Case study 1

Increasing self-regulation in adopted child with abandonment issues through Yoga Therapy.

*Please note that all identifiable information has been removed from this document and names changed to maintain confidentiality. Consent from carers to share the case study received.


This case study offers a yoga therapy case example of working with a 7-year-old boy, who was adopted at age of 2. He was taken away from his biological parents when he was 7 months old, it was case of abandonment. Although we have no information about any other abuse, the possibility cannot be excluded. This case study shows implementation of 10 sessions of yoga therapy, which were delivered in his house. The sessions resulted in better regulations of emotions, better sleep patterns and using techniques introduced during the yoga sessions at school and at home.

Background Information

Male: 7-year-old

Boy was adopted when he was 2 years old. Mother did not disclose any information about early years except that he was taken away from parents at 7 months. Biological parents have no parental rights, it was case of abandonment.

He has done yoga before with me in the group session. He is a very lively and talkative person.

He shows signs of flight response and is always on high alert. He doesn’t relax easily. On one of the group sessions after assisted relaxation when I was using bean bags on different parts of the body, he said that’s the first time he relaxed, because ‘he needs to run all the time’.

Staying focused at school for longer period is difficult. He is using fidget cushion during the class at school because his body needs constant movement and seeks sensory feedback.

He gets very excited about everything and this overexcitement finishes in the emotion overload and that’s when the system responds with losing control. He is not good with controlling emotions; he needs help with self-regulations as per mum’s advice. Leaving is a trigger word.

There are no medical conditions or allergies. It was highlighted that he has problems with falling asleep, it takes hours to make him fall asleep. There are hours of bedtime stories. Sometimes he comes up with his own stories when most of the time he worries about something.

Child’s Feedback:

Feedback on the process and yoga therapy was very positive. His favourite parts were relaxation and hand and foot massage as well as the baby shark warm up. When asked what yoga means to you, he made a heart from his hands and said love.

Mother’s Feedback:

  1. Did your child enjoy yoga therapy session? He loved it; I could see each week his confidence growing, he looked forward to every session.
  2. What did he enjoy the most? Getting better at yoga poses, increased confidence, fun activities links to breathing, mindfulness.
  3. Did you notice any changes after the class? Better regulations of emotions – huge difference, sleep longer without waking, easier to get to sleep, used breathing at school when stressed.

Outcomes from Yoga Therapy

  1. Breath awareness – He was able to use breathing techniques to self-regulate without guidance. According to feedback he used in school in stressful situation after 10 sessions.
  2. Motor Skills Management – He was able to perform sun salutation without looking at the chart after 10 sessions.
  3. Participation in the class – He was able to fully participate in the class after 10 sessions.
  4. Feeling safe – After 10 sessions he was able to feel safe not only at the session but also at home or at school. As he said himself, he is not scared of darkness anymore.
  5. Coordination – At the end of the sessions he was able to stay in tree pose for 5 seconds.
  6. Engagement – After 10 session he could stay on the mat for 70% of the time.
  7. Emotional Intelligence / Self-regulation – He can recognise emotions and take appropriate actions. There is much more awareness of when he feels distressed and what to do to self-regulate. He is using yoga regulation zones in daily life.