Yoga Baby!

A happy baby doing the Happy Baby pose? When Hilaria Baldwin (yoga teacher and wife of Alec) posted a picture of herself doing the yoga position with her little one on Instagram this January moms across the world exhaled a collective sigh of '#Looooooove'. Yoga for baby and moms has since started exploding in popularity. So what's behind the craze? And is it safe?
BONDING TIME 'New mothers often feel a drop in confidence and struggle to cope with the outside world after spending time at home cocooned with their newborns. New moms also don't always feel secure about how their babies will react in social situations. 'Baby yoga gets moms and babies both out into a safe, relaxed space. It reminds the mom that she exists independently to her baby and it allows her to reconnect to her centre and to reclaim her body and core after pregnancy.' Better for baby Babies also have a chance to stretch and learn to connect with their own bodies. Baby yoga classes encourage movement and circulation as well as bonding time with mom. Yoga movements, which can mimic the soothing, rocking motion babies feel in the womb, can also relax baby. Many moms find that yoga babies cry less and sleep better and for longer. This means moms sleep better and for longer, too. Is it for everyone? Baby and mom yoga classes are for babies from three weeks old. They're usually taught until babies are around 6 months old when they start to crawl and move around. At this age they would need a class of their own. 'In terms of safety, some babies' bodies are more contracted than others', meaning their muscles are a little tighter and they're a little bit more resistant to some positions. So we teach moms to listen to babies' responses and when they can push baby a little in a safe and gentle way,' says yoga teacher Gayle Friedman. Baby yoga helps babies connect with their moms, stretch and become aware of their body parts. It's not just for moms, either. Dads looking to connect with their new babies are welcome to join in. Baby yoga a great way for new fathers to connect with their babies and feel more involved in caring for their young children. WHAT TO EXPECT A mom and baby yoga class is done in a warm, comfortable room, just like any yoga class. Yoga mats are laid out for moms and cushions are usually provided for the babies, who are placed on their backs between mom's legs. Sometimes teachers (or moms) prefer to have babies on their legs. Gentle stretching exercises are done on babies' arms and legs. These are believed to help connect a baby's brain to its limbs and body, helping baby develop healthily. There are various poses that mothers help babies do as they progress in class. These include sitting poses, lying poses, and even standing poses. Rolling movements from front to back are used to strengthen neck muscles. The right teacher Baby yoga needs to be done with care so as not to force or manipulate baby's body in any other way than to teach them to connect and feel their own bodies and develop a sense of their own bodies. Gayle advises choosing a teacher who is qualified, experienced and has trained to be a mom baby yoga teacher. Where do I find a teacher? The best way to find a good yoga teacher is through word of mouth. If your yoga teacher also offers massage for baby, check that she is registered with the Allied Health Professions Council of South Africa (AHPCSA). The AHPCSA regulates the practice of therapeutic massage, reflexology, aromatherapy and a number of other alternative treatment modalities. Note that practitioners of yoga alone cannot be registered with the council as yoga isn't officially considered a 'health profession'. www.ahpcsa.co.za did you know? The best way to stimulate baby's growing brain is through touching, holding, comforting, rocking, singing and talking to her. happy baby pose The Happy Baby pose is well known for making yoginis smile. There's no surprise, then, that it's a firm favourite in mom and baby yoga classes. Besides being a feel-good pose, the Happy Baby is also great for gently stretching the inner groin and the spine. While doing so, it calms the brain and relieves stress and fatigue ' that's where the smiles come in!

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