Parent and baby yoga is extremely beneficial as a bonding process. The parent (usually the mother) gets a special time to just sit and be with her baby, using touch to create a connection together. The whole ethos of yoga practise is to create union with the body and mind, with parent and baby yoga this is extended further creating a union between parent and child.
There are so many advantages in practising with your baby. Baby yoga can help the baby to sleep better which is especially beneficial for underweight babies and of course better sleeping babies mean better sleeping parents! The babies immune system is also given a boost helping to prevent infections and helping their bodies to detox safely. When a baby is upset and stressed his immune system becomes weaker which causes the learning abilities to become secondary. When a mother/parent shares a yoga practise with their baby they are not only boosting the immune system they are also helping the baby gain self esteem with lots of touch, positive praise and facial expressions. The more confident the baby, the more sociable and interactive the child will become as they develop. A baby’s emotional development is based around love, trust and touch. In Daniel Goleman’s book regarding emotional intelligence he states that
‘ The first opportunity for shaping the ingredients of emotional intelligence is in the earliest years, though these capacities continue to form throughout the school years. The emotional abilities children acquire in later life build on those of the earliest years’
Baby yoga may even help the baby to crawl earlier by giving them increased body awareness. Babies love to move and really thrive on appraisal and encouragement. The earlier we can get children active the better, They are more likely to continue activity if it has been with them from the early stages of their life. Baby yoga will help to secure the foundations of a healthy happy attitude to life. These beginning foundations that start with baby yoga encourage curiosity, self control, learning to deal with emotions and how to overcome them, and later in life why they happen, How to communicate and interact with other people. The babies brain grows the most during the first 12 months of its life, almost doubling in size. The baby wants to learn and feel love from its parents. During a baby yoga class the parents are encouraged to establish eye contact as much as possible, the classes provide a time to be completely together, whilst having the safety of a group environment and without distractions from the outside world.
The physical side for the baby will include
- Stimulation of the skin receptors
- Increase the efficiency of the babies nervous system
- Improve circulation
- Movement of body fluid
- Stimulate cell growth
- Maintain flexibility of the spine and joints
Baby yoga can be used to help a number of aliments that a baby may have such as colic and constipation, along with a gentle dry massage over clothes can help enormously. As well as having many benefits for baby, a mother and baby yoga class can help a new mum by creating a connection with their baby, even how to hold baby. Some new mums may even be frightened of having a new delicate baby and by doing the class together it will help to decrease anxiety. The new mum will be learning a ‘tool kit’ of postures to help soothe and calm baby in any situation, leading to a massive confidence boost. For the new mum to be able to get her baby to sleep well, will be one of the most useful tools of all. Lack of sleep is one of the worst things about being a new parent, It can lead to snappiness, despair and even Postnatal Depression. If the latter is the case baby yoga can help mild PND by teaching pranayama techniques, one that can especially help is the humming bee breath, it helps balance the brain, stop headaches, clear tension and help to reduce depression.
The mother will also be shown how to get her body back into shape with the help of yoga asanas. The class will teach her how to re align the spine, open the chest and shoulders which are often tense from feeding and lifting, core strengthen around the abdominals and the back area. I would also use a Kapalabati breath (usually used in a Kundalini practise) to help reduce fat around the middle, cleanse and detox the body. A baby yoga class can also help to heal any trauma a new parent has gone through either with becoming pregnant, being pregnant or the actual birth. It is the start of a new chapter, a blessing, a new family bonding and interacting making the stepping stones for their future. Relaxed parents = relaxed babies, this is why I adore parent and baby yoga.
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