I’ve always been a fan of yoga, and while I haven’t practiced yoga consistently, I always return to a class or practice at home to help relax my mind and body and to reduce stress and anxiety.
If yoga is relaxing for me, it’s a no brainer that it would also be helpful to my little ones as well, but I never knew exactly why and how beneficial mommy and me yoga could be for both my children and I. I recently read Itsy Bitsy Yoga, by Helen Garabedian, and wanted to share what I learned about mommy and me yoga and why it’s a good idea to incorporate these yoga poses into your baby’s daily routine to help them sleep longer, digest better and grow stronger. Going to a mommy and me yoga class could be a lot of fun but you can easily do this at home.
Benefits of mommy and me yoga for your baby…
- Helps improve their sleep…better and longer
- Helps improve digestion and ease gas pain
- Relieve colic/fussiness
- Helps to promote a healthy lifestyle at an early age
- Strengthens the parent-child bond
- Increases neuromuscular development
- Cultivates self-esteem and a positive body image at a young age
- Can boost the immune system
- Reduces stress and helps to develop relaxation techniques
- Reduces anxiety
- Increases body awareness
- Aids the natural development of movement from birth to walking
Garabedian breaks down which yoga poses to do with your baby when they reach certain milestones (newborn, head-holders, almost sitting, almost crawlers, etc.) to make it easy for moms to know when to do which poses. Here are a few Daniela really likes so far.
- Bukka Bukka (Bukka is the Sanskrit word for heart) You can start this pose when your baby is a newborn. You hold your baby so you and baby are chest to chest and your baby’s head is tucked under your chin. This pose recreates your baby being positioned in the womb and the touch of your chin on their head feels like the uterine wall. The sound of your heart beat and closeness is also familiar to your baby and will calm them, and they like the vibration of your voice.
- Divine Drops – This is a calming pose and can help your baby when they’re fussy. For newborns have your baby facing you but for older babies you can have them facing out. Hold baby behind the back of their head and neck for support and behind their lower back and hips. Next you do wide legged squats (sumo squats) while taking deep breaths in and out and dropping quickly into the squatting position.
- Dolphin – This pose is another calming pose and can be done during tummy time. Sit on the floor with your legs in front of you and bent. Rest your baby on their tummies on your thighs (head will be above your knees). Rhythmically tap the base of your baby’s spine with two fingers for 5 to 30 seconds. This soothes your baby’s nervous system and will help relax them. Having your baby in this position will also help them strengthen their neck muscles and develop good head control.
These three poses are just a starting point for mommy and me yoga and I look forward to progressing through this book and doing these with Daniela as she grows :).