Written by Laura Dyet
Laura Dyet is a certified Yoga Instructor and Pre/Postnatal Fitness Specialist. She holds a Masters degree in Early Childhood Education and is the CEO of Child’s Pose.
Practicing yoga with your baby is a wonderful bonding experience. Gentle movements in combination with breathing techniques can help both adults and babies release stress and find a sense of calm. Studies show that yoga helps improve sleep, especially when we practice gentle poses in the evening. Itsy Bitsy Yoga by Helen Garabedian is a valuable resource containing plenty of yoga poses you can do with your baby. Here are my top three recommended poses for calming your little one before bedtime:
Lie your baby on their back. Bend their knees up to their chest and gently outward, so they have one knee on either side of their torso. Lightly rock them side to side for a minute or two. This pose is great for relieving gas, which can cause discomfort for your baby during sleep. Try looking into your baby’s eyes while you play with them in this pose.
Lie your baby in the prone position (stomach down) on your forearm with their head resting in the crook of your arm. Using this hold, try practicing Tree Pose and Goddess Pose, maybe rocking your baby slowly side to side or up and down. Remember to switch arms, holding on each side for a minute or so. This pose is incredibly soothing for baby and also allows the parent to mindfully build strength and stability.
This is used as an ending pose in most yoga sequences; our intention here is to allow our bodies and minds a chance to rest. When practicing Savasana with your baby, lie on your back and place baby on your chest close to your heart. Breathe deeply, releasing any tension in your body. Savasana could also be the perfect pose for a bit of skin-to-skin time, and some babies may even fall asleep like this! If your baby is crawling and does not want to lie still on your chest, try using props for a supported version of this pose so you can easily keep an eye on your baby while still enjoying the benefits of this pose. Aim to stay in Savasana for at least five minutes.
Our breath is a powerful tool that we can use to calm both ourselves and our little ones. Throughout all of these poses, try practicing Ujjayi breath, breathing audibly in and out through the nose. Creating long, even breaths mimics our breathing patterns during sleep and can help soothe your baby. Try inhaling for a count of 5, pausing at the top of the breath for a count of 2, then exhaling for a count of 5.
During the immediate postpartum period (at least 6 weeks), mothers should rest in order to give their bodies time to heal. If you are interested in learning more about postpartum fitness and/or yoga visit childs-pose.com or contact Laura at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your free online consultation.