Young yogis being made in Warkworth and Matakana
Posted at 11:53am Monday 02 Dec, 2019
Combining yoga, book reading and two-year-olds might sound like a recipe for disaster but for Kelly Barr it's ‘organised chaos'.
Kelly teaches young children basic yoga exercises by getting them to act out a story that she narrates.
They are taught universal yoga positions, such as the tree pose, but the children might be acting a story taking place in the jungle.
“It gets kids active, but it also exercises their imagination, which is important because they are visual learners,” Kelly says.
During each lesson, the class does a calm breathing exercise and even a guided meditative visualisation with teddies.
“For kids, mindfulness needs to be married with movement, because they are not the best at staying still.”
Kelly says introducing children to yoga and meditation at a young age helps them regulate emotions and evolve into good habits as they get older.
“I think yoga builds up a person and makes them more confident and comfortable with themselves. It helped me, and so I got the idea to try storybook yoga with my children.”
Kelly started her storybook yoga classes in local kindergartens six months ago and now she holds two private classes each week.
She runs a class for children up to age five at the Methodist Church in Warkworth at 10.15am on a Monday, and a class at Matakana Primary for kids up to age eight at 3.15pm on Wednesdays.
She was an occupational therapist before becoming qualified in children's yoga at an institute in Auckland.
She says yoga has surged in popularity among children in recent times, in part thanks to YouTube channels such as Cosmic Kids' Yoga, targeting the younger demographic.
“It's also complementary to exercise. We have some basketballers who had tight hamstrings and sore shoulders, and yoga is great for the mobility of young athletes.”
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