Jyoti Travel Diaries: Special Yoga in Thailand
Text: Jyoti Jo Manuel | Illustration: Ingrid Sanchez (@creativeingrid)
Jyoti occasionally travels to the far corners of the world to support special children with therapeutic special yoga. This January 2017 she visited Thailand. The following are her diaries entries for all to enjoy!
Arrived yesterday after long flight….
Remarkably, I am not jet lagged because I spent so much of the flight meditating instead of bashing the snoring guy next to me 🙂 After a shower, healthy vegan food, a massage and a walk. I rested.
Today I started working at the support center for families of children with autism where I am running a workshop tomorrow. I established that the center predominantly uses ABA and nothing else, and it was wonderful that they were really open and welcoming.
I worked with a beautiful and quite severely autistic child who is taken care of by his grandmother. All the team and his grandmother got it as the boy whilst he was fairly active, kept coming back to me for more yoga . They were all surprised and happy and ready to introduce more people in tomorrow.
After lunch we went to a privately owned orphanage for children under 3. There’s one boy there of 4 who is autistic and no one wants to adopt him. They have one room with all the cots which is where the kids spend most of their time and a very small outdoor space. Outside of that, the kids don’t go out
We did yoga with the staff and kids together and I had a session with the boy. He settled momentarily, but I found it really sad that he has no space to run in and be physical and his energy really needed that. He responded well to the yoga though.
The staff are joining the workshop tomorrow and I was invited to their center in Chang Mai where there are also children with physical needs acting as both an orphanage and day care center. On my list for next year!
It was very moving for me as the parent of an adopted child.. a couple of the little girls reminded me of lily at that age. They cry when you put them back in the cots … it’s quite distressing.
Days workshops at the center for children with autism…
The workers from the orphanage and the 2 autistic kids were there together with some of the therapists and parents from the autism center. Tricky start In a very small space with 3 autistic kids shouting and the carers shouting too!
Another moment for me to take a deep breath and say and prayer !! And as always yoga worked – Within an hour everyone had calmed.
The children were still and settled and the workers and parents were breathing stretching and relaxing. Over the workshop, a few people dropped in and out but at the end everyone was happy.
One of the key workers from the orphanage works in Chang Mai where they also have children with physical disability (they called them handicapped here ) and asked me to come there too….a promise that i would on my next thailand trip.
All in all a good day and I felt happy to have left them with tools they can use for the kids and themselves. Off to Koh Samui tomorrow!
Arrived at Koh Samui…
Spent this morning at the special needs school of Koh Samui. Hardly a school in our terms. It was established by a mother with two girls with special needs and just one other person. The kids are left to roam around without any input at all. The yoga was received so well!
One boy who was shuffling around with C.P. (cerebral palsy) manifesting in his lower body had obviously never had any therapeutic input. He wants to walk, so after some breathing and foot and hip work I took him up to standing and he took his first steps….
it was very beautiful moment. Apparently his mother spends her days weeping because he can’t walk!! Not sure if he will or won’t walk unaided, but it was a step in the right direction today and I’ll show her on Saturday how to work with him.
All the children and their families are coming to what was supposed to be an autism training this weekend but will end up being a special needs training. Lovely to know that they are all getting this input.
There is no therapies or facilities at all on this island for these children..But they can do yoga !!
Ran yoga for special needs training/workshop this weekend, Always different…
Only 4 people on the course but 15 families attending over the weekend. Beautiful experience and such great learning for the small group. They were all so moved by the time we finished yesterday… my heart was singing. 🙂
One lovely girl came from Bangkok and wants to really take up yoga and specially special Yoga, along with another English girl living currently in Samui. Both will be wonderful practitioners.
I had them working with the children where it was appropriate and Sharda and the others from Samui will now go and help in the special school. It’s always always always such a privilege to see how the power of special yoga transforms.
Tears and hugs as we ended yesterday, my heart is overflowing…