Mountain Pose (Figure 2.13) is the first standing warm-up pose in the yoga sequence. Mountain Pose helps familiarize your child with the feeling of standing on the mat in preparation for the strengthening poses that follow. Practicing this pose will help him to feel grounded by having his legs and feet press into the floor. Mountain Pose will introduce him to the idea of the lower body pressing into the earth while the upper body and torso elongate, creating a feeling of spaciousness with stability. This pose helps to establish good posture.
This pose is not particularly physically taxing and is a very effective pose for awakening the whole body. Your child may concentrate on standing with different parts of his body lifting and grounding. You may help him visualize his head and chest lifting, while his feet and legs press downward, lengthening the spine.
A visualization may be that your child sees himself as a mountain. The mountain has two components to its stability. The mountain is very still and straight and cannot be moved by the wind or the rain. The mountain reaches to the sky and extends its base into the earth to feel and use the earth's energy, solidness, and stillness. The mountain also reaches to the sky and the sun to gain energy from the universe.
This pose helps children with ASDs become better aware of their body in relation to the environment. The pose may also help your child begin to recognize how all parts of his body feels. It may also make him aware of the amount of space that his body takes up in the environment and the boundaries and limits of his physical being.
1. Move to the front of the mat and bring your feet together so that they are touching. The toes should be spread out and the feet pressed into the mat. Your body weight should be pressing through your legs and feet into the mat. If your feet cannot touch comfortably, keep them about one foot apart (Figure 2.14).
3. The shoulders should be relaxed and rolled down the back. It should feel like your chest is expanding and opening and that your rib cage is lifting.
4. Take a deep inhalation and feel your belly expand with your breath. Exhale and pull your belly inward to expel all the air out of your body.
5. Try to do this pose with your eyes closed to bring your energy from your breath inward. If it is too difficult to balance with your eyes closed, keep the eyes open and maintain a soft gaze directly facing forward. You will want to check your child's body position to make sure he is as straight as possible and relaxed.
6. Hold this pose for five breaths.
7. When you have finished the pose, relax your body and stand at the front of your mat.
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