recess radio program

07/30/07
Yoga and Kids
    by John Cech

Brief Sound Clip:

That's Wai Lana, the creator of a number of yoga CDs and DVDs for children and their parents. This soothing excerpt is from a CD called Little Yogi's Daydream. It's meant to ease a child into a relaxed state that will hopefully lead to a sweet nap. And it'll probably take a weary parent there, too.

An ancient practice, Yoga has become a popular form of excercise today for both children and adults. From the beginning, Yoga drew its inspiration from the flexibility of children and the physical postures that young people naturally assumed. And now many nursery, elementary, and even high schools are finally beginning to get over the idea of dismissing Yoga as something weirdly hippie or exotic and no substitute for apple pie American forms of exercise, like jumping jacks and push ups done in time with slogans like "No pain, no gain."

Instead, we are slowly realizing the need to find ways to de-stress the plugged in, multi-tasking lives of our children (and ourselves). And we are even acknowledging that an hour spent developing suppleness and balance in our physical bodies is as challenging as any work-out on the machines in a gym. And less destructive to our muscles. And more focusing for our minds.

In a recent issue of Vanity Fair, one of the nominees to the magazine's Hall of Fame is Tara Guber, who has created a Kindergarten through 8th grade curriculum for the public schools called Yoga Ed. Guber began developing her approach to yoga at the inner city, Accelerated [charter] School, in Los Angeles, and initially she personally funded the program that has evolved and is now being used by schools nation-wide. In many ways, yoga affirms, Guber suggests, some of the basic, intangible values we would hope for children to acquire in school. Yoga doesn't make physical performance competitive. Yoga emphasizes the ability to stay in the present moment. And, finally, Yoga promotes physical, mental, and emotional health and inner harmony. With Yoga, thankfully, one also isn't teaching for a test. After all, you really can't assign points to the triangle, the cobra, the tree, the cat, or the mountain. And that's the utterly simple beauty of it.

Copyright 2007 John Cech

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Friday, 29-Jun-2007 20:34:40 EDT


"Recess!" is a co-production of the University of Florida's Center for Children's Literature and Culture and WUFT-FM, "Classic 89."