Yoga for Mama and Child: Down Dog
Oh, how I love this pose! It's one of my favorite yoga poses. It is a great all over body stretch and you are giving lots of muscles in your arms, back and legs a bit of work out too. Now, its been awhile since I have been in a regular yoga routine for myself, so don't laugh at my technique! And besides, you are doing yoga no matter what the pose looks like, as long as you are breathing. In through your nose and out through you nose!Start on your hands and knees. Any yoga I do these days, involves Penelope. She loves to be underneath me with this pose. She giggles so much when I do Down Dog! Then you lift your tail bone in the air and put your body into an upside down V. Your hands and feet should be equal distance apart. Try to balance your body's weight equally between your hands and your feet. You are trying to get your heals on the ground and your back flat at the same time. If that is not possible, bend your knees to get your back flat and then slowly work on your flexibility, so that you can straighten your legs and then get your heals down. Come in and out of the pose as you need to rest. A pregnant variation of this pose, would be to place your hands on a wall and to make a 90 degree angle with your body.
Even babies can do Down Dog! This is Miss Ava at about 10 months old. She had been doing Down Dog about a month at this point. Babies will naturally do Down Dog as they are learning to crawl and walk, but at about 9 or 10 months, you can teach them to do it when you say Down Dog!! Anytime you see your baby naturally do it, say "Yay!!! Down Dog!!! Good job!!! Then do it yourself and say again Down Dog!! Similar to the concept of how you would teach them sign language by repeating the word and showing the sign over and over again. Eventually, they put the word recognition and the body movement together and ta da! They can do Down Dog! Let me tell you it's the best feeling in the world when they do their first yoga pose on their own! Ava's self esteem sky rocketed, she was so proud of herself. And that continued all through her toddler hood. Yoga is something all babies and toddlers can excel at. So not only is it good for their health it is great for their self esteem.
Just FYI, most of the baby yoga poses I post, I learned at my Itsy Bitsy Yoga training. The founder and creator, Helen Garabedian, has a great book and dvds that you can purchase to help your home practice. Or you can go to her website and try and find a class near you!