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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 98-99

Mentally retarded children: A scope for yogic rehabilitation module

1 Department of Yoga and Management Studies, S-VYASA University, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
2 Department of Yoga, Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga, New Delhi, India
3 Department of Yoga, The Lonavla Yoga Institute, Lonavla, Pune, Maharashtra, India

Date of Web Publication22-Dec-2015

Correspondence Address:
Tikhe Sham Ganpat
Department of Yoga, Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga, New Delhi
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2348-3334.172400

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How to cite this article:
Vishvanath P, Ganpat TS, Pradhan B, Gharote MM, Ramarao NH. Mentally retarded children: A scope for yogic rehabilitation module. CHRISMED J Health Res 2016;3:98-9

How to cite this URL:
Vishvanath P, Ganpat TS, Pradhan B, Gharote MM, Ramarao NH. Mentally retarded children: A scope for yogic rehabilitation module. CHRISMED J Health Res [serial online] 2016 [cited 2022 Jul 7];3:98-9. Available from: https://www.cjhr.org/text.asp?2016/3/1/98/172400


Mental retardation (MR) has a varied phenomenology in different parts of the world with an overall prevalence of 1–3% in the global scenario.[1],[2] MR produces psychological, social, and financial distress to the whole family, particularly parents, as they are usually the only constant caretakers.[3] As mothers of mentally retarded children (MRC), being the primary caregivers for their children suffer more psychological distress than other members of their families.[4] Previous research has reported that psychiatric morbidities such as depression and anxiety are common among mothers of MRC. Overall 35–53% of mothers of MRC have symptoms of depression.[5] The psychological burden that these parents carry is very painful. The guilt of having born such child, the social stigma that attaches themselves to the family, the shame of a retarded child misbehaving in public and the frustration and helplessness felt at not being able to “cure” the child is all very painful and disturbing the mental health of the parents of MRC.[6] Thus, the parents of MRC suffered from “chronic sorrow” throughout their lives.[7]

It becomes important to detect MR as early as possible, and impart the appropriate skills to the parents in bringing up and looking after their MRC, especially so with regard to severely MRC who are likely to require life-long supervision. For many MRC, medications are ineffective or have unwanted side effects, prompting them to seek about complementary and alternative medicine. Yoga is useful in the rehabilitation of the MRC.[8] A controlled study on ninety MRC, randomly assigned the children to two groups (yoga, control) so that there were equal numbers of mild, moderate, and severely MRC in both groups. The study assessed the effects of integrated approach of yoga therapy (IAYT) developed at the holistic therapy health home in Bengaluru, for a year. The moderately retarded among the yoga group performed significantly better on testing with the Binet–Kamat test (for general mental ability), Seguin form board (for co-ordination), and in the Vineland social maturity scale (to assess social adjustment and behavior), compared to their initial performance, as well as to that of the control group. Moreover, the mild and severely regarded subjects of the yoga group had also showed no deterioration in any score, whereas the mildly retarded subjects of the control group showed negative scores on retesting. Thus, 9 months of yogic practices were associated with improvement, in general, mental ability, psychomotor coordination, and intelligent and social behavior of MRC.[8] It was also reported that 10 days training in yoga, school children (in the age range of 9–13 years), show considerable improvement in static motor performance, whereas a control group, which did not practice yoga, did not change. This improvement in static motor performance can be attributed to better eye-hand co-ordination, improved fine motor control, concentration and also an overall state of well-being and relaxation.[9] These studies suggest that considerable plasticity and scope for improvement in motor performance is still present in MRC. This offers interesting scope for extending motor rehabilitation program using yoga as an intervention in MRC.

Yogic practices based on IAYT module for effective management of MRC can be given as below:[8]

Shithilikarana Vyayama (loosening and stretching practices)[8]

  • Jogging
  • Supta Pawanmuktasana (leg lock pose)
  • Suryanamaskara (salutations to the sun).

Sukshma Vyayama (strengthening exercises)[8]

  • Buddhi Tatha Dhrti Shakti Vikasaka (developing the mind and will power)
  • Smarna Shakti Vikasaka (developing the memory)
  • Medha Shakti Vikasaka (developing the intellect)
  • Netra Shakti Vikasaka (improving the eye-sight)
  • Kapola Shakti Vikasaka (rejuvenating the cheeks)
  • Karna Shakti Vikasaka (developing the power of hearing)
  • Mani Bandha Shakti Vikasaka (developing the wrists)
  • Kara Tala Shakti Vikasaka (developing the palms)
  • Anguli Mula Shakti Vikasaka (developing the finger joints)
  • Purna Bhuja Shakti Vikasaka (developing the arms)
  • Griva Shakti Vikasaka (developing the neck).

Asana (postures)[8]

  • Ardhakati Chakrasana (the half wheel pose)
  • Shashankasana (hare pose)/Yoga Mudra (attitude of psychic union)
  • Ushtrasana (camel pose)
  • Bhujangasana (cobra pose)
  • Shalabhasana (locust pose)
  • Viparitakarani Asana (inverted pose)
  • Sarvangasana (shoulder stand pose)
  • Matsyasana (fish pose)
  • Ardha Shirshasana (half headstand pose)/Shirshasana (headstand pose)
  • Shavasana (corpse pose).

Pranayama (breathing practices)[8]

  • Nadi Shodhana Pranayama (psychic network purification).

Dharana and Dhyana (concentration and meditation practices)[6]

  • OM Meditation (OM chanting).

Kriya (cleansing practices)[8]

  • Jala Neti.

It is strongly recommended that well-designed studies with the use of IAYT in the management of MRC may give positive results.


Authors acknowledge SVYASA University for granting permission to carry out this work.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

World Health Organization. Mental Health Around the World, World Health Day 2001. Geneva: WHO; 2001.  Back to cited text no. 1
Nagarkar A, Sharma JP, Tandon SK, Goutam P. The clinical profile of mentally retarded children in India and prevalence of depression in mothers of the mentally retarded. Indian J Psychiatry 2014;56:165-70.  Back to cited text no. 2
[PUBMED]  Medknow Journal  
Schwartz C, Tsumi A. Parental involvement in the residential care of persons with intellectual disability: The impact of parents' and residents' characteristics and the process of relocation. J Appl Intellect Disabil 2003;16:285-93.  Back to cited text no. 3
Pelchat D, Lefebvre H, Perreault M. Differences and similarities between mothers' and fathers' experiences of parenting a child with a disability. J Child Health Care 2003;7:231-47.  Back to cited text no. 4
Emerson E. Mothers of children and adolescents with intellectual disability: Social and economic situation, mental health status, and the self-assessed social and psychological impact of the child's difficulties. J Intellect Disabil Res 2003;47(Pt 4-5):385-99.  Back to cited text no. 5
Noland RL, editor. Counseling Parents of the Mentally Retarded: A Source Book. Springfield: Thomas; 1970.  Back to cited text no. 6
Olshansky S. Chronic sorrow: A response to having a mentally defective child. Soc Casework 1962;43:190-3.  Back to cited text no. 7
Uma K, Nagendra HR, Nagarathna R, Vaidehi S, Seethalakshmi R. The integrated approach of yoga: A therapeutic tool for mentally retarded children: A one-year controlled study. J Ment Defic Res 1989;33(Pt 5):415-21.  Back to cited text no. 8
Telles S, Hanumanthaiah B, Nagarathna R, Nagendra HR. Improvement in static motor performance following yogic training of school children. Percept Mot Skills 1993;76 (3 Pt 2):1264-6.  Back to cited text no. 9


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