Monday, May 31, 2010

Yoga Helping Children on Spectrum

PLAINSBORO, N.J. - Nicole Calvano, smiling serenely and exuding limitless patience, sat the small gathering of children and parents in a circle.
Calvano, 28, of East Brunswick, yoga instructor and passionate advocate for children suffering autism in its seemingly infinite manifestations, waved her hand around the circle and invited everyone to imagine a garden.
The children, each afflicted with some behavioral challenge, and their parents closed their eyes.
"Smell the flowers," Calvano said, drawing in a slow, deep breath. She led the group in drawing eight breaths, exclaiming "ahhhhh" on the exhale. Daniel, 5, who had been antsy and distracted, followed Calvano's lead and sat quietly, focused on his breathing and enjoying the prolonged "ahhh." His sister, Caroline, 14, sat beside him and breathed peacefully.
"He's a boy in typical ways, but other things are not typical," said Daniel's mother, Katerina Bubnovsky of Princeton Township, alluding to her son's abrupt outbursts of anger. "The breathing is very calming to him. We are able to use that every day."

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