I tend to read more than one book at a time. Perhaps I get bored easily. Perhaps it says something about my ability to focus. Anyway… I’m reading Meditations from the Mat. In my defense, it is more of a daily chapter type book, a verse or page per day, so I need another book. Today, I read a bit where a man was always thinking “What’s in it for me? What do I get out of this?” And the suggestion was a slight shift to “What can I give” How can I be of service?” I don’t think I suffer from this issue, but it’s still nice to reflect on situations, “How many I offer something?”

While inquiring about yoga teacher training recently at the yoga expo, I heard it said, “Think of it as an investment in your future.” But as I read my meditations, should it not be, “But how can I be of help? Could I be an investment in the future of others?!”I am a single mom of a twelve-year-old boy with severe autism. We have been living with autism, an incredibly-unknown disorder, for almost eleven years. From the beginning of my son’s diagnosis, I took everything head-on, knocked on every door, read every book, attended every learning opportunity with the mindset of open-heart, open-mind, love and acceptance. It is an incredible journey, learning and managing a child’s disability.

During this time, I grew a passion for two things, running and yoga. One got out my anger, stress, sadness, ego, broken beliefs, broken dreams, while (literally) running from our situation if only for twenty minutes. The other picked up those pieces, made me whole again, gave me peace, gave me strength, made me connect, made me breathe, made me understand there is always a process, and gave me a reasoning beyond what we were living with. I found my time on the mat changed my life as much as anything else, and over eleven years, I have experienced profound change in my life.

Over the last year I founded a non-profit, Aut2bFit™, connecting children with autism and their families with the athletic and fitness communities, pairing kids with athlete mentors, getting them out of simulated environments, therapy rooms, and social-skills classes, and into fun activities where the same motor-planning skills, social skills, and so many other abilities can be grown organically, all while having fun family time. I started this project out of my passion for my physical endeavors and my immeasurable love for my child! It was a thought that seemed to come out of nowhere, took shape and grew as if meant to be.

I personally have had life-changing results from yoga, beyond the physical. Yoga has changed my stress level, changed my outlook on dreary days, changed my approach to life with a disabled child. There have been moments in class when I feel an epiphany, this would help my son, or the child he has therapy with. In yoga, we stop to take note of all of our senses; sensory issues are one of the key issues plaguing autism. I have decreased anxiety, by stopping and breathing, a practice I have taught my son over a couple of years. My son has had occupational and physical therapy for years, to help with the physical disabilities often associated with autism, and yet I catch him trying to copy my downward dog in the morning! Haha! I have a heart-feeling, the same feeling I had when starting the organization, that there is a bigger purpose here and I would like to be part of it. I feel yoga should be given to kids with special needs, specifically autism, and even more so, their parents. I cherish the moment at the beginning of class when the teacher shares an insight or intention! It always speaks to me. I feel that yoga speaks to me, and I could speak to our kids with autism, be its translator. I’m throwing around these ideas, of adding to my own practice, and giving it to others. We’ll see where this goes. I’ve planted the seeds of my ideas now, I wonder what will bloom.