The Yoga of Babywearing
Wearing your little one on your own body, in either a wrap or carrier, is an awesome way to be out in the world together. It creates a peaceful place for your child to settle into, and it harmonizes your breaths and heartbeats; both of you benefiting from the closeness of one another. I would like to offer you five easy tips to bring more goodness and unity, essentially more Yoga, into your babywearing experience.
1. Adjusting to Increase Steadiness and Sweetness: Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra II:46 shares with us that a Yoga pose is one that has the qualities of steadiness (sthira) and sweetness (sukham). It is that simple; no special pretzel shapes are needed for it to be Yoga. The steadiness while wearing your precious little one keeps the wearing sustainable during your activities together, offering your family more freedom in your lives. Steadiness also speaks to your body’s own perfect alignment so that you can access your body’s natural strength and inherent babywearing abilities. The shapes and strengths of our mothering bodies is perfect for keeping our children on our bodies. Baby wraps and soft carriers like those from Boba, are designed to offer you a customized fit so that you and your child will be comfortable and happy during wearing. Mothers, with all that you do, you are deserving of every kindness, so take a moment to adjust your wrap or carrier to make it comfortable on your life-giving, life-sustaining bodies. It will only take a few minutes of tightening and loosen to get it adjusted perfectly for your comfort. If you need help with your wrap or carrier, please contact any of us at Boba to be walked through your perfect fit. We also host videos that may answer your questions directly and to get you into that steady and sweet pose of babywearing.
2. Setting Our Intention: Another wonderful practice within Yoga is to set your intention before you begin. And since our Yoga practice here is sharing a wearing with our littles, you can set your intention to match. You might set the intention to take 30 minutes to take a walk outside together, going your child’s pace and lingering at every stop they initiate. You could also get them and yourself comfortable, and then you put on some music and move with them with the intention of luxuriating in your shared closeness. You can also set your intention as an offering for others. You can offer up your practice to the health of a friend or even to the planet. Your intention is your own, and the more heartfelt and real it is to you and your child, the more it benefits all of us.
3. Breath Awareness (pranayama): You will see that these five tips weave in and out of each other. Again, that is the Yoga, or unity that can also be fundamental in babywearing. With steadiness and sweet comfort as your foundation, your breath becomes easy and full, even with the weight of your child on your body. In fact, breath is a great way to evaluate comfort, as it an early physical cue of strain. Watch you breath after a time of wearing, and adjust your straps again if needed, to make carrying your child ever sweeter. Your natural, rolling breath is wonderful. Often what is naturally arising for us while we are in a state of steady comfort is exactly what is needed, without any outside efforts to change it. You can also explore your breath, using the contact of your child’s body as another means to feel your body and the movements associated with your breath. You can feel your ribs expanding to accommodate your inhales and you can feel them return to neutral on the exhale. Enjoy an easy play here with your breaths–the most benefit coming from just noticing your breath, without any efforts. Effortless witnessing to your body will naturally move your breaths to a steadier rate and less strain. Like any mother with a working sniffer needs to be talked into this, but smelling and delighting in the glorious smells of your babe’s head is another form of pranayama that is blessed upon us mothers.Â I have shared many knowing smiles with other mothers who have caught me smelling my son’s sun-warmed head while I am wearing him.
4. Yoga Poses (asana): There is so much benefit that comes from a well-suited, physical Yoga practice. It does not need to be grand or particularly bendy. In fact, I will let you in on a tremendous yogic secret: The good stuff is in the stuff that nobody else can even see. It is the internal adjustments that you do, such as a gentle tilt to your pelvis that brings you a more comfortable seat. It comes from setting your feet on the floor or ground below with awareness before standing up or taking your first step. If you looking for guided sequence of poses, especially on those days of short sleep when you could really use the help, look to gentle forms of post-natal Yoga classes, but remember to skip the lying down while babywearing. You can also modify most seated Yoga practices that are offered by reputable teachers through local classes, videos and online.
5. Relaxation and Integration (savasana): You will find that most Yoga classes will end the class with a period of relaxation based on the classical Yoga posture of savasana. And while you should not lie down while you are wearing your child in a wrap or carrier for their safety and comfort, you do not need to miss out on the benefits of this relaxing and integrating practice. Like any pose, please modify it for your own comfort and safety. A mother’s postpartum period lasts for two full years, so mindful that the steadiness and sweetness from tip number one is especially important during this period. So, rather than lying down, this is the time to sit or stand in a neutral, easy manner. Knees with a natural bend and feet comfortable wide. You can take a quiet moment to scan your body, noticing places where tension may be lingering and try to adjust your body to lessen these. You can then close your Yoga practice with three deep and full breaths, allowing your exhale to become an audible sigh. This sighing always gets my son giggling and trying to follow my lead, which gets me giggling too. In fact, laughter is the best way to close any practice, and to carry that yogic goodness forward into the rest of your day.