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Baby Yoga: Benefits and 12 Poses for New Parents to Try

Baby Yoga Benefits and 12 Poses for New Parents to Try

Bringing a baby home is a joyous time for new parents. You’ve been anxiously awaiting meeting your little one for the past 9 months, and now the baby is finally home!

While bringing a baby home is an exciting time, it can also be stressful for new parents. Now you have a new set of responsibilities to juggle when trying to manage work, recovering from pregnancy, exercise, and maybe even a little bit of sleep and relaxation.

Yoga is a fun way for you to interact with your new baby and check off some other goals on your list. For new moms, yoga can help you get back in shape. Yoga can also help with postpartum depression and improve your sleep quality.

If you are a new dad, you also need to fit in time for exercise and stress management. Yoga provides both of these benefits, and also gives you time to bond with a baby!

On top of the benefits for new parents, yoga also has benefits for the baby. Movement can help relieve the baby’s gas pain. Changing the baby’s position can help prevent the baby from developing a flat head, as well as help the baby build strength and motor control. The baby also benefits from skin to skin contact and listening to your voice as you enjoy an activity together.

Try out these poses with your new little one!

Balasana – Child’s Pose

Balasana - Child’s Pose
Balasana – Child’s Pose

This pose is a great way for new parents to stretch out their hips and lower backs. The forward folding nature of Child’s Pose also helps facilitate reduced stress levels.

Place the baby on his back at the top of your mat. Begin on your hands and knees.

Try talking to your baby as you get in your position, explaining what you are doing to him. He’s listening! Draw your big toes to touch and set your knees wide on the mat. Relax your hips down towards your heels and rest your forehead onto the mat.

As you feel a stretch along your lower back and hips, reach your hands overhead and rest them on your baby. Provide a comforting touch as you take a few deep breaths.

Let yourself enjoy the stillness of this pose for 5 breaths, then keep your hips in this position as you rise up onto your elbows. You can enjoy stretching for a few more moments as you make eye contact with the baby, and let him practice gripping your fingers.

Suhkasana – Easy Seat Pose

Suhkasana - Easy Seat
Suhkasana – Easy Seat

This gentle seated position will open up your hips and help promote relaxation and sleep benefits. For a baby, sitting upright with support from your body will help her build neck and trunk strength. She will also get some time off from lying on her back and love the physical contact from her parents.

Sit at the top of your mat in a cross-legged position. If your hips are feeling tight, you can sit on a blanket or block to provide more comfort.

Place the baby in your lap facing away from you so her head rests on your front side for support. Cradle your arms around her.

Find an upright posture and let your eyes close. Take 5 slow breaths to let yourself enjoy the meditative aspects of this pose, then spend a few moments talking to the baby. Try singing a soft lullaby or encourage her as she learns to sit up on her own.

Viparita Karani – Legs Up The Wall Pose

Viparita Karani - Legs Up The Wall
Viparita Karani – Legs Up The Wall Credits:

Legs up the wall is restorative and relaxing for new parents, providing sleep quality benefits and relief for sore necks and backs. It’s also a great pose for the baby to practice his tummy time!

Place the baby safely on his back next to your yoga mat as you get positioned. Place your mat up against a wall, then lie on your side with your feet towards the wall. Bend your knees and scoot in so your sit bones make contact with the wall (you will have to bend your knees!).

Once you are in this position, if you roll on your back, your legs should be resting on the wall. Now carefully reach over to the baby, guiding him to your chest. Transition him so his head is on your chest and feet are towards your hips, rolling him onto his belly.

Let your eyes close and take 5 breaths to enjoy the restorative benefits of this pose, then open your eyes and interact with the baby. Keeping your hands on him to prevent him from rolling off of you, encourage him in tummy time. Tell him about your day, or sing him a song. Baby loves listening to you no matter what you are saying!

Adho Mukha Shvanasana – Downward Dog Pose

Adho Mukha Shvanasana - Downward Dog Pose
Adho Mukha Shvanasana – Downward Dog Pose

This pose is a fun way to interact with the baby as she enjoys floor play. Floor play gives babies space and freedom to move their arms and legs, building strength and motor skills. For new parents, downward dog will stretch out your legs, build back your core strength, and strengthen your upper body.

Place the baby on her back at the top of your mat. Place your hands above her head at shoulder-width apart. Walk your feet back into a plank pose. Then as you lift your hips to the sky, you will be eye to eye with baby!

Firmly press down into your palms and face your elbow creases towards the top of the mat. Feel the backs of your arms and muscles between your shoulder blades engage. Keep your abdomen toned and feel a stretch along the back of your legs.

As you hold this pose for 10 breaths, watch baby building strength as well! Talk to her and explain what you are doing. It won’t be long until she’s mimicking your movements!

Vasisthasana – Side Plank Pose

Vasisthasana - Side Plank
Vasisthasana – Side Plank

Side plank is a fun way to have the baby start practicing lying on his side. Side lying is a way for a baby to have some time off of the back of his head and build skills needed for rolling. For new parents, a side plank will help you build back your arm and oblique strength.

Place the baby on his right side. You can use a firm pillow or blanket behind him to keep him supported.

If you are looking at the baby, you will be on the left side so you can face him. Begin in a plank position on your palms. Place your wrists under your shoulders, then start rolling your heels to the left.

Stack your right foot on top of the left and take your right hand to your hip. Draw your left shoulder away from your ear and lift your hips to the sky. You can reach your right hand up to the sky for more of a balance challenge, or take your bottom knee to the mat if you need a modification.

Make eye contact with the baby and smile at him. He will love hearing your support and praise as you both build strength! Aim for 5-10 breaths, then you both can change sides!

Utkatasana – Chair Pose

Utkatasana - Chair Pose
Utkatasana – Chair Pose

This pose with a baby is a total body workout for new parents! Chair pose on its own strengthens your legs and abdomen, and with the additional weight from carrying a baby you are also getting an arm workout! Being held upright helps the baby build neck strength and stability. She also loves being held close to you!

Pick up your baby and hold her to your chest with one arm around her bottom and one supporting her head. Stand at the top of your mat with your big toes connected and feet parallel to the side of the mat.

Engage your abdomen and relax your shoulders away from your ears. Begin to bend your knees and hips as though you are sitting back into a chair. Keep your knees from crossing your toe line, and your knees aligned between your second and third toes.

Talk to the baby and hold this pose for 5-10 breaths. She may like if you add in a few pulses too!

Marjaiasana/ Bitilasana – Cat/ Cow Pose

Marjaiasana Bitilasana - Cat Cow Pose
Marjaiasana Bitilasana – Cat Cow Pose

This is a fun pose to interact with the baby as he gets some floor playtime! For new parents, Cat and Cow will help loosen your upper back and shoulders.

Place the baby on his back at the top of your mat. Get on your hands and knees in a location where you are positioned looking right down on the baby. Stack your shoulders on top of your wrists, and place your hips on top of your knees.

Take an inhale and drop your chest and gaze straight forward. As you exhale round your spine and look down at the baby. Give him a smile or make a fun game of peek-a-boo out of each transition. Continue for 5 rounds of breath.

Pavanamuktasana – Wind Releasing Pose

Pavanamuktasana - Wind Releasing Pose
Pavanamuktasana – Wind Releasing Pose

Here’s a pose for both you and baby to try! For new parents, wind releasing pose is a great way to open up your hips. Lying on your back can also help relieve sore backs and necks! For babies, this pose can help relieve gassiness.

Begin lying on your back with your feet hip-width apart. Point your toes straight to the sky. Draw your right knee to your chest and feel a stretch across the back of your right leg. Hold for 5 breaths, then repeat on the other side.

For the baby, lie her on her back. Gently take one hand and guide her left knee to her chest. Hold for a few seconds then repeat on the second side. Repeat for several rounds if the baby is enjoying this pose!

Ananda Balasana – Happy Baby Pose

Ananda Balasana - Happy Baby Pose
Ananda Balasana – Happy Baby Pose. Caption

New parents will enjoy this pose to stretch hips and lower backs. Babies will also enjoy this pose to relieve gassiness. Happy Baby can help babies discover their own feet, enhancing their motor development.

For parents, begin lying on your back. Pull both knees into your chest and reach your hands to hold onto the outside edge of the foot.

Feel a stretch along the backs of your legs and your lower back. If you feel any pinching in your groin then draw your knees out wider. Hold for 5 breaths

For the baby, lie him on his back. Take both his knees to his chest and gently rock him side to side. This is a fun pose to sing, smile, and laugh in. If the baby seems interested, you can try placing his hands onto his feet and see if he can hold on!

Eka Pada Rajakapotasana – Pigeon Pose

Eka Pada Rajakapotasana - Pigeon Pose
Eka Pada Rajakapotasana – Pigeon Pose

Pigeon will open up tight hips and give parents a few moments of relaxation and peace. Babies will enjoy spending time alongside you, as this pose gives you an easy way to stretch and interact with your little one.

Place the baby on her back at the top of the mat. Lift your body up into a downward dog. Lift your right leg off the ground, then shift forward. Draw your right knee to the right wrist and your right foot to the left wrist. Lie your shin onto the ground, and then settle your hips onto the mat.

Look back behind you and make sure that your left leg is in line with your left hip. Square your hips and shoulders to the top of the mat, then begin to lower your body onto the ground. Keep your elbows on the ground so you are propped up and can make eye contact with the baby.

Feel a deep stretch in your right gluteal region, and enjoy breathing in this posture as you talk to the baby. Another way to connect in this pose is to let the baby hold your hands, and lower your body down so you are face to face with him. Enjoy watching your baby smile back at you as you take 10 breaths in this pose.

Dhanurasana – Sidelying Pectoralis Stretch Pose

Dhanurasana - Sidelying Pectoralis Stretch
Dhanurasana – Sidelying Pectoralis Stretch

Here’s another opportunity for the baby to practice lying on her side, this time while you are stretching out the front of your chest. Carrying a new baby can tighten up new parents’ pectoralis muscles. This pose can help loosen these muscles and relieve neck pain.

Place the baby on his right side just off the right side of your mat. You can put a pillow or blanket behind him for more support. Lie on your stomach and take your left arm into a goal post shaped position. Your elbow is in line with your shoulder.

Begin to roll onto your left side so now you are facing the baby. Your knees can be bent or straight. Use your right fingertips for support and feel a stretch at the front of your chest.

Watch baby building strength and visual skills as you take 5 breaths on this side. Then you both switch!

Salamba Bhujangasana – Sphinx Pose

Salamba Bhujangasana - Sphinx Pose
Salamba Bhujangasana – Sphinx Pose

Baby will love practicing her tummy time with you in this pose! Sphinx is a great way for new parents to stretch out your chest and upper back, and build strength between your shoulder blades.

Place the baby at the top of your mat. Her feet should be at the top of the mat and her head towards the center. Lie on your stomach facing the baby.

Gently help the baby turn onto her stomach so now you are face to face. As baby practices building neck strength, now set up for your pose.

Prop yourself up on your elbows, placing the elbows under your shoulders. Your palms face down. Engage your belly, and keep your feet hip-width apart.

Create an action as though you are sliding yourself forward. Pull your shoulders away from your ears and open up the front of your chest. As you stretch here, you and baby can interact. As she gets stronger, soon she will be propped up on her elbows too! Hold for 5 breaths.

Enjoy all the benefits these poses have to offer several times a week with your baby!

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