Friday, May 29, 2009

Yoga - The Inclusive Activity

As the merchant for Achievement Products I am constantly reviewing the sales results of the items we offer, identifying the best sellers to insure we offer the best of the most desirable products. Generally, the trends we see in best selling products are the result of: current therapy practices as noted in therapy newsletters and related publications; the introduction of entirely new products; the updating of existing popular items. Once in awhile though we see a trend that surprises us because the results cannot be easily explained within these common sales drivers. Our sales results for yoga related products are a perfect example of this.

When I saw the successful sales results of the yoga products we offer, assorted card decks, cd’s and mats (you will find a link to the most popular items below), I was intrigued and wanted to know how and why yoga was such a popular choice in the special needs markets. I learned the following:

* From the perspective of a special needs teacher, yoga:-improves focus and attention-enhances relaxation through stretching and breathing-fosters reduced anxiety resulting in fewer behavioral meltdowns by redirecting the children with special needs to a breathing or stretching exercise at the onset

*From RONNO, author of "Catch a Brain Wave Fitness Fun", yoga:-develops flexibility, strength, stamina, agility, balance, coordination and cardiovascular fitness-emphasizes proper body alignment so children avoid injury-promotes mental and physical health and a positive attitude toward exercise-promotes concentration, self-discipline and develops inner strength and clarity-teaches children to value their breath because breath meditation helps them to deepen and slow down their breath, becoming calmer and more inward focused-can build cooperative skills and good social behavior by working with a partner or group-promotes positive communication and good listening skills which foster self-respect, compassion and respect for others-encourages children's creative imagination and self expression-is suitable for all ages and physical abilities-builds self confidence

*From a registered nurse and certified massage therapist with a degree in cardiovascular health, yoga: -teaches tone-stretches muscles-works the respiratory system-strengthens by "holding poses"--helps attention span-gives more stability

*From the guide included in our best selling YOGA FOR KIDS CD item # AP9172
by Mary Hanley Martin who has studied Yoga extensively with various instructors from Europe and the U.S. while attending the University of Cincinnati for courses in anatomy and physiology.


-Yoga means simply, “union”. It is an ancient science developed centuries ago in India to help bring together a person’s spiritual, emotional, mental and physical parts into a united whole. Its goal is spiritual peace, mental alertness, emotional well -being and physical health
-The basic building block (of yoga)…concerns the physical part of a person
-After concentrating on performing the (postures), the…Yoga student notices his/her body becoming flexible and strong; the mind becoming calm and tranquil. The postures release inner tensions and the student discovers a sense of emotional well-being. The knowledge of how the body works, moves and responds to the directions of one’s mind can cause the person to respect and like oneself
-(Yoga) can be done right in the home or school without any equipment except the floor, a rug or mat
-the Yoga postures are self-rewarding and when children find they can perform a posture and look like a bird or a turtle, their self-confidence is elevated and they become more enthusiastic
-in…yoga effort is everything. Perfect accomplishment of any posture is of little importance
-yoga postures are extremely adaptable and substitute variations can be used in any position.
-for children who have physical limitations, you can use your imagination to work around those difficulties. You will find that these children respond beautifully because Yoga is a physical activity from which they are not excluded
-realize that you are giving to your children an easy, effective and beautiful psychomotor therapy program that they can carry with them into adulthood!

I came away from all this with a number of thoughts:

1.) I need to enroll in a yoga class right away!
2.) If everyone in the world took a 15 minute yoga break everyday, this world would be a different place!
3.) Yoga is a wonderful activity for the inclusive classroom. It is one of those products that transcend typically developing and special needs children as well as age. That makes it one of my favorite products of all!

Do you have experience in your program or your child’s program with yoga? Please share your stories with us. Yoga seems to be a very empowering activity so there must be some wonderful stories out there!

Achievement Products offers the following yoga items:
Yoga Kit for Kids AP7157
Angel Bear Yoga Play Deck AP90062
Yoga for Kids CD AP9172
Yoga Activity Cards APDYOGA

Rainbow Mat AP643
Folding Exercise Mat AP1401
Ultra Light Folding Mat AP11191
Patterned Folding Mat AP1123


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