Parents looking to teach their children a spot of yoga in the park and allow them to while the time away in an imaginary world were in for a treat today at Bloom.
Children’s author Emma-Jane Leeson, from near Prosperous, Co Kildare, who writes the Adventures of Johnny Magory books, teamed up with Sarah Cahill, from Playlikeapes.com - a children’s yoga and movement class, in Newbridge, Co Kildare, to infuse storytelling with mindfulness.
Little ones joined together to learn downward dogs and vinyas as they listened to stories about wildlife and the great outdoors - central themes from the Johnny Magory books.
Emma-Jane, 36, who started writing children’s books after she gave birth to her daughter at 18-years-old, managed to make a successful business out of the venture.
And she was delighted to see children learning about the books while also practicing yoga together.
“It’s just so lovely to see the children all together and having fun,” she said.
“That’s what the books are about. I wrote the books when I was 18 but I left them in a box until my mammy said when I was 30, ‘would you not do something with them?’
“My first book was out in 2016 and then I left the Kerry Group three years ago and I’ve been doing it full time since.
“I’m currently making a TV animation series too. I was lucky I went onto lots of Enterprise Ireland and LEO courses. The kids’ books are on sale in shops and there’s an app too where the characters are augmented reality. I feel really lucky but I just didn’t give up.”
Her daughter, Lilly, is set to turn 18 in July, and Emma-Jane is now a mother-of-three children.
Mother Linda Mackey, from Navan, Co Meath, watched on smiling as her children Rose, 11 and Betty, 12, practiced yoga and listened to stories.
“It’s just gorgeous,” she said. “It’s a little haven away from the hustle and bustle of the crowds.
“This is so special to see children all together doing yoga and listening to stories because they’ve been through a lot with the pandemic, and yoga and mindfulness are just such important techniques for children to deal with life stresses.
“Sometimes children come home from school and it’s a rollercoaster of ups and downs but by knowing yoga, it can help children regulate their emotions.
“It’s fantastic to be here today, we all needed this.”
Thousands of people are again enjoying Bloom at Phoenix Park today. The weather had started out gloomy and seemed to be threatening rain but now the sun is out and families are revelling in the early bank holiday downtime.