What is it?
The first thing that may come to mind when imagining baby yoga is an adult yoga class with babies, where you position your baby to hang out and chill close by as you sun salutation around them or where you pick your baby up and use them as the cutest weight ever. These classes are great, of course, but are mostly adult focused.
Yoga for babies is a bit different as we focus on helping our teeny tinies to open up, stretch, strengthen and discover their own bodies! We also focus on where they are in their development and how we can help move them forward at their own pace. This type of class is a really wonderful way to spend time with your new developing babe. You’re helping your little one to explore movement, songs, rhymes, infant massage and tummy time in a welcoming and positive setting.
What are the benefits?
There are so many benefits to doing yoga with babies:
- it provides a really great bonding experience between grownup and baby where you get to learn and pick up on baby’s cues
- it promotes healthy digestion in baby
- it supports baby’s physical development as exercises work on strength, balance and flexibility
- it supports baby’s whole brain learning, encouraging left and right side of the brain to work together
- it can help to soothe baby
- it helps baby’s language development and body awareness as they learn and listen to repetitive songs and rhymes
... the list goes on!
What does a baby yoga class look like?
I currently teach Itty Bitty Baby Yoga through Love Child Yoga online for babies ~2 months to ~6 months old.
We start each Itty Bitty Baby Yoga class by singing hello to babies and grownups, then waking up bodies. We move on to stretching and strengthening legs and arms, then making connections with different body parts. There’s always a little bit of tummy time as long as babies are into it as well as some bouncing, balancing and maybe a little dance party. We end with a massage sequence and then it’s goodbye! Nearly every exercise is accompanied by a song or rhyme, and parents / carers are always encouraged to remember that it’s meant to be a super positive experience for babies and grownups!
We started taking the class with our baby Willa before I started teaching it and really enjoyed it. We found that we could do a lot of the exercises outside of class whenever we had a moment and we picked up so many helpful tips. It was fun to see her grow and develop throughout the 2-6 month time frame! Willa got to know them and still gets excited to do her favorites, even though she’s long outgrown the actual class!
When I started teaching the class, I was able to bring my new parent mindset and experience as a teacher together to create a flexible environment where new parents could be super comfortable. As we know, babies are totally unpredictable so I am always reassuring parents and carers not to worry if they need to skip an exercise or take a break for a burp, diaper change, cuddle or whatever their babe might need. I also always remind parents and carers to follow their baby’s lead and that their baby just might not be feeling it that day! Even if they were to cuddle and rock their baby along to our songs and rhymes for the whole session, this would be wonderful for their baby’s development as well!
What do parents/carers think of doing your classes?
“I thought Christine was brilliant. It was a great class, thank you...I liked the way Christine was very sensitive to not making your baby do something they weren't comfortable with!”
“Christine’s baby yoga classes were one of the best things I did with my newborn. Her expert knowledge on child development coupled with her fun, down-to-earth attitude and class helped me bond with my new baby. I also noticed my baby becoming stronger with these yoga classes and they would even help calm her when she was fussy. I looked forward to Christine’s classes every week and having them through zoom made it extremely accessible. Christine’s baby yoga classes not only strengthened my baby's muscles and helped with motor skills but they also helped deepen my connection to my baby - and I always learned something new about child development.”
What are some examples of baby yoga exercises?
Bicycle Song! The first exercise in our video is great for digestion, and it’s great for getting your baby to learn a familiar song / game. You can see we are encouraging our babies to open up their bodies, and the bicycling motion can help to relieve any constipation or gas they may be experiencing. Bicycling their legs also helps build coordination, confidence and muscle strength!
If You’re Happy and You Know It! In this baby yoga version of the classic song, we clap our baby’s feet, wiggle their hips and touch their nose with their toes. This helps with body awareness, language development as they get to know their body parts, and connecting their left and right sides. We also work on flexibility in a fun, gentle and positive manner!
Check out the video and let us know if you try these exercises with your baby!
The perfect baby yoga mat!
I’m always looking to make non-toxic, sustainable and healthy choices for my family, but also have a specific style and like to make sure that things are ‘cute’, too!
We have been using the ToddleKind Organic Leaf Mat at home for baby movement classes and general life and we love how it’s beautiful AND safe! It’s made with 100% GOTS certified organic cotton, comes in different colors so you can choose the one that works best with your decor and it’s super light and portable as well!
I like how it can also be used for different activities - general play, reading books, etc. and the way it is used can evolve and grow with our baby and family.
Where can I do a baby yoga class with you?
In partnership with Fiaipmilano and Love Child Yoga, we're offering a free class for babies 2-6 months old to all of our Fiaipmilano friends! Watch the class here!
Click here to check out the most up-to-date schedule for classes at Love Child Yoga, reach out to me directly at [email protected], or DM me on instagram @christinehanrutledge and I’ll be happy to help you out!