When I visit the databases at my college library looking for research on yoga and autism, what I find is study upon study about how yoga can help kids focus, do more in school, and yes, be cured of their autism. There’s nothing about adults, many of whom are struggling with a late diagnosis and completely reexamining their lives in light of this new information. Except yoga is not a wrench or a new tire. It’s not a “fix” or a “cure”, because let’s be honest, autism isn’t something that needs to be cured!
If you’re looking at yoga as a fix for anything, from chronic pain and stress to autism and neurodivergence, you’re missing the mark–badly.
Before y’all come at me talking about manipulative behaviors and fulfilling societal expectations, it’s time to stop and check yourself. (Yes, before you wreck yourself.) My autism means I see the world differently. Yes, it means sometimes the lights are too bright and the Walmart makes me want to gouge my ears out because TOO MUCH NOISE and they moved everything again. It means I need to breathe, regulate myself, as I’m switching tasks. But most of all, it means that I need you (and that’s the allistic you out there, because the autistic you out there already knows this), to simply accept me and perhaps adapt to MY needs for once.
Though western medicine likes to apply yoga as a cure, like a prescription they can write and then never have to deal with you again, because let’s be honest, especially in America this is what medicine is like, yoga has always been and will always remain a process. It’s a systemic inquiry, and it’s a way to create unity between our bodies, our minds, and the wider universe.
This unity comes from within. It’s not the unity you think we should have; it’s not the way you think we should behave. It’s the unity and peace we find within ourselves. Because we are not broken. I am not broken. And you need to stop “prescribing” yoga to fix me. Instead, let’s use yoga to discover our authentic selves and then be them, openly and with the full appreciation of all our differences, and our similarities.