Forget Those Silly Rocks And Starfish
As far as kids yoga goes, there are a lot of “rocks” and “starfish” (read: child pose and savasana) which is kind of cute but when Jennifer Cohen Harper started Little Flower Yoga she set out to do something different – real yoga, not cutesy yoga.
The idea came to her while working at the Harlem Children’s Zone in 2004. She saw a need for yoga instruction that was not only developmentally appropriate but also responsive to the reality of a child’s life.
Fast-forward nine years and her organization has 18 teachers and 4 staff members who teach classes around New York, offers teacher trainings and workshops and manages The School Yoga Project, which brings mindfulness and yoga practice into NYC schools with affiliates in Westchester and Long Island. What sets this program apart is that it is not a dumbed down version of yoga for the younger set – and they love it.
Recently Jennifer took her years of experience and published it as a book, Little Flower Yoga for Kids: A Yoga and Mindfulness Program to Help Your Child Improve Attention and Emotional Balance. As a yoga teacher and mother of a 4-year-old I was curious to find out what it was all about.
Filled with realistic, black and white illustrations of boys and girls practicing poses like Warrior 1 and Half Moon, Little Flower Yoga For Kids uses the actual names for the poses, which is probably my favorite part! Jennifer stays away from using baby talk to get her point across.
“My thinking is