Staff at Hug A Mug, an independent coffee shop in Gateacre, Liverpool, are launching a new autism-friendly yoga class in partnership with Mitchy Titch Inclusive Kids Yoga, to encourage mindfulness and relaxation techniques.
The coffee shop, which has gained autism awareness accreditation through Wirral based charity, Autism Together’s Autism Champion’s scheme, will introduce the yoga sessions from 2ndFebruary, and will cater for children aged 4+, with a maximum of 8 children per class.
The class will include yoga stretches and breathing exercises and will encourage strength, balance, focus and behaviour. The class will also provide benefits such as; social interaction, help with speech and language, boosting self-esteem and the promotion of play.
The sessions will take place in the sensory room at Hug A Mug, which includes adjustable mood lighting and a variety of sensory toys.
The autism-friendly café opened in February last year, and has since received rave reviews from parents who needed somewhere to take their children and not be judged. The colours of the café are simple and muted, and ear defenders are available for those who want them.
Natalie Myers, Co-founder of the café, said:
“The emphasis on the new yoga class is on enjoyment and trying out yoga together in a fun, non-judgemental way. Children won’t become expert yogi’s in one session but we hope they will have some fun and take away ideas to try at home. We’ll have music, songs and props throughout the session, and everyone will receive a certificate of participation to say well done.”
Since becoming an Autism Champion, the south Liverpool café has made many adjustments to help those on the spectrum, including hiring a young person with autism who works as their barista. They are also planning to introduce an autism sensory session, following the successful launch of their Sensory Seekers programme, which provides songs and fun for children aged 3 months – 2 years.