Baby Yoga: Bonding With My Baby While Working Outby Beth Pocalyko
Whether first-time moms or repeat offenders, we are always looking for ways to get out of the house with our babies.
I did My Gym classes with my first son who is now 4, and wanted to try something different with my 7-month-old, Chase. I tried Yogilates at the gym (a mixture between yoga and Pilates) and I really liked it, so I thought why not yoga for my baby too?
After a little research, I found a place called Peace Yoga. It was close to my house and the "baby and mommy" yoga class was at the same exact time that my 4-year-old Nicholas was in preschool. I was ready for some one-on-one time with my little man!
When I told my sister-in-law that I signed up for Baby Yoga, she said that she had no idea what it was. I had no idea either, but I had visions of me and Chase in our cute matching lululemom yoga outfits on our cute yoga mats which I had ordered from the Philadelphia Eagles, as I got a body like Gwyneth Paltrow's. And at the same time, I'd be bonding with my baby.
Well, the yoga mat I ordered was never delivered (still need to make sure they didn’t charge my credit card), and I don’t think Gwyneth Paltrow “uses just yoga” to get those killer arms and abs! Basically, Baby and Mommy Yoga was not how I imagined it.
At first, I wasn’t sure it was for me. But I stuck with it and it actually turned out to be something amazing. Now I wish I could start every day with Mary K at Peace Yoga! My first experience at Peace Yoga was just that, peaceful. The instructor was very cheerful even though it was first thing in the morning. I was trying to get my coffee on. Since I had woken up late, I only had 45 minutes to get both kids dressed, fed, and out the door. After I dropped Nicholas off at preschool, I barely made it on time for our first class.
Waiting for the caffeine to kick in, I set up our mats (not my Philadelphia Eagles one) and got warmed up! Well, if you have ever done yoga, you know the entire class is one big “warm up". At first I thought the whole class was just stretching, but it turns out that it is an intense workout that your body will feel the whole next day!
After we had started, we warmed up our babies. We helped them do a pose called “toes to nose” which is exactly what it says. We used our babies as weights, and balanced them while we did our warrior poses. We did downward dog poses over the babies as we made silly faces at them.
We did tons of squats with our babies who added weight, and the babies all loved the up and down movement. “Flying Baby” was another move the little ones enjoyed. Chase sat on my legs as I lifted him up then back down, he smiled and cooed as I was working out my core!
During the first session, we closed our eyes and our minds (which was kind of hard for the moms whose babies were crawling away from them!) and repeated after our instructor, “I am the right mommy for this baby."
I couldn’t stop laughing at firs,t and even joked about it with my girlfriends. But now going into my fifth session, I have grown to like these mantras. Each week we added some lines to our mantra saying, “I am the right mommy for this baby. This baby is the right baby for me" and “When you are at peace, your baby is at peace.” I know it sounds silly, but after a few times I actually started to believe it and it helped me relax.
And all that stretching has improved my posture. We are always holding and feeding our babies causing us to be hunched over most of the day. When I walk out of that class I feel amazing. I promise it is even better than a massage at the spa.
As moms, we struggle with getting a minute to think in silence. We have so much noise in our lives distracting us. There is the TV, music, kids playing, a crying baby, husbands asking us questions and bosses needing an answer. Don’t get me wrong, I love the noise; I never want it to stop! But sometimes we need to take a minute for ourselves - to close our eyes and to just breathe. Don't worry about what you’re going to cook for dinner or how you’re going to finish that report for your client and run your daughter to ballet then soccer practice.
Breathe full deep breaths, unwind, and de-stress. My favorite part at yoga is the last ten minutes of class. You just get to lie on your yoga mat, with the baby resting on your chest. Remember your baby is relaxed when you are relaxed. It is wonderful to take 10 minutes to just breathe in and out and think of nothing at all. I am obsessed now. What I thought would be a good class for Chase, has actually done more for me. It has made me a calmer mom this time around.
And on those fussy baby days, I am learning it is ok to just take a minute to lay on my bed and close my eyes and just breathe. And those funny little chants I made fun of with my friends….I kind of say them now ha! And it feels so much easier to go on with my day.