Baby and Me Yoga

When I was doing prenatal yoga, our class would finish just as the Baby and Me yoga class was getting ready to set up. All of us pregnant mamas would be struggling to get our shoes back on in the lobby, smiling and cooing at the adorable babies coming in for their yoga fix.

I decided then and there that when this new little one came along, I wanted to make it to baby yoga as often as I could. This week I’ll be going to our last class at our lovely little Brooklyn studio, since the big move to Vermont is going down next week. (sniff, sniff!) And in my spirit of reminiscing, I have to tell you, Baby and Me yoga has been such a wonderful experience. Here’s everything I would tell a mama-to-be (or a dad-to-be!) about taking baby to a yoga class.

Baby and Me Yoga. Postnatal yoga - one of the few classes you can sign up for that you get as much benefit from as your child! Find out the basics of what goes on in a baby yoga class, the benefits of yoga for babies and children and how to make your yoga practice a bonding experience as a new mom with a baby.

It’s Not Your Workout Time

In our very first class, which I went to with a friend who had her baby girl just a couple of weeks after Baby T, I was surprised at how light the yoga for adults section seemed to be. A couple of sun salutations, some planks, a lot of cat-cow and breathing, but a lot more focus on baby and singing and doing little ‘yoga flow’ moves with them. That evening, my girlfriend and I had a panicked text exchange: “My abs hurt! How is that possible? Do *your* abs hurt?? We barely did anything!” At that early stage, though, when Baby T was just seven weeks old, it wasn’t surprising that any kind of deliberate movement had an effect. Since then, though, I stopped thinking of it as a yoga class and started thinking of it as a special hour of one-on-one with baby.

Children and Babies Learn Through Repetition

In that first class, my friend and I looked at each other nervously as every other parent in the room belted out obscure songs like ‘Grey Squirrel’ and the ‘Om Song’. I’m so happy my friend went with me, because I was thinking it was an Australian-American cultural disconnect until I saw her face and realized she didn’t know who this grey squirrel was and why it wrinkled up its little nose either. Since children learn through repetition, though, those songs, the order everything happens in a class, the movements for baby: it all becomes very familiar very quickly. This is fantastic if your baby responds positively to the class, because it means you can use what you learn at home as well. I start singing Grey Squirrel now and Baby T’s face lights up. No joke, he LOVES that song.

Baby and Me Yoga. Postnatal yoga - one of the few classes you can sign up for that you get as much benefit from as your child! Find out the basics of what goes on in a baby yoga class, the benefits of yoga for babies and children and how to make your yoga practice a bonding experience as a new mom with a baby.

You Can Take Your Experience Home

Just like I use the grey squirrel song as a soothing technique now because I know Tanner will respond immediately to it, there are elements of the class you can use at home. There’s a tummy time routine, a special baby massage section designed to teach your baby his or her physical space and a special movement section designed to aid baby’s digestive system. Obviously every class will be different and will have different components, but if something works for you or your baby in the studio, then you will be so happy you have that technique to try at two in the morning when your little one is crying because his tummy hurts.

Baby and Me Yoga. Postnatal yoga - one of the few classes you can sign up for that you get as much benefit from as your child! Find out the basics of what goes on in a baby yoga class, the benefits of yoga for babies and children and how to make your yoga practice a bonding experience as a new mom with a baby.

Anything Goes in Baby Yoga Class

A couple of weeks ago, a new mama anxiously asked the woman checking her into class if there were changing tables in the bathrooms. The woman smiled at her and replied, “Just take your changing mat in with you. You can do whatever you need to in the classroom.” It makes it exponentially easier to do a fun class with baby when you don’t have to suddenly find the nearest change table, or worry for an instant about breastfeeding in public, or feel you have to apologize for your baby suddenly melting down out of nowhere. Every single one of the parents in class has changed diapers, fed hungry babies, or had to do crazy rocking shushing dances to see if their baby will calm down. It’s no big deal at all.

It’s also not a big deal if someone is ten minutes late, or asks the parent at the mat next to them to keep an eye on their child if they need to use the bathroom, or has the instructor take the baby and show them a new way of rocking them when baby is freaking out. It feels amazing to have that pressure removed.

Baby and Me Yoga. Postnatal yoga - one of the few classes you can sign up for that you get as much benefit from as your child! Find out the basics of what goes on in a baby yoga class, the benefits of yoga for babies and children and how to make your yoga practice a bonding experience as a new mom with a baby.

The Introductions Are Crucial – It Takes a Village

Just like in prenatal yoga, the teacher will go around the room and have you introduce yourself and your baby and encourage you to share anything going on that you want to focus on, or vent about. Just hearing about what’s going on with other other mamas, or babies’ development, can be a great learning experience. There was one week where another woman there had the exact same issue with her hamstring that I’d been having. We chatted for a few minutes after class together, surprised to find someone else with the same weird symptoms and we shared what was working for each of us trying to heal. I tried out one of her stretches and it seemed to help. I hope what I shared helped her, too.

Likewise, one week a dad was explaining that his son was way behind on a milestone and he’d been concerned until they had their latest doctor’s appointment and he got the lowdown from the pediatrician on how accurate those milestone ‘dates’ are (answer: not very). There was a woman in class whose face just screamed relieved. When the teacher got to her she thanked the dad profusely for sharing, because her son was the same age and also not hitting that milestone and she’d been worried.

Baby and Me Yoga. Postnatal yoga - one of the few classes you can sign up for that you get as much benefit from as your child! Find out the basics of what goes on in a baby yoga class, the benefits of yoga for babies and children and how to make your yoga practice a bonding experience as a new mom with a baby.

Maybe it’s living in a big city, or maybe it’s because I never joined a playdate group for babies my own kids’ age, but this has been my only experience of hanging out and talking about what’s going on with a big group of babies and parents. It’s a parenting as a village experience – we can all learn from each other and that’s so much more powerful when each of the ‘teachers’ are living the experience as well.

And finally… Baby and Me Yoga is ADORABLE

The little crazy dolphin noises. The unabashed flirting between tiny humans. (Once I got back from a bathroom break to find the 6 month old baby next to Tanner had wriggled her way over to coo into his face.) The outfits. If you like babies, this class is for you. There have been a couple of times Fran has done the handover of Baby T at the studio (I train clients right up until class time) and he loves coming right in to the studio to see all the teensy tiny yogis on their mats. 🙂

What’s the oddest way you’ve calmed a baby down? (I sang and rocked Baby T to the Rolling Stones Beggar’s Banquet album one night when he was a sad bunny. Turns out he shares mama’s musical taste.)

Did you do classes with your babies?

Comments

  1. These are all AWESOME reasons to find a baby yoga class! My girls go with my to Yoga for Moms and Kids at a local prenatal/postpartum fitness studio. It’s kind of hard to divide my attention between my 4 month old and my 2 year old, but they both love it!
    Joanna recently posted…everly: 4 monthsMy Profile

    • Carly Pizzani says:

      Oh I kind of love that they both go with you! Although I think my 3.5 year old son would be way too crazy to be in a class with his baby brother, ha ha!

  2. So interesting!!! I so wanted to try mommy and baby yoga when I was in NYC but the class I found was a little too far away to bring my six week old on the subway in January. 🙁 I really wanted to do it so I loved reading about your experience. Do you think it is a class that is only really geared for young babies? I can’t imagine Cooper sitting still for this these days! Haha.
    Britt@MyOwnBalance recently posted…Simple Snacking with GrazeMy Profile

    • Carly Pizzani says:

      Well, the place I did it had the baby and me yoga for babies who weren’t yet crawling (so usually around 7 months or so), then they had a class for older babies from crawling stage (but before walking), then they had the tots yoga for the walkers to 3 year olds. So everyone was represented! I bet you could find an older baby yoga class!

Trackbacks

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