After nine long months, you’re delighted to have a sweet baby to cuddle and love. But a new baby means a new schedule, and you may find yourself with less time to focus on your health. It’s important to find an exercise regimen that is gentle enough for your body but is also challenging and exciting.
Whether you’re new to yoga or were a committed participant before you had your child, baby yoga is an excellent way to get you on a structured postnatal wellness path. “We recommend baby yoga for anyone who is looking for a healthy, playful bonding activity to do with a new baby,” says Lauren Chaitoff, co-owner of New York City children’s yoga studio Yogi Beans and contributor to Yoga Dork.
Check out these nine reasons to do baby-centric yoga that will have you and baby feeling great in no time!
- It’s a Great Bonding Experience With Your Baby
Mom and baby programs focus on both of you. “We modify traditional yoga poses so that moms can practice yoga while holding and rocking their babies,” states Laura DeNino, baby yoga instructor at the Yoga House of Charleston. The result is time dedicated to bonding.
- You’ll Be Able to Ease Back Into Yoga
Unlike high-level adult yoga classes, child yoga acknowledges the changes that a new mom’s body has been through. You’ll work with your recovering and changing body instead of against it.
- It’s Great for Emotional Well-Being
“Becoming a parent is stressful, and yoga can help ease new-parent jitters as well as afford mothers and fathers the opportunity to nourish and care for their own bodies through focused stretches and mindful breathing exercises,” says Chaitoff.
- It Can Aid in Digestion for Baby
The poses and movements chosen for baby yoga are not done at random. “It’s a wonderful thing to see in class when tired mamas come in for the first time with their sometimes colicky or fussy little one, and through the movements you can see the babies begin to calm down,” says DeNino.
- It Can Help Baby Sleep Better
Ask any new mom what she wants most, and she’s sure to tell you that she’d love more sleep. DeNino explains that “the class experience is just the right amount of stimulation they need to help them sleep for longer stretches of time. Many moms have told me that it’s so much easier getting baby down for their afternoon nap after our yoga class.”
- It Keeps Baby Happy Through Repetitive, Soothing Motions
“Most babies enjoy movement, so the class is different from a traditional yoga class in that we spend the majority of the class in constant motion without holding one pose for too long. We also incorporate music, singing and gentle yoga stretches for baby,” states DeNino.
- It Establishes Long-Term Exercise Habits for Baby
Beginning with a strong foundation encourages your little one to normalize exercise as she grows. DeNino’s daughter has gone to yoga since she was an infant. “She now is my assistant in classes, greeting moms and babies as they come in, handing out cool lavender towels to moms at the end of class, cleaning up and oftentimes demonstrating her tree pose! Perhaps the greatest benefit of all is that she loves yoga and has learned the joy of a healthy lifestyle from the youngest of age.”
- It’s a Safe, Welcoming Environment
Many new moms are worried about taking their little ones out because of feeding concerns, noise or diaper changes. At your class, all of that is encouraged! “The class objective is to create an inclusive environment and a mutually bonding experience for new parents and their babies. At the beginning of our baby yoga classes, we always remind parents that taking care of their baby is the first priority and to not feel bad if their baby cries during class,” says Chaitoff.
- You Can Meet Other New Moms
Since it’s a class that is solely geared for new parents and their babies, you’ll be at ground zero for meeting other moms. Hang around after class for a few minutes to talk about your favorite poses or share parenting stories with your new friends.
So grab that yoga mat and find a baby yoga class near you. Your body and your baby will thank you!
Want more activities for you and your baby? Read these 3 Reasons to Try Baby Massage.
Natalie Vereen-Davis is a travel blogger and freelance writer. She and her toddler love finding new ways to exercise in their hometown of Charleston, South Carolina.