“Finding Your Dharma ~ Yoga for Children with Special Needs”
Shawnee Thornton Hardy is a special education teacher, author and graduate of our 300hr Professional Yogaworks Program. Her book Asanas for Autism and Special Needs has just been released and she will be teaching a workshop on this topic at Prana on May 30.
“When I began my 300-hour YogaWorks teacher training at Prana Yoga Center,I had no idea that it would be the start of something incredibly big in my life. When I made the decision to further pursue my studies in yoga, I did a tremendous amount of research as to which teacher training would suit me best. I came across the 300-Hour Professional YogaWorks TeacherTraining and immediately connected to their philosophy, focus on alignment and diversity of workshops.
At the time I was very passionate about therapeutic yogaand learning how to work with clients on a therapeutic level. I have worked with children with autism and special needs for 16 years, specializing in working with children who have significant cognitive and language delays, sensory processing deficits, as well as severe behavior problems. I’ve experienced first-hand the benefits yoga can provide to health and overall well-being.
What I found to be of most value in the 300-hour Advanced Teacher Training was the mentorship program. I was fortunate to have Rachel Krentzman, owner of Embody Physical Therapy & Yoga, as my mentor. Rachel’s knowledge and application of yoga therapeutics surpassed my expectations. I wanted to absorb every bit of information I could learn from her and the other teachers. Gerhard, the lead teacher and owner of Prana Yoga was supportive, incredibly knowledgeable and created a safe and comfortable space for us to learn.
Through this experience, I was able to manifest my greatest desires in life: To write a book, to teach and bring yoga to children with special needs, to build a private therapeutic yoga business and to share my passion with others by leading my own workshops and trainings. When I presented my final thesis project in the training, I knew that I had found my dharma, my life calling, and it truly was from that moment on that my dreams began to unfold.
I don’t believe in magic or events happening simply because we wish them to, but I do believe in the power of thought, putting our desires out there, telling the world our passions, goals and dreams. When we decide what we want, say what we want and work hard for what we want, the universe opens up and the opportunities are more visible.
The knowledge and experience I acquired through the YogaWorks Teacher Training gave me the vision to see the opportunities available to me and the confidence to pursue my dreams. Not only did the training help propel me forward towards my goals but it also brought beautiful people into my life with whom I will have ever lasting connections and friendships. I’m a strong believer that everything we do, every person we meet, every decision we make leads us to greater meaning, joy and purpose in life. Every day I feel grateful for listening to my heart and allowing it to lead me to Prana, to the training, to the teachers, to the people, to the experience and to my dharma.”
Shawnee Thornton Hardy is a 500 RYT, E-RYT, RCYT (Registered Children’s Yoga Teacher), Yoga Therapist and M.Ed. Her goal is to bring the experience of yoga to all individuals no matter their differences or challenges. Shawnee has presented workshops on Yoga to Reduce Stress and Increase Relaxation for teachers and other professionals who work in education and youth programs, Yoga for Children with Autism and Special Needsand Yoga for Teens facing the challenges of mental illness. She published a book, Asanas for Autism and Special Needs – Yoga to Help Children with Their Emotions, Self-Regulation and Body Awareness. Shawnee started a Yoga School through Yoga Alliance in order to train others in yoga approaches to support children with autism and special needs. Shawnee is dedicated to helping support youth in developing strategies to cope with stress in order to live happier, healthier more peaceful lives.