‘Cosmic Kids’ Mixes Yoga, Storytelling and Fun

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Jaime Amor is the host of ‘Cosmic Kids.’ Here she performs yoga poses in the ‘Betsy the Banana’ Yoga Adventure video

Photo: Cosmic Kids

A flexible actress in a blue onesie is dominating the global lockdown.

Jaime Amor’s “Cosmic Kids” yoga storytelling videos were a curiosity before the coronavirus sent parents and children indoors together for hours. Now her flowing narrations built around movies like “Frozen” and “Star Wars” have turned her into a digital sensation.

The 40-year-old British performer’s YouTube channel has gone from 100,000 to more than one million daily views in less than two weeks, according to the social-media tracker Social Blade. Sales of her app have more than quadrupled. There is quite an inventory: The first of the 450 “Cosmic Kids” videos went online in 2012.

Looking at the traffic numbers, Ms. Amor can see her life is changing quickly, but that’s about the only place she notices the change. Nobody’s recognizing her on the street. She’s stuck inside like everyone else.

“You’re stopped in time—you just know a door’s going to open at some point and there’s going to be a whole load of people behind it,” she says. “It’s been a very strange couple of weeks.”

Jaime Amor writes, memorizes and performs in all of her videos.

Photo: David Lloyd

The uptick in viewing is concentrated around English-speaking countries as well as areas hit by sweeping coronavirus shutdowns including South Korea, Japan and Hong Kong. A translator just contacted Ms. Amor in an effort to repackage her videos for Chinese audiences. A producer reached out recently to investigate a TV version.

Ms. Amor writes, memorizes and performs all the shows, usually in one take. She builds the narratives around actual yoga poses, often using positions named for animals (though, say, a horse pose could double as a unicorn). Her classes include mindfulness, meditation and dance sessions. The most popular are her more than four dozen yoga stories, which incorporate her original writing, fairy tales and popular movies.

During her yoga classes—“yoger” to an American ear—she stands on a round mat in a bright onesie before a computer-generated background. Special effects include sparkles shooting from her fingertips in the Warrior Two position or rainbow dust showering over her arms in the Parighasana pose. She might use a prop, like a hot pink wig for her “Trolls” video.

Trained as an actor at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, she spent many years trying to score serious acting gigs while working as an entertainer at children’s parties. She hit a low point in Poland while performing in a touring production of “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” emoting for non-English speakers in the middle of winter. “It was like an escape room kind of thing,” she says. “I just wanted to get out.”

Ms. Amor, whose mother taught aerobics and father worked for a company that engineered tea kettle controls, runs “Cosmic Kids” with two staffers and husband Martin Amor. The couple, who married in 2014, grew close during the 2009 Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert, when Ms. Amor decided to leave her life as a struggling actor in London and train as a yoga teacher in a rural area west of the city.

Around 2010, she began teaching yoga lessons to children near her new home in Henley-on-Thames. Soon, she was videotaping her scripted stories.

Ms. Amor is the only star of the series with the occasional exception of her cockapoo Mini, who once gazed serenely into the camera during the Savasana pose. Her labradoodle Spence is a little too unruly for fame at the moment.

Here, an edited transcript:

How did you land on the onesie?

I didn’t want to look like a Lycra-clad yoga girl, I wanted to be more fun and approachable. The band “One Direction” were wearing onesies back in 2012 on tour and I thought, “Right, I’m going to wear one of those too.” I got myself a big pink outfit and a blue one, and we filmed three stories in March 2012. It took us two months to pluck up the courage to post it because we thought it was very weird.

Are you choosing stories that might help children in this crisis?

I did “Cinderella” yesterday, where there’s a central character who is trapped inside and has to stay hopeful and positive. She has faith in her dream that one day she’ll get out of there and she does. I wrote the story six or seven weeks ago. I had no idea the central theme of the message was going to be so relevant. When you look hard enough, the message is planted in a lot of stories that can help kids when there’s a lot of stress.

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How do you create the videos?

I write a plot synopsis myself and I’m already starting to add in words that I know have yoga poses which correspond to them. Then I break it down into chunks and practice little sections. I learn it so I can do it fluently and flow. I find if I start and stop it gets a bit broken up. I look right down the barrel of the camera through to the other side and make it feel like I’m talking just to the kids. All kids need to feel special, like they matter.

Was anyone ever snobby to you because you perform for children?

It was mostly in my own head. I had that snobbery. I had trained as a classical actor. I wanted to be on the stage of the National or the Royal Shakespeare Company. It did feel like a bit of a second choice. But after I was in the zone of doing it and we’d moved to the countryside, I realized the value. Stories can be such an incredible vehicle for children to learn.

When did you stop doing children’s parties?

I was 36 or 37 years old at the time, well into doing “Cosmic Kids.” I was dressed in a Puddles the Puppy costume, about to head off to a 3-year-old’s birthday party. My husband looked at me as I was coming down the staircase dressed up as a dog with my suitcase. He said, “Look at you.” I said, “Yeah, but I’m getting £100.” He said, “I’ll give you £200 to stay home.”

Share Your Thoughts

How are you keeping the kids entertained under quarantine and lockdowns? Join the discussion below.

Write to Ellen Gamerman at ellen.gamerman@wsj.com

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