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HeARTs for Autism®
Supporting Families and Raising Awareness for the Autism Spectrum Disorders

Camp Kids Have Great Time with Happy HeARTs Yoga©

Camp for Autistic Children has Great Time with Yoga

Happy HeARTs Yoga®(MMD Newswire) July 30, 2009 – 75 kids in Philadelphia with Autism are enjoying the benefits of yoga. Camp Mentor is a special camp for Autistic children ranging in age from 6–16. They go 6 hours a day, 5 days a week, for 8 weeks at 3 camp sites and enjoy various experiences like swimming, art, dance, reading, and learning new skills to deal better with their Autism.

Camp Mentor is hosted by PA Mentor ( www.pa-mentor.com), a leading home and community-based service provider specializing foster care, youth services, mental and behavioral health, intellectual disabilities and autism.

This year Camp Mentor added Yoga provided by Happy HeARTs Yoga® – www.bodylogique.com/HappyHeartsYoga.html – and the kids are loving it. Twice a week the kids participate in classes learning stories, acting out the stories through yoga poses, learning how to relax through breathing and meditation, building friendships, increasing focus and expressing through art. Barbara Gini and Robin Schwoyer are the instructors, and the camp counselors assist campers as needed. Many counselors are enjoying the classes with these special kids, especially as they see how the yoga helps the child.

Happy HeARTs Yoga®There are many benefits of yoga for all people: increased health through body awareness, stretching, balance, muscle tone, learning mindfulness and breathing, and it is non-competitive. For children, yoga can add elements of games and stories to create fun. For the special needs child, yoga promotes healthy bodies by using movements that improve how they use their body, and poses can be adapted to all levels of functioning. Focus and attention are enhanced as they process the movements and follow the yoga sequences. Relaxation through breathing exercises and poses which require complete stillness promote calm minds. For the campers with Autism, we find they are interacting socially and attending to task, each participating with enthusiasm.

Happy HeARTs Yoga® uses story, movement and art as a way to engage the kids and support various therapeutic efforts of the children with Autism and their families. Parents are saying their kids are really liking it and are doing it at home. Many campers say the yoga is their favorite activity. The Camp has been pleased with the overall program.

Locations for the camps are in 3 areas of Philadelphia: St. Malchy – 1429 N 11th Street, St. Petri – 6816 Jackson Street, and St. Anselm – 12670 Dunksferry Road.

This yoga program is an outreach of HeARTs for Autism®, a charitable, nonprofit, grass roots organization serving families in the Philadelphia, Bucks, Montgomery counties and South Jersey. The founder is the mother of an 11 year old autistic boy, who has used the arts and yoga as a way to help her son and peers.

Contact: Robin V Schwoyer, Robin@HappyHeartsYoga.com, Happy HeARTs Yoga®, LLC

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