In these enlightened times, it doesn't take a guru to know the best age to start learning downward facing dog is as a young pup.
This month, Kidspace, the 28-year-old Pasadena children's museum with the emphasis on arts, science and the humanities, begins offering five-week sessions of yoga for children. Classes start Tuesday for youngsters ages 3 to 5. The following day, kids ages 6 to 9 can begin to get a leg up -- and possibly over their heads -- en route to exact chakra location.
"Doing yoga, children exercise, play, connect more deeply with the inner self and develop an intimate relationship with the natural world that surrounds them," wrote Marsha Wenig in Yoga Journal earlier this year. The presumption is that the sooner tykes get lotus down, the sooner they can decide among hatha, kundalini or Bikram. "Yoga brings that marvelous inner light that all children have to the surface," Wenig explained.
"Believe it or not, doing yoga with babies has become a popular thing, although a child can't do the poses exactly," says Valerie R. Oguss, education director of Kidspace. "It's interesting: If you combine yoga with things they are familiar with -- things in nature such as animals or plant life -- it's a great way for children to build up their strength and stamina -- and also build their focus and mental stamina and pre-literacy skills."