It has been way too long since my last post. Conner is now 26 months old, and we have recently added a new addition to our family, Violet, who is 3 months old. Life is busy but oh so good!
I have practiced yoga for about 5 years now. I am sure everyone knows the benefits, but for me it goes a bit deeper. It is almost like my body needs it! I am a much more balanced and centered wife, Mommy and person when I run and do yoga.
When I was pregnant with Violet, I practiced prenatal yoga. I can't say enough about the benefits...increased flexibility, relief from back pain and tightness in the shoulders, etc. Anywho, after my daughter was born I got right back into it. I happened to google "baby yoga" after seeing a news segment a while back about baby yoga. I purchased "Itsy Bitsy Yoga: Poses to Help Your Baby Sleep Longer, Digest Better, and Grow Stronger" by Helen Garabedian. I love, really love, this book. It is so easy to read and the pictures are so easy to follow. The poses are really common sense, and nothing that is at all challenging. Mainly it uses a Hatha approach of stretching and increasing flexibility.
So this got me thinking...many studies have shown the positive physical and cognitive effects of yoga for adults. Can baby yoga provide the same effects?
This is a direct quote from Itsy Bitsy Yoga:
"...Itsy Bitsy Yoga can promote better sleep, improved digestion, ease gas pain and colic, stimulate
neuromuscular development, and boost the immune system".
Now my only real complaint about this book is the lack of scientific references for these claims. So off I went in search of some.
Sadly, I really didn't find any scientific articles per se. But then again, how would one measure this stuff?
What I did find were numerous articles from accredited yoga instructors. Basically they all say the same thing. Based on their own experience teaching and practicing baby yoga, it will improve respiration, digestion, circulation and increase immune function. In addition, it promotes healthy brain development, motor coordination, and decreases anxiety and stress. In other words, it relaxes the baby :)
I think the most important benefit of baby yoga is the bonding. The baby gets so much attention from the parent.
So, although there isn't much in the way of actual scientific research, I would say that it is not a far stretch to assume that the most of the claims made by baby yoga advocates are pretty true. For adults, yoga most certainly improves flexibility, muscle and motor coordination, decreases anxiety and stress, and a whole host of other improvements. So why not be as beneficial for babies/toddlers/kids? I have practiced baby yoga with Violet for about 2 months now. What I can say is how happy she is when we practice. I spend about 10 minutes with her and at that moment nothing else exists. I wouldn't trade these moments for anything. I do think she benefits from the poses, stretching, etc. Mainly, I think she benefits from the undivided attention I give her during this time. I am not trying to multi-task, or check my e-mail, or make dinner. I am bonding with my baby. We are relaxing and cooing and it is the best feeling in the world! Namaste :)
Oh-and I have every intention of purchasing the Itsy Bitsy Yoga for Toddlers and Preschoolers for Conner!