Baby Yoga

One of the questions I was frequently asked as a new mom was, “Are you doing baby yoga?” In my pre-mom life, I had taken a few yoga classes, but never with much success. Dark rooms with strangers and lit candles, rolling around and trying not to make any strange noises …

Anyway, despite my preconceptions, I did what many new moms do. I went shopping. I ended up with a video titled “Baby and Toddler Yoga” but there were dozens of titles to choose from.

I got home, laid my 10-week-old on the carpet and pressed play. And though it said yoga on the DVD, whatever we started doing didn’t resemble any yoga I’d done. It was more like rolling around on the floor with my baby. I was told to gently fold my baby’s legs at the knees. Then I was told to gently open her arms.

I was, for all intents and purposes, simply playing with my baby on the floor. And maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe she didn’t need to start stretching her tiny little muscles yet.

So I asked around, and what I heard most often was the “the point” of baby yoga is simple bonding. Doing yoga with your baby is a way to slow down and pay attention to the individual moments.

Proponents also claim that baby yoga can help with colic, aid in digestion, and help babies sleep well, though this researcher was unable to find any studies to back up these claims.

If your baby is struggling with digestion, here is the suggested pose: Lay your baby on his back. Bend both of his legs so that his knees come comfortably close to his chest. Then slowly move his bent legs in small circles. Do five circles, and then reverse direction and do five more. My daughter found this pose incredibly annoying, but then again, she wasn’t having any problems with digestion.

Baby yoga is certainly easy to do. You don’t have to be good at yoga. You don’t have to be strong or flexible. You don’t need any props. It is an inexpensive (possibly free) activity to do with your new little one.

Maybe baby yoga is really about the mothers. Maybe this is just something healthy that we moms can safely do with our babies within arms reach. Proponents suggest that doing yoga with your baby can calm anxiety and raise your spirits, which could be a lifesaver for a mom struggling with the baby blues or postpartum depression.

Many of us don’t pay enough attention to recovering from the birth experience. Many of us are back to full-time work in six weeks or less. Maybe we should take the time to put in a baby yoga DVD, listen to some soft music, watch our babies breathe, and roll around on the carpet for a while.

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