A baby’s body and nervous system is very fragile and it is for this reason that many health experts warn that babies should be handled with care. Shaking a baby can lead to brain damage so throwing a baby as Lena Fokina demonstrates, is extremely dangerous.
Sadly, this kind of behaviour may also have led to a misconception about what baby yoga actually is and the enormous benefits it can have not only on baby’s development and the relationship with the parent but also, on parent’s state of mind. The benefits of yoga for both parents and babies are phenomenal. Here we explore some of those benefits and in our follow up article, we’ll be giving you ideas for yoga and play that you can try with your baby at home:
Benefits of Early Movement
When babies first leave the womb, they experience a huge shift not only physically but also mentally. They are suddenly required to navigate a world which has become larger and air filled and in order to do so, they must learn to breathe efficiently and move efficiently, taking into account, gravity. Their spine begins to change and bends in new places and as they grow, their body has to adapt to carrying the huge weight of the head on their shoulders.
Yoga movements help babies chart a more direct path of growth and development. Babies who have the opportunity to explore movement have greater confidence and ability when it comes time to sitting, crawling, and walking. Babies who move with freedom as well as intentional guidance learn early about relating to gravity and relating to people.Parents and caregivers play an essential role in a baby's early movements. Dr. Richard Walls, a pediatrician in La Jolla, California, says the evidence is clear that sustained physical contact and activity with an adult is a primary stimulus of growth in young children. Doing yoga with a baby fosters this beneficial interaction.
According to psychiatrist Erik Erikson, whose Eight Stages of Development are widely taught basics to understanding growing children; learning trust is the basis of healthy social-emotional development. The physical contact of a loving adult fosters trust and starts baby on the lifelong journey of learning about relationships—to one's self, to others, and to the world. This contact encourages use of the parasympathetic nervous system thereby resisting stress, bolsters his immunity, circulation, and physical growth. Other psychological studies have shown that when a strong bond is formed with the primary care-giver, a child is given the security required to go away and explore the world, fostering self-confidence and self-esteem they are given the feeling that a safety net exists to which they can return.Baby yoga classes nurture the parent/child bonding, deepens parents' observations of their babies' growth, and helps parents actively participate in their babies' neuromuscular development. They allow parents a place to focus, relax, and enjoy movement with their children, under the guidance of an educated yoga teacher.
Spatial Awareness Space, or ether, is the medium through which people connect to all things, according to Ayurveda, an ancient sister science to yoga. A baby reaches through space to tug at mom's earring or plead for dad to share his sweet potatoes. But it usually takes a few months before babies are comfortable leaving the arms of a loving adult to be set down for movement.
Doing yoga with an older baby who can sit, crawl, or walk excites activity on many levels and encourages a baby’s first social interactions. A child's vision is stimulated, fostering both spatial differentiation and depth perception. She may start to imitate her parents and learn by example. Yoga encourages exploration of range of motion, an important expression of potential.
Sharing yoga mindfulness and yoga moves with a baby will launch her education about relationships. Whether bolstering spatial differentiation, depth perception, range of motion, or interpersonal trust, practicing yoga moves with a baby is a boon to her neuromuscular development and to the parent-child bonding experience.