Whether your child is 3 months old, 3 years old or 13 there’s a Mommy and Me Yoga class that will provide you with a healthful, fun bonding activity while giving you the benefits of yoga and exercise and maybe even a little “me” time.
Who knows better how to multi-task than busy moms? But too often multi-tasking compounds the tasks of caring for others while leaving Mom out. By modeling self-care, awareness and healthful activity, you have a rare opportunity to accomplish many goals with one activity, rather than managing several activities for several different people all at once.
One dilemma that often stops mothers from going to their once favorite yoga studio is that gyms sometimes offer daycare, while yoga studios rarely do. By attending class with your child you not only solve this dilemma, but also create a new set of roles in which to foster intimacy. When you both become students your child has an opportunity to learn alongside you, as well as from you.
Mommy & Me Yoga classes are often age-specific, geared toward post-natal, infant, toddler or school age children respectively. Most classes use complementary poses of mother and child to create bonding, intimacy and beneficial movement for both mother and child.
In post-natal Mommy & Me Yoga classes, the newborns are often on the mat in front of mom, with mom doing yoga poses and breathing exercises next to, above or holding her baby. There is a lot of room for crying, feeding and attending to baby’s needs which can be a welcome relief from alienating social situations. Guided meditations include both mom and baby, and often by the end of class the babies are as blissed out as Mom in final resting pose. Two common exercises for this sort of class include baby on mat with Mom in Downward Dog above, making eye contact, or Mom in Boat Pose with baby on her legs. You’ll often find an emphasis on pelvic health and core strength, which are singularly important to post-natal health and vitality.
In infant Mommy & Me Yoga classes, more accommodation is made for crawling babies in motion and the atmosphere can be more free-form, but the basic poses, meditations and concerns remain the same. You’ll often find that infants are moved into poses or actions that benefit their mobility and rapidly evolving nervous system. With Mom in Easy Pose or Hero Pose, the infants arms and legs may be moved up and down in a cross-crawl motion to mimic the motion of crawling and stimulate both hemispheres of the brain.
For toddler Mommy and Me Yoga classes the poses are generally kept simple and fun, perhaps using complementary poses such as Corpse and Down Dog, but also poses done together as the child’s ability to stand and coordinate their limbs grows. For toddlers, every pose is a balance pose. Poses named for familiar objects such as Tree Pose can be especially fun and challenging for children at this age, and no slouch for Mom as well! Yoga class can be a time for Mom and toddler to tell stories and even get a little silly in the name of laughter and yoga.
Mommy and Me Yoga classes can be a special treat for school age children, whether they’re in first grade or junior high. In the mix of getting to school, after school activities, play dates friends and coordinating schedules, sometimes dedicated one-on-one time takes a back seat to “getting it all done.” A regular yoga date for you with your special little guy or gal can tell them all they need to know about how important and valued they are in your life. At the same time, you telegraph your esteem for health consciousness and relaxation, all worthwhile, constructive messages for your family.
Bring one or more children to classes to create a group bond, and consider planning your own Mommy and Me Yoga session at home. Just remember to find a clear space, perhaps carpeted or on the grass, free of obstacles and sharp things with plenty of room to fall safely. Remember, the name is catchy but it’s not meant to exclude dads! These classes can just as easily become Daddy and Me Yoga sessions and create that special bond for the most important people in your life.