Babies doing yoga! What’s that all about?
Baby yoga is not “yoga” in the traditional sense. Baby yoga is the use of various poses and positions to promote baby’s general health and wellbeing. The postures and positions used help to provide flexibility, beneficial stretching, improve muscle tone and co ordination. Postures can also help to promote postural control and body awareness. Baby yoga also promotes tummy time for babies and active play in the form of swings and dips which help to develop baby’s prospective and vestibular system. Yoga poses are practised to songs to develop baby’s sense of rhythm and promote language development and communication between mother and baby. The use of touch in baby yoga also helps to create a happy secure trusting relationship between mother and baby and can help in bonding. The release of endorphins in both mother and baby’s body can help to promote relaxation and wellbeing. Relaxation at the end of the class is important so that mothers can relax and so that baby can learn that there are times to simply relax and unwind. A relaxed mother helps to make a relaxed baby. By mother and baby moving and playing together through baby yoga both can spend quality time improving their emotional and physical state whilst having fun, relaxing and meeting other parents.
Baby yoga supports a baby’s development
Baby yoga also helps to support babies sensory development and integration through movement. Co-ordination, balance and sensory integration rely on input from a number of sources in the body to enable effective movement and body control to develop.There are two main systems which are important in enabling movement;
Margaret Sassed describes the vestibular system as being “located in the inner ear and priming the entire nervous system to function effectively. The fluid in the inner ear passes over nerve receptors which send messages to the brain about the position of the body in space” These messages help the infant to counter gravity, develop balance and control eye movements. They are vital for the overall co ordination of the nervous system and are needed to allow the brain to interpret sensory information it receives. During baby massage, a baby is encouraged to lie down to receive a massage but in baby yoga we move, swing and dance with baby to help to develop the vestibular system. Baby yoga also helps to integrate information from many types of sensory experience through its multi discipline approach using music, movement and massage.
The proprioceptive system is the awareness of the position of the body and the movement of the arms and legs (e.g. the ability to judge how far to bend or pick something up or duck under a door frame). Babies are born completely unaware they have arms and legs or any other part of the body. The ability to sense movement and control it develops over months. Babies often frighten themselves by hitting themselves or by doing sudden movements as they are not aware that they have the ability to control their bodies. By moving baby’s body in a controlled way using the exercises in baby yoga, the baby will become more aware of movement and the position of its body. When we move a baby’s feet towards its mouth in an up and down motion it is more likely to try and grab its feet and investigate them. Once the baby becomes aware that its feet are a part of its own body, it will be more likely to reach and grab them on its own.
The somatosensory system is primarily concerned with touch and is developed through baby yoga through massage and movement. Touch gives a baby awareness of its body. It helps baby become more aware of changes in temperature, pressure and sensation.
Baby yoga has so many benefits and its a great way to meet other parents and make friends. To find a class near you visit www.blossomandberry.com