Babies love new experiences and one way to strengthen their bones and muscles is to gently manipulate and massage their bodies using a form of yoga. This is not what we traditionally think of as yoga, but it uses various postures and beneficial stretches to improve flexibility.
It can be used by parents and grandparents, as well as early years professionals, and has many benefits.
What is baby yoga?
Baby yoga movements are very slow and gentle and are designed to promote the overall well-being and healthy development of the baby. It is often associated with baby massage and is a skill that has been traditionally passed down for centuries from generation to generation in places like Asia and India.
It is a more modern development in the West and has gained popularity in recent years, with research increasingly recognising its health benefits. If you want to create a special bond with your baby, this is a useful skill to learn.
The benefits of baby yoga
Baby yoga has several benefits for both parents and children:
The gentle movements and stretches play an important role in the baby’s physical and emotional development.
It can give new parents more confidence in handling their baby.
It helps with breathing and digestion and can help the baby develop fine motor skills much earlier.
It creates a stronger bond between parent and baby through the use of gentle touch, manipulation and eye contact.
Combined with massage, baby yoga can be used to help with problems such as teething and colic, and is ideal if your child is feeling restless.
When to use baby yoga?
Baby yoga is usually started when your child is over 6 weeks old. At this age, they begin to have better control of their neck muscles and are more stable.
It is important to have a warm, draft-free room and to limit distractions. You can play music to accompany the yoga session. For relatively new babies, the movements and manipulations are usually slow and very, very gentle.
Combining baby yoga and baby massage
It makes sense to learn baby massage at the same time as baby yoga, as they are often used interchangeably. For example, you can stroke the baby’s legs and then gently bend them from the knee to the chest.
As the baby grows, this type of practice can encourage them to roll and crawl earlier. It is also an excellent way to stimulate the baby’s awareness of his own body and what he is capable of.