Cuteness overload. So on this sunny Saturday morning, I was lucky enough to be asked to document a Baby Yoga class, run by the lovely Helen and Lucy. Helen has over ten years experience working with children, and both Helen and Lucy are also qualified swimming teachers. As a yoga 'dabbler' myself I was keen to see how babies could join in, and start their own yoga practice from such a young age. It was lovely to see dad's getting involved in this group too, challenging the gender stereotype that child and baby groups are mainly moms only.
We were joined in today's class by two of the most beautiful baby girls, Isla and Ruby. They were both fab, pro yogis in the making! Lucy demonstrated on the Baby Doll which made it really easy for parents to follow along. Lovely soft music was playing in the background, which added to the super relaxed atmosphere. The class covered a lot of sensory stimulation; Helen and Lucy incorporated feathers at one point, which led to Isla doing the cutest little shiver and giggle whenever it touched her skin!
Pausing the photographer, and putting on my psychologist hat, it was evident to me, the real benefits of this class from a psychological perspective. Research (and thousands of years of lived experience) shows that yoga has many health benefits. Not only flexibility for the body, but the many psychological benefits too, such as increased self awareness, lower levels of stress, and inner peace. It was also interesting to see this class from an attachment and parenting perspective. Learning how to regulate ones emotions occurs within the attachment relationship, the relationship with your care giver in the crucial early years. During the session, the parent and child become attuned to each other, and it becomes a constant cycle of baby experiencing an emotion and parent tuning in to that, and soothing them through the movements demonstrated. This will have an impact upon bonding with baby, and will help baby learn the skills they will need to be able to self-sooth themselves one day. Through yoga with a parent, they are developing a positive relationship with their body, building the foundations of emotional regulation, and cementing the attachment relationship with mom or dad. There are also mental health benefits for parent too - learning to be mindful and focused on the present, whilst spending special time with baby can provide a much needed relief in the chaos that comes along with parenthood. 10 out of 10 all round for family emotional well-being!
Next we did the flying carpet pose...
'What's happening mom?!'
'Actually, this feels pretty fun!'
'This old move? I could do it in my sleep'
Isla and dad tried 'heart to heart' pose, a lovely way of winding down the session. Then it was all hands on deck (or should I say babies feet) as everyone tried 'happy baby pose'...
Babies and parents were present and focused on coordinating hands and feet, arms and legs, whilst busy blowing raspberries at the same time!
A great time was had by all who attended; Baby Yoga a great success! A tired Isla made it clear that end of yoga meant nap time...
For more information on class details, please visit www.aqualympic.co.uk or phone Stuart on 01543 572 855, or email firstname.lastname@example.org for yoga and swimming classes in the Lichfield, Cannock, Wolverhampton, and Birmingham area.