Health & Fitness

A 13-year-old is teaching kids yoga on TV – with the help of a giant dog costume

Adam Avin, who is one of the youngest certified yoga instructors in Florida, created Wuf Shanti, a life-size dog that performs yoga poses and sings along with children in front of the camera.
Adam Avin, who is one of the youngest certified yoga instructors in Florida, created Wuf Shanti, a life-size dog that performs yoga poses and sings along with children in front of the camera. Photo provided to the Miami Herald

Thirteen-year-old Adam Avin, producer of the children’s yoga program, “Wuf Shanti,” says the show helps keep his great-grandfather’s three mantras alive: “Smile and the world will smile with you,” the kindness mantra; “smile and say thank you,” the gratitude mantra; and “think well to be well,” the positive thinking mantra.

Adam, who lives in Fort Lauderdale, says that although there are many feel-good children’s shows, none is quite like his. “They don’t teach the yogi mindset, they don’t teach all these different yoga poses, they don’t teach the meditation techniques,” he said.

The Children’s Television Network, which recently picked up “Wuf Shanti,” will soon extend its coverage internationally. The network currently airs in 15 children’s hospitals nationwide and plans to expand its reach to 170 hospitals throughout the United States. In December, it will also begin offering its programming on various streaming services accessible throughout the world via Apple TV, Hulu, Amazon Fire TV stick, Samsung smart televisions, among others.

Wuf Shanti, the life-size dog and star of the show, started off as drawings by Adam with his great-grandfather’s mantras written underneath, which the teen then developed into a book before setting his sights on the 15-minute television show.

Adam, who is one of the youngest certified yoga instructors in Florida, was the original Wuf Shanti. He dressed in a life-size dog costume until he outgrew it. He’s now 5 feet 10.

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Adam Avin, who is one of the youngest certified yoga instructors in Florida, created Wuf Shanti, a life-size dog that performs yoga poses and sings along with children in front of the camera. Photo provided to the Miami Herald

The dog performs yoga poses and sings along with children in front of the camera. When the cameras are not rolling, he travels to children’s hospitals around the nation to lead yoga classes and teach mindfulness.

On Facebook, Wuf Shanti has more than 50,000 followers. Last year, singer Adam Levine of Maroon 5 posted on his own Facebook page, “What a cool way to teach kids yoga. Go back this Kickstarter from an amazing kid!”

Donnie Vick, CEO of The Children’s Television Network, said this show along with others on the network will offer viewers something unlike any other current show.

“It gets kids moving and start thinking about their body,” he said.What I really like is that it’s delivered by someone closer to their age rather than a 35-year-old delivering the message. Because sometimes kids like to hear things from other kids.”

“Wuf Shanti,” which is executive produced and written by Adam’s mother, Marni Becker-Avin, will be available through an upcoming mobile app. It is also available daily on local PBS stations in South Florida and anytime on YouTube.

“Wuf Shanti is so important right now, with everything going on in the world because he encourages health and wellness in children and promotes peace and positivity,” Becker-Avin said.

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