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Yoga Calms Kids and Gets Them Ready to Learn

  by Jeanne Duffey for Parent + Family
In This Review

Yoga Games for Children by Danielle Bersma and Marjoke Visscher

Yoga by Elizabeth Silas and Diane Goodney

Everything You Need to Know About Yoga: An Introduction for Teens by Stefanie Iris Weiss

Fit Kids: A Practical Guide to Raising Healthy and Active Children—from Birth to Teens by Mary L. Gavin, Steven A. Dowshen and Neil Izenberg

Exercising for Good Health by Shirley Gray

 
 
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Yoga for kids? It seems a stretch in our western view of exercise, but, according to yoga teachers Danielle Bersma and Marjoke Visscher, children are natural yogis who spontaneously strike traditional poses and invent new ones as they play.

In their book, “Yoga Games for Children,” available for checkout at any of the branches of the Springfield-Greene County Library District, the duo write that the practice of yoga—a centuries-old system of mind and body fitness—can be used to help youngsters develop strength, flexibility, coordination and awareness.

The benefits of yoga for children are numerous, but one of the most important, especially as we get our kids ready for the new school year, is that “taking a moment to breathe, relax or stretch will leave students calm and alert, ready to learn.”

“Yoga fits right into the Library’s ‘Minds in Motion’ initiative,” says Youth Services Coordinator Vera Florea. “Our librarians know the importance of the balance of exercising your body as well as your brain.”

Library storytimes always include movement—dancing, hopping and jumping—followed by quiet reading by a librarian.

Bersma and Visscher explain that some yoga poses are not suitable for children’s growing bodies; the yoga games described in their book are labeled to support children’s different levels of maturity and motor skills.

“The general practice of yoga does not have to be watered down for kids. The practice of yoga is a growth process in which each phase is as important as the next.” Presenting yoga as a game appeals to a child’s sense of fun and pleasure.

Here are two other books that can be used to introduce your kids (and yourself) to yoga and another couple of volumes that address exercise for children:

 
-Jeanne Duffey is Community Relations Director for the Springfield-Greene County Library District.
   
 
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