Wai Lana Productions; P.O. Box 6146; Malibu, CA 90264; (800) 228-5145; VHS; 60 minutes.
There's no doubt that kids can benefit from a yoga practice, as long as it isn't onerous or overly regulated. Here's a handy package that will get your little yogi off on the right (and to keep things balanced, the left) foot. Little Yogis comes to us from Wai Lana, who bills herself as the "world's most-watched and best-known yoga teacher," which may be something of a surprise to B.K.S. Iyengar, T.K.V. Desikachar, and
K. Pattabhi Jois. The kit includes a kid's-size sticky mat and a poster, and everything is wrapped up in a tote bag.
There are about 20 different exercises in the program, most mimicking familiar asanas like Bridge and Locust, though many of the names are changed to protect the innocent. None of the poses are too challenging, and all of them are played for fun. From my adult (and Iyengar-picky) perspective, the sequencing has no particular rhyme or reason, but Wai Lana may have purposely mixed things up to keep her charges occupied in and entertained by the proceedings.
Wai Lana, who lives in Hawaii, has a pleasant demeanor and an effective way of communicating with kids through images, sounds, and engaging talk about anatomy and the poses. She keeps things moving peppily along, though the hour-long instruction may be a bit much for the lower end of her targeted audience range of three- to eight-year-olds. One little yogi, who couldn't have been more than three, drifted in and out of the action, though the older models mostly stayed focused.
Contributing Editor Richard Rosen teaches public classes in Northern California. He is also the author of The Yoga of Breath: A Step-by-Step Guide to Pranayama.