Yoga and Babies
Inhale. Exhale. Hold that pose, and your cute baby. Lay your baby on the back. Yep, you can spend time on your yoga mat with your baby. Baby Yoga is a practice between newborns and new moms. Although baby yoga’s origin cannot be specified clearly, it was said that it originated from India, traced back to an ancient book called Riga Veda.
Who can join?
On average, it is encouraged that participants should be babies three months old and above. Although, some facilities or yoga instructors might accommodate slightly younger babies.
Yoga benefits us to get familiar with our body, to gain confidence as we hold poses, and to maintain our peace and balance on every breath. These benefits are no different from what baby yoga can do.
First, it is good for the newborn’s digestion. Poses and stretches for babies promote good digestion, aid constipation, and relieve gas. The second benefit is that it promotes better sleep as it stimulates the baby’s body to take longer sleeping time. Evidently, it makes it easier for babies to fall asleep after yoga class. The third benefit of baby yoga is that it helps the newborn’s strength and body coordination needed for his/her physical development, such as crawling and sitting. Depending on the difficulty level, some baby yoga routine includes sensory activities such as using small instruments, toys, or fabric. This helps the baby’s development on identifying and connecting on the things around him/ her.
Aside from the physical health benefits, baby yoga can also be a tool that bonds new parents and their babies. It helps the new parents understand the newborn’s physical and emotional needs, creating an emotional bond between the two. It can also help first-time parents to gain more confidence in taking good care of their newborn and can also be a way to find a support group with other new parents.
How to do it?
Like regular yoga, baby yoga usually starts with a warm-up. This involves bending and flexing and other similar poses to a baby massage. Nursery rhymes or lullabies can be used for familiarity. As participants are still newborns, it is not effective to just give verbal instructions in doing poses. It is important that the parent/s assist the baby physically when holding poses.
For babies 1-month to 4-month, poses will most likely include laying your back on his/her back. Variations might include, extending his/her arms overhead and his/her legs straight out, or gently pressing on the bottoms of his/her feet and ease his/her knees towards the chest. Another pose variation while letting your newborn lay on his/her back is to press each leg to the chest alternatively. Like usual yoga, it is recommended to hold the pose for a breath or two and gently release it to let the baby got back to his/her natural position.
For baby’s five months and above, standing poses may now be introduced. Example poses can be a bridge and downward-facing dog. Standing poses develop the baby’s upper body strength. For precautionary, parents must prepare a proper yoga mat or non-slip towels. It’s also very important not to force any pose to avoid incidents or any muscle pain for the baby.
Baby Yoga and Connection
All in all, baby yoga can be a great tool for new parents to encourage their baby to be aware and connect to their surroundings and to gain control of his/ her body. Namaste.