Benefits of Infant Yoga
Baby yoga promotes tummy time and active play for babies in the form of swings and dips which help to develop baby’s proprioceptive and vestibular systems. The use of songs during yoga practice helps to develop baby’s sense of rhythm and promotes language development and communication between mother and baby. In addition, the release of endorphins in both mother and baby’s body can help to promote relaxation and wellbeing.
Baby yoga shares some of its benefits with baby massage. The main difference between the two disciplines is that baby yoga stimulates baby’s senses through a variety of different stimulus; movement, touch, song, and stretching. Stretches can help relieve colicky pains and wind. The movements in baby yoga complement the movements in baby massage. A combination of both provides the infant’s digestive system with a high degree of support. As with baby massage baby yoga can help to settle babies and improve their sleep patterns. It can also enhance communication between the parent and baby by providing special time together. Babies enjoy the close physical contact with parents and are soothed by many of the poses. Baby yoga shares many of its benefits with baby massage.
Yoga and massage can bring relief to a number of conditions suffered by babies which can cause them to be uncomfortable during the first months of life and beyond.
Relief from colic and wind is an important benefit of baby massage and yoga. Massage tones the digestive tract, expels wind from the body,breaks down large air bubbles and speeds myelination between the nerve cells in the stomach and the brain making the digestion of food and elimination of waste more efficient. Yoga stretches help massage the abdomen and facilitate the expulsion of air from the bowel.
Infant massage can also bring relief of teething pain by massaging the mouth and gums and ease colds and congestion by helping to drain the nasal passages of mucus. Yoga can help encourage babies to practice deep belly breathing.
Yoga and massage are very important for aiding relaxation and reducing stress both for the parent and the baby. Our bodies naturally produce a group of hormones (cortisols) which help us to quickly raise blood pressure, increase heart rate and prepare muscles for movement when the body is under threat. These hormones are a very important part of helping us to function effectively and survive. Without them helping us to react to the threat of danger our bodies would not be able to react quickly enough to avoid harm. ACHT (Adrenocorticotropic Hormone, ACTH, corticotropin), is a cortisol hormone responsible for helping to create many new nerve to brain connections and so it is important in creating intelligent and new responses to our environment however when the levels of ACHT become too high however then the negative effects of stress can be felt.
When you massage or touch a baby during baby yoga, the baby’s body produces oxcytocin which is the calming hormone of love . These hormones help to lower the levels of stress hormones in the body and therefore help to lower blood pressure and heart rate and improve appetite. Prior to birth a baby’s body is flooded with adrenalin and cortisol which helps to prepare the baby for birth. After a baby is born, the levels of adrenalin in the baby’s bloodstream may be excessively high, particularly if it has had a difficult birth which may cause the baby to feel stress. Massage and yoga help can to lower the levels of adrenalin and cortisol and increase oxytocin helping the baby to feel more comfortable more quickly.