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The Benefits of Baby Yoga

Posted on January 23rd, 2013 by | 2 views
by Heather Hernandez-Reja
www.zenbabyyoga.org
 

 

Believe it or not, there is Yoga for babies. As a certified Baby Yoga Instructor, I see first- hand the true benefits of baby yoga. It does not only benefit the baby when preformed on a regular basis but it is very beneficial to the postnatal mother.

Baby yoga creates a bond between you and the baby, promotes peace within, self awareness, and physical strength. When added to your daily routine, baby yoga will improve the function of the body systems such as repertory, circulatory, digestive, endocrine, and the nervous system. It provides tactile stimulations for the brain’s development and strengthens the spine to prepare for sitting and head righting. Baby yoga can greatly release the physical discomfort from gasses and colic.

With baby yoga integrated in your daily life, you commit time just for you and your baby. I can’t tell you how important that is in such a crazy busy world that we live in today. You will learn that it is ok to relax and you will relax together as one. Most importantly Baby yoga builds trust between parent and child.

A normal session of yoga with your baby would start out with a song (I try open with the same song during every session) to get the baby to realize it is yoga time. After the song you tell the baby that it is time for yoga and start to massage your baby’s arms, stomach, and feet in a circular clockwise motion, again accompanied by a song. Did you know that there are7000 nerve endings on the bottom of each foot? Massaging these nerve endings along with the arms and belly will improve circulation of the blood, create detoxification and eliminate toxins, and allows the body to become harmonized.

Once the massage session is complete, we go into several yoga stretches. We start with a few breathing exercises for the mother then go into a few “Cat Poses” over the baby, reaching to the sky while breathing, and a few hand, wrist, and ankle stretches. Then it s the babies turn. Here are a few stretches that I teach with their benefits for the baby (please keep in mind that as teachers we are taught age appropriate stretches and usually divide our classes into age groups):

  1.  - Knees to Chest : Stimulates the digestive system 
  2.  - Knees side to side: Aligns the spine
  3.  - Butterfly rotations: Opens the hips and stimulates the digestive system. This move is great in assisting to relieve colic pains
  4.  - Opposite hand to opposite fee: Stimulates the brains motor skill in preparation for crawling

These are just a few of the stretches that we do during our sessions. I try and accompany every stretch and every move with a song so that the baby recognizes the positions. From there we go on to more interactive yoga moves such as:

 - Assisted sitting position: Allow the baby to pull themselves up to a sitting position with very little help from you.

 - Prone position with the baby rolling down the legs: Stimulates righting of the brain as well as allows the baby to be on their belly.

  1.  - Upside down lifts and swings: Develops babies sense of direction
  2.  - Roller Coaster down the room: Aids in coordination and spacial awareness
  3.  - Rolling on exercise ball: Develops a sense of direction as well as a stretching of the spine. Even the mother gets a try.

Again, this is just a few of the fun routines performed during a session. In between some of the routines, pelvic exercises and brain exercises are thrown in for the mother. To wind things down, there is usually a bit of “relaxed walking” along with breathing and balances.

At the end of your session, you will take the very important 10 minutes to meditate with your baby. It is not easy at first but after a bit of practice with your teacher, it will be your favorite part of the class. Your baby will learn how to meditate as well. It is very important for a baby to learn that relaxing is ok and to have that time with the mother every day is very special.

Baby yoga can be practiced at anytime of the day for a few short minutes or for a full half an hour or more depending on your baby’s age. It is important that your baby is not too tired or hungry. The babies’ cues are the best guide and you should observe your baby carefully. Some babies prefer a morning session before a nap, others will respond to a regular evening bedtime routine. Focus your mind on the yoga practice. Feel the connection with your baby. Breathe deeply and release tension from your own body. Should your baby show signs of discomfort or unhappiness, stop, and try again later or at your next group session. After your baby gets use to the idea of yoga he or she will look forward to the time you spend together.

For more information and descriptions of how to do yoga poses with your baby, please check out the bookBaby Yoga by Francoise Freedman. You can purchase the book on this blog by clicking on Recommended Links – Product recommendations at Amazon.

Thank you for reading. If you live in the San Diego area, I offer private and group classes. Please feel free to contact me in the comment section for more information.

I look forward to reading your feedback.
 

Heather is the Founder and Instructor of Zen Baby Yoga; contact her at 760-683-4918 or simply book online at www.zenbabyyoga.org.

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