Parenting is the toughest job in the world. Talk to any parent these days and they will likely share that raising kids during the last two years of the coronavirus pandemic has been even more challenging.
Local mother and children’s book author Kara Kotecki can relate. The mother of two daughters at McGaugh Elementary school in Seal Beach saw her youngest child dealing with an explosion of emotions over the last few years. “Kids really just need healthy outlets for their big feelings. Yoga for me has always been that path,” Kotecki said in a recent interview. She’s been practicing yoga’s physical poses, breathing techniques and meditation for 25 years, including now with her two girls. Kotecki said when she goes to her yoga mat “stress melts away.”
Now Kotecki is hoping to inspire families to practice yoga with her new children’s book “Mae and Namaste,” from BiblioKid Publishing. (Namaste is a Sanskrit word that translates to “I bow to you” and the word many yoga practitioners say when they finish a yoga class).
“Mae and Namaste” follows a young girl as she experiences a range of different feelings. Readers see how Mae figures out how to tame her emotions by practicing yoga poses that come to life in the form of gorgeous illustrations by Serbian artist Marižan.
For example, when Mae sits down to do butterfly pose, she is pictured with colorful wings: “Mae lands like a butterfly, sole to sole, gently flapping her wings. She feels light.”
“Yoga has many calming effects on the mind and body, giving kids the opportunity to turn overwhelming emotions into empowering ones,” Kotecki wrote in an email saying it can help transform chaotic feelings into ones of strength. “Yoga is a place kids can go to still their minds and feel their inner calm. It’s also a fun and healthy way of self-expression.”
“Mae and Namaste” could make for a great bedtime routine for elementary-school age kids. After the story concludes, the book offers easy-to-follow instructions on how to do many yoga poses. Kotecki says by exposing children to the benefits of yoga, it can become a part of their toolbox for life. “I think the sooner kids discover that, the better.”
You can order “Mae and Namaste” now at www.karakotecki.com.
Experience “Mae and Namaste” in person with these upcoming events.
• “Mae and Namaste” Book Signing at Stitch and Feather
Saturday, May 28
11 a.m.–2 p.m.
Stitch and Feather
141 Main St.
Seal Beach, 90740
• “Mae and Namaste” Book Launch Party at Ja Yoga
Saturday, June 4
5525 E. Spring St.
Long Beach, 90808
Books will be available for purchase and signing. At the June 4 event, a yoga class for kids will start at 2 p.m. There will be a face painting station, a bracelet making station and cookies and beverages.