Baby Yoga – the Legs, Hips and Tummy

Marching

Position

  • Lay your baby on their back for all the leg exercises.

Tips

  • Use the Relaxation Technique to help you feel centred and calm before beginning the exercises.
  • Remember to ask your baby’s permission
  • Work with your baby’s flexibility and muscle resistance, so as not to force their knees beyond the point of comfort.

Suggested Nursery Rhyme

The Grand Old Duke of York

He had ten thousand men

He marched them up to the top of the hill

And he marched them down again

And when they were up

they were up

And when they were down

they were down

And when they were only half way up

They were neither up nor down!

Benefits

  • Promotes body awareness.
  • Soothes sensory nerve endings, helping your baby to relax.
  • Helps release wind.

The yoga posture this exercise is based on is Pavana-mukta-asanac (Wind Releasing Pose).

  1. Support your baby’s legs, by gently holding their ankles.
  2. Carefully bend each knee alternatively up towards their chest (as if they were marching).
  3. Help your baby ‘march’ throughout the rhyme.

The Jolly Jive

Tips

As your baby grows and becomes more robust, increase the speed, for a more fun exercise.

Smaller babies may find all verses a little too much, so adapt accordingly.

Keep their legs straight throughout all verses (without putting pressure on the knees).

Suggested Nursery Rhyme

Row, row, row your boat

Gently down the stream

Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily

Life is like a dream

Rock, rock, rock your boat

Gently to and fro

Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily

Into the water we go!

‘SPLASH!’

Swim, swim, swim about

Gently down the stream

If you see a crocodile

Don’t forget to scream!

‘Arhhhh!’

Benefits

  • Strengthens and stretches the ankles and calves.
  • Stretches the thighs.
  • Maintains flexibility in the hip joints.
  • Improves concentration.
  • Improves sense of balance.

The yoga posture this exercise is based on is Garudasana (Eagle Pose, legs only).

  1. Gently hold your baby’s ankles.
  2. Continually cross and then uncross their legs.
  3. Each time you cross their legs, alternate which leg is on top.

Budding Lotus

Tips

  • Work with your baby’s flexibility, stop if there is any resistance.
  • Rock gently in time with the rhyme.
  • It is advisable to avoid this exercise if your baby shows any sign of hip displacement (normally identified during early health checks). If unsure, check with a medical practitioner before practising this exercise.

Adaptations

If your baby is able to support their own head and back, this position can be done with them leaning against your tummy for support, while they sit between your legs.

Suggested nursery rhyme

Rock a bye baby

On a tree top

When the wind blows

The cradle will rock

When the bough breaks

The cradle will fall

Down will come baby

Cradle and all

Benefits

  • Promotes flexibility and suppleness.
  • Creates a natural balance throughout the body, mind and spirit.
  • Enhances relaxation

The yoga posture this exercise is based on is Padma-asana (Lotus Posture).

Imagine how a child would sit cross-legged on the floor:

  1. Bring your baby’s legs into this position while they are lying on their back (or leaning on you).
  2. Gently holding their legs in this position, slowly rock rock your baby from side to side.
  3. Repeat with your baby’s legs crossed over the other way.

Tummy Turn

Tips

  • Work with your baby’s flexibility and muscle resistance, so as not to force their knees beyond the point of comfort.
  • Remember to circle their bent legs on the tummy in a clockwise direction.
  • It is advisable to avoid this exercise if your baby shows any signs of hip displacement (normally identified during early health checks). In unsure, check with a medical practitioner before practising this exercise.

Suggested nursery rhyme

Mary, Mary

Quite contrary

How does your garden grow?

With silver bells

And cockle shells

And pretty maids all in a row!

Benefits

  • Helps release wind.
  • Promotes suppleness.
  • Maintains flexibility in the hip joints.

The yoga posture this exercise is based on is Jathara Parivartanasana (Revolving Abdomen).

  • Support both of your baby’s ankles and the lower part of their legs with your hands.
  • Gently bending their knees, bring their legs together so that their thighs are resting on their tummy.
  • Support their legs in this bent knee position.
  • Slowly circle their legs in a clockwise direction (so that the thighs are giving the tummy a gentle massage).

Leg Lift, Stretch and Drop

Tip

Take care not to stretch your baby’s legs too vigorously.

Suggested nursery rhyme

Bobby Shaftoe’s gone to sea;

Silver buckles at his knee.

He’ll come back and marry me.

Bonny Bobby Shaftoe.

Bobby Shaftoe’s bright and fair;

Combing down his yellow hair.

He’s my love forever more.

Bonny Bobby Shaftoe.

Benefits

  • A good exercise to end the leg sequence.
  • Gently stretches the muscles in the legs.

The yoga posture this exercise is based on is Supta Tadasana (Lying Down Mountain).

  1. Place your hands under both of your baby’s buttocks.
  2. Gently stroke down the back of their legs to the ankles.
  3. Repeat three times, in time to the rhyme.
  4. Lift their legs slightly.
  5. Gently stretch the legs, while supporting their ankles.
  6. Take your hands away and let the legs drop to the mat.