Butterflies Be Gone: Yoga Therapy for Fear and Anxiety
Loraine Rushton & Adele Vincent
Little Steps, 2023
40pp., hbk., RRP $A26.99
When Jesse wakes up with butterflies in his tummy, he feels anxious about his day. But as he begins to move his body in special yoga poses, he is able to work through different emotions. Soon his body feels better and his imagination takes off!
It’s rare for a children’s storybook to come with a disclaimer that “the authors take no responsibility for any injury or illness resulting or appearing to result from doing the yoga in this book…” but that aside, this is still one worth having because so many of our children suffer from anxiety and if following some simple exercise patterns helps alleviate that, then it’s worth trying. Giving the exercises such as lying on your back and then scrunching into a tight ball to let the butterflies out, a context so the reader is exposed to 18 different techniques that may be useful in times of stress. And even though it is called “yoga therapy”, many of them are the sorts of movements that might form part of a phys ed stretching session so they would be useful in the classroom setting when a change of routine is needed, benefitting more than just those feeling anxious. With simple illustrations of each pose offered at the end and their catchy names, children will enjoy participating in these without feeling that they are being singled out – everyone is involved but some will need them more than others.
Nevertheless, given the prevalence of anxiety – whether it’s butterflies in the tummy to a debilitating medical condition – all children (and adults) can benefit from having a few strategies on hand to release it beyond taking a few deep breaths. There really is nothing quite as magical as being so relaxed that you can hear your heart and the rhythm of love and life that it is beating.