Bumblebee breath is one technique that is helping some Whanganui children find a bit of calm and have fun at the same time.

Preschoolers aged 2 to 5, accompanied by a "big person" (a parent or caregiver), are learning yoga and mindfulness at Little & Big classes at Tickle My Feet yoga studio in Ridgway St.

Studio owner Simone Grant said Little & Big classes are held over four weeks each school term and are limited to 45 minutes to keep the children engaged.

"The impact is amazing," Grant said.


"The little ones soak it up a bit easier."

Grant uses techniques that resonate with children. For example, doing "bumblebee breath", making the sound of a bee, reminds them "to listen to their internal sound".

The classes teach ways to optimise health, well-being and happiness; stimulate new brain cell development; increase creativity and ability to learn; cultivate self-regulation and acceptance of emotions; reduce stress and anxiety; increase attention span and improve memory; enhance self-awareness and mindfulness; and build a strong, open and flexible body.

The Little & Big class relaxes with legs up the wall pose.
The Little & Big class relaxes with legs up the wall pose.

Grant is also teaching before-school yoga to students at St John's Hill School.

Term 1 has been a success and the class is already full for Term 2. She is in discussions about the possibility of rolling out the programme to other schools.

"Parents are more aware of trying to find some calm for their little ones," Grant said.

"The children are getting so much out of it.

"Schools are becoming more aware of mindfulness and breathing. It's about children having the tools themselves to find self-regulation to big emotions."


Tickle My Feet will also be running classes to support pregnant women. Tiana Jones, who recently joined the teaching team, will run the class, said Grant.

"Tiana will be teaching pre-natal classes from Term 2.

"Pregnant women can have the lovely experience of being able to take care of their bodies and connect with their breath."

The pre-natal classes will start on Saturday, April 29, and continue in Term 3 when there will also be a post-natal yoga class for new mothers and babies.

"Our vision is to make the healing practice of yoga accessible to all - even those developing in the womb, helping those in our lovely community to feel more calm, peace and joy in their life," Grant said.