Yoga for babies and toddlers

Do any of you do yoga with your kids? For about a year before I became pregnant, I had started yoga. There was a gym in my office, and every Wednesday I would make my way down there for an hour of yoga. I hardly did any more the rest of the week. But that hour helped me enormously and I tried to continue my practice through some pre-natal yoga CDs. And then I had the babe. For some reason I had begun to believe strongly in the principles and benefits of yoga, more the mental aspects than the physical. And this inspite of the fact that growing up in India I had thought it to be an antiquated practice and Jane Fonda videos seemed better.

At any rate, sore with nursing, and staying up nights (I used to nurse sitting up), I started surfing the net and found a book called ‘Itsy Bitsy Yoga’ by Helen Garabdein. I ordered it and when it arrived, the postures for three to four wek olds seemed simple enough. So every evening in between nursings and naps, I would lay the babe on a yoga mat and do yoga with him. The poses were very simple – just gentle stretching, and counter intuitive motions accompanied by songs you could write yourself, or at least set to tunes yourself. Which I did. Soon enough we came to enjoy our yoga sessions. We did tiny tugs – stretching diagonally opposing arms and legs, kissy feet, which is just clapping the feet together. The postures changed as the babe grew and we enjoyed this. When I went back to work, it was a gentle break from the whirling routine and a way to connect when I came back (other than nursing, which he would do with eyes closed :)) He was a very happy baby and slept through the night from really early on, but whether this had anything to do with the yoga, I donot know. Maybe not.

 This continued till about the time I started sending my son to day care at about 8 months. He had been with my mom before. Yoga fell out of our routines. Occasionally I would still do the old poses with him on the weekends. And then not at all for many days. But I was not sure if he was enjoying this. It seemed like overkill from an overzealous mom to start yoga at this age. So I have up.

One weekend, lying in the sun, he suddenly toddled up to a closet and pulled out my yoga mat. Then he lay on it, looking at me expectantly. I was surprised, but I walked over and started to do some of the old, old poses. He was delighted. Then he said ‘kissy feet’. He remembered a pose! I was just amazed.

And then soon after one day, he put himself into a ‘downward dog’ and said I am doing yoga. We had never done this pose before, and certainly, I never did any yoga poses at home, having given up long back. But he rememberd the cover of the book I used to refer to.

So now that I am home, I try to do it off and on. We love it. It makes him happy. Now I am sure he likes it. I have joined classes again myself. My yoga teacher says for kids so small, it is fun to make them imitate animals. So we pretend to be doggies or snakes or lion. Its fun to try it together. Let me know if you all know any good resources.

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