I’m continuing this week’s sensory-themed posts today with a book review of Yoga for Children: 200+ Yoga Poses, Breathing Exercises, and Meditations for Healthier, Happier, More Resilient Children by Lisa Flynn, E-RYT, RCYT. My children were first introduced to yoga when they were very young and it has proved to be a great way for them to calm themselves while building strength and coordination. When I was presented with the opportunity to review Yoga for Children I jumped on it.
Yoga for Children will encourage your child to learn about yoga with an attentive, at-home instructor – you! Even if you are new to the practice, author, mom, and children’s yoga expert Lisa Flynn will guide you and your child through more than 200 yoga poses, meditations and activities that are suitable for children between the ages of two and twelve. Complete with full-color photographs, instructional scripts, and pose modifications, Yoga for children will help build your child’s confidence, self-awareness, and focus while strengthening your connection – one yoga session at a time.
In addition to her early introduction to yoga, my 9 year-old daughter, Ava, has been exposed to a variety of yoga poses through her ballet program and so she gladly offered to share a few of the examples provided in the book. In the picture at the beginning of the post, Ava is doing the Upward Facing Dog. As you can see by her left elbow, she has joint hypermobility – don’t worry, hyperextending your elbow isn’t part of the pose.
The next pose she wanted to share (photo below) is called the Wheel. According to the book, The Wheel will improve spine flexibility, build strength and open the chest and lungs.
The Airplane is the third pose from the book she is demonstrating. The airplane improves balance and coordination and also strengthens and stretches the hamstrings, back and arms.
These are just three of the many poses in the book and if they look intimidating or beyond your child’s ability, don’t worry because the book has beginner poses as well. There is a reason Ava is demonstrating these poses and not me – if I were to demonstrate you’d see a nice happy Tree Pose and the Warrior II.
As I mentioned previously, this is another sensory-themed post but if you’re wondering how yoga could possibly be related to sensory integration, let me allow book author Lisa Flynn explain in her own words. I asked her about the benefits of yoga for children with sensory integration disorder and this is what she had to say.
“Children with autism, PDD, ADD and Sensory Integration Disorder (“SI” or “SID”) have difficulty receiving and processing information through their five senses, and then appropriately responding to it. This processing becomes increasingly challenging when a child is in a highly stimulating environment or is experiencing stress.
Traditionally, therapies involve structured and repetitive stimulation of the senses to help the child’s mind and body learn to constructively process the information coming in. Over time, the goal is for the child’s processing to become more automated with the outcome of appropriate response or behavior.
Sensory integration activities are inherent in the practice of yoga! Encouraging the engagement of the 5 main sensory systems; tactile, proprioceptive, vestibular, visual and auditory, yoga enhances body awareness, coordination, balance, focus, communication and socialization skills, anxiety reduction while building self confidence and self-esteem.”
Both yoga and dance, specifically ballet, have been tremendously beneficial to Ava. She has always been a sensory seeker and had coordination issues early on but now, as you can see from these photos, she is graceful, coordinated and quite strong.
I highly recommend Yoga for Children – Flynn presents the information in an easy-to-read and easy-to-follow format. Both of my children have enjoyed reading through the book and practicing the poses and meditations since we first received our review copy several weeks ago.