Yoga for Children

I saw a book the other day entitled Yoga for Children (actually there are several on Amazon.com right now) and I had to laugh.  Seriously?  A book teaching kids how to do yoga?  Don’t they realize that children pretty much invented yoga?  I have a strong suspicion ancient yogis came up with this stuff by watching their kids.  “Huh, so my son is standing on his head while doing the splits and eating Twinkies.  Maybe I should try that and teach it to others to promote spiritual enlightenment.”

I used to do this all the time.  Now I have a spine.

I used to do this all the time. Now I have a spine.

But here we have people thinking we have to teach our kids this stuff.  Have kids changed that much with all the electronics?  I don’t know.  My kids certainly loved tumbling around and standing on their heads, or lying upside down on the couch with their heads touching the floor.  Another favorite was jumping, crawling, and lying on me, their very favorite prop. I did the same thing, only upped it about a dozen notches.  I enjoyed tumbling toward the television (this was when TVs came in big cabinets that sat on the floor and if you wanted to change the channel you had to get off your butt and pull a KNOB it was the dark ages truly!)  Anyway, I gave my mother quite a few heart attacks with that, but never did fly into the T.V.

I never did fly into this T.V.

See mom? The T.V. is totally safe.

I also didn’t fall off the roof, but not from lack of trying.  Once, a friend and I climbed up on the roof.  Brilliant children that we were, we didn’t think about how my parents might hear us clambering around out there and realize we weren’t giant mutant squirrels.  I remember them yelling and being in BIG TROUBLE but not the specific punishment.  I didn’t do it again, though.  Well, not on my own house anyway.

I did like being upside down.  I performed headstands up against the wall.  I hung off of jungle gyms and monkey bars.  I watched T.V. in “plow pose”, “pigeon pose”, “downward dog”, various forward bends, backward bends, and combinations of these ancient yoga postures.  Who knew I was doing yoga?  Also, to all those who think T.V. makes one sedentary.  Pfft.

You mean kids don't normally watch T.V. this way?

You mean kids don’t normally watch T.V. this way?

But these days we have to teach it to kids?  I can’t find the image now, but somewhere I saw a child doing, ironically, child’s pose.  It cracked me up.  The poor kid looked bushed.  Like, what, had he been at the Lego Star Wars too long?  If so, shouldn’t he be doing some sort of carpal tunnel treatment?   Even weirder are pictures of children meditating.  On what?  “Oh, wow, like that last Dora the Explorer really gave me a paradigm shift there.  I must think on this.”

It's like any minute she's going to open her eyes and be all possessed or something . . .

It’s like any minute she’s going to open her eyes and be all possessed or something . . .

I only wish I could have the limberness of my childhood without the total lack of fear or sanity.  Back when I was a kid, I was immortal, therefore I did not worry about breaking bones like my arm or my leg or my neck.  I was mostly made of rubber.  Not so much now.  And now is when I need it.  Perhaps I can go to my local preschool and find a child guru.  I already know they have nice mats for naptime.

What about your kids?  Are they yoga gurus too, or do we really need these books?

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61 responses

  1. I liked this. We are over doing it for the kids, finding ways to make money out of innocence that has existed since the dark ages.

    1. Oh, I’m sure they’re only making this book to HELP the poor inflexible CHILDREN! Money? What money?

      1. hahahahahahahaha, yeah what money of course they never think about money. Too much rubbish on the market for us to buy.

  2. Everything can be turned into a product.

    1. Next up: A program that shows children how to eat lots of candy and race around the house vibrating.

  3. My kids practice yoga with their dad every morning (it’s that or get totally ignored by him) and then they show me their awesome moves, and then fall over laughing when I fall over trying. Good times.

    1. I can totally see Donkey sticking his butt in the air. At least the kids have fun. Thing Two did some with me but got bored partway through and just sat there.

      1. Mine love to the the tree pose and the various warrior poses. They’re pretty good, but it’s probably because donkey yells at them to do it right or not at all. poor kiddies. But we have fun with it, and laugh, so I’m glad to yin his yang.

        1. Thank goodness they have you! I like those poses too. The warrior ones say “Hey, look, I am a samurai woooot!”

  4. They have clothes for dogs that have a coat made for the winter this is just as logic as that.
    I was inmortal when I was a kid too, now I’m only invincible.

    1. I feel sorry for those dogs. You just know they’d get their butts kicked by other dogs if their owners ever let them out of their purses.

  5. No, we don’t need them, but I’m sure there are people out there who think we do.

    1. There’s actually a yoga pose called “happy baby” where you lay on your back and grab your feet with your hands. You know. Like a baby. Though not totally. It doesn’t say for you to put your foot in your mouth.

      After reading about the Yoga for Kids book I thought of your baby facepalm picture.

      1. Lol, you can use it if you like.

        1. Hey, twindaddy, if you want to exercise and read you can always read on a treadmill or an exercise bike. They even have desks built with little bikes under them so you can blog and exercise. That might be the solution for me. Sit on my butt at the computer, pedaling away.

          1. The problem with having one of those in the house, though, is keeping Baby C off of it.

          2. Ah, good point. I can’t even keep the Things off of it. You should see the 8 year old leaning so far so she can reach the pedals that she’s only got her shoulders in the seat. You can buy a bike that folds up nicely in a closet, though.

          3. I’ll look into it. For now we just take multiple walks around the neighborhood. When it’s not raining…

    2. I disagree, TwinDaddy – we absolutely need them – for a variety of reasons. Kids benefit from Yoga and being in a class with others working on movement and calmness. (I wrote a bit more below). My son is not inclined to do a lot of crazy stuff b/c he is afraid of falling (visual spatial processing delays) and this kind of class allows him to work on it and feel safe. And it’s fun. And Joyous – and he is so happy afterwards. That is a gift.

      1. It’s great that he benefits from it, but I still don’t see it as a need. I’ve actually considered starting this when I have time, but I don’t know where to begin…

        1. A need for the classes? Because not all kids have a place with big spaces – and not all kids are inclined to move their bodies around by themselves without a little guidance.

          Even his therapists have suggested Yoga and Meditation as part of on going therapy.

          1. Well, everyone’s different…

          2. Teach me, wise one.

          3. I’m only half kidding. I’m seriously considering doing this yoga thing…

          4. Fuckin’ DO IT! And, of course, I’d suggest BIKRAM!

          5. I have been hoping my husband would give it a go – but so far nada…

          6. I need to do something, and I should have the time to do that something coming soon, so that’s as good as anything else.

          7. I love exercise! I hope you do too…

          8. Honestly, I’d rather read or something. I don’t mind exercise, but I need to get off my ass.

  6. Yep, yoga owes some of its poses to children. Infants, even. They don’t call it the ‘Happy Baby’ pose for nothing. 🙂

    1. Also dogs, and crocodiles, and pigeons, and cats, and dolphins . . . how many dolphins were there in India?

      1. whatdyacallem, irrawaddy river dolphins? pink ones? i swear i’m not making this up. think they might be pretty much extinct now, though.
        going to have to google and check i didn’t hallucinate this

        1. There are PINK DOLPHINS? How did I not know about this? Do they sparkle too? I WANT ONE.

  7. Hey, Alice! I have a brilliant business proposition: yoga for kids classes! Not a book, an actual class that their parents will have to pay for. Kids are so flexible nobody can say we’re not getting results

    1. Hee hee – Miss Four Eyes – read my comment below 🙂

    2. LOOK, I taught these kids to sit Indian style! I’m BRILLIANT! 😀

  8. Timing is everything – today is the day my son goes to a Yoga for Kids class and I take a regular Yoga class. It’s actually really good for him – he has tight hamstrings from multiple gut surgeries and he is very wired most of the time – so this class stretches his body and offers him a lot of grounding and calm. I notice every Wed he is more gentle, calmer and less likely to argue about everything after class.

    He is not flexible and has some visual spacial processing delays which encumber his co-ordination (not that you’d notice from seeing him in a regular environment) – so this is a safe place for him to work and feel confident. Also – he loves playing and running around with all the other kids that are in the class. When they do Lion it’s awesome. The entire class of 10 kids is energetic and awesome – and we hear them in the next room and just smile wishing we had that kind of abandonment and joy all the time.

    So absolutely I think we need MORE Yoga classes for kids.

    Miss Four Eyes – it’s already happening. There are schools that have movement classes for kids – especially kids with special needs that benefit from some guidance and movement.

    1. Looks like it really is helping your son a lot. That’s very nice. I wish I’d done more yoga as a kid, all that calm sounds good.

      Although I am a tad disappointing that someone already took my brilliant and original idea!

      1. Hee hee – you can still make money!

      2. Pfft, the idea doesn’t have to be brilliant or original – just say that it is. That’s how E.L. James got published, after all. We can offer the ALL NEW Yoga for Kids and make it a bouncy house with brief periods of forced meditation (possibly using Children’s Valium).

    2. Yes, Miss Four Eyes and I can still offer classes for children, having had the experience of being children ourselves and still having roughly the same maturity. I can understand how yoga would be beneficial to children not as insane as I was and / or with physical disabilities. Unlike many sports, yoga is not competitive. That’s appealing right there. Also, more people can do it. I really detest a lot of little leagues where the parents try to live through their children and push them so hard. I hated the competition in sports (because I sucked at sports) so I probably would have benefited from yoga class. I’d have already known how to do most of the poses already!

      I’m honestly amazed I survived my childhood. Of course my friends were just as batty as I was. That was back when your parents just let you out the door and hoped you stayed out as long as possible. Like a mini Lord of the Flies.

      Seriously, glad it is helping your son. All kids deserve to feel good about themselves and their abilities.

      1. I was sucko at sports too – so I totally get you. I remember doing handstands in the tight space of wall btwn the hallway and my mom’s curio cabinet and having NO IDEA why it made her crazy.

        I hate competition in general – and really wanted to scream when my son did soccer thru the YMCA for a ‘season’ – 99% of the parents were cool – 1% made it sucko for everyone a couple of times. The kid wanted to die but his parents were trying to micromanage everything and yelling at the VOLUNTEER coach … it was insane. I’m glad my kid wanted to go back to dodge ball – which is super fun and just a bunch of kids running around hurling balls at each other and squealing with delight … YMCA style!

  9. Yoga for kids? Ok. That’s pushing it a tad. I agree, as a kid I tumbled all over the show and could always be doing yoga-esque stuff.Gosh, my niece and nephew need no help in the rough house and tumble department. Kids naturally know how to do this sort of stuff. It’s innate. But then again, I’ve met kids with busier schedules than adults so maybe there is something to it. But let’s just allow kids to be kids. Then there may be no need for kiddie yoga.

    1. Our society is different now than when we were children. More adults working, fewer neighborhoods with young children to play with, everyone very busy. I kid, but sadly there is stress put on children by schools with the constant testing. A kid under 12 should not be stressed, but my daughter was so worried about one of the standardized tests she got sick! Ugh.

      1. Oh my gosh! The poor kid 😦 Yeah, I agree. I’ve heard of kindergarten kids undergoing testing. What on earth man?! Its KINDERGARTEN! You’re meant to play with dough and finger paint and have FUN.

  10. I used to do a little bit yoga with kids in my classes when I was teaching – for breaks, and for fun. I also used a meditation/relaxation specially for kids with a couple of classes (7 year olds) and it was amazing how interested they were in it and the sort of things they said afterwards about what it had felt like and what their mind did.
    Sadly I don’t agree that all kids are bendy and physical and fearless etc. Or maybe that’s Scotland. We’re not called ‘the sick man of Europe’ for nothing. A few kids do lots of physical stuff, some do some, far too many do none. Lots seem to love the chance to have a go at yoga.
    As for money making, my 7 yo niece is so flexible I think she can be my lovely assistant when I qualify. I’ll just stand about saying things like ‘do hanumanasana. Like her’ and point. Or perhaps I could tour her round the country like a Victorian freak show.

    1. Yeah, kids don’t seem to be as active these days. They worried about TV with us, but that’s nothing compared to computers, smart phones, etc. About the only thing exercised is the fingers.

      I could totally tour the Things as a freak show. That’d be great.

  11. I don’t have kids, but my cats are really good at yoga.

    1. This is so true – I even have a pic of them.

  12. Baaaack in my day – go and have a rest and you will feel better. Yoga for children…to teach them how to cope with the anxiety of living in today’s world perhaps? Can’t say if I am for or against, if it helps them yay go and bend yourself like a pretzel, if not go relieve your anx outside in the garden or snuggled up in bed.

    1. Outside? What is this outside you speak of? Is that the place with the big yellow thing in the sky?

  13. So do you reckon people who buy this stuff force their children into it, ‘train’ them (‘Honey, keep your body aligned to the floor now…’) or join in? There must be a lot of bored parents out there for this stuff to sell.

    1. They bought Baby Mozart which is just puppets and classical music, so yeah.

  14. I miss being that flexible. I think it stopped when I started high school, I didn’t keep on beinding like that and so now I can’t. Which is a bit sucky as I quite like sitting cross-legged on the floor and I can only manage it for 5 minutes before my circulation stops (and then I can’t stand up which is embarrassing).

    I don’t know if my nieces are still this flexible, but I would imagine so as the eldest one does ballet and is (scary thought) about to start going en pointe in her classes!!

    1. Yikes. I don’t know how they do that. I wanted to be a ballerinka (that’s what I called it) when I was five, but then I took a class and was like, this is hard. I thought my daughter would be one too. Perfectly built for it – all pixie like and willowy. She thought the same thing. Like, why won’t they let me just flounce around? WTF with all the steps?

      1. I would have loved dance lessons as a kid. Maybe if I’d had dance lessons instead of going swimming I’d be less clumsy now.

        And yes, if the kids are serious about dance, they will let them learn the point work, but not until they’re over 11 because of having to have strong enough bones in the feet to be able to cope. You can’t dance on maimed feet, well, not so good anyway.

  15. I taught my kids yoga – it was the only way I could flat-pack them both into the wardrobe while we went on holiday 😉

    1. Hahaha! Panda! You’re back!

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