As a new mom with a 10 week old, I barely find time to brush my teeth, let alone get my yoga practice in! Before I had my baby, I was in class on my mat 4-5 days/week at my home-base studio, The Yoga Collective, in Venice, CA. I even got my 200 hour yoga teacher certification with Lauren Eckstrom and Travis Eliot, the creators of Holistic Yoga Flow and authors of Holistic Yoga Flow: The Path to Practice, when I was 12 weeks pregnant! It was an amazing and heart-opening experience to take my practice deeper in a time when I truly was connected to my body in a very profound way. Obviously, I wasn’t able to do all the same poses I had done prior, but that became another good lesson for me in patience and in honoring my body.
Just recently, I started to roll out my mat again at home and start to flow–with my baby! Since she’s not crawling or even rolling over yet, she makes it pretty easy to practice with! She seems to enjoy it as much as I do!
I think there are so many benefits to practicing yoga with little ones, but here are my top 5:
1. Bonding. Doing yoga together just creates another opportunity to bond with your baby. In between poses, you can gaze into each other’s eyes, or hopefully catch some smiles from them! It’s so fun to include your kid in something YOU love to do! I believe they are intuitive enough to sense when their parents are happy and in their element, and this makes them happy, too. Yoga is a great opportunity for baby and mama (or papa) to get to know each other better.
2. Movement. It feels great to get the body moving again after going through labor and delivery! Blood flow to your tired limbs and sleepy brain is so helpful and energizing for you, and actually helps create more settled behavior in baby.
6 weeks is a good time to start experimenting with yoga again, but you’ve got to listen to your body. It will tell you when the time is right (usually, when you’ve stopped bleeding it’s a sign that it’s okay to resume physical activity). Movement for your baby is good, too, so including them in your flow keeps them engaged and happy (hopefully)!
3. Strength. Including your baby in your practice is like using free weights (my kid currently weighs 11.5 lbs!), and if you lift them up multiple times during your flow, you’ll definitely see an increase in your strength! Also, in one short session, baby receives as much physical activity as if they were handled for hours!
4. Ritual. How beautiful to carve out some time just for you and your baby outside your normal “mom duties” (i.e. changing diapers, nursing, tummy time, etc.). You may not get on your mat every day, or at the same time each day, but by setting an intention to practice how ever many days/week that seem realistic to you and your baby’s schedule, it can and will happen, and it will become a habit and eventually, a ritual you’ll both honor and cherish for years to come!
5. Major developments for baby. During a session, all of baby’s bodily systems are stimulated, including the digestive system and nervous system, and this type of tactile stimulation has been shown to contribute to brain development as well. It also helps reduce baby’s frustrations from transitioning from one developmental stage to the next.
If you’re in Los Angeles, and would be interested in private or small group Mommy & Me yoga classes, as well as nutrition or food coaching, contact me! I’d love to flow with you and your little and help get you on the path to a holistic lifestyle!