Yoga Kids ABC'sMarsha Wenig
Year Released: 2004
Categories: Children and Teens
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Marsha Wenig leads this 29 min. yoga workout for children (geared towards ages 3-6). The poses go through all of the letters of the alphabet w/ Marsha cueing via voiceover, and she does provide clear cues w/ great imagery (for a mental picture) & encouraging comments (kids should do the best they can & there are many opportunities to try again). She also discusses words that begin w/ that letter & there are pictures and/or live action shots of the actual object/thing being discussed. The cast of children & Marsha perform the exercises on their own & together in a group. There is a 10 minute interview w/ Marsha that discusses her background & what inspired her to create yoga-inspired workouts for children.
Many of the exercises are not traditional yoga poses (hybrids of poses), but there are some real yoga poses (eagle, cat/cow, wheel, shoulder stand). Marsha was creative in the exercises that she sequences for each letter, the focus is on movement, having fun, identifying w/ things that kids are familiar with, and making sounds w/ some poses (so kids don’t have to be quiet in their workout). My daughter (age 5) liked to do some of the exercises (has not mastered all of them), and she enjoyed the facts & words discussed for each letter (and visuals). I think most of the exercises were easy to follow, but some (like the wheel/backbend, rocking horse/like opposite motion/pose of backbend) were not (they're hard for an adult or experiences exercise to perform). So parents should be guiding their children to make sure that they are using good form & comfortable w/ the exercises.
Cast: 7 children, boys & girls (preschool age+), kids do a great job of performing the exercises w/ great energy & effort.
Setting: outdoors, alternates between beach and meadow.
Workout: First, Marsha introduces the cast by name.
A/alligator: lie face-down on floor w/ arms stacked> open arms to mimic an alligator opening its mouth while the feet & lower legs lift & lower simultaneously (tail).
B/butterfly breath: seated w/ soles of feet together, arms flutter to sides (wings)> Balance: hook fingers on big toes of each foot and extend legs to side & hold, reverse motion> Place hands close to face w/ 1 finger of each, extended (antennae), and move legs up & down, and bent arms in & out (double wings).
C/caterpillar: lie face-down w/ arms to the back (close to sides)> w/ chin on floor, flex feet, lift hips/bottom up to move forward & backwards.
D/driving my car: seated position w/ both arms extended to front w/ flexed feet, rock off of bottom to move side to side, arms reach overhead to grab an imaginary steering wheel & mime buckling seat belt> scoot/move (use bottom) forward & back.
E/eagle: from mountain pose (standing position w/ feet together) w/ namaste arms (palms together/fingers facing up, in middle of chest, w/ bent arms), stretch arms to side & cross them in an X & wrap around each other (palms together or fingers interlaced)> bend knees, then cross one leg over the other or around the calf. Repeat on other side.
F/friendship flower: start from kneeling position on floor (top of feet & lower legs flat on floor) w/ arms overhead. W/ group hold hands, lift up in kneeling position w/ arms opening up then to side, reverse motion and fold over bent knees for child pose.
G/grasshopper: lie facedown w/ bent knees (lower legs extended up) & bent arms (hands next to side of body) to rock body back & forth.
H/hot air balloon: start seated on heels> raise arms overhead & stand> run around space> then lower to ground & lie down (deflated balloon).
I/iguana: walk forward & backwards in plank position (on all fours w/ straight legs & arms, though some kids have bend in knees/legs w/ resting on floor)> rest on mat.
J/jabber walking jellyfish: seated on floor w/ bent legs/90 degree angle (one in front, one in back), turn body to side & move forward w/ arms & lower body moving.
K/kissing pose: on tip toes, stretch, straight arms in back of body> kiss air w/ head moving forward> kiss hands for any hurt areas & body parts that have a ‘k’ in them (neck, ankle, knees)> blow kisses in air.
L/locomotive: lie face up w/ bent knees> arms & legs move together in circular (wheel) fashion.
M/moo meow: cat/cow pose, from all fours (tabletop position)> alternate arching back (like cat) & reversing motion.
N/namaste: sing namaste song w/ namaste arms & sequence w/ arms (single overhead arm & over heart & reach forward bowing).
O/om: seated position (legs crossed or pretzel/stacked on each other)> practice saying om in this position (two sounds o & m practiced, then blended together).
P/pedal laughing: lie face up w/ bent knees> pedal arms & feet (like a bicycle) forward w/ laughing at different ranges (soprano, alto, tenor)
Q/quail: travel around space/room (one step at a time) in crouched position, w/ bent arms held together & hands clasped by mouth (form beak).
R/rocking horse: lie facedown w/ bent knees> hands grab feet & lift upper body & head up> rock back & forth.
S/seal: lie on back w/ bent knees & soles of feet together> hands & feet clap together (like flippers).
T/Tarzan’s thymus gland: tap chest w/ fists.
U/upside down: start seated w/ fingers hooked on big toes of feet>roll back & extend straight legs over body (cab tap floor)> roll back & place hands on hips to hold body off floor w/ extended straight legs (shoulder stand).
V/volcano: from standing position w/ arms in namaste, open arms & jump feet out to form X-shape w/ body> reverse motion> Namaste arms & lift arms overhead and to sides.
W/wheel: backbend, lie face up w/ bent knees & arms, hands are next to sides of head (heel of hands faces back)> lift upper & lower body up (legs will stay bent, arms straighten)> rest by pulling & hugging knees into chest.
X/x-shape: first part of V/volcano exercises (jumping into X-shape & reverse motion into namaste arms).
Y/yo yo: form Y-shape w/ body with heels elevated & hold> alternate lowering body down into crouched position & standing position while hands circle each other (in front of body).
Z/zig zag breathing zone: lie on partner’s belly (to form zig zag shape) or on the floor, face up, w/ eyes closed & relaxed body.
After initial rejection, both my kids 3 and 6 very much enjoy the video. For me the key was continuing to show it, letting it become familiar, and getting them used to the rather unusual Yoga-ish movements shown. Wenig does have good encouraging phrases, and her excercises do include some "Ommm"-ing which I am glad to see, since it actually does beneficially stimulate glands in the brain. She also has a nice song to explain "Namaste."
Once you get over an inital "is this lady for real?" reaction (she is) we find ourselves imitiating her "eaglerrific" movements