Yoga works wonders for keen sportsman

Jason Rasmussen has tried his hand at many forms of exercise including gymnastics, soccer, swimming and even horse riding.

But for the past few months, the 24-year-old has been attending weekly yoga classes in Cessnock and the results speak for themselves.

Born with Down syndrome, Jason also has a sensory processing disorder and an intellectual delay that affects his functional skills and interpretation of sensory information.

Since starting yoga, his mother Suzanne said that the results have been incredible both mentally and physically.

“He just loves his yoga,” she said.

“We have noticed significant improvements in his stomach muscles and his overall strength and coordination.

“He is doing things now that are far more advanced than I would have ever thought possible.

“He is listening better, concentrating more and he is learning about his body which can be a difficult process when you are dealing with that delay.”

Helping Jason along the way is yoga instructor Nicky West.

Nicky has been teaching yoga for more than a decade and before coming to Cessnock, taught a class in Sydney for adults with autism.

She has now been teaching yoga in Cessnock since May last year and said that she would love to a similar class, catering for people living with disabilities, started in the area.

“I love teaching a wide variety of people, from all sort of backgrounds,” she said.

“I particularly love teaching people who wouldn’t normally have access to yoga.

“The results with Jason have been amazing.

“He is more focused, calmer and definitely stronger.

“His way of communicating might be different, but everyone who I teach is different so it is just a matter of focusing on that and making the necessary adjustments.”

Suzanne said seeing Jason happy and enjoying life makes her very proud as well as allowing him to live as independently as possible.

“Jason is an adult so he wants to be able to do things on his own,” she said.

“A lot of the behavioural problems for individuals with conditions such as Jason come from boredom.

“If people’s lives are busy and fulfilled, than a lot of those issues go away.

“It is also very important for the development of his social skills.”

And Jason definitely keeps himself busy.

With the help of his support worker Rory Fennell from disability service provider Lifestyle Solutions, Jason is also making his mark in the world of ten pin bowling.

Since 2010 he has been bowling once a week at Super Strike Rutherford and in December was awarded two trophies for his efforts including first place male in the High Series with a handicap as well as first place in the team division as part of his group ‘Jets’.

He also goes horse riding once a month with Riding for the Disabled in Raymond Terrace and most recently tried his hand at go-karting.

Suzanne hopes that her son will continue to try new things in the future and that as long as he is enjoying life, she is happy.

GREAT RESULTS: Jason Rasmussen with his support worker Rory Fennell and yoga instructor Nicky West.

GREAT RESULTS: Jason Rasmussen with his support worker Rory Fennell and yoga instructor Nicky West.

CHAMPION: Jason with his latest swag of ten pin bowling trophies.

CHAMPION: Jason with his latest swag of ten pin bowling trophies.

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