JoAnna Ross, an Anusara yoga instructor and lifelong Broadway performer, brings her smile and positive energy to her children's yoga DVD, Yoga by the Dozen. Yoga by the Dozen, a fun introduction to yoga for children age 2 through 6, is brief, yet comprehensive, and a terrific way to expose children to a yoga class from the privacy of your own home. (This is great for those kids whose nerves get the best of them in a group setting away from Mom or Dad.)
At the beginning of the video, JoAnna leads a brief discussion of the importance of breath in yoga. She also works with Charlotte, one of her 12 yoginis featured in the video, to point out various body parts and go over some of her most used yoga instructions. A great idea, as most five-year-olds like Charlotte may not otherwise know what "lift your heart" means, or where their kidneys are, as in "kidneys up!" during downward-facing-dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana).
JoAnna then leads her class through a fun and fast warm up, which elicits many giggles from the "magic circle" which surrounds her. I love her twist on the pre-school term for sitting cross-legged. "Criss-cross yoga sauce" makes the kids think first, but then find the pose in unison following the warm up.
As the title describes, this DVD teaches twelve different poses. As an experienced ChildLight Yoga instructor of this age group, I am surprised at the level of difficulty of some of these poses. While the Warrior Series and Triangle poses are good introductory poses, some of the others, such as Bakasana (crow), Ardha Chandrasana (half-moon) and Tittibhasana (firefly) seemed advanced for young children. While it's entirely possible for these yoginis to perform the poses, I would hope that a parent or other responsible caregiver would assist their child watching and attempting these postures for the first time.
JoAnna does a wonderful job of teaching from the heart, going with the flow of the kids and including everyone in the practice. She is full of light, and you can tell the kids really enjoy her as their instructor. With an obvious absence of silliness, such as you normally find with early childhood yoga videos and classes, she has a magical touch with the kids that keeps their attention.
This video will entertain and inform children, their parents and caregivers, and teachers training in children's yoga. –Amy Bevan