Generally from 3 months onwards, though some baby yoga instructors may accept slightly younger babies into an appropriate class. Baby yoga is a natural successor to other baby classes such as baby massage, though it is not essential for your baby to have attended massage before starting yoga.
What your child will do
Baby yoga classes offer a mixture of movement and relaxation. Classes usually open with a warm-up segment that can also double up as a welcome time where you and your baby will follow through with some familiar songs and simple, limbering moves. This could involve some key baby massage moves, which is why yoga can be a great follow on class after your baby has outgrown massage classes.
Expect to be fully involved dress appropriately), as the majority of the yoga moves will require you to help your baby to perform postures, stretches, swings and holds which help him to build his strength and co-ordination for physical developments such as sitting and crawling.
A lot of the yoga will be given with certain physical benefits in mind. For example a cross lateral move where your baby’s foot and hand make contact is great for giving a full back stretch, mobilising hips and shoulders and creating a sense of rhythm. Your instructor will explain the various benefits as you progress through the classes.
Some of the baby yoga moves you will be introduced to will be variations on grown-up yoga postures and your instructor will emphasis the correct breathing which you will carry out whilst working with your baby.
Baby yoga classes are sometimes advertised as ‘Stretch and Tone’ and are typically offered as a course block with regular – normally, weekly – classes. This helps both you and your baby to learn the various postures and become confident in using them.
How will your baby benefit
As well as the benefits of positive touch (also found in baby massage), movement provides stimulation of your baby’s main physical systems. It can also help teach your baby to gain control over their bodies, and their movements.
Baby yoga can also improve your baby’s sleeping pattern and helps digestion. Your baby will become more aware of their body and their actions, which can encourage them to move and get mobile. Tummy-time is included which can help your baby become more familiar with this position and may help them start to crawl.
Some baby yoga classes also integrate sensory activities into the sessions for example including small baby friendly instruments during a routine or introducing your baby to different tactile and visually stimulating textures (scarves, silk parachutes).
If you are starting baby yoga classes with a small baby, classes can increase your confidence in how you handle your baby. Classes that offer a mutual ‘mums’ yoga and relaxation segment will usually focus on helping you to regain your posture, strength and work your pelvic floor and abdominal muscles. Parents can also gain from the social time at the end of the class where your baby is free to play with toys whilst you catch up with other parents over a cup of tea and biscuits.
Costs for a baby yoga class are approximately £5-£10 per class depending on your location and the type of class. Some instructors offer a discount for a block booking of classes. Baby yoga classes are also starting to be offered at some Children’s Centres across the UK. These classes are often free or are at a low price to help cover costs.