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Yoga and Relaxation

Audio CDs
Books

Audio CDs
Enchanted Meditations for Kids
audio CD by Christiane Kerr
(Diviniti Publishing)
Eight calming meditation ‘stories’ each set against a soft musical background and narrated by a yoga teacher and ex Montessori teacher, inviting children to such places as an enchanted garden, under the sea or skywards on a trip aboard a hot air balloon. Each visualisation is preceded by a brief relaxation exercise and the tracks last between four and a half and around ten minutes. The narration is soft and mellow, helping induce that meditative state which young children, so adept at totally absorbed, day-dreaming, can often enter much more easily than adults.
     Use in schools to develop emotional literacy, the imagination and positive behaviour, or at home for a sense of well-being after a busy day and for a calming session before sleeping.
(reviewed by Jill Bennett)
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Rays of Calm
audio CD by Christiane Kerr
(Diviniti Publishing)
In a similar vein to the CD above, these ten short visualisations are aimed at teenagers and are very useful to facilitate relaxation and promote a sense of well being at any time but especially perhaps, at times of stress such as before or during exams. The narrator invites listeners to such locations as a tropical island, a forest lake or a floating cloud. Most of the tracks last around five minutes and each has a gentle musical background.
(reviewed by Jill Bennett)
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Books
Sleepy Little Yoga
by Rebecca Whitford & Martina Selway
(Hutchinson)
Aimed at parents and toddlers, this small hardcover book contains a yoga sequence comprising poses, eye palming and breathing and finally, total relaxation (Savasana). Each bright attractive double spread introduces and illustrates one part of the sequence with a child (‘Yoga Baby…) on one page facing a night-time animal on the opposite side along with the completion of the simile. For example ‘Yoga Baby … flops down like a tired bunny’. Then follows an illustration of Savasana, a double spread with helpful tips for parents new to yoga and explanatory notes on the asanas and a final photographic spread of children enjoying their yoga.
    As the author says, gentle yoga is an excellent way of helping children relax at whatever time, and as she rightly says yoga with young children needs to have a strong element of fun, not be prescriptive and the adult needs to give plenty of encouragement. It’s never too soon to introduce children to the benefits of yoga and here is one delightful starting point.
(reviewed by Jill Bennett)
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Mayfly Day
by Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross
(Andersen Press)
Mayfly lives for just one day: but in that day she truly lives in each and every moment, savouring the golden glow of dawn, tasting the sweet honey of bursting buds, watching new life come into being, observing ants, children at play and feeling the sun’s warming rays and the gentle summer rain that precede a magical rainbow. She plays and dances her wedding dance to the sweet music of birds and bells. Then, enveloped in the peace of night, she lays her eggs, makes her final wish for her young and finally, bathed in the moon’s glow, gives thanks for her life.
One of the things I’m always reminding my yoga students both young and not so young, is the importance of being in the here and now (even if it is only for the duration of the session.) Total awareness of each moment of our lives stops us worrying about what has already happened or what might (or never) be. Here is the perfect book aimed at young readers, but with something to say to us all, to encourage that attitude of ‘being in the present’ and of course, to develop that sense of awe and wonder at the natural world. Like Mayfly’s day, this beautiful hardcover book with Tony Ross’s glowing watercolours and Jeanne Willis’ poetic text, is near perfection in a small package.
(reviewed by Jill Bennett)
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