Special Yoga is a truly global organisation. We have programmes and practitioners who are delivering special yoga practices all over the world, including Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, Spain, Iceland, Peru, Ireland, Russia and Nepal.
Below is an overview of some of the work we’re doing in each of these regions.
Special Yoga opened up our work in Sri Lanka with an initial training in November 2015 for special children in the southern region around Tangalle. The courses were offered to teachers, parents, support staff and volunteers in Navajeevana special school, as well as the local orphanages for blind and deaf children.
In 2016 and 2017 Jyoti extended her travels in Sri Lanka to the north eastern provinces where there is a great need for support post-war. She has offered workshops and trainings to educators, psychiatrists, therapists, and ayurvedic medical officers in Trincomalee district, Batticoloa, Jaffna, Killinochichi and Colombo.
Jyoti is a founding member of Holistic Special Education Foundation, a local Sri Lankan charitable organisation to support holistic education, and Special Yoga forms an integral part of this project.
Despite the dire need for the wellbeing and education of children with special and additional needs in Sri Lanka, there is some support for children with learning difficulties, autism and Down’s Syndrome. Special Yoga will continue to offer support to educators, medical officers and parents in this area.
However our primary cause here is for the children with physical disability (cerebral palsy, microcephaly, PMLD etc.). There is currently no provision in education at all for these children in the north and the east of Sri Lanka. These are the neglected children and most of them come from very poor families. The majority of them have never even seen a doctor let alone reaching the point of receiving a diagnosis. Special Yoga, with the support of HSE and UNICEF, is reaching out into the community and working with parents and midwives, local doctors and in-service medical advisors to reach into the communities and help support these families who otherwise have had no access to therapies at all.
We provide accessible training to midwives, doctors and parents to help these children to reach their potential both physically, mentally and emotionally.
Special Yoga has offered a Special Yoga for Special Children training course and workshop for parents at the national centre for Cerebral Palsy and other developmental disorders, the Lanka Palsy Foundation.
Funding can be donated directly to Special Yoga or through our sister charity www.heartoflivingyoga.com.
Jyoti has dedicated her time in Sri Lanka voluntarily and we are actively looking for funding to continue this valuable work as there is a great need for more training.
- Special Yoga in Sri Lanka | July 2016
- Special Yoga in Sri Lanka | November 2016
- Teacher Training | Special Yoga in Sri Lanka
Working in close collaboration since 2016 with ADAPT (originally the Spastic Society of India), Jyoti is currently working with them on a scientific research study to quantify the efficacy of Special Yoga for adolescents with cerebral palsy. The study aims to measure vital capacity, physical posture and mental health with ten families in India and a further nine families in Sri Lanka. The study is being presented to the ADAPT Internal Review Board in February and will be completed in May/June, with the findings of the study published summer 2018. This is the first research study that will have been done on the efficacy of yoga for adolescents with cerebral palsy.
We are working with Heart of Living Yoga to set up a centre for Special Yoga’s work in Rishikesh. Jyoti has also done some work with special schools and orphanages in Fort Cochin and this year will be offering a Special Yoga training workshop in a special needs centre in Goa.
We introduced Special Yoga in Thailand in 2017 with the support of the wonderful Sharda Ten Hove. We offered workshops in an orphanage and in a special centre for children with autism and other developmental challenges in Bangkok. We also provided a Special Yoga and Mindfulness course for children with autism, ADHD and other developmental challenges in Koh Samui. All the children and families who attend the special school there were present, and yoga is now a weekly event at the school with the support of local governmental funding. Jyoti will be returning to Thailand in early 2019 to extend the work into Chang Mai in the north of Thailand.
After teaching Special Yoga for Special Children in Spain for the last 3 years, we now have two leaders of Special Yoga based in Madrid and Barcelona. We will continue to offer Special Yoga training in Spain to continue to spread this work through associations and schools and to families with children with special and additional needs.
Special Yoga is supported by OM Shree OM children’s yoga programme and City Yoga in Madrid.
We love how Special Yoga grows organically. After completing her Special Yoga training in London in 2014, Heida Bjork Reynisdottir has been offering Special Yoga in the special school that she works in. She has been tirelessly supporting the work there and brought Jyoti over in august 2017 to extend training to more teachers and staff in the same special school and other centres as well. Children in these schools are given choices for the extra curricular activities they would like to participate in and yoga is by far the most popular with them! On the back of the success of this programme there are further invitations for more training there to come.
Jyoti offered Special Yoga for Special Children in Lima in 2016. She was adamant that the course also include participants of at least one local orphanage for children with special needs as she knew that many children with special needs in Peru have been abandoned in orphanages. She wanted these children to also have the opportunity to experience the benefits of yoga, and for the participants of special yoga training to extend their yoga practice to serving in these places.
It was a heart-opening experience and we were welcomed with open arms to an orphanage in the northern part of Lima. Since then there have been regular voluntary visits to the orphanage by Special Yoga practitioners there.
Jyoti will return to Peru in 2018 to offer further Special Yoga for Special Children training through our partners, Lima Yoga.
Jyoti has been visiting Ireland and teaching Special Yoga and Mindfulness for Autism, ADHD and other developmental challenges since 2014. In 2017 she offered the first Special Yoga for Special Children training. The majority of her students there are paediatric professionals and many of them have really embraced the Special Yoga techniques and are making a real difference in the lives of the children.
We’ve been offering training in Russia since 2011, following a visit to London by Victoria Zankina who persuaded Jyoti to run trainings in Moscow. Initially we offered Yoga and Mindfulness for Children training and then added Special Yoga for Special Children and other special needs modules to support the work. Students have travelled from all over Russia and surrounding countries to participate in the courses and bring Special Yoga back to their countries and areas. We have also offered one day workshops for parents of children with special needs in St Petersburg.
In 2012 Olga Inzhuvatkina came to London to learn from Jyoti, and took the teaching back to St Petersburg’s Pavlovsk Orphanage No.4 for children with special needs. It is the largest such orphanage in Russia which houses approximately 400 children with special needs at any one time. Since 2014 Jyoti has visited the orphanage and offered training to doctors, volunteers and therapists.
Further funding is needed to help enable and support ongoing training here.
In November 2017, with the support of Judy Cameron, Jyoti opened the work of Special Yoga in Nepal by offering a training for teachers, therapists and parents in the self-help centre for cerebral palsy in Kathmandu. She also offered further training for teachers of inclusive classrooms through Sanna in Baktapur. The training was well received and more has been requested. There is a great need for Special Yoga in Nepal.