While babies and toddlers have a great deal of flexibility, it is amazing how soon children can lose it. Yoga can be a good way for them to maintain their flexibility and build some strength. There are only few yoga DVDs aimed at children, and this is a pretty good one. The KidYogi DVD has a similar format as the TeenYogi DVD, but it is a bit simpler. Zoe Miku, leads 6 girls and 1 boy in an easy yoga practice -- although the boy is rarely in the picture. At 45 minutes, it is a good length for children. They sit on a white floor with a white background, and there's some Indian-flavored music in the background for most of the exercises. The practice starts off with Miku leading the children in some chanting while sitting down cross-legged, which they do for a few minutes. It might be difficult for children to work out what words are being chanted, and they might not like chanting -- but it is easy to skip this part if you want. Then they go into some stretching, rolling on the spine, roaring like a lion, forward bends, and a sun salutation asana. It's good to see the children following on but doing it in their own individual ways showing that they do not need to perfectly copy what Miku does. Similarly, when the children copy Miku balancing on one leg, you see them wobbling around and putting their feet down often. The DVD shows Miku doing the positions first and then shows the children following her. Then there are some more twisting stretches and side stretches. They move on to floor stretches, a shoulder stand, the plough, and the bridge. The session ends with a 5-minute relaxation lying down -- this involves some tensing and then letting go of muscles which helps them relax even more. There is an omm shanti chant at the finish. It's a nice DVD because it shows the children having fun as well as enjoying the yoga practice. Sometimes children are reluctant to try anything that strikes them as different or out of the ordinary, but they might well be tempted to try some of these exercises.
© 2010 Christian Perring
Christian Perring, Professor of Philosophy, Dowling College, New York