For months now I’ve been thinking that we should introduce some yoga into our weekly, if not daily, routine. Rhys is a high energy child who struggles sometimes to sit calmly and to focus. He is also a very sensitive child, still working out how to cope with the big emotions that he experiences. I really have a feeling that regular yoga practice will help him with both of these things.
I think it will help me too if I’m honest.
I have a fair bit of anxiety myself, and think that taking time out of my daily routine to do some yoga will really help me to feel calmer and possibly more in control.
During the summer holidays Rhys and I went along to a family yoga session in Cwmdonkin Park which we both really enjoyed. That experience has made me even more keen to find a way to get some regular yoga in, either by going to a class or by learning to do it ourselves at home.
So when I was asked if I would like to review a copy of a new book written especially to introduce children to yoga, I jumped at the chance.
“Kids yoga” is written by Karin Eklund, who is an experienced yoga teacher, as well as an author.
She has explained that she wrote the book after finding that most other guides to yoga that are out there are written more as guides for parents to read, to learn how to introduce yoga to their children. Karin felt that there was a need for a book that was written for the children themselves.
“‘Kids yoga’ is a picture book, which allows very young children to jump straight in and begin copying the poses illustrated. As they get older, they can read the text to more precisely move into the pose”
I absolutely love that she took this approach to writing the book, and think that it definitely works the way she intended.
I took the book to the beach with us recently, and both Rhys who is 6 and Nerys who is 3 loved looking through it with me.
A huge part of the appeal of the book for me is the illustrations, which are beautiful and really quite clever.
Each page has an illustration of a child demonstrating the pose that is being explained, but with a fun little twist each time.
So the tree pose, for example, shows a child holding the pose but with leaves growing from their outstretched arms. I know, that sounds a little bit strange when it’s put like that, so here’s a photo to show you what I mean.
I just think it’s a really beautiful way of showing young children what the pose is about, and goes perfectly with the explanation of the pose:
“stretch your arms high above your head, like the branches of a tree”.
And it works too, after looking at the picture in the book with me Nerys was able to have a go at tree pose herself.
With Rhys’ help we had a good look through all the poses together on our little trip to the beach, to see what other ones she wanted to try.
We all liked the look of the sun salute, but decided that might be one for another day when we more prepared and had a mat with us so we wouldn’t get absolutely covered in wet sand trying it!
Nerys did try out a couple of other poses though that she particularly liked the look of.
This was downward facing dog which she had a lot of fun with.
I really love the description of this pose in the book:
“Dogs walk on all fours, so place your four paws on your mat. Lift your tail high while you straighten your arms and legs”
This just seems so much more fun for little ones, getting them to pretty much just pretend to be dogs, instead of trying to get them to take part in a more serious yoga practice. It’s putting things in a way that they understand, tapping into their natural desires to play make-believe.
Nerys also had a go at one of the three warrior poses that are in the book.
These are illustrated with a fierce looking child in chainmail and armed with a sword and a shield. I absolutely love these pictures, because they help get the point across that yoga is for everyone. Yoga isn’t just soft and gentle, you can be fierce and strong and still do yoga.
What I really love is that this book provides a gentle introduction to yoga for Nerys and Rhys as well as a whole routine that would be perfect for me to do as well.
The book is set out so that you can work your way through it and do a complete routine. It starts with active, standing poses like warrior and half moon, then moves on to more gentle sitting poses. You then finish up with some lovely relaxation poses, so that your child finishes the routine feeling calm and grounded.
At the same time though, each individual pose can be done on its own. So if you don’t have the time or the inclination to go through the whole routine you can let your child flick through the book and choose a couple of poses to do that they feel drawn to.
There are so many benefits to doing yoga, that I think it’s a fantastic thing to introduce our children to. In fact, I’m pretty sure they do some at school as part of their PE lessons which I think is amazing.
If you want to start getting your children doing some yoga at home, I would highly recommend this book.
It’s beautifully illustrated, the poses are explained in terms that make it perfect for children to explore for themselves, and the author has been teaching yoga for over 10 years so clearly knows her stuff! I have a feeling our copy will be dog-eared before long (it already has some rogue grains of sand hiding in it), and it feels like that’s the way it should be. This is a book that should be read and used and loved by children.
I’m hoping that with this book’s help we can slot some yoga into our routine, because I really do think it will have a positive impact on all of us.
Disclaimer – I was sent a copy of ‘Kids yoga’ for the purposes of this review but, as always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.