May 2015

Yoga Games for Children. Fun and Fitness with Postures, Movements, and Breath
by Danielle Bersma & Marjoke Visscher

Yoga

Namaste and welcome to our yoga games book review!

I was ably assisted in this review by two small volunteers aged 4 and 7, who agreed (a TV bribe was admittedly involved) to test out the ‘yoga games’ from this book with me. The authors suggest working through a series of the games, beginning with breathing, then yoga postures and relaxation, providing a structure which is similar to that of an adult yoga class. The games are designed for children between 3 and 12 with age recommendations for each game. We managed 40 minutes in all, which was far longer than I would have anticipated, especially as early notices were mixed.

“Yoga’s not my thing, I don’t like it!”

We started with a few breathing exercises, the most popular of which was ‘Blowing Leaves’ which as the name suggests, encourages  awareness of the breath travelling in the body by blowing leaves around the room. A good storm ensued. We then tried ‘Animal Sounds’ and running around making a bee noise was also popular so we had a go at ‘Feeling Sounds Through the Back’ with the children sitting back-to-back and taking turns to try and to feel the resonance of one another’s singing or talking. Both declared they could hear the noises ‘in my ear’ so possibly this one needs some practice!

Moving on to poses, the  control needed for the ‘Cobra’ proved difficult, but more light-hearted exercises with suggestions to make the noise of a lion or make a funny face were met enthusiastically and we all especially enjoyed ‘The Sun Salutations for Children’ which included the instruction to ‘try to look silly’. A passing Granny was even successfully co-opted to this exercise. The sun salutations were great fun despite the clouds in the sky outside, and our 7 year old reviewer had learnt the sequence off by heart after a few turns.

Another surprising highlight was ‘Tree’ pose, which initially both children became very frustrated by. But with some gentle hand-holding for balance and a wee bit of patience they eventually really enjoyed gaining mastery of balancing on one leg. We needed a lie-down after all that work… The relaxation exercise ‘White Light’ was thoroughly resisted by the ever-fidgety 7 year old present,

“I didn’t really enjoy that!”

But greatly enjoyed by Granny at the end of a long day and by our 4 year old reviewer who reported,

“I actually did feel a white light in me!”

The book is simply laid out and easy to use and adapt to a range of situations and ages. It is primarily aimed at group-work or school settings but even with our very small group we still had a huge amount of laughs. The focus is very much on having fun and enjoying the movements. There are also lots of opportunities for children to talk about how the exercises feel and to develop physical and emotional self-awareness through them. Several games employ the cotton wool balls familiar from Theraplay games, so these could easily be introduced with a Theraplay game or two. Just choosing a few yoga games and having fun with them was a lovely way to spend a wet summer evening.

This months review comes from Ariane Critchley, a Senior Practitioner in the After Adoption team. This book along with all previous books for our featured section can be borrowed from our library. Call 0131-553-5060 for more information.

To purchase this book or view a variety of information, books and resources for those living or working with children impacted by trauma please visit - www.cairnsmoirconnections.org

 

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