Your baby can make the perfect yoga partner!
Every mom knows that time is precious and there never seems to be enough of it. As a mom of three kids ages 13, 9 and 17 months, I often find myself wishing for more time, and especially time spent individually with each of my children, as their ages and interests are so varied. Staying active, whether it’s running, yoga or surfing helps me stay happy, sane and balanced while taking care of my kids and running my yoga studio. So whenever I can combine my practice with spending quality time with my kids, it’s a total bonus.
I’m excited to share this short mom and baby yoga sequence designed to be practiced with your baby or toddler, as it is especially those of us with young babes at home that are the shortest on time (and the most in need of yoga!). Try to choose a time when your child is happy, fed, and not tired. A younger babe will need to be able to tolerate lying on his or her back for short periods of time without needing to be in arms, and an older baby may just toddle around during this yoga time. Your older children can be involved by practicing the poses along with you as well, so roll out extra mats for them and invite them to join in the fun.
Enjoy, and Happy Mother’s Day!
Baby Salutations: To honor this amazing new being in your life, this sequence takes a classical sun salutation and incorporates your baby!
Holding your baby in your arms, Inhale and Stretch your arms and baby up overhead, looking up to make eye contact with your baby. Stretch your arms fully and support the slight backbend in your upper chest by drawing your abdominals in, keeping your legs strong, and dropping (but not tucking) the tailbone.
As you exhale, bend your arms and bring your baby to your chest.
On the inhale, still holding baby, step your right leg back into a lunge and stay here a few breaths. Scissor your legs towards each other to engage the leg muscles on all sides.
As you exhale, gently tip forward and place your baby on the blanket or sheepskin, place both of your hands on the floor and slide your front leg back to a plank pose, looking down at your baby.
From your plank pose, exhale and slowly lower down to your belly, with your baby just in front of you.
Inhale slide your heart through your arms into Cobra, and then Exhale press back into Downward Facing Dog. Here you may want to slide your baby back so she is between your hands and feet, as if you are a tent or canopy over your baby. Older babies and kids love playing under your downward facing dog as if they are traveling through a tunnel. Take about 5 breaths in downward dog.
On the inhale step your right foot forward into a lunge, and reach down and gather up babe. Stabilizing your legs and using your core, inhale come to a standing lunge with your baby in your arms. From there, push strongly off your back foot and come to stand at the front of your mat. Inhale and extend your arms and baby up over your head, and exhale return to starting position.
Repeat this sequence again, stepping the OPPOSITE foot back into the lunge.
Warrior Child– Open your legs wide apart and turn your left foot in 10 degrees and your right foot out 90 degrees, lining up your right heel with the instep of your left foot. Holding your baby, bend your right knee to a 90 degree angle, into warrior 2 position. Allow your front leg thigh to create a seat for your baby or toddler. Keeping your back leg strong and straight, you can also lift and spread the toes of both feet to engage the legs and create stability and strength. Hold for up to one minute and then switch sides. For older kids, do this pose back to back (you will be doing opposite legs. Feel the support of your child’s back against your back and the connection that that creates.
Relax and Snuggle– Lying on your back, stretch out your legs and lay your baby face down on your belly. Support him or her as necessary, but allow your own body to drop deeply into the support of the earth as well. If baby is fussy in this position, try a side lying position instead, or some other position that allows both you and your baby to take a few moments of rest. With an older baby or child, allow them to also take their own savasana next to you, perhaps holding hands. Toddlers and younger children can also be taught to follow their breath by placing their favorite stuffed animal on their chest.