I have always been captivated by picture books. If you're trying to find me at a bookstore, chances are I'll be immersed in illustrations. Those very drawings, along with a passion for yoga, have led me to purchase many children's yoga books throughout the years. Despite my growing library, I am constantly on the lookout for new yoga books to share with my girls or to use in a class.
Of the many books I've obtained over time, the following three reads find themselves in constant circulation at our house. These particular books keep my girls engaged and, on occasion, I have even found them flipping through the books independently while mimicking the pictured poses. These three books have also provided me with the most inspiration as I develop my own new series of yoga stories.
The Little Yoga series is ideal for the youngest yogi. I introduced this book to each of my girls around 18 months with great success. The story is very simple and repetitive, making it best-suited for this age group. Each spread shows an illustration of a child in the desired pose, with the corresponding animal on the facing page. A quick book with only 9 poses, it is perfect for short attention spans (and for weary parents who are on the 6th book of the night). I liken it to flash cards in book format. Of the three books reviewed here, this one includes the best practice tips section, along with very helpful pose descriptions for the adults who want to dive a little deeper. I own two of the books in this series and they are equally loved in our home.
My favorite part about You Are a Lion! is the sequencing of the story. The first spread sets up the desired pose, followed by a playful spread that shows what animal your child has become in that pose. For example, on the first spread you might read the following: "Lie on your stomach. Hands next to your shoulders, push up. You are a..." (flip the page) "...snake", followed by a playful little rhyme. The illustrations are beautifully done and engaging. The page sequencing allows you to do the poses right as you read the book. While this might sound obvious, I've found many yoga books that are not that convenient. This book has been a big hit with my 2-6 year-old classes.
Last but not least:
I was immediately drawn to Good Night Yoga because of the amazing illustrations. I'm in love with them. This book walks through bedtime, from the setting sun to the rising moon, as all the little creatures head home to nestle into their beds. While the sequencing is intuitive in this book, it did take me a few attempts to find the right flow for reading it out loud. I initially found myself reading only the story or only the poses until I became familiar enough with the book to put it all together.
Two other features, aside from the illustrations, really stand out for me in this book. First off, I like the focus on breath. Each pose description includes "As I breathe in, As I breathe out". The other unique feature is the cloud visualization at the end of the book. Each night I tuck my youngest into her "cloud" (aka crib) and read her the little story, which takes her on a cloud ride up, up, up and then down, down, down. It's a great touch for a bedtime yoga book!
I'd love to hear what yoga books you enjoy with your children. Please share your stories in the comments below.
Peace + Play- erica