After a little bit of an interesting start (Stefani, the Baby & Me / Toddler & Me yoga instructor did in fact warn me that such a diverse age range might be complicated) we have split our yoga for baby/toddler and caregiver classes into two groups – although Stefania did a fantastic job of trying to cater to all, a 6 week old and a 3 year old just have different ideas about what a yoga class should look like.
While there are very few comprehensive studies that substantiate claims that yoga stimulates neuromuscular development in infants or calms toddlers, it is undeniable that babies and toddlers alike can benefit from the increased awareness and presence of a loving caregiver.
For new moms in particular, you may find that the muscles of your pelvic floor and abdomen have weakened from pregnancy and birth, that your shoulders and neck are sore from holding their child during feeding, that you are tired from lack of sleep, or even that you are experiencing postpartum depression. Yoga poses can help to alleviate all of these very common troubles so that you can feel more comfortable and better enjoy the time you spend with your child.
For moms with crawlers and walkers, you may still have weak pelvic floor and abdomen, you may be busy with work and other obligations and wanting to spend some focused quality time with your child. Again, yoga can help to alleviate these issues and make you more present and available when interacting with your child.
So is yoga with your child worth the time? We think so. Your shared practice can lay the foundation of muscle memory for the opportunity of a fuller practice for your child in the future or give you the time to explore and enjoy the physical bond between you and your child. Not to mention, it can’t hurt to develop a little core strength and de-stress a little for your personal well being.
Isaacs, Nora. “Yoga Journal – Yoga Family & Parenting – Postnatal Yoga: Conditions and Cures for Both Mama and Babe.” Yoga Journal: Yoga Poses, Classes, Meditation, and Life – On and Off the Mat – Namaste. Web. 17 Nov. 2011. <http://www.yogajournal.com/lifestyle/1660>.
Vora, Shivani. “Do Yoga Classes Help Calm Babies and Toddlers? – WSJ.com.” Business News & Financial News – The Wall Street Journal – Wsj.com. Web. 17 Nov. 2011. <http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703636404575352964251177610.html>.