Baby yoga is one of the latest parent and baby classes available. It appeals to all kinds of parents; mums, dads, yoga beginners or old hands. It’s great for those who want to get back into exercise, or those who want to start getting fit. Before getting started, you might have some questions. I’m here to answer some of them for you!
Is Baby Yoga Actually a Thing?
Baby yoga is pretty much what it sounds like – yoga with our babies. It’s much gentler and slower compared to traditional yoga. A lot of the moves are adapted for, or to do with, babies. You don’t need to know anything about yoga to take part in a baby yoga class – you just need a baby!
It can be a very relaxing experience for the two of you as doing gentle exercise, such as yoga, releases endorphins. These hormones encourage happiness and more love for your baby. This can help with bonding, which is particularly great for dads. Attending a class can also help you to meet like-minded parents in your area – something which can be difficult when you’re a parent!
Is It Safe for My Baby?
Of course! If you attend a registered class your teacher should have the appropriate qualifications. Most or all of the moves used within a baby yoga class have been adapted for a baby, so they’re not vigorous or dangerous at all. Your baby’s safety is paramount. Do some research before you go and never feel embarrassed to ask about your instructor’s qualifications if it gives you peace of mind.
What Are the Benefits?
The benefits include:
- Gentle exercise for new parents. Some moves in the class are traditional yoga moves but these aren’t done with your baby.
- Yoga practices teach us to relax, re-centre and de-stress. These are all useful skills as new parents, especially when we’re running on empty. You can practise the breathing exercises while you’re in the loo!
- The poses and stretches have medical benefits for your babies too. They can help with indigestion, trapped wind, colic and constipation.
- It helps with sleep. The relaxing environment and breathing techniques will help prepare you and your baby for a settled night’s sleep.
It can also have a very positive impact on your mental health. Being a new parent isn’t easy. Going out and socialising is difficult, especially if you’re a stay-at-home parent. I still struggle and I’ve got a three and a one year old!
Getting out of the house, talking to people and doing things with your baby will all boost your mental state. Plus those endorphins I mentioned before will really help; exercise is known to help with postnatal depression. Baby yoga is a lovely gentle way to ease yourself into exercising if you’re not feeling too confident.
When Should We Start Baby Yoga?
You can start baby yoga as soon as you like. It really depends on when you feel ready, especially if you’re a mum who has just given birth. Ideally wait until your six week check-up so your GP can give you the all clear for exercising. This is important if you’ve had a C-section, or have had any postnatal complications.
Dads can take their babies whenever they like – there’s no reason to wait. It can really help dads and their babies to bond, particularly if mum is breastfeeding.
What Do We Wear and Take to a Class?
Parents and babies should both wear loose, comfortable clothes that are easy to move around in. Jogging bottoms, loose t-shirts or vest tops are ideal. For babies, I would recommend a sleepsuit with a short-sleeved vest underneath. Sleepsuits are comfortable and easy to whip off when needed. During the baby massage you will have to take off the sleepsuit, hence the need for a vest. Some babies don’t mind being only in a nappy, whereas others hate it. Both of mine did when I took them to massage classes!
Most classes will tell you what to bring when you book a place, but a towel and/or a yoga mat will most likely be necessary. Some classes will provide the mat depending on where you go. Many classes take place in a village hall or similar, where the floor can be cold and hard, so a mat is essential. Having somewhere warm and soft to lie your baby down is vital. Babies won’t relax if they’re not comfortable.
I’d also recommend bringing some water. It looks like gentle exercise and it can be taken slowly. However if you’re a newbie or trying to get in shape again, it’s going to take you a little while to get back into things!
How Do I Find a Class?
If you Google ‘baby yoga’, two main franchises come up; YogaBellies and Birthlight. Both of their websites have ‘Find a Class’ sections to search for a local group. Type in your town or postcode to bring up a list of your nearest classes.
Another option is NCT classes. Your midwife should have given you information on your local NCT birthing classes while pregnant. If you attended, this can be a great way to access their postnatal classes too. Failing that, you can contact them directly to get information.
You can join mum groups for your area on Facebook. I see a lot of adverts for baby classes on the ones I’m on and this is where I first heard about baby yoga. You might also find someone else interested in going along with you. We all know how nerve-wracking it can be going to a new class for the first time alone – even though it is totally worth it in the end!
So there we have it, a beginner’s guide to baby yoga. I hope I’ve answered most of your questions. All that’s left to say is enjoy the precious time with your baby – and Namaste!