Thoughts on yoga for children, yoga and parenting, family, health, our community, mom-owned businesses, and other things we love.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Baby Buddhas? Baby yoga explained.

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...

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Blogger Donna said...

How I wish there was a baby yoga class available when my kids were little. I did many of the same activities with my wee ones but it would have been nice to enjoy the support of other new moms, their questions, experiences, and sharing would have been a weekly event not to be missed.

September 10, 2009 at 8:50 AM

Blogger Young Yoga Masters said...

Thanks for this. I've got the Itsy Bitsy Yoga book but have only used parts it in a short daycare class with a group of 4 babies/toddlers and no mothers. I'd love to hear more of your expereinces with this age.

September 10, 2009 at 11:29 AM

Blogger thepranamama said...

When my daughter was 19 months old, I took her to our first Itsy Bitsy Yoga class with Miss Lisa/ChildLight Yoga. We had just left the full-time work and day care world and were home looking for ways to spend time together and with other families in the community. We had the best time in this class! The poses and songs encourage movement, language skills, memory, socialization and of course, parent-child bonding. Sometimes you really have to get out of the house to fully participate with your child!

I only regret not knowing much about the baby class when my son was born a few years later. We didn't have the easiest of days together, and I think a class like this would have greatly improved my ability to be present and accept him for the baby he was, not to mention, have the emotional support of friends going through similar mommy challenges.

When I began teaching these and other children's classes for ChildLight later that year, I discovered the amazing baby class. In my opinion, it's the best way to spend an hour with your baby outside of the home. You get out, you relax, you learn a lot about infant development, you talk with other moms, and you get to know your child for the amazing little growing creature that he is.

Lastly - I must mention that I met my best friend and my daughter's best friend at that very first Itsy BItsy Yoga class. I recently found the class list which contained everyone's phone numbers so that we could get together outside of class. What a wonderful memory - it's going in my daughter's baby book!

Thanks Miss Lisa!

The PranaMama

September 17, 2009 at 11:13 PM

Blogger Unknown said...

Baby is very interest to do yoga, I wish there was a baby yoga class available?? I will got the Yoga book , I will got the Itchy Bitchy short daycare class with a group of 4 babies/toddlers.there many parents like to doing baby 's, you giving more information to baby's.. really good

October 29, 2009 at 9:59 AM

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December 24, 2009 at 7:21 AM

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