Last updated on December 7th, 2023.
Adding yoga practice to anyone’s daily routine is a positive enhancement for the mind, body, and soul… including babies! Even the littlest humans can benefit from certain yoga “poses.” Naturally, baby yoga isn’t the same namaste and warrior pose we’re used to as adults.
Baby yoga is when a caregiver helps babies into “poses” or positions designed to promote general health and wellness. It’s also meant to help babies with physical and mental development. Baby yoga can also help infants develop a deeper bond with the person that does yoga with them.
Of course, there’s much more to baby yoga than that. If you’re interested in learning more about baby yoga, you’ve come to the right place. Keep reading for our version of baby yoga 101.
Can You Do Yoga with Babies?
Not only can you do yoga with babies… you should do yoga with babies! Babies are natural yogis. Baby yoga is a great idea, and there are lots of benefits to doing yoga with babies, although we’ll dive into that a little later.
Baby yoga is starting to be much more popular across the globe, so classes are becoming easier to find at local yoga studios. But that doesn’t mean you must go to a yoga studio to practice yoga with your baby. You can practice baby yoga at home, too, as long as you’re not doing anything beyond very easy, gentle movements.
What Is Baby Yoga?
Don’t expect to see tiny babies getting into downward dog on their own or practicing savasana every day. Baby yoga looks much different than adult yoga, seeing as babies aren’t exactly in control of their own movements until later development stages.
Baby yoga is when a parent or other adult caregiver helps the baby move into different positions. These positions are similar to stretches. And of course, unlike adult regular yoga, there’s zero expectation that a baby is going to hold a pose.
Muscle movement and development is a theme for baby yoga, but there’s also sensory integration and even vocabulary-building principles that are included. Baby yoga isn’t so much about calming and feeling grounded. It’s about learning.
We know that children’s brains develop a ton between birth and age five. The early years are responsible for shaping so much of a child’s brain, so it’s important to start building those important connections and helping facilitate development through any and all avenues. Baby yoga is a fantastic way to do just that.
What Age Is Baby Yoga For?
Infants as young as six weeks old can start feeling the benefits of baby yoga. Once a baby has enough strength to control their own head movement, they can start!
If you really want to get the most out of baby yoga, start your little one before they’re crawling. Introducing baby yoga before they’re able to take off on their own will make it a little easier in the beginning but will also help the baby learn what to expect during baby yoga.
Another factor in babies’ age for yoga depends on who’s doing yoga with them. If a baby’s mom is the one taking them to baby yoga or engaging in physical activity, she should make sure her own body is ready for movement, even though it’s very, very low impact.
Is Baby Yoga Beneficial?
Baby yoga is beneficial in so many ways. If a mom is doing baby yoga with her little one, it can even be beneficial to both.
Here are some benefits of baby yoga for both mom and baby:
- Strengthening mom and baby bonding.
- Help babies feel comforted and soothed through body movements.
- Develop word association and vocabulary.
- Socializing, being around other babies and humans besides family.
- Moms are able to meet and engage with other parents and caregivers.
- Can be calming for some babies.
- Keeps babies mentally and physically active, promoting motor skill development.
- Some babies show better sleep patterns.
- Some positions can help alleviate gas pains and promote healthy digestion.
Clearly, there are plenty of benefits to baby yoga. If you have other children, yoga is even something the whole family can get together and enjoy. Toddlers and even older children can expect to see some similar benefits, especially self-soothing and calming techniques.
What Type of Yoga Is Baby Yoga?
Again, baby yoga isn’t the same as regular yoga. Baby yoga is really its own type of yoga. There are a few things that prevent babies from doing actual yoga, as you can imagine, like attention span or even the simple ability to control movements.
Babies don’t exactly have the mind and body connections to control their movements. And depending on a baby’s age, they might not have very many purposeful movements at all.
Baby yoga doesn’t fit into one specific yoga category. It’s definitely not arial yoga or acro yoga for obvious reasons. It’s also not Bikram yoga since that requires a heated yoga studio. Baby yoga also doesn’t venture too deep into mindfulness or spirituality, so it’s not Ashtanga or Hatha yoga.
If we had to put a label on how to categorize baby yoga, we’d say it’s a beautiful combination of yin, restorative, and vinyasa yoga. Baby yoga takes elements from each of these kinds of yoga instead of following each one exactly.
Here’s a rundown of why baby yoga is a hybrid blend of these three styles of yoga:
- Vinyasa means “place in a special way,” which is exactly what happens during baby yoga. Babies are put into different positions that are beneficial throughout various stages of development.
- Yin yoga is for more deep stretching, but it’s also a very slow form of yoga. There’s no rushing during yin yoga, which is true of baby yoga. However, yin yoga focuses on stillness, something that’s definitely not a part of baby yoga.
- Restorative yoga uses various props, like yoga blocks, blankets, and cushions, to help with poses, all of which can be beneficial during baby yoga.
What Does a Baby Yoga Class Entail?
Baby yoga classes are different, depending on where you take them and, of course, who’s teaching the class. You can expect baby yoga classes to follow a structure similar to the one below, although you’re dealing with babies, so remember to be flexible.
Here’s an idea of what to expect during a baby yoga class:
- A little “getting to know you” time for moms and babies. Grown-ups can chat with one another before class officially begins.
- Instructor will chat with the group, some will even set an intention for the class. Others will just share a little note of inspiration or positive thinking to get things started.
- Moms or caregivers will do a little guided movement with the instructor.
- Babies usually lie on their backs and go through the movements with a mom or a caregiver. Usually, there is music involved, and sometimes sing-a-longs.
- There’s also typically focused breathing involved throughout the class. Some instructors will do this at the beginning and end of class, while others will work it throughout the class.
Baby yoga isn’t exactly like regular yoga, instead of doing poses, babies are helped into beneficial positions that can aid in development and even have other health benefits. The bottom line here is that baby yoga is beneficial to everyone that participates, making it a great addition to your baby’s routine.