It’s an exciting time in the world of kids yoga. When I started teaching yoga in 2002, I didn’t have any local resources or fellow teachers. Only a handful of kids yoga books existed. And most people had never even heard of kids yoga, let alone someone who only taught yoga to kids for a living.
Now fast-forward 12 years: We’ve had our first national meeting of the minds—the National Kids Yoga Conference in DC. There are multiple books and resources specifically for kids yoga, like Giselle Shardlow’s Kids Yoga Stories and Lisa Flynn’s Yoga for Children. And now… drumroll… kids yoga is coming to TV!
Bari Koral launched a musical yoga TV program called Yogapalooza with Z Living Network this fall. YogaKids has a pilot for the YogaKids Magical Garden that is being considered by major networks. And now Shakta Khalsa, of Radiant Child Yoga, is teaming up with Yoga Dog to create a live and animated TV show for kids.
I know that sometimes we think of TV as this evil time sucker that is rotting our brains and making us fat. But screens aren’t going away, and kids yoga on TV is a good—dare I say wonderful?—thing! Here are some reasons why:
1. It encourages movement.
With childhood obesity being a major problem, we need to bring movement to the kids in a fun and easy way. If we can’t get kids away from the screens, let’s bring movement to the screens—with yoga! Shows with yoga will get kids moving during TV time, instead of just staring at the TV.
2. It’s fun.
Yoga on TV will be fun. A television show can introduce kids to the active movement and balancing poses of yoga and then transition to the stillness of yoga in a colorful, musical, and fun way.
3. TV reaches kids we can’t.
Certain barriers can prevent a child from having the opportunity to practice yoga. Money and transportation, as well as geography, can be limiting. And of course, even the best yoga teachers can only be in one place at a time (so far), and we can’t bring yoga to every child in our community at every hour. A TV show that runs on every TV in every home could reach the kids that we can’t.
4. Yoga brings positive messages to TV.
There are negative messages on kids’ shows today. Some of these messages, like violence, are obvious. Some are more subtle, like racial and gender stereotypes. Kids yoga programming is a chance to counteract those negatives with positive messages of self-love, compassion, and non-violence. We need any and all positivity streaming on the airwaves!
5. It reaches kids in their comfort zone.
We talk often about yoga being a great form of exercise for kids with obesity, but an overweight child may not feel comfortable in a public class environment. Having yoga on TV can offer those children with body image issues an opportunity try yoga poses in the privacy of their own home first. As their confidence grows, they may be more comfortable in a public class.
6. It’s convenient.
Rainy or snowy days at home or school can lead to boredom and inactivity. The convenience of turning on a TV show will lead to more opportunities to practice yoga! Which leads to more peace, love, and exercise.
7. It offers repetition and reinforcement.
Seeing and practicing poses repeatedly on a kids yoga TV show will reinforce anything that a child has learned in yoga class. This will make yoga teachers, like myself, look even more amazing as children master the poses with lightning speed! ☺
8. TV can educate the masses.
Fear of the unknown has lead to “shenanigans” like a lawsuit in Southern California involving a school that offers its students free yoga. Kids yoga on TV would help educate the public on the benefits and appropriateness of yoga for kids by showing it for what it is—a system of stretching and breathing that makes kids healthy and happy. Nothing scary here, just fun and relaxation.
9. Promoting kids yoga is always a good thing.
Having kid’s yoga on TV helps promote the idea of kids yoga overall. As a yoga instructor, I’m looking at every kids yoga TV show as free marketing and promotion. Some teachers might have the gut reaction of, “Oh no, if everyone is watching kids yoga on TV, who will come to my classes?” I would argue that kids who watch the shows will fall in love with yoga and ask Mom and Dad for more yoga. Then Mom and Dad will discover the amazing classes in their community and enroll them!
So, now you are probably really excited and wondering what you can do to help support kids yoga on TV. Lucky you! Shakta Khalsa, one of the world’s leading experts on children and yoga, and Jennifer Foster, founder of Kids’ Wellness Alliance, are running a Kickstarter campaign to create a TV show called Yoga Dog. The 22-minute children’s program focuses on imagination, emotions, and movement. It follows the adventures of Yoga Dog, an innocent, fun-loving pup, and his friends.
Check out the campaign for the pilot of Yoga Dog. Watch the video, contribute if you can, and help spread the word! Let’s get kids yoga on every screen in every home, so “screen time” can be called “yoga time.”