Baby yoga!

Karmic kids, baby yogis and mindful mamas
By Nancy B. Loughlin
Published in News Press on April 23, 2013.  Posted with permission. 

swinging lotus

Sahar makes yoga look easy, and she’s eleven months old.

She can sit in Lotus Pose and her knees drop effortlessly to the floor.  She backbends upside-down with a giggle.  She breathes deeply from her belly, and she is so naturally limber, she can pull a single leg over her head.

Babies understand yoga.  Babies live in the now and focus attention on the toys in their hands, their reflections, or the glasses on your face.

inversion one

Sahar’s mother is Angie Ahmed, the owner of Cape Coral’s Little Namaste Kids and Baby Yoga Studio.

Ahmed has studied and taught yoga and massage all over the world, and she has opened yoga studios in Australia and Japan.  She and her Cape Coral partner Nikkie Deal are dedicated to keeping kids in their natural yogic state.

Ahmed opens the door to yoga for babies as young as four weeks and up to kids age 12.

The obvious first question is, “How can an infant do yoga?”

With Mommy’s help, of course.  While seated on the mats, mothers gently coax their infants into detoxifying twisting poses which are excellent for improving digestion and easing colic, constipation and gas.  As with adults, twisting poses are also calming for the central nervous system and help babies sleep through the night.

Babies’ natural flexibility is a blessing, and the yoga helps them keep it.  The babies’ legs fold into Lotus position easily, keeping their hips open and supple.  Hip openers release storehouses of negative energy so playfully the baby can let go of fussiness and frustration.  Additionally, crossing one leg over the other balances the right and left sides of the body as well as opposite sides of the brain, increasing body/mind awareness.

Sahar sits cross-legged.  Her mom picks her up, floating in Lotus Pose, and Sahar swings. Then, they move into a gentle inversion.  Ahmed will sit with her legs bent and knees together.  While cradling and protecting Sahar’s head and neck, she lowers her daughter into a backbend inversion over her knees.  Seeing the world from a completely different perspective is eye-opening for a baby; reversing the blood flow strengthens and enhances circulation.

For many babies and their mothers, baby yoga is their first experience out-on-the-town.  Not only is it time for socializing with other babies and parents, it’s bonding time.  Mothers get to explore their new babies’ personalities and learning styles.

Once parents learn the basic moves and how to support and protect their babies, they are encouraged to continue the practice at home.  Deal has made yoga part of her nightly routine with her seven-month-old daughter Evelyn.

“It’s nurse, bath, yoga, then bed,” Deal said.

For more information, visit www.littlenamaste.com.

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