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"Jackie teaches a new way to move with your baby, integrating the ancient techniques of yoga with the latest research on parent-child bonding. This DVD promotes health and well-being for both babies and parents. You will discover a way to move with your baby that will leave you feeling refreshed and renewed."
-Terry Stein, MD
Director, Clinician-Patient Communication
The Permanente Medical Group



I've never done yoga before. Will Yoga With Your Baby be too hard for me?

Everybody's body is different, and all bodies change from one day to the next. So it is important to tune in to your own body to monitor whether or not the practices are appropriate for you in any given moment. In general, the yoga poses offered in this program are relatively gentle, and you will be encouraged to modify the poses at any time to adjust according to your needs - and to your baby's needs - throughout the practice. For the main practices, you will see three different parent/baby dyads and each dyad is often demonstrating a different modification of the instructions. The program was specifically designed to allow you to choose among various options at any time. Some days, you might choose the most gentle option, while other days you might explore the more challenging position. It's up to you and how you're feeling in the moment! Listen to your body, and follow its cues.

Will this program help me get back in shape after giving birth?

While helping to get moms back in shape after giving birth was not the primary goal in the creation of this program, it is a benefit. The exercises offered in Yoga With Your Baby and Dancing With Your Baby can help you to get back in shape. Even though the movements and exercises are relatively gentle, you are encouraged to lift your baby quite a bit, so your arms, stomach and legs will most certainly get stronger as a result of practicing this program. Your body will receive a low impact workout.

Furthermore, this program encourages you to be attuned to your body and your body's cues. As you become more aware of your body's signals, you will be better able to notice what your body needs. You will be better able to detect when you are truly hungry and when you are full. You will be more able to sense what types of foods your body is needing. You might begin to crave junk food less, and you might be drawn to more healthy, nutrient-rich foods more often.

And it is not only your body that will receive benefit. Your heart and mind will benefit as well. The exercises in this program encourage you to return back to the moment at hand again and again, strengthening your mind's ability to stay present with your baby. You will also be encouraged to greet each moment with a compassionate and spacious heart, which is not always easy, particularly when something is happening between you and your baby that is uncomfortable, such as a messy diaper or hearing the sound of your baby's cry. So you will strengthen your mind's ability to come back to the present moment and you will deepen your heart's capacity to hold an increasingly broad range of life experiences.

So, yes. Your body will receive benefit, and so will your heart and mind!

How long after giving birth do I have to wait before practicing the DVD?

Please make sure to get your doctor's approval before attempting any of the practices outlined in this program. While every woman's body is different, it's generally recommended to wait 6 weeks after giving birth, or until bleeding has stopped, before starting any yoga or exercise program. If you have had a cesarean, please take particular care. You might need to wait a few more weeks to ensure that the abdomen is fully healed.

Is my baby old enough to do yoga?

The yoga postures in this program have been modified from their traditional form to make them more interactive, engaging and appropriate for you and your baby to practice together. Before each playful yoga exercise is introduced, you'll see a picture of the traditional yoga posture to help you understand the inspiration for the creative adaptation of the pose.

Some poses are designed for you, and other yoga poses are designed for your baby's benefit. You'll be encouraged to gently invite your baby's body into the position without forcing him, and to check in with your baby often to notice how he's responding to the pose.

This program was designed for babies who can hold their heads up on their own, which usually happens between the ages of 3 to 4 months. Until then, feel free to watch the program to familiarize yourself with the practices. The Additional Yoga Practices might be particularly helpful for you to watch during your first weeks after giving birth. And you can always listen to the songs in the Dancing With Your Baby program at any time!

As your baby grows older and becomes more mobile, he'll be less able to sit through the whole sequence of poses. Please honor his desire to explore. It can be helpful to imagine that the whole room is the yoga mat. As he plays with a toy he's practicing the art of being in the moment - fascinated by the object in his hands. And as he crawls across the room, he's practicing the cat pose, exercising muscles and developing co-ordination.

When your baby starts to become more mobile, please be sure to baby-proof the environment. This way, if your baby becomes disinterested and crawls away, you can be more relaxed and can feel free to continue the practice using a doll or stuffed animal. As you model enthusiasm for the program, your baby learns that yoga can be fun. Your growing toddler might even try teaching the movements to his own stuffed animal, which is a wonderful way to learn, by teaching!

And if you continue to practice with a doll when your toddler walks away, he just might come back to the yoga practice when he hears the sounds associated with his favorite pose. So instead of demanding that your baby stays with you the whole time, see if you can be open to your baby's growing need for independent exploration. Be curious about what your baby is doing, rather than forcing him into what you think he should be doing. Physical learning occurs best in a playful, permissive environment.

Remember that - just like your own body - your baby's needs change from day to day. On some days, your baby might follow the instructions for 10 minutes; other days, he might only follow instructions for 1 minute. This DVD was designed so you can customize a practice suited for your baby's changing needs.

My toddler is easily distracted. What should I do to keep him engaged in the program?

First, see if you can notice yourself in those moments. How does it feel for you when your toddler gets distracted? What thoughts are passing through your mind? What emotions are being evoked in your heart? What sensations are arising in your body? Powerful feelings can arise if you are hoping your toddler will stay with you, yet she continues to crawl away. See if you can notice yourself with compassion in those moments. That is the first step. Being more mindful in those moments will make it more likely that you can respond consciously to your baby, rather than simply react out of habit.

Then, if you are practicing in a child-proof area, consider allowing your child to roam! See if you can allow your child to explore on his own. You could try continuing the practice with a doll, continuing to be engaged in the program and enthusiastic yourself. If you expose your toddler to the movements, even if he doesn't seem like he is paying attention, he will learn by hearing you and seeing you have a good time! Soon, your toddler will begin to approximate your movements (in the same way that - over time he will begin to approximate your words). At first, you might not even know, but he is watching you, mimicking you, internalizing your movements and sounds. He will approximate your movements and sounds, and eventually the movements will become more and more refined as - given space to do so - he self corrects and self teaches. If you try to interfere too much, it could actually stifle and hinder this natural process of self learning. Your agenda could cloud your baby's natural joy of learning. Feeling smothered or crowded, your child might in turn be more likely to express disinterest in the yoga practice. So try to give your child freedom to move away from the practice and come back to it again, at his own pace.

Also, if you use a doll, you might notice your toddler mimicking you as she picks up her own doll and teaches yoga to her doll. Celebrate and encourage this if you can! Your toddler has demonstrated one of the best ways to learn yoga--by teaching it! She might even enjoy teaching YOU yoga! Gently check in with your growing toddler and see if she might be interested in moving your legs side to side, or helping you touch your toes! That's a great way to keep your toddler engaged!

Remember: children's physical learning occurs best in a playful and fun environment. Mind-body integration blossoms as children are accepted for the successive approximations they make to the instructions at hand.

At first, children approximate your movements. Eventually, if the approximations are accepted and the child is not pressured to perform, the child will get better and better at the movements on his/her own. Further, they will be internally motivated to do so (as opposed to externally motivated) which means they will not be dependent on you to provide them with motivation to stretch and breathe, but their interest in yoga, dance & other forms of physical exercise will come from their own, innate desire to learn and grow. Gently supporting your child's internal motivation is key, and can be complex at times. It requires you to continually check in with yourself, acknowledge any agenda you might have about your plans for your baby, notice them with compassion, and allow that agenda to move into the background as your natural curiosity of your child - and who s/he will be as a unique human being - moves into foreground.

My toddler isn't doing the poses correctly. I don't want him to learn yoga the wrong way. What should I do?

Remember: children's physical learning occurs best in a playful and fun environment. Mind-body integration blossoms as children are accepted for the successive approximations they make to the instructions at hand.

At first, children approximate your movements. Eventually, if the approximations are accepted and the child is not pressured to perform, the child will get better and better at the movements on his/her own. Further, they will be internally motivated to do so (as opposed to externally motivated) which means they will not be dependent on you to provide them with motivation to stretch and breathe, but their interest in yoga, dance & other forms of physical exercise will come from their own, innate desire to learn and grow. Gently supporting your child's internal motivation is key, and can be complex at times. It requires you to continually check in with yourself, acknowledge any agenda you might have about your plans for your baby, notice them with compassion, and allow that agenda to move into the background as your natural curiosity of your child and your interest in who s/he will be as a unique human being move into foreground.

When I do the program with my infant, my 4 year-old daughter wants to practice with us. What can I do to engage both of my children?

There are a few things you can try:
  1. Place your baby in your lap facing outward toward your older child, and have your older child face you. This way, your older child gets the benefit of looking into your eyes and interacting with you this way. You can encourage her to follow along on her own, or you can gently guide her body for a moment until she gets the hang of it, and then you can guide your baby in the pose.
  2. Invite your older child to bring her favorite doll or stuffed animal onto the yoga mat, and have her teach the movements to her doll.
  3. When your baby gets fussy or crawls away, you can ask your older child if she would like a turn in your lap!
  4. You can wait until your older child is napping, and do yoga with your baby then. And you can invite your older child to do the practice with you when your baby is taking a nap. This will give your older child some much needed one-on-one time with you, during a time when you can truly be present with her without the distraction of the younger child.

How long will it take for my baby to learn the poses?

Every baby is different. Some babies really enjoy the yoga practice while others aren't as interested. Instead of demanding that your baby learn these poses, see if you can be curious about how your baby responds. Master yoga teacher, Sarah Powers, stated that she practiced remaining curious about her own daughter's nature, and she tried to nurture that. Her daughter didn't express much of an interest in yoga, but demonstrated a true interest in dance instead. So Sarah supported her daughter's interest in dance. Drawing from Sarah's beautiful modeling of mindful parenting, see if you can explore witnessing what your baby's nature is, and nurture that.

If your baby is enjoying the yoga practice, then that's great! Have fun, and gently witness what is happening in each moment. Over time, with practice, your baby might begin to anticipate the movements. Celebrate those moments with clapping and encouragement! Your baby is demonstrating great use of memory and recall as the neuronal connections in his brain are reinforced, and this tremendously benefits his developing mind. These are very exciting moments. Celebrate them! This will encourage your baby to try it on his own next time. Over time, with successive approximations, he just might begin to do the poses on his own.

What can I do to facilitate my baby's enjoyment of the yoga practices?

  1. The best thing you can do is to let go of any expectations or preconceived notions about the practice each time you start the program. Arrive with a sincere curiosity about what the practice will bring the two of you in each new moment. If you force your baby into some preconceived idea you have for the practice, or if you become overly demanding, this will significantly reduce your baby's enjoyment of the program.
  2. You can also try mirroring your baby's expressions. If she smiles, smile back! If she looks surprised, offer a similar facial expression. Babies not only appreciate this kind of feedback, but is also facilitates the organization of their developing mind. They learn about themselves and they make sense of the world through your reflection of them. Stay present, and reflect back what you see.
  3. Express your sincere joy and enthusiasm for the practice. As your baby sees you authentically enjoying yourself, she will learn that yoga can be fun. And she might become interested in doing it herself, on her own, one day.
  4. Bring along her favorite toy or doll that she can play with. Let her know she can hold her toy and still stay engaged in the practice if she'd like. And make sure to give her plenty of freedom to stop the yoga practice and play with her toy instead at any time.

I've been home with my baby for weeks now. I love this program, but I'm feeling like I need some adult contact. Do you have any suggestions?

Invite some moms & dads over for playdates! Community is so important on the path of parenthood. The more you are able to experience the joy of your relationships with other adults, the more you will have to offer your baby in return. So get together with other moms and dads. Go for walks. Have heart to heart talks. And feel free to have a weekly Yoga With Your Baby playdate! You and the other parents can practice yoga together, and then talk about what it was like afterwards. Share what came up for you as you interacted with your baby. How did it feel watching the other parents interact. What were you hoping would happen? What happened instead? Share your experiences with each other, and instead of offering unsolicited advice, see if you can simply hold what was said in compassionate awareness, empathizing with the other parents from a place of heart and understanding instead of from a place of problem solving.

Follow that inner call to connect with other adults. Try to get that important need met. By taking care of yourself, you will be better able to take care of your baby.