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The Adventures of Wasabi Sunshine and her Animal Yoga Practice
or How to Make a Great Kids' Yoga Video

Wasabi and Lil Chi While I'm known for my long fitness walks around the neighborhood, I generally don't go as far as Yogini's Studio. But the day I did I discovered they were having an artists' reception that very evening. Later, when I returned for the event, the glittering gemstone jewelry didn't catch my eye. What fascinated me was a pitch from a young woman, Bobbi Hamilton, who was very passionate about the brand new kids' Yoga video she had just completed. She seemed to be on a mission to bring the benefits of Yoga - relaxation, good health and stress relief - to as many children as possible. After checking out her Animal Yoga website, I got pretty passionate about her video too. Later, when I spoke to Hamilton to set up an interview, I explained how unusual it was that I even happened to be near Yogini's that day. She was not surprised.

(Article continued below.)

"Things just tend to work out that way for me," she said.

Only someone that in tune with the flow of the universe could have come up with the charming, unique video I wound up watching in full a few days later. Animal Yoga: African Adventure is an entry-level Yoga workout for kids 4 years old and up. But it's more than that - it's a playful blend of live action and animation with a catchy, hip-hop soundtrack. The story follows Wasabi Sunshine (Hamilton) and Lil Chi (fellow Yoga teacher Natalie Macias) as they travel to Africa with the help of a pair of magical binoculars. There are Yoga poses in animal form performed by both instructors and kids (you might recognize Monkey as a giddy version of Vrksasana, or Tree Pose, for example), but there's also dance break and a segment where kids get to view the world upside down. In addition there's vocabulary to learn, a quick education in the origins of Yoga and a special message during Shavasana (Relaxation Pose). It's incredibly fun and creative, and loaded with kid-appeal.

Animal Yoga Zebra Hamilton's intuitive ability to relate to kids comes naturally. "I love working with kids," she says. "They trust me. They just love you - they run up to you and they hug you and they're so happy to see you. They bring you presents and draw you stuff for the next time they see you."

Hamilton didn't practice Yoga herself as a child. Instead she was an athlete - she was an award-winning baton twirler, and then a competitive diver. Platform diving in college took a toll on her body, and when she transferred to UC Berkeley, she "started getting more into Yoga and healing my own back and spine and neck from all the force and injury I'd suffered from platform diving."

Yoga caused a dramatic shift in Hamilton's way of thinking. "Yoga sort of became like my next challenge because it was more like mastery of the self - inward instead of competitive. I had reached a point where I believed that competition no longer could take me any further - I didn't feel right about it anymore. I had lived my whole life as a real go-getter and a really competitive kid. And I didn't like it anymore."

Next page >> Bringing Yoga to Kids >> Page 1, 2

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