As more parents want to include their kids in yoga, Baby and Me yoga classes are rising in popularity. If you’re planning on teaching a Bring Your Own Baby Yoga class or already currently do so, first of all…thank you! This is such an important time for a parent and care giver to bond with baby and for the postpartum mother to heal from the delivery.
Baby and Me Yoga Teacher Trainings are taking place all over the world as the need for these classes has grown. However, if you’re not sure about making the investment or can’t do so due to location, finances, schedule and other constraints, have no fear. There a few things you can learn and incorporate into your classes to make them safe and beneficial for baby and their caregiver.
Over the years that I have taught Baby and Me yoga classes, the most important aspect has been to create a community. For so many parents, grandparents, and caregivers the weight of the responsibility of taking care of a baby and the lack of group wellness classes that include bringing a baby can cause them to feel quite isolated. Being able to meet others and share in the ups and downs of daily life are such a gift!
The best way I’ve found to create a community is to let each care giver take their time to get settled with baby and open the first five minutes of class for chatting and sharing how their week has been.
This is especially important for postpartum yoga students as each birth is different and can cause so many physical and mental changes in how she feels about her body.
I recommend a well-rounded yoga practice and to include baby into at least half of the yoga poses. However, there are 3 areas that a mom needs to focus on during this time. Core, Pelvic Floor, and upper body as these are the areas that are most tense.
It is best to encourage postpartum students to follow the instruction of their physicians or midwives to safely recover andwait until baby is 6-8 weeks old before coming to class, as this is a crucial time period for mom to heal and baby to get stronger.
For the first few months after delivery I recommend starting slow when it comes to core work. Always ask the postpartum mothers if they had a C-section or abdominal tearing (Diastasis Recti) as the soonest these students should start any core exercise is 8 weeks postpartum.
Bridge Pose– This pose provides a secure space to explore the relationship between the core and pelvic floor, while opening the chest and shoulders.
Mula Bandha– Also known as the root lock, this can be done either seated or standing and strengthens the pelvic floor as well as the core.
This is a wonderful time to offer yoga poses with baby and truly makes your class a newborn yoga experience to remember. Not only does this allow the caregiver to have fun and connect with baby in class, but it also provides inspiration for more fun at home.
Flowing Standing Straddle Fold– This is a great way to play with baby as they love the sensation of soaring in the air and it’s also a great release for the hamstrings and spine.
Chair – This is a wonderful way for the caregiver to get a workout while baby gets some love and cuddles.
Bridge with Baby– All of the benefits of bridge pose with a little extra resistance added by baby!
As life with a new baby can be overwhelming, offering the philosophy of yoga as helpful insights into this stage of life can make your class resonate on a deeper level.
The Yamas and Niyamas are a great place to start. Ahimsa/Non-harm is one of my favorites as the first year of caring for a baby can bring up a lot of negative self-talk and lack of self-esteem. This is the time to encourage your students to notice that negative voice, breathe, take a moment to pause, and find the positive to move forward.
Satya/Truth allows time to ponder the truth of what kind of parent they are and/or want to be.
Asteya/Non-stealing brings up the topic of managing time.
Brachmacharya/Moderation helps navigate finding balance between the old life and the new life.
Aparigraha/Non-possessiveness enables letting go of all that no longer serves your students. Allowing them to start being present and more in the moment.
That’s just the beginning and there is so much room to expand!
You can also check this perfect mommy & me yoga sequence.
By taking the time to add a little fun, a little insight into common concerns that parents and caregivers have, and creating a safe, community environment, your Baby and Me Yoga class will be something for your students to look forward to on a weekly basis.