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Yoga's mental and physical benefits are a healthy selling point
New products in the Little Yogis line from Wai Lana (Malibu, Calif.) include the EnviroMat, a chloride-free, biodegradable soft mat for yogis of all sizes (a Little Yogis-themed mat is also available). The Daydream DVD features Wai Lana's naptime cartoon, which utilizes an ancient yoga relaxation technique, Yoga Nidra, to help small children calm down and sleep. The DVD guides kids through meditation activities, as well as entertaining them with animated waterfalls, balloons and dancing butterflies. Exercise kits, a Teacher's Yoga Kit, and a Fun Songs book and CD.
For toy retailers, the company offers point-of-sale floor displays for Little Yogi mats, and kits and promotional flyers that list the health benefits of each product. Currently, the products' consumer base includes parents, as well as daycare centers and schools that use the product as part of their fitness and naptime programs.
“The Little Yogis line is a great fit for many retailers—especially toy stores,” says Wai Lana, founder and president of Wai Lana. “The line has fun and exciting activities for children that will help them grow mentally and physically, so parents really appreciate it. Little Yogis is unique, because it has excellent entertainment value, as well as a positive influence on child development. By helping [parents] understand the incredible difference these products can make, it becomes easy for them to pass along that enthusiasm to their customers.”
Lana initially started the company to offer products that help combat obesity, but yoga's relaxation and meditation exercises are also helpful for children with sleep problems, or for calming young children. “With such high rates of childhood obesity, ADD, and ADHD, there is a real need for children to have tools for achieving health, happiness, and balance naturally,” says Lana. “My children practiced yoga as they grew up, and it helped them tremendously. I wanted to make the benefits of yoga available to other children as well. So I created the Little Yogis—a product line that's fun and entertaining while taking children in a positive, healthy direction. The Little Yogis makes these yoga techniques fun and appealing.”
Lana adds that parents should consider yoga to help balance a child physically, mentally, and emotionally. “As children have fun doing yoga asanas (postures), they develop flexibility, coordination, balance, strength, and body awareness. Such qualities help them perform better in sports and make them less prone to injury. Performing yoga asanas also increases their determination and ability to focus. This really gives kids a learning advantage when it comes to schoolwork, music lessons, martial arts, and other pursuits. Yoga also regulates hormones and calms the mind, making its techniques valuable tools when kids feel angry, frustrated, fearful, or stressed.”
“Yoga is great fun for kids,” says Lana. “Children love pretending to be different animals in poses like Lion, Cobra, and Seabird. They get to use their imagination to be windmills, bridges, and boomerangs. I look around and I see children growing up so fast and dealing with all kinds of stress—whether it's because their families are breaking up or they feel peer pressure to act older than they are. Yoga lets them relax and have fun getting familiar with their bodies through movement, balance, and even music. Yoga lets kids be kids.”