The foundation of your baby’s body is also the foundation of baby yoga. As in hatha yoga, the hip movements aim to open the knee joints and the hips in order to tone the deeper muscles of the body around the base of the spine. The benefits of these movements have been well researched by the Birthlight Trust.
Should your baby have ‘clicky hips’, please refer to the ‘Hip Dysplasia‘ website for more information.
Why is it important to practice hip sequences with your baby?
These exercises help to strengthen the muscles at the base of your baby’s spine and also have beneficial effects on the nervous systems and endocrine systems. Some baby’s are very flexible and some can be quite stiff. These exercises help to achieve a balance, either improving muscle tone to enable babies to have more stability and balance or improving flexibility. Of course, we always observe our baby’s faces and ensure they are comfortable and happy during the hip opening exercises Having stability and balance allow a baby to sit up.
The video below demonstrates some of the hip opening exercises we practice during a baby yoga course.
I’m not talking about living in someone else’s house illegally.
Squatting, as in sitting back on your hunches, with your heels flat on the floor is a lost art in the UK. When you visit countries, such as Japan, you’ll notice that the majority of people squat to eat and it is a very natural position. See link
Squatting (or crouching) has many scientifically proven health benefits, including a reduction in prostate cancer, improving balance, stimulating the digestive system and lengthening the spine. I’ve heard that squatting can help improve bad knee conditions and is a wonderful birthing position, which has been used for centuries.
I’ve also noticed that toddlers squat a lot when playing. It’s a very natural position for a child to play in and an incredibly important one for them developmentally as it helps strengthen their muscles. Squatting does use completely different muscles to the ones you may be used to using, so it may take some practice until it feels comfortable.
While sitting in a chair or sofa is very comfortable, it is not the optimum position for our spine to be in. We often find ourselves hunched over a computer screen or slouched watching television. When you squat, your leg muscles are active and your head held high and your spine is straight.
During baby yoga classes, I often encourage mums’/carers to squat while holding their babies and come to a standing position. It’s a wonderful exercise with many benefits, as stated above.