Yoga for You and Your Child: The Step-by-Step Guide To Enjoying Yoga With Children of All Ages
By Mark Singleton
Non Fiction, Fitness & Exercise
I have to be really honest and say when I agreed to review this book, it was meant to be my husband who was going to review as part of his weekly Ben’s Zone feature. My husband has actually done Yoga classes and knows a lot more about it and is also much more into his fitness than me. I don’t think my few sessions on the Wii Fit count!
However, life has got in the way, and my husband has spent much of the last month travelling with work, so I felt we had left the review too long and decided to give it a go myself.
So first of all hands up, I have never been to a Yoga class in my life, although it is something I keep saying that I should try. With a small exception in that I often have lower back problems, and some of the exercises the physio gave me were actually Yoga stretches. However, my son and I have done keep fit videos together so he has practise of doing things like that with me.
I really must say that this is a lovely book. I love the ethos of teaching your child mindfulness, exercise and that there should be no competition, just focussing instead on what you are doing and what you are achieving. But also to make the sessions as fun as possible.
First of all I read parts of the book and then talked to my son – who is 4 – about them. At first, he was reluctant. So I just casually shrugged and said Mummy is going to do them, you can join in if you want to. Then he saw the pictures in the book and that there was a little boy doing them with his Mum and that seemed to capture his imagination.
Now, if you think that Yoga with your child is going to be all peaceful and deep breathing, then think again. But it was fun and relaxing and my body felt good afterwards.
We haven’t really made it past the simple stages, we’re both novices after all. The shavasana sandwich was a big hit (above). I talked to him, like the book suggests, about how the different stretches etc made him feel as we were doing them and I got some great answers – like I’m growing, like I’m flying, oh look I’m like superman.
We did the first few pages in succession, he was a big fan of the windy tree and the easy bridge (you can see his easy bridge above). Then we started looking through the book together with my son finding pictures of poses he would like to try together. If I thought the pose was too tricky for us at this stage, I gently steered him away, but other than that doing it this way seemed to add to the fun. He really got into the animal poses and of course these needed to be accompanied by animal sounds.
Towards the end of the session, I tried to calm things down a bit, and then he sat on my lap for some gentle breathing. I think this one will take more practise, and he kept looking to me for reassurance. But I do actually think we will get there.
The book does say that Yoga is probably best for children aged 3 or 4 upwards and I would agree on this. My 21 month old daughter was in the background – the book did suggest doing it in a quiet room on your own, but with my husband away that’s pretty impossible – and I did ask her if she wanted to lie on the floor and stretch with us, to which she shook her head. She did seem to like watching us though and maybe as we do it more, she may like to join in too.
In terms of instructions, this book was so simple to follow. Trust me as a total novice I understood what it was telling me and managed to do the poses. As I mentioned earlier I regularly suffer from a lot of lower back pain and my back did feel stretched and not to tight after the session, which was an added bonus, but there were also a couple of moves I avoided for this reason.
When we finished our first session, my son declared – I love Yoga – and that he wanted to do it again. I am so un-sporty, but I can definitely see us doing it again. It was peaceful and fun, that sounds like an odd combination, but that is the best description I can use to explain it to you.
We haven’t really made it to the more complicated or combination moves yet, but I really enjoyed the book. Reading about the benefits Yoga has on children too was very interesting. It is also something I want to continue doing with my son, for both of our benefit and I can see it would be a great thing for children of all ages.
Buy the book on Amazon.
*Disclaimer: Yoga for You and Your Child was sent to me for the purpose of this review, however, all opinions are my own.