by Carla Murphy
Yoga took North America by storm in the 1960s, when an interest in Eastern religion swept the continent. An appreciation for the physical and spiritual benefits of yoga has remained from that era, and its popularity increases with each passing decade. Even children are now able to enjoy basic techniques with the help of books like Itsy Bitsy Yoga for Toddlers and Preschoolers by Helen Garabedian.
Featuring 50 easy to learn and practical poses for children from 28 months to 5 years, Itsy Bitsy Yoga for Toddlers and Preschoolers includes yoga-based postures & games, developmental movement exercises, and playful rhymes designed to increase parent-child bonding and promote a healthy lifestyle.
This program is an easy, gentle way to introduce daily physical activity to young children and get moving yourself, and no previous yoga experience is needed. The book is divided into ten sections which each focus on everyday activities, moods, and routines such as waking up, bed time, waiting, and tantrums. Clear instructions, written in simple terms that young children can understand, are accompanied by photos showing each position along with tips on when each activity can be the most helpful.
According to the author, some of the benefits of the program include: fewer tantrums, better sleep, improved digestion, higher self-esteem, increased listening skills, better self-expression, improved gross and fine motor development, easier relaxation, and starting your child on the path to a healthy and physically fit lifestyle. A literature review on the benefits of yoga for children, published in Pediatric Physical Therapy, found substantial evidence that yoga helps children physically, mentally, and emotionally: My son’s grade two teacher started their day with some simple yoga poses and found that the class settled more quickly and concentrated better.
This is a fun and entertaining book for parents and children to do on their own or to use in combination with one of the many Itsy Bitsy Yoga classes to be found in Toronto.