Published: Tuesday 16 January 2018
Founder of To Baby and Beyond, and course tutor, Julie Cleasby tells us why she believes that toddler yoga is a great activity for children, parents, carers and teachers alike!
"Prior to writing developing our Certificate in Teaching Toddler Yoga course, the idea of parent/carer and toddler yoga made obvious sense to me. Having been an infant massage instructor for many years and practiced yoga myself it seemed a natural follow on.
"What initially stood out to me was that Yoga in Sanskrit means 'unite' – where better to unite than in a family unit? Parents/carers and children can spend time relaxing together and bonding together. Babies, mothers, fathers and families, in general, unite in the womb on conception, grow together over the nine months or so – bonding, massaging, moving. At the time of birth the family then unite in a different yet familiar (but also unfamiliar!) way outside world, uniting at birth, usually as a two- or threesome, depending on the set up of the family unit.
"So why not use yoga as a way for the parent/carer and toddler to extend (literally at times!) and further the bond? The outside world is a very busy, large and often frightening place and particularly so for a toddler. Yoga gives parent/carer and toddler the chance to feel safe and relax together, using guiding techniques and movements for calmness and relaxation in the often very busy world of today’s parenting.
"When parents/carers relax their minds they are able to better respond, understand and become aware of their child’s non-verbal and verbal cues. This makes them more in tune with their ever-growing toddler. It increases their awareness of the emerging personalities and developing relationship between them and their toddler. This is a skill they can carry with them throughout the rest of their lives. Parents/carers and toddlers through yoga can become more aware of their own bodies and also the physical space of themselves within the universe. Yoga is well known for its ability to strengthen and increase flexibility of joints and muscles. As the toddler develops this is key to them reaching their full potential.
"Toddler yoga also aids the co-ordination and brain development with certain movements and exercises crossing the midline of the body. Through movement and breath work toddler’s respiratory, digestive and circulatory system can be encouraged to work optimally, thus supporting common childhood issues such as wind, constipation and also a relatively new circulatory system. Enabling this, as well as the contact with their toddler, can cause parents/carers to feel increased confidence and self-esteem.
"The use of Hatha yoga, in particular, appears to mirror some of the above. That is, being aware of subtle energy channels through physical and breath work.
"Of course, parents/carers and their toddlers can only realise the fantastic benefits of yoga through being taught it by an expert instructor. And this is where you come in! What better job satisfaction that passing on all of the benefits of toddler yoga to young families? Of course, personally, you also benefit from better fitness levels and a flexible working environment which can improve life generally for you. I would encourage anyone thinking about learning to teach toddler yoga to take that leap! You won’t look back."
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