As I’ve been diving into children’s yoga, I’ve been exploring the wonderful world of kid’s literature!
Storytelling is such a powerful tool for all ages, and I find that nothing captures and holds attention quite like a beautifully written and illustrated picture book.
So, to celebrate Book Week 2020, here are my top 4 favourite children’s books that I use in my yoga and mindfulness classes!
Embrace Your Body by Taryn Brumfitt and Sinead Hanley
You may know Taryn Brumfitt as the founder of The Body Image Movement, and writer and director of the acclaimed documentary ‘Embrace’. The movement is all about the “quest to end the global body-hating epidemic”, and they believe that everyone has the right to love
and embrace their body, especially children!
This is 100% in line with the Bumblebee Yoga values, so when I saw this book, I knew we had to have it. I was even lucky enough to get a signed copy!
I think talking about body positivity from a young age is so important, because we’re bombarded with so many messages telling us otherwise as we grow older. Especially when it comes to physical movement like yoga, for us it’s never about moving to change our bodies, it’s moving our bodies to feel good and have fun.
The book itself has gorgeous illustrations, and a great message. It showcases a combination of body-positive affirmations, things we can be grateful for in our bodies, and a true celebration of diversity. There’s also a song that goes along with it that you can listen to on their website! Plus, the website also has a study guide to the Embrace Education program for schools, and of course books and resources about embracing yourself at every age.
I’ve found that kids really resonate with the message of the book. It’s a great way for me to start a conversation about how our bodies can all do different things, and we don’t need to compare ourselves to other people, because we’re all beautiful and talented in our own ways.
All bodies are good bodies, and all yoga poses are good poses as long as we’re having fun and staying safe!
My Many Coloured Days by Dr Seuss
The one and only, unbeatable, Dr Seuss. This book is a really fantastic tool to talk about emotions and mindfulness with children.
I actually got this idea from Maia at Kumarah Yoga so full credit to her here! But I have
started using this book, and incorporating some other emotional regulation resources, including activities inspired by the Big Life Journal (which I also highly recommend!).
The book takes us through a whole spectrum of different emotions, in true Dr Seuss rhyming style. Each feeling has a colour that goes along with it, and an animal that helps to explain the feeling.
For example, one of my favourite lines (for obvious reasons) is:
“Then comes a yellow day, and WEEEE, I am a busy, buzzy bee.”
It gives a fantastic class structure, as we read through the book together, talk about each emotion, and then do a yoga pose with the animal in the story. It keeps the class really engaged and interacting with both the class and the story. And of course, it makes a great standalone book to ready with your kids.
The thing I love most about this is that none of the emotions are labelled as good or bad. This is a core idea behind mindfulness practice, that we just accept the emotions for being there instead of pushing them away or chasing after them. It completely normalises the full spectrum of emotions and gives plenty of space to feel them fully.
It also gives children some more vocabulary to be able to describe how they’re feeling. It might be hard to say, “I’m feeling fatigued today”, but it might be easier to say, “I feel brown like a sleepy bear today”.
Overall, great emotional learning tool and a really fun class to run!