Giving Your Baby the Best Start

The neurons in a baby’s brain, from birth, start to connect optimally when they are engaged in a positive communication with their main carer.  This exchange of love helps babies develop and make smoother transitions to the next phase in their development, for example from lying to sitting, from sitting to moving.
Therefore, best gifts an adult can give a child are attention, bonding and communication as well as time to play, create, dream and explore. It is scientifically proven that children learn best by listening to words coming from loving adults, either through talking or reading, by playing and by touching.  Research shows that bonding with a main carer is of key importance during the early years of a child’s life, particularly the first year.


When we are attuned with their desires or communication, we give and they receive cues to help understand their world.
As babies develop during the first year, they start to actively explore the world through all of their senses, the key being ALL of their senses. Often they will do an activity over and over again, and still think it is funny or fascinating. They are looking to their primary caregiver to interpret the world for them. When we are attuned with their desires or communication, we give and they receive cues to help understand their world. They are communicating using ‘words,’ eye contact, body language, and cries. As children become more mobile their world expands. It is truly amazing to watch a child go from sitting to becoming mobile in a matter of months, thus acquiring the new skill of independence.
Given the enormous physical and cognitive growth during this period, here are some ways baby yoga and baby massage can support the developments taking place:
1.       ATTUNEMENT – The art of being present and responsive. During this period of curiosity, attunement is essential; it is how babies learn. Baby massage and yoga bring 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.  Baby yoga encourages a relationship with your baby based on acceptance and patience and how to learn to decipher your baby’s cues. For example, when a baby looks turns his/her head away, your baby needs a break from interaction.  This can be misread as rejection. The only helpful response to this is to give your baby the break he/she needs.
2.       HOLDING –When a baby is being held, he/she feels safe.  Baby yoga encourages you to trust the power of positive touch together with your baby.  Through relaxed walking, specific holds and breathing exercises, it is possible to calm a crying baby.  Of course, it may not always work, but it is useful to build on techniques, knowledge and confidence in handling your baby. 

Babies can often spend a lot of their day separated from their parents’ bodies; in car seats, bouncers and cots.  Baby yoga exercises recreate active closeness, a structured way of relating dynamically with babies.  The postures are very gentle in the first few classes and then explore a greater range of movement.  This enhances the vestibular system, the part of our brain that coordinates our spatial awareness, sets a foundation for good posture, balance, flexibility and agility.
3.       PLAY – Children learn and develop both cognitively and physically through play. During a baby or toddler yoga class, a parent joins his/her child and they explore the world together through play.  The neurons in a baby’s brain, from birth, start to connect optimally when they are engaged in a positive communication with their main carer.  After three/four months, a baby loves communicating through play and starts to copy what he/she observes. As a result, the child feels safer to take risks and go beyond the original safety zone.  Yoga helps toddlers give physical expression to emotions, images and adventures as well as promoting spinal alignment, balance and flexibility.
4.       TOUCH – During pregnancy and birth, new mothers release the hormone oxytocin, associated with relaxing, connecting and nurturing.  Baby massage and yoga both stimulate the ongoing positive effects of this hormone.  A loving touch also helps regulate the stress hormone, cortisol.  The more massage and yoga practiced with your baby, the greater combined sensory effects take place to enhance this closeness.
There are many educational toys and activities available today which help foster curiosity and learning in babies. Having options to help promote the growth and development of children is wonderful. However, there is no replacement for positive one-on-one time with mum or dad and what better way to do this than by practising baby yoga or baby massage. Remember, most babies are more impressed with the boxes that the toys come in than the actual toy. Have fun with your baby; it is a time of incredible growth and learning for both of you.
Ref. Cindy Hill-Ford, Francoise Freedman

21st December 2012

Tomorrow is 21/12/12 and marks two very interesting events.


1. Controversially, it is the end of the world according to the Mayan calendar. Dig a little deeper, and it seems tomorrow marks the end of one Mayan phase and and the beginning of a new one. 2012 is going to be the end of the cycle of destroying natural resources. 2013 onwards will be a new phase of protecting the Earth.
2. The Winter Solstice marks the shortest day in the year. It’s good to know that the days will again become longer and the earth will slowly awake in time for spring. Tomorrow marks the space between the ending and the beginning. A still point which contains not the absence, but the presence of life. A point in time where life considers the regeneration and conception of itself. 

Whatever you believe in, I hope you can find time tomorrow to pause and take a moment to enjoy the stillness.

Gratitude is the Best Gift


“Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little,
and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick,
and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.”

Today, my 6 year old asked, ‘Mummy, are we rich’.  Regardless of our personal circumstances, I wanted her begin to understand gratitude. I answered, ‘Yes, we are very rich. We have shoes to keep our feet warm, food to keep our tummies full and we are all healthy and we have each other. There are many people in the world who don’t have any of these things. We are very lucky.’ 

Gratitude is something we should be conscious of.  In a society where children are given a much coveted gift, only to see the next television advert and then immediately start asking for the next material item, we should be teaching our children that there are more important values than material goods. A child will never be satisfied when given the latest toy.  To start showing a child to appreciate what they have and give them some exposure to those who have very little is a good step forward. Another idea is for us ask our children to think of three things they are grateful for each day.  

To give a child an understanding of gratitude is possibly the best gift you can give them.

“You simply will not be the same person two months from now after consciously giving thanks each day for the abundance that exists in your life. And you will have set in motion an ancient spiritual law: the more you have and are grateful for, the more will be given you.” — Sarah Ban Breathnach