A friend suggested trying out a baby yoga class recently. Feeling a little apprehensive and slightly sceptical about what yoga moves my little one would be able to perform I thought we’d give it a go. Now of course I wasn’t expecting Lola to master the art of a sun salutation or a downward dog within an one hour lesson but did expect more baby involvement than this particular class offered.
Truth be told, I didn’t really know what to expect. It was never going to be like an adult yoga class; with women stretching and breathing in very unusual ways and the stereotypical older lady at the front wearing beads accompanied by a personal yoga towel that was hand-made by a Buddhist monk whilst she travelled the world to ‘find herself’. (At least that’s what I’ve witnessed). This class is available to babies of all ages so it’s just not practical or safe to be flinging them about in the air and bending their little arms. Plus it’s a task in itself to keep your baby calm and happy long enough for you to concentrate on the moves and breathing techniques being taught.
The class began with all the mums introducing themselves and baby (Best bit about attending baby classes is that it forces you out of your comfort zone, out of the house and meeting mums – potential new friends ‘Mummy Mates’). After exchanging birth stories and listening to the predictable contest for whose baby is the best…. Only joking of course….Lola is; the stretching exercises commence.
Eleanor (Yoga teacher – lovely lady) starts with teaching us the bumblebee breath which was a great way to gain the babies interest and create a chilled and calm atmosphere in the room. The class begins by focusing on mummy with gentle movements and relaxation whilst baby watches alongside your yoga mat. As your controlled inhales and exhales continue you’re encouraged to move your body into poses such as the Sun Salutation, Cat-Cow, Downward-Facing Dog and Prayer. Each one stretching an area that you’ve probably forgotten existed. Exactly what the doctor ordered! You may hear the clicking of bones or an unexpected need to sigh or pant but it feels good to twist and bend the aches and tension away.
Your baby gets involved a few times throughout the session. There’s the zig zag walk and several opportunities to give baby a gentle massage or stretch (One technique helps with winding and farting so definitely worth repeating that one at home). It’s hard to exercise with a little one and to keep them entertained for the entire session but it was a great laugh and I’d recommend it to anyone.
Check out your local children’s centres or yoga companies near you if fancy trying it out. All you need to do is turn up in loose and comfy clothes with a blanket, mats and cushions are usually provided.
For readers that are local to the Reading/Berkshire area the class we attended is Mum & Baby Yoga by a company called BIRTHZANG. http://www.birthzang.co.uk/mum-baby-yoga-reading/ They also run pregnancy yoga too which I’ve heard is great and very beneficial prior to the horror that can be labour. Either turn up as a one-off or sign up for a weekly sessions.