Peer teaching in yoga practices
Peer teaching in yoga practices
Individuals with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, Intellectual Disability and/or Psychiatric Disorders
Needs driven: The benefits of yoga practices are nowadays scientifically proven. This yoga peer teaching program not only brings yoga to the spotlight of Special Education, but also creates material for peer teaching yoga for the very first time. Its purpose is to empower the individual, to unlock his potential, to develop self-management, to cultivate knowledge and skills to act as a yoga instructor assistant. A new educational field is explored and a new method is used, capable of transferring skills to other areas as well. This program responds to the need our students have expressed for new stimuli to motivate them to take on roles and responsibilities, consistent with their adulthood.
Systematic Approach: The target is to enable the candidate instructor (with or without help) to guide a yoga class, initially to his classmates. Three trainees are participating in this program since October 2018.
A systematic approach with the following steps was followed:
- Creation and use of a basic qualification checklist in order to select the candidates.
- Creation of a job description, a professional profile and a task-analysis of individual procedures. Creation of procedures to support the education (e.g. presentation sheet, observation sheet), visual material for self-learning (e.g. parts of the body), self-evaluation forms, forms for outcome measures and a training instructor’s evaluation questionnaire with ICF criteria.
- Training in use of session plans using cards with instructions (see attached file)
- Utilization of the trainees’ feedback for adjustments in material.
Stakeholders’ involvement: The practice is centred on the user. Each yoga instructor trainee has their own folder, containing the practices that they can best use in order to guide a class with success, with specially designed instructions in easy-to-read/understand. Participants are involved to the degree they can and desire without pressure or disapproval.
Many people contributed to this program. We consulted certified yoga instructors from Yoga Alliance (USA) & Yoga Alliance Professionals (UK) for the program structure. We received valuable help from Theotokos’ Speech Therapists (MAKATON symbols), colleagues from our Supported Employment Service (materials creation) and trainees from the Graphic Arts Labs (instructions illustration).
Parts of the material (exercises for relaxation, breathing and games) were uploaded to our foundation’s electronic library, were used by some trainers in their teams who later gave us their valuable feedback for adjustments. Finally, a professional photographer and his model, voluntarily offered us their services.
Direct Impact: An increase in self-confidence, sociability, motivation and enthusiasm has been observed in the 3 yoga instructor trainees. The peers welcomed their classmates as instructors and responded well to their guidance.
Practicality: It is a low budget program, so it is easy to implement. The equipment required and the human resources usually already exist in our centers.
Inventiveness / Creativity: In this program, participants are encouraged to explore the functions of their body and are trained to learn how to acquire physical, emotional and mental balance on their own, in an absolutely natural way. They acquire a positive attitude to life, which hasn’t been reinforced in this target group, till now.
Staff and Resources
Tsiafoulis S. ( photographer) ), Psillia A. (model)
Arsenopoulos V., Dimitriou F., Katsouda A., Karamani A., Kotretsou C., Kritikou S., Meravoglou P., Sifaki N
September 2018 – on-going project
|Contact /more information||
Name: Sofia Kritikou
Email address: email@example.com
Other details: Psychologist, Special Education Trainer
Name: Foteini Dimitriou
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Other details: Yoga instructor