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  • Writer's pictureBecky Aten (they/she)

Yoga for Neurodiversity Project Update: April 2024

Yoga for Neurodiversity Project Update April 2024: I've been finding my rhythm,
Graphic that says "Yoga for Neurodiversity Project Update April 2024. I've been finding my rhythm!" There is a little pic of Becky hiking, wearing a blue hat and sunglasses, smiling with a blue sky and Mississippi valley in the background. The caption says "Becky, hiking at Little Grand Canyon, Illinois."

I've been finding my rhythm in ways that fit my neurodivergent mind and body, which is not an easy task. I'm super grateful to everyone in my community for showing up, offering support, and just being on this planet with me! Here's a bit of what I've been to with my yoga practice and neurodiversity advocacy work from December 2023 until now.

In December: As part of my unmasking journey, I held an encore of Neurodivergent Joy!, a virtual yoga workshop exploring the ways that different brains and bodies access and experience joy. Cultivating joyfulness is one way to both rebel and heal in a world that is not designed for neurodivergent folks. (P.S. A new version of this workshop will be offered in Milwaukee, WI this June! Get more info here.)

In the first half of January: I felt the indomitable tug of gravity as my mood began its semi-annual black-hole spiral, and my energy levels plummeted. I embraced the heaviness and curled up indoors, binging television shows and managing the bare minimum of “work productivity” but soon felt lonely and unmotivated. I realized my need for community care, and set about exploring what that might look like for me.

In the second half of January: I organized and facilitated the first Yoga for Neurodiversity Community Connections gathering, and was joined by a remarkable collection of folks from all corners of the planet. It felt healing to connect, and enlightening to learn from so many wonderful humans. With renewed energy, I also completed a project that I’ve been really excited about-- a neurodiversity module for Warrior Flow School’s 200-hour yoga teacher training program (woohoo!).

In February: My partner and I traveled to Arkansas to visit family and enjoy hiking adventures. The novelty and warmer weather offered a break from the heaviness of the season, but the stress of travel resulted in a flare-up of painful muscle spasms when we returned. Getting back into a rhythm that balances work with plenty of self-care and community-care became extra challenging.

In March: Advocacy opportunities began steadily coming in from places I never expected, including invitations to present about neurodiversity, autism acceptance, DEI, and accessible yoga, both online and in my local community. I also began my 300-hour yoga teacher training journey with the amazing Warrior Flow School, and held our third Community Connections gathering about neurodivergent-friendly yoga. Life around me was moving fast, and I noticed the pressure to keep up with everyone else and risk burnout, rather than stay at my own pace.

In April: As I worked to hold a slow, steady rhythm and manage my commitments, I noticed I was becoming unhelpfully caught up in distractions. I found a 40-day Kundalini Yoga practice for breaking addictions (anything you can’t say “no” to), and decided to try it with the goal to just see what happens. I’ve been making new connections through offerings, including within my local Autism Society and our amazing Community Connections circle. Join me on April 25th to learn and share about the benefits of yoga for neurodivergent folks! Sign up here.

Self-Study Takeaways:

  • Cultivating joy and connection is important for my motivation and health.

  • Long car rides are really hard on my body.

  • Relying on quick hits of dopamine from distractions isn’t helpful long-term strategy.

  • I am very sensitive to changes and cycles, especially seasonal shifts.

  • I need to be mindful not to rush through transitions just because everyone else is.

  • Community care is healing and it is okay to show up feeling like a mess.

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