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I am an absolute Yoga novice. I have read that Yoga exercises can benefit children diagnosed with autism and children with ADHD. Since this fits my family, I wanted to try Yoga out with my children as part of our P.E. curriculum this school year. I searched the internet and Amazon for Yoga curriculum for children and started by reading, “Yoga Therapy for Children with Autism and Special Needs,” by Louise Goldberg. This article is a review of the Yoga resources I came across in my search for Yoga curriculum for children.
Yoga Therapy for Children is split into four sections. The beginning of the book is an overview of Yoga and the benefits of Yoga for children who are diagnosed with autism, ADHD, sensory processing disorder, or an emotional disorder, for example. The next section covers the benefits of Yoga. Then, chapters covering how to set up the Yoga session, how to engage the child, and other tips and tools for success are included. The last section covers descriptions of Yoga positions, specific routines, and other Yoga based activities and games.
As a complete novice to Yoga, I did find this book a helpful beginning point in understanding Yoga curriculum for children. Although the position descriptions are detailed and include some photographs, I quickly realized I would need a visual source I could show my children as we tried the positions and suggested routine sequences. I also realized it would be difficult for me, as a novice, to flip back and forth from the routine sequence pages to the descriptions of how to do each position. The solution? I also ended up buying Yoga activity cards.
This Yoga curriculum for children includes a set of Yoga cards with a drawing of a gorilla doing the each yoga position on one side and a description of the position on the other side. The back side of each card also includes extension activities that may provide an opportunity to work on language, communication, and play skills. Instructions on how to safely use these cards with children are also included.
I love how the pictures are on one side and the description of the pose is on the other side. I can quickly grab out cards based on color (they are color coded based on position/activity type) and we can do a Yoga routine with minimal preparation. These cards are also fairly large (6″x8″) making them easy to see in a small group setting.
My 1st and 3rd grader were at first a little wary of the gorilla images. They thought he looked “silly.” Although they at first made fun of the gorilla, they were able to copy the cards and seem to have a good time with the activity. Due to the cartoon images of the gorilla, these cards would probably only be appropriate for children under the age of 8.
I was hoping to use these cards in conjunction with the previously described Yoga book’s routines; however, the position names did not match up. Regardless, the Yogarilla activity cards can be used independently with minimal preparation. All of my kids (even the toddlers) have had a great time doing the the positions on the Yogarilla cards. We will continue to get a lot of use out of these Yoga cards.
These Yoga cards are advertised as appropriate for all ages. They explain how long to hold the positions for beginner and intermediate practice levels. They also include some exercise sequences.
The drawings on the cards are clear and detailed, making it easy to visualize how the position is supposed to look. The descriptions are also helpful.
These cards are smaller than the Yogarilla ones and would be more difficult to use in a group setting. These cards are the size of typical playing cards and are most likely intended for individual use.
I did not try using these particular cards with my children yet as the Yogarilla ones are working so well. These cards do align a little better with some of the position names described in the Yoga Therapy for Children book; however, there are still many positions from the book for which I cannot seem to find a Yoga card match. This particular set of cards would probably work best with older children, teenagers, and adults. I do plan on using them myself for Yoga routines.
Final Recommendations on Yoga Curriculum for Children
I am very pleased with the Yogarilla cards and fully recommend them to others who want to try Yoga routines at home with preschool or elementary-aged children. If you want to try Yoga with older children or teens, you may want to consider the more realistic people-drawing based Yoga card set. Although I personally found the Yoga Therapy for Children book to be helpful as a starting point, I do not anticipate trying any of the described routines due as I prefer the visual cards to guide our activities. Purchasing either the Yogarilla cards or the more realistic modeled Yoga cards and following the included guidelines will provide sufficient information to start safely practicing some Yoga positions for exercise or physical education time.
CLICK HERE to read about other PE curriculum I have tried and recommendations.