While kids' yoga is certainly catching on across this country and other nations as well, some families may not have luck finding a class that suits their child's needs, or they may prefer to enjoy yoga at home where they are most comfortable. Thanks to Yoga Playgrounds, young children and their parents have a terrific resource for practicing yoga at home.
I recently took advantage of a cold winter afternoon to check out the "Pizza Party" DVD with my daughter, age 5. I was pleasantly surprised at her focus and attention throughout the entire program. It's very important to sample children's products with children themselves, for a true test of its effectiveness. To me, watching the video as an adult, I thought the video's on-screen teacher, Lisa Detamore moved too slowly through the poses. But practicing with my daughter, I noticed her having an easier time following along, as she has always been a mostly visual learner, taking in visual cues and then imitating once she has had ample time to absorb something new. What a great job Detamore did with this technique!
As a teacher, I gained new insight into fun ways to engage this age group. After an impressive warm up sequence, Detamore used a vinyasa style class to lead the students towards difficult balances and powerful standing poses. I was impressed at her even tone of voice as she led the children from "Hero Pose" (Warrior I) to "Airplane Pose" (Warrior III). The way in which Detamore led the children step-by-step, was extremely effective in guiding their slow and careful practice.
Another aspect of the video I commend is her ability to point out "yoga rules," such as staying in your "yoga body" and taking each pose slowly and carefully, as opposed to rushing into the posture. She had an interesting way of making mistakes, then correcting herself, to demonstrate her point. I admire this technique, as I'm sure a class of children would appreciate knowing their teacher is not the perfect yogi, allowing them to give themselves a break while practicing.
The stretches demonstrated were not necessarily your "run-of-the-mill" kids' poses, so Yoga Playgrounds' unique way of instructing them was appreciated. My favorite pose was the flower, where the kids just beamed on screen, looking proud of their practice, staying in their "yoga bodies."
The pizza party at the end was a fun way to conclude the active class portion. I especially loved Detamore's use of her foot as a telephone to call family and friends, inviting them for pizza!
I recommend this video to parents and caregivers at home with young children (the video suggests age 3-7), school teachers and kids' yoga instructors for interesting techniques and new ideas. I will keep my copy and practice again with my five-year-old and her friends. — Amy Bevan
The Yoga Playgrounds Pizza Party DVD is available in ChildLight Yoga's Boutique for $15