Cosmic Kids Yoga is the most successful children’s yoga platform, loved by the Kardashians, Barack Obama - and our own beauty director. Now its creator is bringing serenity to bedtime and helping children sleep
Depending on whether or not you have small children in your life, the phrase Cosmic Kids Yoga will either resonate with you so much that it'll make you cry happy tears or it may mean nothing to you. I am firmly in the former camp and stand by the fact that Cosmic Kids Yoga - and Jaime Amor, the woman behind it - saved mine and my daughter’s sanity during lockdown.
For the uninitiated, Cosmic Kids Yoga is a free online yoga channel on YouTube (it has more than 1.3 million subscribers and is watched by more than 3.5 million children). Jaime leads children through magical stories while getting them to engage with yoga positions, breathing exercises and mindfulness exercises with the aim to de-stress and help them learn how to deal with feelings, without them realising they’re doing any of those things. During lockdown, when parents like me were hitting every limit imaginable, Cosmic Kids Yoga provided much-needed sanctuary and her videos went from averaging around 100,000 views to one million views a day.
It was a feat not only achieved by Jaime’s magnificent ability to story tell and engage with children through a screen (which is not always a given) but by two celebrity fans going public. Kim Kardashian was filming a live Instagram beauty tutorial and was interrupted by her daughter, North West, who didn’t know what to do for her at-home school PE lesson. Kim told her to go and do her Frozen yoga class. North West came back with Cosmic Kids Yoga on her iPad and Jaime dressed up as Princess Elsa. That video has now had more than 21 million views. Then President Barack Obama retweeted an article from The New Yorker magazine about how frazzled mums were coping during lockdown. The main picture was of Jaime doing one of her Cosmic Kids yoga classes.
When SJ met Jaime
When I was offered the chance to interview Jaime about her new sleep venture (more on that in a bit) I was genuinely quite starstruck and emotional. This is the woman who when I was at my most frazzled gave me the only real bit of respite from non-stop parenting and home schooling two small children while working full time. My eldest daughter was five at the time and there were very few activities that she enjoyed doing online but Cosmic Kids Yoga was something she could put on herself and follow along. She soon learned that when she was feeling emotional, Cosmic Kids Yoga was the thing that made her feel better.
My daughter is eight now and while she doesn’t do Cosmic Kids as much anymore it’s still something she likes to log onto when she’s having a bit of a tricky time. And when I told her I was interviewing Jaime she was practically giddy.
Jaime and I chatted online, as seemed only right as I have only ‘known’ Jaime through my computer and I wanted to ask if she felt she had to change her content during and post-lockdown to help little ones deal with what they were going through.
“Once we were in lockdown and we had more of an understanding of what Covid was all about I knew that I would have to make some specific content. I did a hand washing video about how to defeat an icky, sticky germ which I felt helped make the constant washing of hands a bit heroic, fun and interesting.”
She also tackled the concept of isolating and lockdown by adapting the story of Cinderella. “I spun it so it was about how to stay focused and positive and not to feel confined in your environment. You’re always free in your mind to do whatever you want and that’s what I wanted children to remember.”
How did Cosmic Kids start?
This success didn’t just happen overnight. Jaime began her career in 2010 as an actress. To make extra money in-between jobs she worked as an entertainer at children’s parties. At her parties, she would create a backstory to explain why she was there and use yoga moves to get the children involved. “I would be a fairy that needed to protect my fairy dust and if all the children did five special yoga moves it would keep the witch away,” she explains. “I always framed my parties much like classic Disney stories. There was a bit of a jeopardy, a bit of heroism all wrapped up to keep the children engaged,”. And as many parents can attest to keeping 30 young children engaged in a dusty church hall is no easy thing.
Along the way, Jaime formally trained as a yoga teacher, hung up her acting shoes and moved out of London to the countryside. The idea of somehow combining her party experience and yoga knowledge kept niggling her. She approached a few local primary schools and started running after-school yoga clubs. Soon, her lessons became so oversubscribed that she started filming them because she couldn’t be everywhere at the same time and she wanted children to be able to access their ‘yoga superpowers’ whenever they wanted to. Cosmic Kids Yoga is now used in over 250,000 schools across the globe.
“My first video Squish the Fish was filmed in our local sports club with a green curtain behind me. At the time Harry Styles was wearing a onesie all the time and I knew I wanted to look approachable and comfy, so I thought I’d do the same. I used my round yoga mat which I had found was a great way in my real-life classes to have children around me and then I added in bright and engaging backgrounds because I wanted the kids to feel like they were almost watching a cartoon.” Squish the Fish has now had more than 6.3 million views and Jaime’s yoga videos range from Encanto-themed yoga to Sonic The Hedgehog with Minions, Minecraft, Trolls, and Harry Potter in the mix too.
Cosmic Kids Yoga: Sleep Adventures
We then move onto the reason Jaime and I are having a chat; her new venture. A series of free audio soundscapes all designed to help children get to sleep calmly and, as with all things Cosmic Kids, to help improve their mental health and well-being.
“I get so much amazing feedback and a lot of the messaging coming back to me was them looking for a way for children to calm down and unwind without them having to look at screens. That’s when I started to look into an audio offering. Listening is such a powerful sense for children,” Jaime continues, “and it doesn’t need to be less visual or magical. It can still transport them in the same way but it’s a great technique for children to learn. To be able to listen and learn from an instruction helps cement neural pathways and trains the auditory sense.”
The soundscapes are a mix of guided relaxations that Jaime said are already not only being used at bedtime but also in the classroom to help calm children down when they come in from lunchtime. But I can confirm they are excellent for bedtime. My daughters have been listening to them through our Alexa but you can stream them via YouTube, Apple music or Spotify and they are all free. Their favourite is the one that Jaime recommends people should start with, Kevin the Koala - a guided breathing meditation about a koala that can’t get to sleep so he goes off to find his ultimate sleep spot. I’ve found myself snuggling down to listen to it too.
While having a Kardashian and a President recognising your work is one thing, Jaime says parent feedback is what motivates her most. “A mum whose son has ADHD got in touch with me. She said he often has meltdowns before bed so going to sleep was becoming quite stressful. He was continuously spinning around in circles and banging his head. She found one of my audios and started to play them to him when he was getting stressed. There’s one called Banana, which has become his favourite, and she said now within the first two minutes of it playing it he calms down, falls asleep – and then falls 'asleep asleep! ' It never fails.”
I know there’s something very special about Cosmic Kids Yoga and having listened to quite a few of the audio stories, those too. If you or your kids are struggling with feelings and emotions, then Jaime is there waiting for you to help. It’s free, it’s brilliant and you have nothing to lose and only lots to gain.