Female, 49, presents with Down syndrome (DS), associated upper cervical weakness along with frustration and confidence issues. Research states repetitive visual clues can foster self learning in DS due to shorter attention and retention spans, so her treatment is conducted in short sessions with Pamela repeatedly and slowly demonstrating every posture, breath or movement.
Atlatoaxial instability (the increased or abnormal mobility of the first and second cervical vertebrae) is often found in DS. This client was currently asymptomatic. She, like other DS individuals, was hyper-flexible, so caution was emphasized as to avoid potential injury in the neck and shoulder area in particular.
She learned gentle neck and shoulder asana with proper breathing, how to protect these areas in most poses and which to avoid altogether. Partner poses, laughter yoga and Lion's face pose were practiced to encourage engagement with others. Chanting and mantras were used to foster memory skills. Yoga Nidra and guided meditation are repeated frequently in ongoing work together.
Her quality of life and confidence level have improved greatly to the extent that she wishes to become a yoga teacher herself. Pamela is pursuing the possibility of partnering with a DS organization to develop a local program for DS Adults with her as “co-teacher.” She will demonstrate the poses that Pamela instructs to give her fellow DS men and women the boost they need to try and follow her into each yoga pose.