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Author Susan Verde’s new children’s book, I Am Yoga, shows kids the power of the imagination in combination with yoga. Roll out your mat and explore.
Anything is possible with a dose of imagination. Tree Pose can stretch you above the clouds into the limitless sky. Star Pose can set you asparkle. Boat Pose might float you all the way across the sea. And Camel Pose could expand your loving heart enough to hug the whole wide world.
I Am Yoga (Harry N. Abrams, $14.95), author Susan Verde’s new colorful, character-driven children’s book with renowned illustrator Peter H. Reynolds, came together organically after many dedicated years as an elementary school teacher, yoga instructor, author, and mother of three. “I’ve had my own yoga practice forever and had seen stressed-out kids in the classroom, who were disconnected to their bodies and the world around them,” Verde says. “Yoga is perfect for kids on so many levels. With them, it’s not about alignment. It’s about how do I feel? What part of my body is touching the ground? Am I sailing to Africa in this Boat Pose? When I pause and take a few breaths, I can reassess any situation. Yoga brings out empowerment and imagination. It’s very visible.”
In essence, Verde’s message in the book is that you have the tools to manage your own world. “Through simple ideas, movements, and an awareness about yourself, you can open yourself up and be anything,” she says. “You can do anything.” Try Verde’s sequence with illustrations from the book with a little one and see for yourself.
6 Yoga + Imagination Poses for Kids
Stand tall with your feet together or slightly apart. Find an equal balance on both feet. Firm your thighs and pull in your belly. Roll your shoulders back and down away from your ears. You can let your arms hang down by your sides, palms facing forward, or lift them straight above your head and bring your palms together. You are a mountain. Breathe in and out slowly. If you like, close your eyes and imagine you are strong and sturdy, still and calm.
See alsoWatch + Learn: Mountain Pose
Find a still spot to stare at on the floor or directly in front of you to help you balance. From your Mountain Pose, lift your arms and reach out to either side, like the branches of a tree. Lift one foot, turning your knee out to the side and placing your foot either below the knee of the standing leg or above it. Breathing slowly in and out, bring your arms up overhead and imagine yourself growing like a tree. Slowly lower your hands to your chest, place your foot down, and repeat on the other side.
Half Moon Pose
From Mountain Pose, bend forward and place your right hand on the ground about slightly in front of and to the outside of your right foot. Lift your left leg parallel to the floor. Once you feel balanced, lift your left arm and reach for the sky. Breathe deeply. Look straight ahead or up at your hand. Open your body, imagining you are leaning back against a wall and expanding your chest. Put everything back on the ground and repeat on the other side.
Downward Dog Pose
Adho Mukha Svanasana
Start on your hands and knees, with your toes curled under. Breathe in and as you breathe out lift your hips into the air, straightening your legs and pressing your heels toward the floor. Push your palms into the floor, with your fingertips facing forward. Look between your knees. Wag your tail, bark, lift one leg or the other. Be playful!
Basket Pose (aka Bow Pose)
Start flat on your belly with your hands alongside your body, palms facing up. Bend your knees and reach each arm back, taking hold of the outside of each shin, ankle, or foot. Breathe in and reach your heels toward the sky, lifting your heart and your thighs off the floor. Breathe in and out while holding this position and looking straight ahead. You may find yourself rocking back and forth as you breathe. What’s in your basket? When you are ready, release your body gently to the floor.
Lie down on your back with your legs straight and your arms by your sides, palms facing up. Let your legs separate naturally and your feet flop out to the side. Try not to talk or look around. If you are comfortable, close your eyes. Let every part of your body relax and sink into the ground. Be supported by the earth beneath you.
This is the final pose in all yoga practices. Feel proud of and thankful for all poses you have been able to practice.
ABOUT OUR WRITER
Erika Prafder is a veteran writer and product reviewer for The New York Post and the author of a book on entrepreneurship. A long-time yoga enthusiast and Hatha yoga teacher, she edits KidsYogaDaily.com, a news source for young yogis. The working mother of three resides in a beach community in Long Island, New York.