“Before I discovered MahaDevi Centre, I had no idea that yoga could help Tyler. We weren't offered much therapy at school and by secondary school it all had finished. After a conversation withanother mum I heard about MahaDevi Centre and that yoga might be beneficial. No one wants to see their daughter in pain so I decided to give it a go. It was taking Tyler half an hour to put a top on and she was regularly spasming, unable to sit up straight. Now she is relaxed and happier. We can dress her quickly in the morning with no pain. The biggest change is in her mood. If she is in a depressed mood, just 20 minutes into her yoga session I can hear her laughing. For the first time in 16 years I saw Tyler sitting up, unsupported on her own. This was a huge achievement and I am in no doubt it was down to her regular yoga practice. I can’t stress enough how life changing this has been. “
Emma, Tyler’s mum
Since 2010 I have been taking my son to Yoga with Denisa Nenova. James was 6 years old then. His severe autism which presents itself with very limited verbal language, social anxiety, ridgid and obsessional behaviours, plus multiple sensory processing disorders meant that my expectations for progress were low. My hope back then was that James would benefit from a physically structured time away from me with a chance to ‘discover’ his body and how to use it. Also, some rare time for me to spend alone.
My expectations back then were far from the reality of what I found yoga to do for James. Yoga at Maha Devi opened up a doorway of developing that just keeps improving week by week. My first surprise was to notice James being able to use his voice. He sang songs for the first time. He did this with a confidence I never saw before. He had a new awareness of his body. He no longer used me as a leaning post (which was always part of his proprioception difficulties). He held himself more upright. He walked better. James even managed to learn how to use a scooter, followed by a bike. Using the local play park’s equipment no longer scared him. James when asked, could easily identify different parts of his body. This was so important when he was not feeling well, as he was able to use language as well as show me if he had a ‘tummy ache’ for example. He breathes better, and slower. James is much less anxious post yoga with Denisa, which naturally lead him away from destructive behaviours such as scratching or pica. His eyesight has improved, his hypersensitivity to noise has greatly improved.
Fast forward to 2017, a now 12 year old James has a huge receptive language as well as a stronger expressive language. He does though suffer anxiety due to part-time school attendance. Again, Denisa addresses this to support James in developing tools to self-regulate. Without prompting, James will use these self-regulation techniques he has been taught. He will take a long, slow breathe to lessen his anxiety load when he needs to. The difficulties of sensory processing are now not as apparent.
As a parent of a special needs child I have been undoubtedly lucky in finding Denisa at the right time. We have never stopped going and will continue. I regret other parents not having accessed this valuable and essential therapy for our children’s needs. It can turn a child’s life around for the better and I highly recommend it to every parent I meet, with or without a special needs child. On a wider level, it’s a gift to the whole community. In public, others are amazed and humbled when witnessing my son using calming techniques to slow his breathing in such a composed way when I explain it has been learnt through yoga.
To date, yoga at MahaDevi has been our most valued therapy. I sincerely hope the centre has many more years to come.
Lisa, James' mum