Hers are based around a story – the boys’ favourites are Star Wars and Harry Potter but there are also Frozen, Minions, Trolls, Moana and The Twits workouts – and Amor enacts each story against a colourful illustrated backdrop.
“I thought it’d be more exciting to be in a cartoon world, so a friend drew some for me,” she says. “And I didn’t want to look like a yoga girl, I wanted to look like Harry Styles from One Direction, mooching around in his onesie.”
Amor took up yoga in her early 20s as a drama student at Bristol Old Vic, and after graduating, she began incorporating poses in the children’s parties she hosted at weekends to earn money between acting jobs. “I found that if I told children a story they’d lose interest, but if I included five special moves they had to learn, they were with me all the way.”
When she turned 30, she moved to the country near Henley and decided to retrain as a yoga teacher. “I’d grown disillusioned with acting and asked a local head teacher if he’d be interested in some kids’ yoga classes – I don’t know why but I sensed there would be energy for after-school yoga,” she says. One class led to many more, and soon she was teaching 15 a week. “My husband, Martin, saw me dragging my mat around and suggested we film a class and stick it on YouTube,” she says.
The first Cosmic Kids videos were a bit of a hotchpotch. She rented the local social club and a cameraman friend brought his green screen and some sound equipment and filmed her acting out the yoga stories of Squish the Fish, Kick the Kangaroo and Parsnip the Cat. “Four days after launching, I’d had 89 views and the following grew steadily from there,” she says.
There are now more than 450 Cosmic Kids Yoga videos online, of varying lengths; Amor scripts them herself and rehearses in her living room for three weeks prior to filming, with her two dogs as her audience. “Each story is punctuated with yoga poses, which gives the narrative its structure,” she explains. “I learn them off by heart and by the time I’m filmed I’m so familiar with the story that I could perform it in my sleep.”
For Star Wars addicts such as my sons, Amor’s in-depth knowledge of her subject matter is part of the appeal – they’re don’t feel they’re pretending when they’re told to hold out their lightsabers (warrior pose) or get tied up by a stormtrooper (threaded needle pose).
“The stories are glue that hold the sessions together,” Amor says. “Unexpected things happen; they’ll land in a tree or play football with crabs and I layer each story with big feelings as well as performance to engage young minds. The children have got to be the heroes of their stories – that’s what keeps them curious.”