Books for Young Yogis

Staff PicksMt. Pleasant Library

Books for Young Yogis

Introduce children to yoga with these great books

As an adult, I love practicing yoga. There are so many benefits to gain from yoga practice - flexibility, strength, peace of mind, patience, stress management, confidence, and so much more! Children can also benefit from this healthy exercise. Coupling a yoga practice with these great books can help kids to understand the basic principles of yoga, learn new poses, and create a fun, literacy-based family activity.

Some books are best enjoyed while sitting in a cozy chair, but here is a list of great books that will make you and your kids want to get up, bend, stretch, and move!

You are a Lion! And Other Fun Yoga Poses by Taeeun Yoo
This bright and colorful picture book presents yoga in an extremely child-friendly way. Each page introduces a different animal and a yoga pose to go along with it. Readers are encouraged to get involved by making the sounds and movements of each animal. Roar like a lion, flutter like a butterfly, and hiss like a snake! 

This rhyming book is truly fun to share with children and is best suited for ages 4-10.

Little Yoga: A Toddler's First Book of Yoga by Rebecca Whitford and Martina Selway
This book is great for toddlers and preschoolers. It guides the very young through a few simple poses. There are a few reference pages for adults that give more detailed explanations of poses with photographs of children performing them. The explanations also share helpful tips for adults teaching young children, including suggestions on how to work up to safely performing a pose. There is a clear understanding of young children's physical development and how yoga can build skills like balance and strength.

This duo also created a bedtime companion, Sleepy Little Yoga, that follows a similar format with a little more focus on relaxation and calmness.

My Daddy is a Pretzel: Yoga for Parents and Kids by Baron Baptiste
This story starts with a classroom of children sharing what jobs their parents do. The typical career day story morphs into a yoga lesson shared by one child's father. There are step-by-step diagrams for the yoga poses introduced, which is very useful for beginner yogis. The illustrations are playful and attractive, making this a fun book to share.

The Happiest Tree: A Yoga Story by Uma Krishnaswami
This sweet story follows a young girl, Meena, as she tries her hardest to stop being "perfectly clumsy." Meena begins practicing yoga and finds confidence and inner peace that helps her to shine on stage in her school play. This book is refreshingly different from many other yoga themed picture books because it's truly a storybook.

Babar's Yoga for Elephants by Laurent de Brunhoff
Narrated by Babar the Elephant, this book serves as a how to manual for elephants interested in yoga. Babar provides step-by-step instructions for several yoga poses and breathing exercises, with tips for elephants about what to do with their trunks. Human readers will enjoy the silliness and classic Babar illustrations, and might learn a few things about yoga as well. The last few pages of the book follow Babar and Celeste as they take their yoga practice around the world. They do poses to match the things they see, like the Downward-Facing Dog pose in front of the Louvre museum. The charming illustrations will make you want to look for yoga inspiration in your world, too!

Breathe by Scott Magoon
Breathing is a very important component of yoga. Although this book isn't a traditional yoga book (it shares no information on poses or the practice of yoga) it does share a lovely story of a young whale. We follow our baby whale as he swims, plays, and breathes. The movement of the whale and the consistent importance of breath are emphasized throughout the story. Young readers will want to swim and breathe just like the young whale. This book also has wonderful illustrations in a calming blue palette that will help young readers find joy in relaxation, quiet, and peacefulness.

Mimicking the movement of animals, like the smooth and slow movement of the whale in Breathe, is a great way to introduce young readers to the poses and movement of yoga, many of which are named after animals. How to Be a Cat by Nikki McClure is another title that begs for the reader to mimic the movements of the animal. Sharing this book with a child is a fun way to incorporate play and movement into reading.

Yoga in Action by Bobbie Kalman
This book has more of a beginner textbook feel, complete with a table of contents and detailed descriptions of basic yoga poses. Each pose includes photographs of children doing the pose. It also provides background information on the history of yoga and how yoga can be incorporated into your lifestyle. This would be a great resource for an older child interested in starting yoga or learning more about developing their yoga practice.