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Bending, bonding, and brain-boosting - The benefits of baby yoga
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What should I expect from a baby yoga class?
Baby yoga is not yoga in the traditional sense. No one is expecting your little one to perfect the Downward Facing Dog within their first six months of life. In reality, baby yoga classes are more about stretching and strengthening your baby’s body.
As well as getting all the well-known benefits of tummy time, the fact that you’ll be holding and supporting your baby through the class also releases feel-good endorphins for you both. Baby yoga classes usually involve relaxing music, which is known to boost brain development, as well as a whole host of other benefits.
What age are baby yoga classes suitable for?
Naturally, it depends on the class, so always speak to the provider when exploring classes near you. Some classes start with babies as young as six weeks, while others prefer them to be able to hold their heads up before they start the class. Many classes will continue until around 18 months of age, while others stop when your baby starts to crawl.
How does my baby benefit from baby yoga classes?
Where on earth do we start? There are a number of benefits of yoga for your baby, from the more obvious physical and social benefits, right through to aiding the development of your baby’s brain and sensory system. Here’s a quick rundown of our four favourite reasons to attend a baby yoga class:
Yoga’s role in sensory development:
Baby yoga helps to support babies' sensory development. In particular, the movement they experience as part of baby yoga groups helps to develop their vestibular and proprioceptive systems (that’s balance and coordination to you and me!).
Amazing though your little person is, they arrived in this world not knowing that they have arms and legs, never mind how to operate them! The controlled movements that they experience in baby yoga will make them more aware of their body (proprioception) and send information to the brain about the position of the body in space (vestibular) which counter gravity, develop balance, and control eye movements. This kind of early activity can help your little one to build a strong foundation for later on in life (but finding their arms and legs would be a wonderful start!).
Yoga poses relieve wind and aid digestion:
As many new parents will confirm, a baby with trapped wind is rarely a happy baby, and a grumpy baby isn’t much fun for parents either. Yoga poses and stretches for babies can help to support healthy digestion, ease constipation, and relieve wind.
Yoga can be great for sleep:
Most parents will have gazed lovingly into their child’s cot while tendering whispering those three heartfelt words… “please just sleep!” If you’re looking for ways to help your baby get restful sleep, then baby yoga could hold the answer. As well as encouraging calm and relaxation, the poses used in baby yoga can encourage deep breathing and boost circulation. This helps to increase oxygen to the brain - which is known to aid sleep. And if that doesn’t work, then the combination of movement, social and sensory input should combine to make a sleepy baby!
Yoga helps with bonding:
Baby yoga is a hands-on experience for parents and babies alike. This touchy-feely activity can help to create strong bonds and emotional connections. Building a strong parental bond will lay the foundations for your child’s future interactions and relationships, and help them to be happy babies and more confident children.
Do parents benefit from attending a baby yoga class?
Absolutely! Once you’ve found a baby yoga class that suits your needs, you’ll find that you’ll benefit from the class as much as your mini yogi does! Some of the best benefits of baby yoga classes for parents are:
Yoga helps with bonding:
You probably feel as though you’ve heard this one before! The fact is, this one is as important for parents as it is for babies. Many parents report that bonding can take time. Like any relationship, getting to know one another is an important part of the process, and spending time together doing fun things can definitely help! Bonding with your baby releases hormones, helping you both to feel calmer, happier, and more confident.
Spending time with other parents:
Baby yoga - or indeed any class that is aimed at parents and their babies - is a great way to spend time with other new parents. With this baby-specific activity, you’ll meet other people who are all experiencing the highs and lows that come with having a newborn. You may find you have lots in common with other mums-to-be or new parents – and they can be an invaluable source of support and information, as well as potential new friends.
A little TLC for you:
If you dare to dream of a little chill-out time, it’s unlikely that baby yoga would be the first thing that springs to mind. While lots of classes are focused purely on movements for babies, you’ll still benefit from the calm that this structured, mindful activity can bring. Other classes will also incorporate stretches and mindful breathing exercises for parents, which can also be really beneficial.
Are baby yoga classes the same as postpartum or postnatal yoga classes?
Postpartum yoga is a low-intensity yoga practice that is designed to help your body recover from pregnancy and childbirth. While some classes will aim to cover both baby yoga and post-natal yoga, they are not always one and the same. Check with your provider to be sure that they offer what you're looking for.
How can I find a baby yoga class near me?
If you’re looking for a yoga class for babies in your area, then the Pebble team is here to help. We work with a range of providers who are hand-selected to ensure that they offer high-quality activities for your children. Simply enter your postcode to find a baby yoga class near you, then book online.
Can’t find a baby yoga class near you? We’re adding new providers all the time. Simply let us know what you’re looking for and we’ll do our best to find something that fits the bill.