"Dooowwwn Dog!" I sing in my universal key of B Minor and suddenly my daughter, who is 11 months old, bends at the waist from a sitting position towards the floor, until her forehead is actually touching the carpet! She pops up with the most accomplished grin on her face. I melted. Again I sing "Dooowwwn Dog!" and there she goes, leaning towards the floor. This time I demonstrate. I sing "Dooowwwn Dog!" and come into Downward Facing dog or Adho Mukha Svanasana myself. I do it one or two times and as she watches me, she rises to her feet, bends at the waist and comes into the most perfect Down Dog I have ever seen.
Suddenly my life felt complete...as funny as that may sound to some. You see, I am an Itsy Bitsy Yoga instructor and a proud 1st time parent to my little Delaney Mae. There is a huge sense of pride when any of my students come into a pose knowingly for the first time on their own. It's a feeling of accomplishment, combined with the joy of seeing a parent's face when their little one not only masters a pose, but does it during class, for all to see!
As moms we know first hand how your perspective changes the minute you become a parent. There isn't an exact way to describe the change within yourself, but it happens, naturally and it feels good. It feels right. For me sharing yoga with other is natural. It feels good. It feels right.
My daughter and I began practicing Itsy Bitsy Yoga when she was just six weeks old. We went to class weekly and put the poses to use at home. We used Apana (In and Out) often for relief when she had those squirmmy moments of gas pains. Then we used Corkscrew to aid in digestion when she began to eat solids. Sure enough, not long after a few circular movements of her chunky monkey legs, a rumble in her diaper would bring a smile to my face, as well as hers'. I raved about Itsy Bitsy Yoga. We practiced almost daily, whether it was doing actual poses or singing a yoga song. It naturally became a part of our lives, almost as naturally as you will see a child "do yoga" in their everday movements! They are natural yogis and now I aim to bring it out in all of them! IBY opened the doors to a whole new array of tricks to use in everyday life, whether it was to calm and sooth, to get us through a long wait at the doctor's office or simply to get moving and be active on a cold, rainy day. In fact, I fell in love with Helen Garabedian's Itsy Bitsy Yoga program so much, that I knew shortly thereafter that I must share it with others.
This past summer I became trained in Itsy Bitsy Yoga for Babies, Tots and Tykes. I am able to offer yoga to children from the age of 3 weeks to 4 years old. I love this because I will be able to watch my students flourish over the years, not just as yogis, but as little humans! In a recent interview I did for a dance magazine I was reminded how special IBY is, as it is the one of the only programs where a child can begin at such a young age, which allows moms on maternity leave to participate in an activity with their newborn before returning to work, if that is the case.
Babies can begin IBY at just 3 weeks and modifications of the poses are made to accommodate their tiny, new bodies. I strive to be a healthy role model for my daughter and my students and I encourage a healthy and active lifestyle for children of all ages. A healthy baby equals a healthy tot, which equals a healthy tyke, a healthy adolescent, a healthy teenager and inevitably a healthy adult. So come join us, meet new friends, learn something new and encourage a healthy, active lifestyle for your little ones. It may even inspire you to practice.
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