Special Needs


I have been involved with Disability for 24 years and I found the Paralympics hugely emotional. The Paralympics opened people’s eyes to this potential to the extent that people now see disability not as a negative experience but one of opportunity and hope.

This was a triumph for all those involved over adversity. These people are very special and if we can use Yoga to enhance that positive experience then this is a massive step in the right direction.

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Yoga for Special People

Special Yoga Foundation is a source of inspiration in all the yoga which I am involved in with these extraordinary people.

Richard Kravetz, a Yoga for Special Needs practitioner and British Wheel of Yoga teacher, facilitates a 3 day workshop “Yoga for Adults with Special Needs” (for dates please see the events page).  The course explains how people with Learning Difficulties often experience anxiety, stress, depression and low self-esteem and how to implement a yoga programme  that is compatible with their needs. It demonstrates how to use yoga therapeutically to support self-regulation, motor planning and co-ordination and to help the individual build body awareness in a practical and compassionate manner.

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Yoga for all

Special Yoga was founded by Jo Manuel in 2004 offering therapeutic support to babies, children, young people and adults with special needs, through the practice of yoga, with the intention of helping them to reach their full potential. It is a unique centre working on the basis that all children are special and that no label can define or limit a child’s potential for positive change.

Passionate about the healing and therapeutic qualities of yoga, Jo Manuel established the centre as a registered charity dedicated to making yoga available to everyone irrespective of physical or mental ability, ethnic background, religion, or financial status.

The yoga therapy services are born out of Sonia Sumar’s Yoga for the Special Child methodology. The Special Yoga Centre was set-up in order to give this pioneering programme a home in the UK.

The centre treats over 750 children with special needs weekly and offers services to 27 schools in Greater London & surrounding areas. Children with a broad range of physical and developmental challenges such as; Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Cerebral Palsy (CP) and Down’s Syndrome (DS) and many with rare degenerative conditions, severe physical limitations and complex needs are treated-No condition is considered too onerous and the philosophy of inclusion is the backbone of the centre’s ideals. Each individual is seen as a person and not a label.

It is believed that this kind of Yoga Therapy provides a pathway to bring about positive and transformational change and to nurture that journey with every child and associated family.

As well as Yoga for the Special Child and one-to-one sessions, services have expanded to include; outreach work in schools, group classes for children with special needs and, parent and family support groups. The Get Ready to Learn programme for children and staff in Special Needs schools is practised on a daily basis in the classroom each morning to prepare for the day with remarkable results, and is soon to be expanded to mainstream schools.

Special yoga is also a centre of excellence for Yoga Teacher training. Amongst the range of courses offered are-Yoga & Mindfulness for Mental Health, Special Yoga for Children with Developmental Challenges, Teaching Yoga to Children, Yoga for Teenagers and Adults with Special Needs.

Working with these special people is the most humbling experience. My belief is that we learn everything we need to know about ourselves from these special people. When a person faced with huge adversity smiles it lights up the day- it is priceless and a thing of beauty and places life in its true perspective.

“By letting go of fears and negativity, and learning to see the best in ourselves and others, we can provide a powerful impetus for positive change. (“Sonia Sumar-Yoga For the Special Child”)

 Further details of the centre’s work can be found on Special Yoga

Yoga for the Special Child

Yoga for the special child is a comprehensive program of yoga techniques designed to enhance the natural development of children with special needs.

The program includes an integrated series of balanced yoga poses to increase body awareness, strength and flexibility and specialised breathing exercises and relaxation techniques to improve concentration and reduce hyperactivity. The program is adaptable and flexible according to needs.

Yoga for People with Autism

The aim is to develop the children’s skills in communication, social interaction and play using tried and tested methods. Yoga practice with Autistic children has demonstrated that through the use of movement and body awareness yoga has allowed people to develop and build friendships, interact and engage emotionally and help trust in others and confidence in self.

Deaf blind Yoga

I have been teaching Deaf blind Adults with the SENSE Organisation for over 10 years and have developed a comprehensive Yoga programme which works effectively with  these individuals. As a result of this work I have written a paper “Deaf blind Yoga”.
See what we do, or check for details of classes.

Chair Yoga

Many of these individuals are wheelchair users but I have learnt that does not necessarily inhibit the practice of yoga. From the work I have carried out with these individuals a chair yoga programme has evolved, which can be expanded to incorporate Office and/or Third Age yoga.

For any further details of Chair Yoga.. please contact Richard directly.


Find out more about the teacher, Richard Kravetz