When I was in Kindergarten, we weren’t all that worried about physical fitness. I do remember we used to sing the song this review’s title comes from (originally from Romper Room, which I doubt very many of you remember, but here’s an Australian version, in case you need an earworm), but that was as far as actual exercise went in our classroom. Fast forward a dozen years or so, to about a decade ago, and now I’m teaching preschool in Cambridge Mass, basically in Harvard’s back yard, and all the kids have been taking yoga classes since before they could stand. So we taught our own version of yoga – simple and short enough for four-year-olds to enjoy – and this book would definitely have come in handy then.
Good Morning Yoga, is all about the salutations and poses that make up a gentle, easy practice, but presenting it in such an enjoyable and informative way that may really light a spark for kids. Filled with easy instructions about how to move into each pose, and what to do when you’re there (As I breathe in, as I breathe out, I sit with my legs crossed. My spine grows taller, my shoulders roll back, and I rest my hands on my knees). These instructions accompany colorful, quirky illustrations of children in each pose, often placed in a more playful setting – balancing table becomes an explorer looking out to sea, for example – and a simple, short rhyming sentence or two to move the story forward. The book concludes with all 12 recommended poses, their instructions and pictures, so kids can see the whole routine put together, if they’d like.
I’m never going to be teaching yoga to thirty four year olds again, but I have used a lot of the practices – especially the breathing and stretching parts – with my niblings, to good effect. Letting them get a little focus is always a plus. A book like this would be an invaluable tool, if you’ve got littles who’d like to learn – either on their own, or with you. There’s also apparently a Good Night Yoga companion book, as well, which I’ve read as well, and quite enjoyed. Sarah Jane Hinder’s illustrations are spectacular – yoga poses seem like they would be as hard to draw as they can be complicated to actually do, but she somehow manages to capture them all perfectly.
(Thanks to NetGalley for the advance copy.)