Video: Itsy bitsy yoga

updated 6/23/2004 1:08:30 AM ET 2004-06-23T05:08:30

If you've been within a doughnut's throw of your local gym lately you probably have a passing familiarity with yoga.

In addition to poses no single-jointed individual could possibly hope to get themselves into, it also includes exotic vocabulary like Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Kundalini… and Itsy Bitsy.

The No. 1  story on Tuesday's ‘Countdown' is the 5,000 year-old craze. This blend  of mind, body and spirit has finally branched out—to babies.

“Itsy Bitsy Yoga,” is where meditating tots trim and tone. With the number of obese adolescents in the U.S. now at 17 percent, some fitness gurus think it's time to get a jump on healthy habits by bringing infants into the fold.

“Today, the obesity rate is so alarming that anything that we can do to get parents and children active together, from the start of life, the better off we are,” says Helen Grabedian, founder of “Itsy Bitsy Yoga.”  Garabedian teaches young yogis ranging from a few weeks to a few years old.

According to a mother, Sarah, when her baby Evan is in a bad mood, he'll do some of the poses, and he just perks right up.

“The benefits for babies and toddlers is better sleep and improved digestion. It also stimulates euromuscular development, increases body awareness, and self esteem.” Says Garabedian.

But is this path to health and harmony safe for little ones? Dr. Jordan Metzl, a specialist in sports medicine for children, isn't so sure.

“There is such a thing as inappropriate sports at an inappropriate age,” he says. "There are cartilage growth plates in kids' bones that can be injured and can sometimes cause lifelong injury and impairment of a joint or a bone. So I would take any activity with kids' bodies very seriously.”

Yoga is a playful and gentle way to bring them into exercise, one where even the smallest students strike a pose.

“Doing this for a kind of parent-infant bonding is one thing. But when you start saying that you're going prevent medical problems, I think many people would have issue with those kind of claims until they're studied properly.”

Click here to learn more: http://www.itsybitsyyoga.com/

This was the No. 1 story on Tuesday's "Countdown with Keith Olbermann." The show airs weeknights, 8 p.m. ET.

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