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Kids’ mindfulness and yoga instructor Susan Verde has spent a lot of time observing the ways that children experience mind-body practices. Her book I Am Yoga shares with readers the unique ways that kids can benefit from developing a yoga practice through insightful writing and beautiful illustrations by Peter H. Reynolds.

Why are kids particularly susceptible to yoga and mindfulness and how they can benefit? Verde explains:

The word “yoga” means union. Yoga is the connection between mind and body. My own yoga practice is a way to handle stress, find calm in my mind and strength in my body, and be present as an educator, a parent, a kid’s yoga teacher, and a person in a busy world.

Kids are yoga. Their practice begins naturally as part of their development when they are just infants. Tummy time is Cobra pose. When they are on their backs grabbing for their toes, it is Happy Baby pose. As they grow, children, like adults, encounter stress on many levels, from bad dreams to arguments with siblings to pressure from friends. There’s school-related stress, stress from overscheduling, and, in extreme cases, stress from trauma. The poses and games, the meditations and mindfulness activities of children’s yoga help kids strengthen their bodies, calm their minds, and become aware of the mind-body connection in a noncompetitive, playful way. Kid’s yoga, with all its components, is a toolbox for helping a person manage a world that often feels too big to handle.

My hope is that this playful story of what it means to be yoga serves as a way for children to tap into all that yoga has to offer. As they read, play, imagine, explore, express themselves, and breathe, they can know that whoever they are, however they are in this big world, they fit in just fine.

Bring your family to the Rubin on October 23 to explore the benefits of yoga first-hand in a special program led by Susan Verde, inspired by her book I Am Yoga. The session concludes with a mindful meditation related to a work of art from the Museum’s collection.

About the Author

Susan Verde grew up in a brownstone in the heart of Greenwich Village in New York City. She moved to the Hamptons where she earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, a master’s in reading remediation, and became an elementary school teacher at a private school in Bridgehampton.

Verde is a registered yoga teacher (RYT) and registered children’s yoga teacher (RYCT) with a private practice, bringing yoga and mindfulness to children and adults. She lives in East Hampton, New York, with her twin boys, Joshua and Gabriel and her daughter, Sophia, where she writes children’s books and teaches kids’ yoga and mindfulness. She is the author of The Museum, You and Me, I Am Yoga, and the forthcoming book, The Water Princess, all illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds.