Often after giving birth moms feel exhausted and overwhelmed. Mommy and Me Yoga can combat these feelings and add tremendous benefits to your lives together. Whether done in a group class setting or in your own living room the benefits are endless. To be clear, Mommy & Me Yoga is not the same as a Postnatal yoga class; the difference being the level of interaction with your baby. In most postnatal classes your baby will lie on a mat or blanket next to your mat and observe while you practice. Mommy & Me yoga is a fully interactive experience where your baby is sharing most of the experiences with you! If you are not already practicing yoga with your baby then here are 10 great reasons why you ought to be!
1) Deepens bond between mom and baby
How great is it to know that you are working out and taking care of yourself without the guilt of feeling like you are leaving your baby? Sharing songs, interacting in familiar yoga poses and practicing breath work strengthen the ties between mom and baby.
2) Be social - meet other moms and babies
Certainly we’ve each had that day where if we don’t get out of the house we think we will go crazy! (Perhaps it was yet another sleepless night for the whole household.) Getting out of the house and coming to a place where you are filled with the social connection of other moms sharing similar experiences can be just what you and baby need to feel active. The change of scenery of the house could be just what you need to turn your world around.
3) Lose your pregnancy weight and strengthen your postnatal body
In Mommy & Me Yoga, you are lifting your baby and sometimes using them as a weight, which means that your practice is a progressive one. In simple terms, as your baby gains weight you are changing your practice. Build core stabilization, endurance, stamina and strength and tighten up your abdominals.
4) Grow from love
Introduce your baby to yoga a practice that begins with love and is catered to them by repeatedly picking them up to interact and then giving them their space to observe. Mommy & Me Yoga provides visual stimulation through movement of fingers and toes. Moms get to observe babies as they learn developmental movement from their yoga exploration. Singing to them, offering hugs and kisses and lots of nurturing through the class allows this introduction of yoga to babies at such a young age to be one that grows from love!
5) Learn calming techniques to help keep your household a place of peace during the first year
Many of the techniques such a deep belly breathing, eye contact with baby and giving them the familiarity of a consistently structured class helps to reduce stress and anxiety. Setting up class in a circle allows your baby to become more social with other babies as they grow and gives them a higher comfort level around people. Through the repetition of physical contact and of a Mommy & Me Yoga routine babies build confidence.
6) Improve baby’s sleep
Because it is both physically and mentally stimulating it tires babies out. Practicing regularly will help babies sleep better and longer!
7) Improve baby’s digestion
Simple movements offered in yoga class are specifically for helping baby’s digestion by gently stimulating the large intestine. By moving food through them, these movements also help to assist with the relief of gas pains.
8) Learn the healing touch of baby massage
Simple structured massage at the end of each class gives babies a sense of calm and an enhanced overall feeling of well being. The inner rotation massaging of the legs helps to decrease tension that babies carry in their legs. Massaging the back gives babies more time in “tummy time” where they are able to strengthen their backs and cores. Babies may also tolerate “tummy time” longer because of the back massage.
9) Reduce tension from the back
Stretching and working through yoga that slowly brings you back to a steady practice and does so with the assistance of your baby helps to reduce tension from the back that, let’s be honest, probably built up over time from lugging a 35 pound car seat with baby attached everywhere you go. Maybe it’s all of the leaning over while breastfeeding or the rounding of the back each time you place your baby in and out of their crib. What ever the case may be, that first year of baby lifting and bending can wreak havoc on your back and yoga with your baby is a great way to help strengthen and protect your back!
10) Bring what you learn at class home
Practicing the songs, movements, breath work and massage that you learn in class at home offers added practice for you, bonding between you and your baby and a sense of ritual and community. It also creates a family activity that even other parents or family members can be involved in. You can also hire a qualified yoga teacher to come to your home and work with you and a group of friends, alternating houses and yoga play-dates!
The benefits of practicing yoga with your baby are indisputable! It’s important to keep in mind that just like you, babies have good days and bad. Sometimes you may experience your baby needing to cry or wanting to nurse or feed for part of a class and it’s important to offer them the securities and comforts they need. Take heart that over time and repetition your baby will grow to love their special time spent with mommy and all the other babies. You may even see mile stones happening in class, like first time roll overs, and army crawls! Just think when they do happen, you have a whole group that will celebrate these beautiful moments with you!
About the Author:
Sinda Anzovino, E-RYT, CATYMT received her BA in English from Muhlenberg College. She began teaching Vinyasa Yoga in 2000. She is certified in pre & postnatal yoga, kids yoga, kids with special needs yoga, and Advanced Thai Yoga Massage Therapy. She also designed a 200-hour Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Training Program recognized by Yoga Alliance as well as designing teacher training programs for Kids Yoga, Prenatal Yoga, Toddler & Me Yoga and Mommy & Me Yoga. Sinda is the former Owner of YOGA JOURNEY, Registered Yoga School with Yoga Alliance (opened 2005, closed 2009). Sinda currently teaches Vinyasa Yoga; Power Vinyasa Yoga and 'Advancing Your Yoga Practice' classes at many of the NYSC's in Westchester, NY. She also teaches the majority of Prenatal Yoga & Mommy & Me Yoga classes at Destination Maternity in White Plains, NY, in addition to her private clientele. She is the proud mother of two beautiful children and resides in Westchester, NY.