Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Yoga Adventures for Children

Yoga Adventures for Children: Playing, Dancing, Moving, Breathing, Relaxing by Helen Purperhart (Alameda, CA: Hunter House, 2007) is a terrific book for all ages. I received a free review copy by signing on to a publishers' review program through LibraryThing and am absolutely delighted with it. I will donate it to my daughter's school, where I'm sure they'll make much use of it. It's the approach to yoga that I enjoy, a playful yet serious introduction to exercises that are easy to remember through their connection to animals and nature. With lovely, simple illustrations by Barbara van Amelsfort, one can easily lead children through the basic postures of yoga, from simple neck stretches to the salute to the sun and cooperative games. Each exercise is presented with an illustration and easy-to-follow instructions. The approach makes it all fun and imaginative and still holds true to basic yoga postures and practices. There's an introduction, including "the Rules of Yoga" (such things as cleanliness, honesty, and other simple virtues), and then the exercises are divided into appealing sections: warmups, postures, games, breathing and on to stories and visualizations to help children internalize the practices. The illustrations clearly and playfully make the exercises easy to remember.
Now that yoga has become normal in mainstream American culture, guides like this are very welcome. A section near the end explains in simple, matter-of-fact terms some of the philosophy behind the practices, such as a simple introduction to the idea of chakras, with easy exercises for each one. A helpful last section groups the activities according to numbers of people needed or props which are useful
Highly recommended for anyone who works with children or any adults wishing a clear and easy introduction to yoga.

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