If you are looking for a comprehensive guide to sharing yoga with children, it has arrived. Once Upon a Pose: A Guide to Yoga Adventure Stories for Children by Donna Freeman is sure to become a favorite addition to your library of teaching resources for ages 3-12.
At ChildLight Yoga, we are firm believers in the value of yoga in schools. As the creator of Yoga4Classrooms™, a yoga program designed specifically for the classroom environment, we know the challenges faced by students on a daily basis. Kids are over-stimulated and over-scheduled, and an inability to reflect and connect with their own true selves wreaks havoc on their behavior, immune system, digestion, circulation, sleep patterns and overall ability to concentrate, pay attention and learn in school.
Once Upon a Pose not only provides a valuable and comprehensive resource to teachers who wish to share yoga with children in a classroom environment, but it brings a creative and fun approach in story format. We know first-hand the value of storytelling in yoga class, as it is particularly engaging for young children, provides visual imagery to assist them in performing the pose, and brings the students together in community, especially when including each child in the story-telling process. Freeman does a beautiful job of illustrating in both words and photographs each pose included in the yoga adventure story, and she provides detailed instruction on a separate and referred page elsewhere in the book.
This book will be especially useful where gym or activity space is available, but perhaps not as much in space-constrained classrooms. Some of the activities involve being on the floor, which requires towels or yoga mats, not always available in school environments. However, modifications can always be made with minimal compromise to the integity of the story and teaching.
Freeman’s wealth of knowledge about yoga philosophy, various styles, practices and history comes together in one complete resource. Although the title speaks to the storytelling aspect of yoga in the classroom, she provides so much more guidance to teachers, parents, or anyone interested in learning about yoga. It’s clear Freeman is passionate about yoga and children, and has valuable knowledge and creative ideas about how to bring yoga and fun together for the benefit of children’s wellness.
Color photography is missed, but the black-and-white format also makes the book more affordable, which is a plus for parents, schools and children's yoga teachers struggling to work within a limited budget. An excellent feature of the book is that the storytelling section of the book, as well as the pose names themselves, are all printed in both english and french, which makes this a unique reference for Freeman's Canadian neighbors or for those wishing to incorporate a french lesson into their English-speaking class.
Once Upon a Pose proves fairy tales do come true, especially when you wish upon a star for a clear, detailed and illustrative guide to yoga for children. — Amy Bevan
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"In what ways have you helped a child deal with stress, shyness, excess energy, etc. in the school or pre-school environment?"