The Abounding Benefits Of Baby Yoga
The first few months with a new arrival in the family are always a challenging time. As we adjust to a totally new schedule, struggle with lack of sleep and begin to bond with our baby it’s quite normal to feel exhausted and overwhelmed. On top of this, as a mother’s body starts to recover post-pregnancy, there are so many new and different emotions to process. Luckily the forms of support available are ever increasing, and baby yoga is a great option that can offer new parents a welcome boost.
If you have a little or a lot of experience with yoga, you might think, well there’s no way my baby can manage downward facing dog! What on earth is baby yoga all about? We’re here to give you an idea of what to expect and to give insight into some of the reasons why it might be worth a go. If you’ve never tried yoga before, don’t worry, the downward facing dog is one of the many strange and interesting names for yoga poses. Trust us, you’ll love it!
What To Expect
The format of baby yoga classes vary a little but the broad premise is a gentle group practice focused on beneficial stretches and movements for the parent and mini-stretches and movements for your baby. You will experience exercises focusing on breath, touch, and movement, and a segment of baby massage may be included. The practice is very much about togetherness, so you will feel closer to both your baby and yourself by the end of the session! Some Baby Yoga classes will be for mothers only, with more emphasis on strengthening the areas of the body most affected by pregnancy. Others will be consist of activities that all parents can get involved with.
While Baby Yoga is certainly not vigorous when our bodies are not used to certain movements we can get more tired than we expect! Take some drinking water and a towel with you, and wear loose, comfortable layers that allow you to move freely (and peel off a layer if you get too hot). You don’t need sports shoes as yoga is practised barefoot. It’s always best to check with your instructor whether yoga mats are provided or whether you need to take one with you. Your mat will keep you comfortable, stable and off the cold floor. It’s a good idea to double check what clothing your instructor recommends for your baby too.
De-stress For You
Young parents often experience the feeling of running on empty. Simple yoga practice is a fantastic way to free up some mental resources as we de-stress and release some of the extra burdens a new addition to the family can bring. Fully immersing yourself in just a short yoga session can induce a greater sense of wellness, creating a sense of calm, and boosting our waning energy levels. An added bonus is that when it’s time to sleep we will likely sleep more deeply!
As we watch our baby develop, bonding can take time and feel more challenging than we anticipated. Practising yoga together is a brilliant tool to connect with your little one, teaching you both to enjoy each other more as your practice develops. This can also be wonderful for new Dads who are finding their place, adjusting to their new role as a father and carer.
Beginning a family, or extending the one we already have, often results in us neglecting our own wellness needs. A baby yoga class offers a perfect chance to ease ourselves back into a fitness routine. Caring for and carrying our baby, teamed with tiredness can result in a sore, stiff body. Light yoga practice is a great way to alleviate tension and soothe achy muscles. Some mother-focused classes may focus on postnatal specific areas, such as restoring strength in the back muscles, the abdominals and the pelvic floor.
Baby yoga is wonderful for stimulating your little one’s awareness of his or her body. This kind of gentle guided movement can build strength and stimulate coordination; encouraging developments such as sitting, crawling and standing. The stretches practised can also improve the workings of that tiny digestive system.
This form of action and play can be very stimulating for your baby, encouraging mental development, inducing better sleep and cultivating a sense of rhythm! Adding a baby yoga practice to your schedule can induce a calm state that will set you and your baby up for the rest of the day.
With a new baby at home, many of us find ourselves struggling with all sorts of challenges, such as adjusting to a more isolated routine during maternity leave, or difficulty in adapting to the totally new experience. We may simply want to chat to other mums to compare experiences, or gain reassurance that our brains will work normally again when we regain our normal sleep patterns! Ensuring that we have a support network in place is crucial during this life-changing period, and a baby yoga class offers a wonderful opportunity to build connections with other parents; many of whom will become our allies and friends!