Benefits of Baby Yoga

Stretching and movement is extremely important for both men and women. Just like adults, babies need movement as well to build strength and development. One way to do this is through yoga and building strength within their bodies to promote muscle development along with other beneficial simulations.

The practice of yoga is practiced all around the world and has been known to be extremely beneficial because it builds a healthy body and wellbeing. While this has helped many adults, studios have been popping up that cater towards baby yoga. Today we are sharing five reasons why baby yoga is beneficial:

 

  1. Promotes Digestion: When a baby practices yoga with their mothers they are able to do specific movements that aid towards their digestion. Yoga promotes regular bowl movements and lessens the chance of your baby becoming constipated. Regular knee movements and stretches will release tension in your baby’s stomach which will give them relief from gas and any other troubles.
  2. Stimulates Muscle and Nerve Development: Through yoga babies can become more aware of their bodies, specifically their arms and legs because they will be strengthening their muscles. Yoga also promotes upper body and neck strength. This can be done when you lay your baby on their tummies and they are more prone to trying to lift their head to see what is going on. These movements will further flexibility and balance as well. In addition, yoga stimulates a baby’s senses once they become more aware of their bodies and their movements.
  3. Reduces Stress: Because yoga is a calming exercise it reduces the stress hormone cortisol. This is true for babies as well. When stress and anxiety are reduced in your baby they often times will have a more restful behavior, which can lead to better and longer sleep.
  4. Creates a Stronger Bond between Parents and their Babies: Parents can become more in tune with their baby’s needs when they practice yoga or daily movements with their child. Yoga promotes confidence in parents and gives them more self-assurance when handling their baby. Yoga also encourages play and interaction between baby and parent. When a parent is more confident they are able to recognize their child’s needs and wants.
  5. Promotes Socialization for both Mothers and Babies: Baby yoga isn’t just relaxing it can also be fun and promote socialization for moms and babies. When moms participate in classes they can meet other moms, and babies can become accustomed to seeing other children and people.

 

Prenatal Yoga

Prenatal YogaAs your pregnancy progresses, aches, pains and a latent fear seem to be progressing with it. Soon that adorable baby bump will be a ninth month old pregnant tummy that’s read to pop; and then you’ll undergo contractions, labor pains, child birth and, of course, motherhood. Anxiety-ridden questions begin swirling around in your head – will child birth hurt, will something go wrong, am I cut out to be a mother, will all this stress somehow hurt my baby?

Instead of letting your concerns overpower your excitement, consider trying one of the most relaxing, deep-rooted practices for soon to be mothers: prenatal yoga. This well-established exercise focuses on toning your mommy muscles, improving your balance, keeping you limber, bettering your circulation, and educating key breathing techniques.

Yoga classes will generally begin by teaching you to rejuvenate your pregnant body through the core inhalation and exhalation method called ujjayi pranayama (ooh-jah-yee prah-nah-yah-mah). Ujjayi shows you how to fill your lungs while tightening your throat and breathing through your nose. It is believed that controlled breathing will bring positive changes to your emotional, mental, and physical health as a mother. Unlike alternative breathing techniques, Ujjayi is performed through all poses, assisting you in releasing any repressed feelings or sensations.

Instead of allowing your fears to take over, this helps to maintain a balanced, consistent breath to relax your mind and focus completely on the present moment. When fearful, your body produces more adrenalin and less oxytocin, the hormone that helps your labor progress. Ujjayi will teach you to relax and dismiss the urge to tighten up due to pain or fear. This, in turn, will help you face the physical and mental demands of labor, childbirth, and motherhood.

Besides offering numerous health benefits such as lower blood pressure and improved breathing rates, prenatal yoga also provides the opportunity to become a part of a pregnant community. With other mothers undergoing the same or similar experiences in an encouraging, compassionate environment, you will be given regular motivation to continue your exercise.

Keep in mind that you will need to take common exercise precautions due to your pregnancy. Speak with a qualified prenatal yoga instructor or your doctor before beginning a class to make sure your experience will be safe and beneficial.

Yoga Poses for Nursing Moms

yoga poses for nursing momsYou’ve waited for the go-ahead from your doctor and you’re feeling up to starting your workout routine now that you’ve delivered your baby. You know you can’t pick up where you left off before you got pregnant—it’s important that you pay close attention to the signals your body gives you during the first few weeks you introduce working out into your life again. If you didn’t practice yoga before giving birth, post-baby is a great time to try it out.

Why yoga?

With a newborn, life is more chaotic than before. Even though there will be many more demands on your time (after all, your infant needs your attention constantly), taking a few quiet moments will be essential for your mental health. With yoga, there is no minimum time needed to make a session successful. Success is not measured by calories burned or distance covered—yoga is considered a success if your muscles feel less tension, you can stand a little straighter, or even your breath is a little deeper. Yoga has the power to calm, unlike a more traditional cardio-based work out. Even ten minutes of practice can make a world of a difference for your mental and physical health as a new mom.

Take it slow

There’s no rush to master poses or tone muscles; use this time to perfect yoga relaxation techniques. In a simple cross-legged position, sit as straight as you can and take a few, slow breaths. In through your nose and out through your mouth in a relaxed, even manner. This is the one time of the day where you’re encouraged to move slowly and deliberately—take advantage!

Beginner’s yoga poses to try

Most teachers recommend using a yoga mat because of the superior grip you get from a mat, but a towel can be used as a substitute at home. If you’re looking to purchase one for yourself, most retailers carry yoga mats in sporting goods sections. In a quiet section of your home, try the following poses at your discretion. Unlike other work outs, you are not always meant to move quickly from one pose to another—these are not “reps” you have to power through! Spend time getting to know each pose. You can even pick out one pose to work on for a 10-20 minute session.

Child’s Pose

In a kneeling position, slowly lower yourself to the ground. With your knees slightly spread, place your forehead on the ground between your knees. Fold the rest of your body over your legs, making sure that your buttocks are as close to touching your feet as possible. Stretch your arms out in front of your body. Relax into the pose even more by closing your eyes.

Mountain Pose

Standing up, keep your feet hip distance apart and facing in the same direction. Make sure your weight is centered over your core. Shoulders down and relaxed, slowly lift your hands over your head from the sides in a slow arc. Keep your arms straight and lifted toward the ceiling. You want your palms to face in and stay shoulder width apart. Look forward and keep your gaze straight.

Cow/Cat Poses

These two poses complement one another so I’ve paired them together. On your hands and knees, make sure you are balanced and your hands are placed firmly on the ground about shoulder width apart. You want to feel sturdy on the ground. For Cat pose, slowly round your back towards the ceiling. Round your shoulders slightly but be careful not to overextend yourself. After holding your back in rounded position for a few deep breaths, gently return to your beginning pose. For Cow pose, pull your shoulders up and arch your back. Feel your hips rise and your chest open. Remember to keep your knees and hands flat on the floor with your wrists under your shoulders for both poses!

Don’t forget to pay attention to your body while practicing yoga—if you feel painful sensations, don’t continue without consulting your doctor or another trusted professional.

Did I miss some of your favorite yoga poses? Let me know in the comments or on our Facebook page!

For more information, read one new mom’s testimony about getting back into her yoga practice after her birth here.