TAP Tested: Kids’ Yoga Party

. August 5, 2014.

Tester’s Take: Heather McKinney, mother of four and a Brownie troop leader, devised the innovative idea of throwing a kids’ yoga party at Harmony in Life so that the girls could earn their badges for “My Best Self.” Parents have also added yoga to their birthday celebrations, either at a yoga studio or in their own homes. Kids’ yoga is an original activity that allows kids to have fun, learn a few things, play games, interact with their friends, and engage in physical exercise.

Goal: A yoga party to introduce kids to the basics of yoga through fun and games

Age range: 3-16 years (although it is best to group kids in similar age brackets)

Cost: $10/child for an hour class ($60 minimum). Discounts are available for groups larger than 10.

Time: Class times can be decided by party participants.

Things to consider: Throwing a yoga party at a studio has the advantage of a large, safe yoga room with all of the needed yoga materials. Sometimes kids also focus a bit better when they are in a learning environment, such as a yoga studio, as opposed to the comforts of a familiar home. However, throwing a yoga party at a residence allows for other pre- and post-yoga celebratory activities.

Additional benefits: Besides playing games and having fun with their peers, kids are introduced to yoga poses and breathing techniques. Yoga has been shown to be effective in helping kids develop social skills, pay attention, focus on the present moment, and slow down their thoughts. Yoga at an early age can also encourage self-esteem and acceptance through exercise in a noncompetitive, fun atmosphere.

What It’s Like: 12 girls, ages 8-10, from the Brownie troop arrived at Harmony in Life on a Saturday. The hour-long class was segmented into 8 different activities, each one lasting 5 -10 minutes, in order to keep the girls engaged. The class began with some general guidelines, then we went over “bear breath” (a deep, slow-breathing technique), followed by a short warm-up of 10 simple yoga poses that all flowed together. Next came a fun yoga game that all of the girls seemed to enjoy. The game encouraged moving, stretching, and being silly. We then slowed down the pace with 5 more advanced yoga poses, and then we moved onto partner work, which the girls seemed to absolutely love. The class ended with some balancing poses, followed by cooling stretches on the floor, with final relaxation for the last few minutes. Several of the girls mentioned after class that they either wanted to continue yoga or become yoga teachers, so I think it’s safe to say they enjoyed themselves.

Harmony in Life, 5747 Main St., Sylvania. 419.517.0047. www.harmonyinlifecenter.com.