Baby & Me Yoga: Sleep Well Series

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When I heard that specific yoga poses can help babies sleep better, digest easier, and be happier, I knew my baby yogi and I needed to try it. We recently taught our first Baby & Me Yoga class and had so much fun, we wanted to share the love. Thanks to the venue of Home Base Physical Therapy in Morristown and grounded in the training of Kelli Deflora of Montclair B.A.B.Y., we wiggled and laughed our way through an afternoon of bonding and babbling, stretching and soothing.

With the only expectation of babies being babies during our yoga practice, we first connected with our breaths, creating an anchor for ourselves and our little ones. We began with baby yoga, then moved through parent poses before incorporating partner work, cuddle time, and relaxation. Referencing Itsy Bitsy Yoga by Helen Garabedian, we sang our way through baby poses designed to orient them in space and in their bodies, to improve digestion, and to foster connection.

While adults don’t usually talk through yoga practice, yoga for babies is different. By singing and doing the yoga poses, we invite a musical inflection, create a calm space for baby, and help them learn through repetition and predictability. It communicates respect and sets the tempo of the movements. It’s also a reflection of the “conversations” I have every day with my little one - he understands tone and meaning in ways I’m only beginning to see. He is a conscious being in a little body.

During this session, we focused on poses that can be incorporated into the bedtime routine for babies and parents. Since no two days are the same with a little one, the routines we create can keep us present. One family’s routine might incorporate singing or signing, books and bottles. Including yoga in the mix is a wonderful way to communicate mindfulness, calm, and a gentle loving touch that will be with baby as he sleeps.

See the poses and sequences we practiced below as a starting point for a home practice. Please let me know if you have questions and share any thoughts here or with me directly at jane@ebbflowyoga.org. Namaste.

Please join us for the next Baby & Me class on Saturday, February 23 from 12-1pm in Morristown, NJ. Future dates are Saturday, March 30, 12-1pm and Saturday, April 20, 9-10am.

Sign up here: https://www.homebasept.com/baby-and-me-yoga/

Sleep Well Yoga Series

For Baby*

Heartwarming Touch

This helps baby connect his mind to his body and orients him in space. It’s also a great way to signal bedtime has arrived, your voice and hands reflecting a calming moment.

  1. Place baby on his back facing you and gently place your hands on his head, fingers around the back of the head and thumbs on the forehead.

  2. With the intention of sending warm and soothing energy to your baby, slowly and gently glide your hands down his head, neck, shoulders, arms, torso, hips, and legs, making your way to his feet.

  3. Sing “heartwarming touch” in a slow, soothing rhythm as you make your way down his body. Spend about 6 seconds going from head to toes.

Baby Planet

Another fun way to help baby connect the dots of awareness in his body.

North Pole - Touch the top of baby’s head with both hands

South Pole - Gently pull baby’s feet downward

East Coast - Very gently move baby’s left arm by his forearm from the center of his body to his left (extending while keeping elbow bent)

West - repeat with right arm

Inside - Softly bring both of baby’s hands onto his chest

Outside - Extend arms out is opposite directions

Baby, You’re the Best! - Place your hands on baby’s belly and wiggle him from side to side

Corkscrew

By circling the hips in a clockwise direction, we’re following the natural route of digestion, making elimination easier… if you know what I mean!

  1. Rest baby on his back with your thumbs holding the back of his thighs and forefingers resting on top of his thighs

  2. Begin to circle baby’s thighs clockwise with both hands while singing “corkscrew,” letting one circle equal the time it takes to sing “corkscrew”


For Parent

Sun salutations with side body stretches

(I try to do these poses just after putting baby to bed and before starting the rest of my evening)

Begin standing with feet as wide as the hips

Inhale, arms reach high

Exhale, fold forward with a long spine

Inhale, life the torso parallel to the ground, gaze down

Exhale, forward fold

Inhale, rise and reach skyward

Exhale, grasp the left wrist with the right hand, reach to the right, tilting the body

Inhale up through center

Exhale, grasp the right wrist with the left hand, reach to the left, tilting the body

Inhale up through center

Exhale, hands drift down gently to your sides (or to the center of your chest with palm together in front of your heart)

Repeat the above three times, then bend the knees and fold forward, walking the hands out in front of you to come to downward facing dog.

Breathe in down dog, elongating the spine, pressing the hands into the ground.

Keep the knees slightly bent and experiment with shifting your weight side to side, hands to feet

After 3-5 breaths, lower the knees to the ground for child’s pose

Rest in child’s pose for 10-15 breaths

Option to incorporate downward facing dog pose before going back to standing forward fold and then gently lifting the torso upright to standing.


*Please note that each baby pose in the series is adapted to the baby’s level of mobility. For more information, I highly recommend reading Itsy Bitsy Yoga by Helen Garabedian. Here’s a short news clip as a great overview.

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Jane Daly Danese2 Comments