social-emotional skills by increasing awareness of facial expressions and social cues. It also helps children understand and recognize their own emotions, promoting constructive emotional expression and reducing anxiety.

2. Language and Communication

Yoga incorporates visualization, guided imagery, and repetitive vocabulary, which can support development of language and communication skills. Children learn to imitate actions and behaviors, fostering social-communicative skills.

3. Sensory Integration and Self-Regulation

Children with ASD often experience sensory integration difficulties. Yoga provides proprioceptive and vestibular input, which supports sensory processing and self-regulation. Specific poses and breathing exercises can reduce impulsive and aggressive behaviors.

4. Body Awareness

Yoga helps children develop body awareness by teaching them to identify and move body parts. Directional concepts and balancing poses enhance spatial awareness and coordination.

5. Positive Sense of Self

Yoga poses can build self-confidence and self-esteem in children with ASD. By practicing balancing and standing poses, they can experience success and develop a sense of accomplishment.

Tips for Teaching Yoga to Children with ASD

  • Use simple poses and breathing exercises with visual aids and games.
  • Start with poses that provide success, gradually introducing new challenges.
  • Create a consistent yoga schedule with visual cues.
  • Allow children to choose preferred poses to promote involvement.
  • Incorporate “yoga breaks” throughout the day for movement, stretching, and breathing.
  • Encourage children to practice breathing techniques or yoga stretches as alternative behaviors to acting out.
  • Provide a designated “yoga space” with visual aids for easy access.
  • Consider chair yoga for children who prefer seated poses.


Yoga offers a range of therapeutic benefits for children with ASD, supplementing traditional interventions to improve social-emotional skills, communication, sensory processing, body awareness, and self-esteem. By incorporating yoga into their daily routines, parents and educators can support children with ASD on their journey towards progress and well-being.


  • Radhakrishna, S. (2010). Yoga for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Randomized Controlled Trial.
  • Koenig, K., Buckley-Reen, A., & Garg, S. (2012). The Effects of Yoga on Challenging Behaviors in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders.
  • Smith, K. A., & Gouze, K. R. (2004). The Sensory Sensitive Child: Practical Solutions for Out-of-Bounds Behavior. New York, NY: HarperCollins.

Photos by Tim Hardy


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