Benefits of Yoga for Children and Youth with CP
Children and youth with cerebral palsy can reap the rewards of regular yoga practice with a trained professional. According to Sonia Sumar, Director of Yoga for the Special Child, yoga improves both high and low muscle tone problems, characteristic in children with CP. Pranayama and yoga asanas significantly reduces high muscle tone. Holding an asana gives the muscles and tendons a relaxing stretch, releasing overall stress and tightness throughout the musculature and around the joints. In addition, yoga addresses the low muscle tone areas of the body as well, with asanas that provide just enough resistance to strengthen muscles that have low tonicity. Another important benefit of yoga for children and youth with CP is that it stretches and realigns the spine. The scientifically designed series of yoga stretches and counter-stretches helps to create more space between the vertebrae and reduce pressure on the disks and nerves that radiate out of the spine. Reducing the pressure on these nerves facilitates the release of muscular tension throughout the body and enhances overall nerve function. As a result, the child is able to develop a greater range of movement and coordination, as well as greater independence. (From: http://www.specialyoga.com, Accessed March 1, 2007).