I used to think there is not much you could do with an infant, and I was wrong…with the early child education promotes cognitive and motor skills development as early as age zero AND prior to birth (really?!), I feel I need to jump on the bandwagon. Good news is, I can’t sit still myself anyway, so I did bunch of baby gymnastics & yoga (in class & at home) with Maia (now she is 2.5), in addition to my own practice and certification, I’ve gained more confidence and know-hows with the second time around.
According to Yoga Journal, benefits of practicing yoga for children are: Refined motor skills, better concentration (especially when they are bigger and could practice sit still & close eyes, for ONE minute, to start with), also children practice yoga are less likely to be obese (better awareness) growing up.
Here are a few assisted movements I am working with Baby Leia (4 months old). And I have been practicing with her since day one she came home. HOWEVER, if you are UNSURE with any of these movements, don’t do them (I am writing this to serve as an inspiration…), instead, sign up a “Mommy & Me” yoga class in your city, start it from there, and you will find it is just another way of “purpose play”!
- Happy Baby: Help her to connect hands with the sole of the feet. Should be a very intuitive movement.
- Flying Half Lotus: For pre-crawler, have her lay back down, gently tilt her hip up, cross one leg on top of the other, ideal parallel. Believe it or not, it is a very relax movement for babies, if you do it right, you will receive a smile in return 🙂
- Flying Flamingo: It is “Jana Sirasana A” in traditional yoga practice. The only difference is that baby lying down here, bend one knee, have one sole of foot touch another leg (extended). Then gently transition into opposite foot to touch opposite hand. Use your hand assisting the baby to extend another leg. It is such a wonderful sensation for baby.
- Baby on Bridge: Mommy on bridge pose (any variation is good as long as you are comfortable), baby sits on the lower abs, hold the pose for 10-15 seconds, and gently come down. Repeat for 3 times. (keep in mind, only do this movement when baby has her own neck support)
- Swing: Mother lays down on her back. Baby does tommy time, on the top of Mommy’s shins. Either holding the baby’s hands or not (depending on the stability of the baby), gentle swing up and down.
- Baby Inversion: I try to be creative to show variation of inversion that could make baby happy. I don’t want to provide more descriptions here, as IF you haven’t practiced this in the classroom, don’t do it at home. About 80% of the baby is head down at the last leg of pregnancy, so this is another natural movement, but be aware of how long to hold the pose (never abrupt in & out of the pose), and every child is different. I am able to reset the mood/tantrum for both of my girls EVERY TIME after inversion 🙂
- London Bridge Falling Down: Another fun pose (only) if you practice backbend on your own, a great heart opening for Mommy, and you need to be creative to get in & out of the pose with a baby underneath 🙂 The flow of energy somehow entertains the baby.
Final note — Different than the toddler yoga (with lots of goofs), though many movements could be natural for baby, if mommy herself doesn’t practice yoga or has no interest in yoga, then apparently don’t enforce it to the baby. However, if you do practice and are interest in yoga, then this is the way to create additional bounding. Enjoy!