My life-changing discovery, yoga for children; a fun, creative, imaginative practice that strengthens and stretches young bodies, and teaches flexibility of young minds and bodies, was when I was given a copy of Thia Luby’s book Children’s Book of Yoga: Games & Exercises Mimic Plants, Animals & Objects.
This book is filled with color and delight. Glossy photos of children practicing yoga poses, imitating
- Nature’s World
- Four-legged animals
- Desert creatures
- Things that move
- Things that stay still
The instructions for each pose, group pose or game, are introduced with a simple glossy photo of the animal(s) or object(s), and a brief description of what the animal does or how the object works. The directions for performing the poses are easy to understand and are illustrated by vibrant photos of children as they accomplish the asanas. Ms. Luby includes a description of the photograph of the plant, animal or object, and the benefit of each pose.
Some of my favorite poses to challenge young yogis and that are beautifully depicted in The Children’s Book of Yoga:
- crooked tree branch
Examples of group poses and games:
- staircase pose
- group yucca pose,
- bird walk race
- snake race
The photographs of the children expressing the poses are absolutely delightful.
Ms. Luby includes photos and instructions on breathing: balloon tummy to chest breathing (deep breathing) and balloon tummy breathing (abdominal breathing). After yoga practice is a short period of relaxation, when a parent or yoga instructor leads a child through a relaxation/ visualization. This book includes a variation of my favorite, and most often used, visualization, “Floating on a Cloud”. While the children are drifting on their cloud, I play the song How to Be a Cloud by Kira Willey, from her CD How to Be a Cloud.
Ms. Luby’s book also includes information and instructions for parents and teachers, about yoga for children, poses to relieve common ailments, and lists of poses to stretch or strengthen specific areas.
Children’s Book of Yoga by Thia Luby won the National Book Award for one of the best children’s books of 1998 from the School Library Journal. It is gorgeous, informative, and a perfect introduction for anyone beginning children’s yoga.