Yesterday I had the pleasure of teaching a Mama and Baby yoga class to a private group of practitioners in my hometown of Swarthmore, PA. (Many thanks to my sister Ursula for making the connection for me, to Katie for spearheading the communication between us all, and to Maris for hosting us in her beautiful home.)
The moms arrived with their 7-8 month old babies in tow, and the first thing I noticed was how graceful they all are with juggling multiple tasks at once- while the baby is held in one arm, the other arm is rolling out the yoga mat, etc. Maybe there is some biology behind why women are better multi-taskers than men – we have to be in order to get it all done!
We began by introducing ourselves and sharing a recent milestone/moment that each baby had made. Whether it was crawling for the first time, giggling, clapping or blowing raspberries, each mom was equally proud of their baby’s accomplishments. I loved seeing that sweet glow of pride across their faces.
After our breath exercise connecting mama’s breath to the baby held closely, and visualizing expanding the center of calm from within mama to include baby, we did some gentle warmup poses like Cat/Cow, Downdog, and my favorite – Kiss the Baby Planks. You’ve never heard so many peals of delight when mama is at the bottom of her plank and kissing the baby! We then modified the Sun Salutations to hold baby, place baby down and maintain connection to breath through each flow.
The babies all had such great personalities, and you can see they are already their own little people even at this age. They were even brave enough to try handstands! (I guess the moms were even more courageous to allow it.)
After a bevy of standing poses, the mamas were tired and we sat down for some seated and reclining poses, like Fly the Baby for Your Core, and Baby Benchpress Bridge.
The idea in these yoga poses is to include baby, whether through touch, facial expressions, or physical movement. And then of course, when the baby has ideas of his/her own of how things should go, just rolling with it. I can’t tell you how lucky I feel to have witnessed the strong connections that these mothers have with their children. It’s like nothing in the world! I think the benefit of doing yoga with your baby is evident – you can intensify the bond between you and your baby, get out of the house, get a good workout while having fun and connecting with other moms. And of course – if mama is calm, baby is hopefully calm too. You have to take care of yourself first. Thanks everyone for the beautiful experience! Keep up the good work and hope to see you soon!