Kiddie yoga time. I get it. I am now the ultimate parody of a southsider. My ‘tell’, isn’t the blonde highlights, the years spent in UCD or even the fact that my voice sounds a little too close to Mary Lou McDonald’s for comfort. It’s the fact that I’m going to write this, and post it, and mean it. Dear god, what has become of me. Soon I’ll be talking trans-atlantic and ending sentences with ‘like’. Again.
So anyway, yoga. In the childless days I loved it. I wandered between Ashtanga and Vinyassa flow classes and even dabbled in pilates. After a day in the office, or at a lunchtime class, I loved the relaxation, the slightly dribblish nap I’d catch during the meditation, and even developed about 32% of a tummy muscle at one point. On pregnancy number 1, I kept it up and swore by my Active Birth positions in the labour ward. I squished in a few classes on pregnancy number 2 and used baby turning positions and the birthing ball to successfully encourage Yoda from her transverse lie. By pregnancy number 3 I had no time for classes and was more likely to be found adopting the downward dog trying to fish an action figure out from behind the couch, than in a yoga studio. But I faithfully turned back to breech tilts and some ‘baby turning’ positions just before Woodie’s arrival as he was spinning all over the place. Whether it was the yoga, the moxa sticks, the Gentle Birth tracks, or time, something paid off and that baby flipped. So yoga has been good to me, good for me and I miss it.
Over the Summer holidays I was watching Spidey simultaneously pick, rub and pull at various body parts. He’s genetically predisposed to it you see. His father is renowned for serious beard scratching, face rubbing and all manner of fidgeting. There’s a point on any evening out where advanced face-rubbing means the fella is really stewed, or wrecked, or both. In time I may develop an international standard – the FRI (Face Rubbing Index), to gauge his relative level of disinterest, but I’ll probably leave that to another day. Afterall this post is meant to be about kiddie yoga.
So my plan was to teach Spidey and Yoda a little mindfulness and maybe give them a little something to calm them, or at least to give him something to while away an hour or two on very dull days when I lacked the energy to run around the park. I picked up Yoga Kids: Fun Collection for ages 3 to 6, based on a quick scouse of the reviews, my previous good experience with Gaiam yoga DVDs, and the fact that it included free stickers. If all else failed, I thought, there would at least be the stickers to fall back on.
The pack included two DVD, and the blessed stickers. I set the kids up with a yoga mat each in the sitting room and we got going. The set up is fairly standard – a teacher and a group of students, kids in this instance. The lady had a slightly annoying (American) accent which Yoda struggled to understand and, needless to say the selection of kids was a CBeebies style exercise in inclusiveness, but all was good. The first DVD, ABC’s for ages 3-6, worked through the alphabet with letter shapes, animals and other movements to get the kids moving. My little phonics nerd Spidey was particularly in love with this one. The second DVD is called Silly to Calm – which if ever a title spoke to a mother, this one sure did! It was very playful and again used basic yoga poses – tree, downward dog, tiger, child, to wind the kids up and then bring them back down! Both programmes offer a really good range of poses and positions and keep the whole thing light, fun and interesting.
Both DVDs were 40 minutes long. I generally give them a shot at one and leave it at that – though Spidey often begs for more. Yoda, at only 3-and-a-half doesn’t last the pace of an entire one but Spidey certainly does and – deep breath, he seems to listen to the teacher’s instructions – a feat he has not actually mastered with a real life authority figure.
All in all, these DVDs are a complete winner in my book. The exercises are age appropriate and well explained. They are fun and the kids love them. The kids ask for yoga time and it’s a great fallback on an afternoon after school where they are tetchy to do something. The DVDs go at a fairly good pace so while a first timer is a little behind unless you pause it every so often, it doesn’t get boring as they become more familiar with it. It helps a little that I know the moves, but it is in no way essential that you would have done yoga yourself. I sat with them through the first few runs but these days they get on with it themselves, screaming for me to pause only to fight about who stood on the others’ mat.
Does the kiddie yoga time make my kids a little more settled, mindful and centred? Well maybe it’s a little premature for any such miracle, but so far these little gems do guarantee them a nice bit of exercise, a little practice at co-ordination and me the pleasure of a cup of tea, on a soggy day. If that isn’t the definition of peace, what is?
I wasn’t given a review copy of this DVD, nor was I asked to promote it in any way. I’m just a very tired women who dreams of less nose picking, and believes in a little parenting solidarity.