Baby buddhas? Well, not exactly…But I still couldn't resist posting this adorable photo! 😉 Yoga for babies typically looks much less like a quiet meditation than it does a precious sight of interacting and bonding gestures, beneficial song and movement combos, and coos and smiles between baby and caregiver (yes, baby must bring an adult along to yoga class). Our favorite yoga program for moms and babies (or dads, grandmas or other caregivers) is the Itsy Bitsy Yoga program created by Helen Garabedien. Below is the Baby Itsy Bitsy Yoga class description pulled right from her website:
Baby Itsy Bitsy Yoga classes contain dozens of unique yoga postures designed to support baby’s development. Each class is filled with calming, nurturing ways to enhance bonding and improve baby’s sleep. During a Baby Itsy Bitsy Yoga class, babies enjoy yoga while on their backs, tummies, or held in loving arms. For parents, this class is a special opportunity to meet other moms, get support, and learn about baby's emerging personality. Most of the yoga we do in Itsy Bitsy Yoga is for baby, but you will also learn breathing and relaxation techniques as you practice a bit of yoga yourself. No yoga is experience required.
I can attest to the benefits of yoga for babies and their caregivers as I have been teaching Itsy Bitsy Yoga classes for several years. About one half of the 1 hr. class is dedicated to sing-songy postures and simple, gentle movements, guided by parents. Helen Garabedien is a infant developmental movement educator and infant massage specialist, so it's no surprise that her trademarked song and movement combos are not only fun and easy to learn, but also extremely beneficial for baby. In fact, the tagline of the related book aptly titled, Itsy Bitsy Yoga, is "Poses to Help Your Baby Sleep Longer, Digest Better, and Grow Stronger."
Timely spaces between movements with baby are other important components of a typical Baby Itsy Bitsy Yoga class. These 'breaks' are primarily focused on community-building and creating a nurturing and open space where moms (about 90% of the moms attending my classes are first-time moms) can share questions, concerns and stories about their journeys into motherhood and parenting. A typical first class introduction might involve sharing birth stories. Over the next several weeks, community building questions might be posed to start a discussion – questions like, "What do you do to take care of yourself", or "What is the best/worst parenting advice you've ever received?" These questions serve two purposes – 1) They support the moms in showing them that they are not alone in their experiences as new parents (what can often be a lonely place, especially if there is a lack of family support around), and 2) Create a sense of community in the group. In fact, many wonderful friendships and playdate schedules got their start at our Itsy Bitsy Yoga classes!
Yoga experience nor buddha babies are required (but they're awful cute, aren't they!?) to try out a Baby Yoga class. It's open to any parent or caregiver seeking a loving, bonding activity to do with her child. Best of all, you might just gain more sleep in the process! ChildLight Yoga's Itsy Bitsy Yoga Class Schedule for Babies (NH Seacoast area) Find a Baby Itsy Bitsy Yoga Instructor near you…