April 3, 2015
I wrote a blogpost a few weeks ago about the challenge of finding a baby yoga class that was open to dads. I appreciate that mom’s have a place to work their Warrior 2 without dudes showing off. At my yoga class at the gym there’s one blonde Adonis who rips his shirt off and shakes his long hair over his tattooed shoulders. There’s another guy who is always trying to outdo the yoga instructor. It was a lovely moment when he was going all out for a Crow Pose arm balance and he cut the cheese.
So I was super stoked when the good folks at Yoga Continuum changed their “Mama & Baby” class on Thursdays to “Baby & Me” after I emailed about dads. I felt it was a great victory, but the reality is that more and more dads are showing up for baby for yoga classes, so it’s gonna happen with or without me marching down NE Broadway with my yoga mat and my Baby Bjorn.
Yesterday was our first class. Lisa was our yoga master and it was a truly wonderful experience. My yoga class at 24-fitness is vinyasa-style, also known as “power yoga.” You are going to sweat your ass off. 50 people in a room planking. This was a much different experience. More personalized and focused on the connection between parent and child.
This type of yoga has three parts. The first part is some of the traditional stuff that adults go for, stretching, balancing, a bit of zen relaxation and maybe some core work. The second part is focused on the baby, including her own stretching and body awareness, as well as some nice massage. The third element is baby and parent together. This includes doing some poses with baby as a little dumbbell, but more stuff just holding baby, face to face bonding, or swinging her like a cheeky monkey. And she didn’t puke once!
We sang children’s songs, including one I vaguely remember from second grade. Cozy smiled the whole time and the endorphins in my brain were just flowing, seeing how much she enjoyed it. Lisa was well aware that babies have a mind of their own and sometimes like to crawl off, but Cozy stayed with me. She giggled as she scooted under me during my Downward Dog pose. But it was a completely safe space for her to explore if you wanted to get off the mat.
It’s definitely different than my Sunday yoga class. I didn’t get the burn that I get from Vinyasa (although some poses holding a 20-pound wiggle worm worked hidden core muscles). The thing that I got out of it was an incredible hour of bonding with my child. She loved the attention, the songs, the touch, and the peaceful vibe. We are excited about going back and hope to see more dads on the mats, chanting Om. Namaste.