The positive effects of Yoga are well-documented, yet it's common to see raised eyebrows when you mention yoga for babies!
WHAT IS BABY YOGA?
Guided by the parent or caregiver, baby yoga involves warm-up stretches and dry massage, followed by stretching and movement exercises for different parts of a baby’s body.
It is much gentler and slower than regular yoga and many of the movements will be already be familiar to parents and caregivers. While you can do baby yoga at home, getting out of the house and joining a class is a great way to socialise with other parents and babies.
1. Hold baby facing outwards to the floor with your arm supporting baby’s tummy and chest. Gently swing your baby, with small movements to begin with. If your baby seems to enjoy this, you can swing further; an unhappy baby may kick their legs and cry. If so, move on to another pose.
2. This pose is useful to relieve colic or gas pains. Lie baby on their back and gently bend legs up towards their tummy, then stretch legs out straight. Repeat 5 – 10 times. You can add in bicycle movements with their legs also.
IS YOGA GOOD FOR BABIES?
Baby Yoga involves parents holding and touching their baby, whilst maintaining eye contact. This is brilliant for enhancing the bond between parent and infant, and also creates a deeper emotional attachment.
These benefits alone provide enough reason to consider enrolling in a baby yoga class, however there are many more including:
- Movement guided by parents stimulates nerve development and the gentle exercise can release feel-good hormones such as endorphins.
- Feelings of calm and relaxation are promoted as parents speak directly to their infant and guide their body through various positions. An extra bonus is that babies tend to sleep well afterwards.
- Baby yoga is also a form of massage and stimulating the pressure receptors on skin reduces production of stress hormones such as Cortisol.
- Certain poses can help relieve wind and constipation and ease colic in babies.
- Yoga helps babies open up their bodies and relax their reflexes, whilst improving muscle tone, balance and coordination.
ARE THERE ANY RISKS?
Small and slow movements are the order of the day, and some instructors recommend singing the words to the movements to make sure parents don’t move too fast.
Since babies don’t have control of their heads until about six months of age, parents need to support their child’s head at all times.
Before joining a class, do some research and find out about your instructor’s qualifications for peace of mind.
WHAT DO WE WEAR?
Dress your baby in a singlet or vest, nappy, and a sleepsuit or Wondersuit. The suit will be removed, and the vest will help the baby feel comfortable. Parents can wear loose clothes such as trackpants or shorts and t-shirt.
In conclusion, yoga for babies can be a positive and fun activity for both parents and infants.
Published by Janet Camilleri