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Storyland Yoga and Bringing Your Own Child Out to Play

Posted Jul 23 2010 2:19pm

The other night a friend conned me into watching VH-1's "I Love the 70s." The show highlights all things 70s from leisure suits to CB radios to Shrinky Dinks to Josie and the Pussycats .  Whoa -- this 38-year-old got hit with a wave of nostalgia. I started thinking about the joys of childhood -- and I realized how simple things were back then. I wasn't raised with video games (I didn't get an Atari until I was 11 and never logged hours with a joystick in my hand) or cell phones. The Twin Towers of the World Trade Center were still standing, I didn't run from playgroup to playdate to practice to camp and I ate dinner with my family every night.

The Good Ole Days

Suffice to say -- things are a wee bit more complicated these days for kids. There are all sorts of afflictions plaguing kids -- everything from obesity to carpel tunnel from too much texting to ADHD. I'm so very glad that I grew up in the 70s and 80s. While I'm sure my parents would say that those times seemed complicated compared to the 40s and 50s, I feel like my childhood was idyllic compared to the kids of today. I never went out with a group of friends in which everyone was speaking to someone else on a cell phone; I wasn't subject to my parents fighting to get me into the "right" pre-school so that I was on the fast-paced college track; I wasn't afflicted with video game controller claw from too much time playing video games; I didn't worry that the environment was going to hell in a handbasket. Yep, I definitely grew up with less stress than children today.

Offering Kids Organic Time

All the more reason kids need yoga, right? The folks over at Playful Planet ( read about the people behind this company and you won't be able to resist buying from them ) agree and have released a delightful (and educational) DVD that kids are sure to love -- Storyland Yoga . The DVD, appropriate for ages 3-8, engages the child fully, with a mix of storytelling, imagination, play, and physical interaction. Teacher Ahmed Fahmy ( who teachers kids and grown-up classes at this CA studio ) calls it organic time -- time away from TV and video games. Rather than depend on others to entertain them, this DVD encourages children to ignite their own imagination as they follow along to the DVD.

The DVD includes two practices: Condor Trek, which runs a little over 23 minutes and Save the Whale, which runs a little over 18 minutes. As you can tell by the titles, the DVD offers a positive respect-nature,-the-environment-and-endangered-species message as well as entertaining stories. When taking the children on a journey, Fahmy uses some environmentally-friendly modes of transportation -- bicycle and electric car. Fahmy, who is engaging and creative, effortlessly weaves yoga postures into the stories and easily holds the viewer's attention. I just love how the practices engage children's' minds, bodies, and emotions.

The poses featured in the practices include Warrior 2, Warrior variation, Bow variation, Seated Forward Bend, Butterfly, Bow, Warrior 1 variation, Pigeon, Bow and Forward Bend dynamic variation, Squat, Child's Pose, Plank, Cobra, and Sun Salutations. The Special Features section includes a pose clip that puts all of the poses together, which is great to show children so they can see how poses are done and/or for them to practice to when they don't feel like watching the full segments.

Storyland Yoga -- Eco-Conscious, Yogalicous Fun!

I don't have kids, but if I did, you can bet that I'd have this DVD on the daily watch list. I invited my friend's children over to do this DVD with me and we had a blast! Perhaps I'm 38 going on 8 but I loved the practices. My favorite parts were the bicycling in Condor Trek and Frog Pose (complete with ribbits!) in Save the Whale. We laughed, we had fun, and we got a nice stretch. The DVD promises to help children "connect with nature" and gain "respect for their own health and well-being" and I'd say that the DVD accomplished that and a whole lot more. 

Here's a preview of Storyland Yoga:



Win Your Own Copy of Storyland Yoga

I'm giving away a copy of this wonderful DVD. Just comment on this post by Friday, August 6. I'll pick one commenter at random to win a Storyland Yoga DVD. Good luck!

25 Reasons Your Kids Should Do Yoga

If you have kids and you haven't introduced them to yoga, why not give it a try? Click here for a list of 25 reasons why your kids should do Yoga.


Be Childlike

Even though I've been practicing yoga for quite some time, I actually learned some valuable lessons from practicing to a kids DVD. The kids didn't care about pose perfection, they smiled and laughed throughout the practice, and they told me that they imagined themselves in the story while they were in the poses. I could stand to do all of these things a bit more in my own practice. After all, perfection is overrated, yogis don't smile nearly enough during yoga practice, and it's pretty darned fun to imagine that I'm a snake when practicing cobra. Next time you step onto your mat, why not let the kid in you come out to play?

Yoga Poses that Bring Out the Kid in You

When I first started practicing yoga and going to yoga workshops, sitting on the floor for hours was distracting at best and painful at worst. The teacher would watch us all squirming on the floor and laugh, saying that our hips are tight because we've always sat in chairs. He referenced his time in Thailand, saying that the people there are flexible on account of squatting and sitting without chairs. After that, I began squatting every day for 5 minutes or so. It's definitely made a difference for me in terms of flexibility and lower back stiffness. It may not bring you back to child-like flexibility, but learning to squat and incorporating it into your daily schedule can make a difference. Click here for a brief lesson in squatting

As for other poses that bring out the kid in me, I enjoy these:

  • Butterfly (I love to alternate between moving my knees up and down dynamically and being static in this pose)
  • Frog pose (the Kundalini version)

Go forth and be childlike!

Namaste!

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