The hurly burley surrounding the start of the new school year can leave parents and kids feeling stressed and over-whelmed. As well as improving flexibility, strength, and body awareness, yoga can help to calm kids down. In addition to our own YogaBugs DVD and book, there are a number of others that you can use at home with your kids. Here are just a handful of our favorites.
For toddlers, try out the Little Yoga series by Rebecca Whitford and Martina Selway. Little Yoga: A Toddler’s First Book of Yoga and Sleepy Little Yoga: A Toddler’s Sleepy Book of Yogaboth contain fun, colourful pictures which encourage kids to make simple yoga shapes with their bodies. Sleepy Little Yoga makes a great bedtime book. At the back of the book, you’ll find a note for supervising adults as well as an explanation about how to get into the postures.
We’re particularly fond of Babar’s Yoga For Elephants. Written by Babar, the book explains how he and Celeste keep fit doing yoga on their many travels. Through simple instructions and step-by-step illustrations, Babar’s Yoga For Elephants presents 15 postures and stretches as well as helpful breathing exercises. The book also provides particularly useful advice on what you should do with your trunk while in poses, a problem never addressed in yoga books for humans.
Buddha at Bedtime: Tales of Love and Wisdom for You to Read with Your Child to Enchant, Enlighten and Inspire is a great book offering a summary of Buddhism and child friendly meditation techniques. The stories are fables with a moral at the end, which although Buddist in origin, would be appeal to most beliefs. The author, Dharmachari Nagaraja, regularly presented BBC Radio 2’s Pause for Thought with Terry Wogan. He is currently involved with the Glasgow Buddhist Centre where he works as a psychotherapist, having run the Covent Garden Meditation Centre in London..
For bigger kids, Bear Cub Books has a collection of titles about Hindu folklore which include How Ganesh Got His Elephant Head, Hanuman’s Journey to the Medicine Mountain, and How Pavarti Won The Heart of Shiva. The author, Vatsala Sperling, draws on stories told to her by her mother when she was a young girl in India, bringing the myths of Parvati and Shiva, Ganesh and Hanuman to life. The illustrations are beautiful.
Yoga Pretzels is a great way for parents and kids to have fun together. Each card is colour coded to indicate the type of activity – breathing, meditating, stretching, partner positions etc. One side of the card gives a colourful illustration of the pose/ activity, whilst the other side offers step by step instructions. Teachers and parents who have seen me using them have frequently asked where they can buy them. Kids can choose the cards themselves and create their own sessions.
We’d love to hear about your favourite yoga books and activities for children! Post your comments here – or on our Facebook page.