Storytime yoga led by Yoga Sparks

Storytime yoga led by Yoga Sparks is designed to be engaging for little minds and easy for young bodies to grasp.  It’s safe and fun, embracing the importance of play-based positive experiences in children’s development.

When:  Dates vary, check website for full details.  Classes are 45 minutes or 1 hour and cater for for the 2-6 and 6-9 year olds.

Where:  The Little Book Room, 759 Nicholson St, Carlton North  (please check website as venues do change)

Cost:  $15 for a try out class or sign up for the term and it’s $12/week (prices correct at time of publishing June 2015)

Thank you to guest reviewer Sally T. Ridden for these fabulous words and gorgeous photos.

I was tentative about attending yoga with my three and a half year old rowdy, and sometimes unpredictable, dinosaur today – but I figured anyone who runs yoga classes for kids must surely relate to a three year olds complexities.  Thankfully Kaela from Yoga Sparks understood; and sure enough my son was super-inquisitive and full of unbridled energy.

The Little Book Room was cosy and heated warm on this cold morning.  The class commenced with a focus activity and sound meditation.  Then the fun began with the warm up allowing the kids to get their pent up wiggles and giggles out. 

Kids yoga is exploding in popularity as we recognise its mind-body benefits – helping children strengthen their awareness/concentration skills and regulate their emotions, all while being physically active.  Storytime yoga is a wonderful opportunity to increase body strength, flexibility, balance and co-ordination, even teamwork, in a non competitive environment. The sessions draw on endless yoga poses and variations, many based on everyday encounters such as animals, insects, objects, even modes of travel.

Each story is cleverly associated to poses and today’s story was the delightful “Zoo Train” by Sally Sutton, where a boy and his mother ride a train through the zoo, unaware that the zoo is being overrun by naughty monkeys, who steal hats, scarfs, cake and popcorn. The story itself is rhythmic and chugga choo choo’s along with rhyming text.  The artwork is fabulous – featuring zoo animals and train themes that Kaela linked to the class whilst nourishing their imaginative creativity through visual narrative and allowing the children positive communication opportunities – genuinely having their say, being heard and listened to. 

The story engages a child on a different level through structure, focus, calm and spontaneous excitement whilst being transformed into physical poses. The combined use of relevant props, toys, music, games even children’s Yoga Cards become inspiration guides, helping to both explain and demonstrate positions prior to the kids performing themselves, bringing a story to life. Today they linked yoga body shapes from the story, G For giraffe, E for Elephant and T for Tigers, perfect for age appropriate sequencing. Nothing today was too complex for little minds or bodies to grasp, it was safe and fun, all leading to the importance of play-based positive experiences for child development.

After the story, which promotes reading and comprehension, the class then joins in on a final breathing exercise and then finishes with relaxation.  It’s all about managing the energy of the class – all of this may change depending on the age group, and how many children are participating on any given day. “Meeting them where they are at and adapting the class accordingly,” says Kaela. Breathe in… accept, breathe out. Namaste.

Be sure to check out the school holiday workshops too.