Mum & Baby Yoga classes are gentle, caring, fun, safe places for mums (or dads!) to enjoy an uninterrupted hour or so with their baby without the worries and concerns of day to day life.
Classes are specifically designed for new mums to bring your body gently back to alignment, closing those overworked areas after pregnancy and birth, and supporting your journey in recovering strength and tone in a safe yet challenging way.
Babies enjoy simple baby yoga movements suited to their development stage. There is an emphasis on having fun and to help you and your baby to communicate, bond and best of all relax.
There are so many benefits to joining a baby class, and so many benefits to joining classes that support you as a new parent as well as your baby.
Here’s 10 benefits of joining a Mum & Baby Yoga class:
1. Build confidence lifting and handling your baby
Not all new parents have spent much time holding babies! Perhaps there haven't been family and friends with babies to practice with, and of course over the past year that has not been possible for much of the time anyway. So when your baby arrives, holding them and manoeuvring them can feel challenging and takes a while to get comfortable with.
In Mum & Baby Yoga classes we use different holds to support our babies safely and find the ones they most like. Some holds are really useful for tummy issues too.
We also learn how to move safely up and down from the floor, from sitting and to lying down with our babies - to keep baby secure, but also to keep the pelvis stable and to limit extra pressure on the lower back and abdominal muscles as postnatal bodies repair from pregnancy and birth, and adapt to carrying baby on the outside.
All these techniques are of course for Dads and other carers too and they can be taken home to share and use as you move about your daily activities.
2. Baby Yoga can help soothe those common baby niggles – digestion issues, colic and sleep problems.
The gentle movements of baby are developed from both the movements and principles of yoga and the natural movement and development of babies. Many movements help to gently massage baby's tummy to ease digestion, constipation and wind. Specific movements and holds can ease the effects of colic. We nurture parents through guided relaxation – either active or still – alongside their baby. Baby has the opportunity to experience calmer, quieter moments with their parent, and as baby learns to recognise and tune into this relaxation this can then be used at home to support baby at sleep time to relax.
“Joe and I love Sarah’s classes, it’s our favourite Mum & Baby class. It’s so calm and relaxing and afterwards Joe has his longest sleep! Would definitely recommend”
— HELEN AND JOE
3. Supports the development of your bond with your baby
Parents feedback that through the movements, rhymes and songs that we use through class, baby yoga helps parents and babies to communicate, bond, be confident and trust one another.
Eye contact and touch are a baby’s first language, followed by movement and then sound.
In class babies and their parent are spending uninterrupted one to one time together, great for both first time parents and those with other children. We are working gently with our baby to feel and experience their body through gentle movement safely guided by their parent. Working closely with your baby in this way you can enjoy their feedback through their expression, movement response and their verbal sounds.
Building positive feedback between baby and parent is known as the ‘Spiral of Joy’ in Birthlight yoga. When a baby responds securely and happily to their parents eye contact, touch and/or voice in a relaxed, and calm way, then the response is returned in the same way from parent to baby. This continues back and forth in a spiral of joy. Seeing parents and babies smile at one another and relax in each others company is a truly wonderful part of class for me as a teacher.
“Touch brings with it connection and communication, stimulation and relaxation, calming and healing. Babies need quality interaction with the adults closest to them to feel secure and free to explore.”
— FRANCOISE BARBIRA FREEDMAN, FOUNDER OF BIRTHLIGHT
4. Enjoy meeting other parents and babies
One of the greatest benefits of a parent and baby class is the ability to meet other parents and babies, share experiences, discover similarities in the postnatal journey and learn from each other. You are never alone as a new parent, others are going through the same joys and challenges as you. Babies are going through development stage in their own way, at their own pace, and there is always someone else in class who is or has been going through the same stage and can offer support.
In Mum & Baby yoga class I offer a safe and relaxed space for you to chat to other parents, to share your week and to have fun watching each others babies grow and develop alongside your own baby. Lasting friendships are made in my classes and when mums arrange to meet each other outside of class I know that I am offering so much more than the benefit of yoga.
I know that it can be hard to walk into your first baby class, that as a new parent you are tired, learning on the job and putting all kinds of pressure on yourself to be the best parent for your baby. When you walk into my class you come as you are – tired, late (because of a last minute nappy change maybe!), feeling emotional, excited and nervous at the same time.
I hope the class will lift your spirits, give you a little time to rebalance and discover that however you are in the moment your baby only cares that you are there for them. You will also be encouraged to find out everyone else in the class is the same as you.
5. Builds confidence in communicating with your baby
Mum & Baby yoga classes include the use of loving touch, eye contact and both singing and talking to baby to promote both the bond and communication between parent and baby. This creates not only a mutual delight at each other's response, but also the first developments of language, both verbal and non verbal for baby.
Connection and bonding with your baby, through touch, movement and sound helps you to learn your baby’s cues. As you develop more confidence in reading your baby’s communication you become more secure and the sense of love and relaxation between you and your baby grows.
“We sing to relax our bodies, release our tensions, lift our spirits and delight our babies”
— SALLY LOMAS, BIRTHLIGHT TEACHER AND TRAINER
Repeating rhymes and songs help your baby to learn language way before they can form sounds and words. Asking your baby’s permission to do yoga is important to promote choice and understand that the will be heard if they don’t want to join in or just need a cuddle or feed.
But it’s not just through language that we communicate with our babies. They way we hold, carry, touch and move with our babies is important too. A relaxed hold or touch will receive a relaxed response. Yoga will help you to become more aware of your tensions and habits to not only release and relax the body and in turn your baby, but also how to do this throughout your day. Holding and carrying your baby without tension and with a good posture promotes calmness to your baby as well as release in your body.
6. Supports your baby’s natural physical developments
In Mum & Baby Yoga we don't force or manipulate babies into strange positions (or parents!) we are baby led so we do everything at the pace of each individual baby. Baby yoga moves are about gently opening and stretching the arms, legs and hips whilst baby is lying or sitting. Moves which gently lift, swing and roll baby help them to understand their body, spacial awareness and balance. Movements support a baby's natural physical development helping to align the spine and legs, open the chest to support baby's breathing and massage the tummy to help digestion. Baby yoga also supports the development of both sides of the brain as babies process the sensations of the movements. All babies develop in their own way, in their own time. One of the biggest learning experiences of a parent and baby class is seeing how different babies can be. Two babies the same age next to each other in class can be very different in size, in how they are moving, responding, communicating and in what they need from their parents. Yoga teaches us all to be individuals, to work in our own way and in the way our body and mind need. Not only do we ensure we adapt everything we do to each baby as needed week to week, we also ensure that the techniques and movements for parents are adapted week by week to suit the individual recovery of each postnatal mum, and the individual body of each dad or carer attending. All babies can benefit from baby yoga practices. If your baby has any special requirements, or conditions please contact me and you will be welcomed into class. I will work closely with you to find the best ways to benefit you and your baby. 7. Learn techniques to help you and your baby relax together I teach relaxation in Mum & Baby Yoga class in a few different ways. Not just the lying down quietly sort of relaxation, although that is definitely an option if your baby is willing.
Mum and baby relaxation techniques also include walking relaxations, seated moving relaxations, breathing techniques and using sound – singing and humming. Babies respond to different techniques at different times so you will learn a few for your toolbox to use in class and at home.
In class our relaxation times are not always quiet and peaceful – although that does happen more often than you might think! I encourage parents to move and take active relaxations if baby needs movement or sound rather than stillness. Some baby’s will settle and fall asleep or feed at this time of class, and others will be very active and make plenty of noise. And whatever the rhythm of the room we all enjoy time to relax together. Often this can be more energising than a nap for parents and it helps babies to learn how to settle in a way that suits them.
Learning relaxation techniques helps parent and baby to find calmness at those most fretful and stressful times when baby is finding difficulty settling and their parents have tried everything.
“Really great course to learn valuable techniques for relaxation, one to one contact with baby, and fun new things to try.”
— SAM AND CHARLIE
8. Supports your postnatal recovery after any kind of birth
Rather than high impact exercise, the yoga movements that I teach for new mums gently stretch and tone - particularly great for postnatal mums as they close and re-align the body after labour and birth. They gently tone the core without over stretching, particularly recovering abdominals.
Dads, grandparents and other carers attending can also benefit from the release of tension that the stretches and movements give.
We focus on shoulders, upper back, lower back, and core, integrating Birthlight yoga’s deep pelvic floor toning and ‘core strength’ micro-movements. Breathing and relaxation techniques will help you to re-balance, rejuvenate and re-energise for life with a new baby.
When you have carried and given birth to your baby your body has undergone huge change, strain and there may be birth injuries that take longer to mend. My Mum & Baby Yoga classes encourage you to take your time to adjust to your body as it continues to change through its postnatal recovery. Yoga poses and movements are given at varying levels to suit each individual.
I help you to reclaim your body, be patient and not create more stability and not cause more instability particularly through your pelvis, abdominals, core and pelvic floor. We work on gentle progression over the first 6 months postnatal to avoid long term problems of joint instability and hypermobility. This leads to a secure transition to stronger poses after 6 months and re-joining general yoga or other exercise classes.
The use of breathing techniques are an effective way to heal, rebalance, reduce anxiety and relax. Yoga can be helpful for rebalancing hormones and emotions and postnatal depression. I encourage everyone to use the yoga techniques at home with their baby, or when you have a little time to yourself to help ease your body through the daily demands of supporting a new baby.
9. We’re baby led and there’s plenty of time in class!
My Mum & Baby Yoga classes are centred around baby and you. They are baby-led. Feeding, changing and soothing are all part of the flow of the class as each baby requires. Class is an hour, plenty of time to enjoy the class, feed your baby and change them whenever they need and most of all time to relax.
I make sure that there is time around the class for everyone to arrive and settle, clear up and leave without rushing to fit between other classes using our venues.
“First class today with my 7 week old & loved it. Sarah was very welcoming and was great at including me and my little one no matter what was happening(baby niggles, feeding etc) It was great to meet the other mums and babies and definitely worth going to. To sum up in three words… warm, professional, worthwhile”
— IMOGEN AND JOSHUA
10. Not just for mums!
Although it is usually mums who come along to class, dads, grandparents and carers are welcome.
Mum & Baby Yoga is for every baby and parent or carer. There’s no need to have experience of yoga, or to be flexible – don’t let social media images of yoga fool you – yoga is an individual practice, that suits any and every body shape and ability, it’s not even about being able to touch your toes, many students can’t.
Whilst some of our movement practices are specifically focussed on supporting a postnatal body, anyone will benefit from the gentle postnatal techniques I teach. I encourage parents to share the techniques with partners and other carers at home, everyone will find it helpful to find a good posture and carry baby safely.
All parents and carers will benefit from learning the gentle loving movement of Mum & Baby yoga class, so that they can have more ideas to interact with baby at home, soothe and relax with baby at home and many parents use the songs and rhymes in class for many years as their babies become toddlers and beyond...
“Thanks again for introducing us to the wonderful world of yoga! George and I really enjoyed our sessions and will miss you and the group. Learned some lovely tricks to calm George down which I use every day.”
— LUCY AND GEORGE
My classes are held in the Northwich area in Cheshire. I have also been teaching online during the covid pandemic. You can book a class here
Sarah trained with Birthlight and founded Breathing Space Yoga in 2013.
Birthlight is an internationally acclaimed charity and teacher-training organisation focusing on the holistic approach to pregnancy, birth and babyhood. They pioneered baby yoga and use practices inspired from yoga and traditional modes of parenting supported by scientific research.
To find a Birthlight trained teacher in your area go to their website.
APRIL 7, 2021