Jeff Smith 11:30 a.m., Sept. 2
Yoga for toddlers and babies
Last month I was talking to another yoga student in class and discovered that she teaches yoga to kids during the summer. I started thinking about all of the health benefits of yoga for adults, and how a little bit of yoga practice can also help kids with coordination, focus, and becoming comfortable and confident in their own bodies. I contacted owner and instructor Rebecca Villa at Yen4Zen Yoga about her classes for toddlers, babies, and parents.
RT: Do parents need any experience with yoga to come to class?
RV: These classes are open to everyone; no yoga experience is necessary from adults or children.
RT: How do you teach toddlers yoga?
RV: In the Toddler classes (for ages 1-4) we explore the body through movement: using a lot of animal yoga poses, props like scarves and feathers (for breathwork), games, dance, and stories.
RT: What benefits can small children gain from yoga?
RV: Children learn about their bodies, develop strength and coordination, the ability to listen and follow directions, and important social skills in interacting with others. Through working with our breath and relaxation, children also learn how to attend and focus on tasks and relieve anxiety in a stressful, always moving world.
RT: You also teach the Baby & Me class. How does yoga benefit babies?
RV: The Baby & Me class is for moms and babies aged 6 weeks to pre-walking. This class offers a great bonding experience as well as an opportunity for moms to get out and do something healthy for themselves and meet other moms while still with their little ones.
RT: What do moms gain from the class?
RV: We focus on some mom-centered yoga in the beginning of class; lots of props are available for modifications if needed so everyone is comfortable in the class. We do some standing and seated partner poses with the babies, and finish with some final core work for mom . . . Moms benefit from some time for themselves in a space where they can feel free to attend to all of their baby's needs during class, nurturing themselves, their little one, and each other.
RT: What do you enjoy most about teaching yoga to parents and their children?
RV: They are a lot of fun for both parents and children. That is one of the main things I love about teaching the classes: watching parents and children interact and just enjoy each other. Both parents and children learn the joys of just being present while being playful and engaging in a healthy activity!
Toddler Yoga classes begin at 9:30 a.m. and are available on Mondays at Baby Garten Studio (1947 30th St) and Fridays at Baby Vie (10585 Scripps Poway Pkwy). Baby & Me Yoga runs on Tuesdays at 10:30 a.m. at Science Fitness (4228 & 4230 Adams Ave) in Kensington. Drop-in classes cost $18.