More than 100 babies and children already attend therapeutic sessions every month at the MahaDevi Centre in Islington.
The #allheartsloveyoga campaign aims to support the centre's work and offer subsidised sessions for some families.
The therapy is offered by nine specially trained teachers and can be applied to almost any kind of special need. So far the Centre has helped children with autism, Down’s syndrome, epilepsy, Prader-Willi syndrome, hemiplegia, ASD, ADD, ADHD, eye impediments, ME, sciatica, cerebral palsy, speech impediments, and behavioural issues.
The method, Yoga for the Special Child, is an early intervention programme to help the healthy formative development of infants and toddlers. It was pioneered by renowned yoga teacher Sonia Sumar who designed the method to help and enhance the natural development of her own daughter who had special needs. It is now internationally recognised.
In a session, the yoga teacher will work to support a child's physical and mental development, nurture and restore their emotional well-being and balance, calm their mind and nervous system, and strengthen their body.
Denisa Nevona, founder of the MahaDevi Centre, said, ‘We only opened in October but I have been working with children with disabilities for nine years with home visits, in schools and in my house. It’s wonderful that all nine Sonia Sumar teachers can finally come together to have our own space for therapy and community for the families.
‘We cater for all varieties of special needs, including children in wheelchairs, we have a ramp outside the centre and a mobile hoist. With a child who has cerebral palsy we will do everything possible to relax their muscles. And a child with Down’s Syndrome will have very low muscle tone so we will help them build that up. All the sessions we do will also work on improving the functions of the internal organs.’
‘Yoga has the capacity to address the whole wellbeing of the child, from a very early age,’ said Ms Nevona. ‘It goes beyond the condition, we don’t start or stop at the label. A person is a person whether they have a condition or a disability. With yoga you find a way of connecting to the heart of the person beyond the body. And so fairly uniquely we have the ability to address the child’s emotional needs as well as physical.’
‘Our students start from a two-month-old baby with Down’s syndrome, which gives us the chance to help with the child’s development as much as we can from almost day one.’
‘The money we raise will go towards helping parents who cannot afford the treatment. It is £20 a session so with a discount that can be £10 or £5 and we will subsidise the rest. Ultimately, we want to inspire parents that their child can achieve and have a happy, content life regardless of their condition.’
- To learn more about the centre or make a donation visit