Guidance and Support

The YOU & ME Yoga system of sound colour and Whole-Body-Movement is a very effective yoga system for persons with learning disabilities. Evidence shows that staff and parents can practice this regularly together for mutual benefit and progress.

To acquire further yoga knowledge, skills and confidence to teach this clientele Maria Gunstone welcomes you to address your learning needs and send her your questions for guidance and support.

Training and teaching materials readily available:  http://www.youandmeyoga.com/overview/
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Introduction to YOU & ME Yoga – DVD


Fabiola Wiseman recently joined the YOU & ME Yoga Modular Training Programme. On her very first day of home study she watched the 24-minute Introduction to YOU & ME Yoga – DVD, completed and submitted her first assignment explaining what the film meant to her. She was pleased to allow me to include it in full as follows: 

While watching the Introduction to YOU & ME Yoga - DVD, I noticed firstly how my enthusiasm for starting the YOU & ME Yoga Course increased, and that I have, no doubt, chosen the correct course. I think this was due to the fact that there were marked benefits and improvements in all aspects for the students – proving that the YOU & ME Yoga system works!

The fact that the colour system is so simple and yet so effective, struck me
immediately. I am beginning to understand how the students can identify the
colours with the different body parts and how that in turn allows them to
identify which part of the body is being strengthened. Allowing the students to match the cards with the body parts and then move their bodies into shapes on the mat, really encourages them to take part individually and as part of the group, and begin to follow precise instructions. Allowing students to describe how they feel also gives them greater awareness of body and mind and confidence in their practice. The 20 postures are such that every one allows for variations to suit the individual student, which is absolutely essential due to all the clients having differing abilities and challenges.


The wonderful use of sound was very interesting too, as this feels so natural, for example when breathing out, saying ‘Ah’. This, and the use of words, pictures and song to help people of all ages and abilities enjoy the benefits of yoga, is marvellous.

I think the thing that struck me most was the clear and proven benefits that the YOU & ME Yoga system continues to provide for people. This is to do with the fact that every posture can be modified to fit individual physical needs, but the modifications are also possible on an emotional and mental level, so that every person can have a version of yoga that improves their life.

As a teacher it is crucial that I can assess a student and modify sequences according to what they can do, what they need to improve on and what will be most beneficial to them. The fact that students found the YOU & ME Yoga enjoyable, relaxing, gained more muscle control, are more responsive and observant in their activities; and in general appear to be healthier is the perfect incentive for me to succeed in the course.
Fabiola Wiseman, YOU & ME Yoga Module 1.1

Extracts from 'Introduction to YOU & ME Yoga' - DVD

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Starting to Teach Special Needs Yoga


You can contact me for yoga teaching tips and guidance for working with individuals or mixed abilities groups with learning difficulties/disabilities, right across the age range.

Maria Gunstone is now offering private training and online supported learning.
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Yoga teaching materials












YOU & ME Yoga teaching materials provide guidance for yoga teachers and practitioners with two years personal yoga experience to safely teach yoga to people with special needs, including learning disabilities. All the materials are very well structured, with health and safety in mind as well as being user-friendly.

The ethos of the system is the use of colour to assist the teaching and learning processes. This includes a colour-coded recording system to measure students’ physical and social skills’ performance and progress.

The system comprises 42 basic yoga techniques with over 750 tried and tested variations, and over 100 relaxation and breathing techniques. These techniques are performed by students with different types of abilities, which are illustrated by clear line drawings.

All fourteen YOU & ME Yoga publications are available for purchase separately or as cost effective packages from Amazon and our website.

For optional supported learning and consultation please email Maria Gunstone or phone 07734 014876.

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Starting a yoga class for special needs


You can contact us for teaching tips and health and safety, or if you have an individual or group with mixed abilities you would like some guidance?

Maria Gunstone is now offering contact training and online consultation with supported learning.
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Teaching Special Needs Yoga

You can contact us for teaching tips and health and safety, or if you have an individual or group with mixed abilities you would like some guidance? Maria Gunstone is offering online consultation with supported learning.

Contact Maria Gunstone, Author, Director and Tutor of YOU & ME Yoga.
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Maria Gunstone’s Online Supported Learning

The YOU & ME Yoga training programme involves teaching practice with students with learning disabilities. In order to gain the expertise and confidence you need, Maria Gunstone, the author of the system, is offering a unique opportunity for you to address your learning needs and send your questions to her for supported learning online. This can be arranged at a mutually convenient time.
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Starting a class

You can contact us for teaching tips and health and safety, or if you have an individual or group with mixed abilities you would like some guidance? Maria Gunstone is offering contact training and online consultation, YOU & ME Yoga teacher training with supported learning and master classes.

Contact Maria Gunstone, author and trainer of YOU & ME Yoga, by email.
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You can teach Yoga

You CAN teach Yoga to people with learning difficulties or disabilities, you might just need some confidence building and a little more know how and we have the knowledge and skills to help you!

Whether it is help with understanding types of learning disabilities and approaches to assist teaching and learning processes, safe suitable techniques that you can use with individuals and groups of mixed abilities. Or perhaps you would like to make contact with other like-minded people and even get your yoga teachings presence online with our website. We have services to help you at every step of the way. The aim is to build a community network for yoga teachers to reach out and touch the lives of persons less able to benefit from Yoga.

Starting a new class with students with special needs: Do you have an individual or group with mixed abilities whom you’d like some guidance/ideas/feedback on? Maria Gunstone is offering contact training and online consultation, masterclasses, in addition to the YOU & ME Yoga user-friendly teaching materials with the option of personalised supported learning.

Contact Maria Gunstone, author and teacher trainer of YOU & ME Yoga by email on the left hand side.
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Publications

YOU & ME Yoga publications provide guidance for yoga teachers and allied therapists to safely teach yoga to all types of people with learning disabilities across the age range. All the materials are very well structured, with health and safety in mind as well as being user-friendly.

The ethos of the system is use of colour to assist the teaching and learning process. This includes a colour-coded recording system to measure students’ physical and social skills’ performance and progress.

The system comprises 42 basic yoga techniques with over 700 tried and tested variations. Plus 110 relaxation and breathing techniques performed by students with different types of abilities, which are illustrated by clear line drawings.

YOU & ME publications produces the modular materials for purchase separately or as cost effective packages, with direct supported learning with Maria Gunstone.

We are also in the process of developing training online and masterclasses to complement teachers’ training and teaching practice. This will be available next year to members. To register your interest please complete the inquiry form and for updates click on the RSS feed to the left.
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Physios' Newsletter


We've got a mention in Firsthand, the newsletter of the Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists, November 2009

A course entitled “Yoga for People with Learning Difficulties – Introductory Course for Physiotherapists” took place on 26 Sept 2009 at St Michaels House, Dublin. The course was given by Maria Gunstone, author of “You and Me Yoga” and tutor of this specialized system of teaching yoga to people with learning difficulties. Maria outlined the background and ethos of the “You & Me Yoga” system, gave an overview of the basic techniques and principles used, and explored different types of learning abilities using the system.

The system is developed to allow the therapist to tailor sessions precisely to the needs of individuals and groups. Maria shared her passion and enthusiasm with 15 physiotherapists from around the country for the system she has developed over the past 20 years whereby she has carried out pioneering work in making yoga accessible and adaptable for people with learning and physical difficulties.

Chartered Physiotherapists in Disability would like to take this opportunity to thank Maria for an excellent course.
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Physical Therapy

YOU & ME Yoga for People with Learning Disabilities

The YOU and ME Yoga system can make a real difference to people's lives, according to a new book on the treatment and management of learning disabilities.

Learning disabilities Physical Therapy Treatment and Management – A collaborative approach, Edited by Jeanette Rennie (pub Wiley, ISBN: 978-0-470-01989-4) includes a chapter on Complementary Therapies with a section on YOU and ME Yoga system, with case studies involving a person with Down's syndrome, autism and the case study below of a young woman with cerebral palsy.

The extracts below are taken from the book:
The YOU and ME Yoga for people with learning disabilities (Gunstone 1988) has been designed for individual needs to improve quality of life by:
  • coordinating the activities of mind and body
  • reducing the distracted state of mind
  • focusing the mind on the present
  • developing the adaptive behaviour
  • enhancing social behaviour
  • increasing self reliance
  • improving general health (Desikachar and Jeyachandran 1983 and 1988)
It is also used to increase students’ mobility, physical dexterity, coordination, communication, sensory awareness and self-confidence.

Programmes

Programmes are planned in conjunction with the YOU and ME record keeping system, which enables the therapist(s) to see at a glance the condition, limitations and abilities of the student(s). A general health questionnaire is used as appropriate.

The recording charts are used for students’ health, safety and welfare and for keeping a record of practice, outcomes and progress. The colour coding of both the body and the related techniques makes record keeping easy enough for most students to complete their own practice record, and indicate their feelings by ticking the column beneath the most appropriate face (for example, smiling or frowning).

This Yoga programme consists of 22 exercises called ‘joint looseners’ and 20 postures.

CASE STUDY 6: WOMAN WHO HAS CEREBRAL PALSY

Click for full-size image
She is 26 years old and has athetoid cerebral palsy (see Chapter 2). Initially she found it very difficult to control her involuntary movements.

The YOU and ME teaching pack explains everything very clearly with health and safety in mind. Thus trainers are enabled to select a suitable plan for people with or even without a learning disability. The colour-coded instruction pack for the postures was essential to give instructions for working out her programme plan of whole-body movement. Her programme was based on the green chest area for her main posture. It followed a similar warming-up, main posture and winding-down procedure to Table 17.5. Hence her programme benefited the whole of her body.

Progress

  • She can consciously relax completely during the relaxation period, keeping her whole body perfectly still.
  • There has been evidence of progress with other members of staff in other learning areas. She is more active and confi dent participation in the swimming pool; her upright sitting position in her own chair has improved; she has progressed to independent transfers from her wheelchair onto the toilet and back again although assistance to adjust her clothing is still required. She has an obvious feeling of achievement and improved dignity.

Whole-body movement is great fun, as well as motivation for learning. Everyone can join in, and anyone can perform the postures regardless of age or ability. Students develop imagination, expression and relationships.
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"I have seen great improvements in the students' abilities in the following areas: balance, strength, coordination, body awareness, breath control, posture control, relaxation skills, and social skills.”
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