Preparing for Yoga and Massage

Preparing the environment for yoga and massage

There is nothing very complicated about preparing for baby massage and yoga and it doesn’t cost the earth. Before any yoga begins it is important to make sure that the environment is just right to create a peaceful atmosphere so that the experience is as relaxing as possible. The same applies with baby massage too The space will need to be comfortable, quiet and somewhere that will have few distractions.

 

Insight

Not only will you need to prepare the space around you, but you will also need to prepare yourself physically (such as wearing comfortable clothing) and mentally (such as finding time within your busy schedule). These things will ensure that the massage is a positive experience for both your baby and you.

Preparing for Massage

The Room

  • Warmth: Choose a room that will be warm enough to undress your baby in and that they will be comfortable when naked; although make sure it is not so warm that they become hot and sweaty during the massage. If you feel comfortably warm in a short-sleeved top then this is a good indicator.
  • Light: Be aware of your environment and use natural daylight, where possible. If this is not possible, introduce soft, subtle lighting such as a lamp to create a warm, relaxing atmosphere. Your baby, for the most part, will be lying on their back, giving them the opportunity to look at you and the ceiling. Bright lights can be very distracting for your baby. If a main light has to be used then make sure your baby is not directly beneath it.
  • Noise: Try to ensure the room is as quiet as possible and that external noises and distractions are kept to a minimum. It is a good idea to turn off televisions, radios, loud household machines, mobile phones and remove noisy, boisterous pets!
  • Music: Introducing soothing music can really help to create a relaxing atmosphere for both you and your baby. You should be careful to select music that is not too stimulating for the massage routine. Instruments are the voice of music and traditional instruments, which produce musical notes by natural means, are the most relaxing, for example, flutes, strings and harps, rather than synthesized sounds which can be too much for a baby’s delicate ears and sensitive nervous system. Try to select melodies and lullabies with a calming tempo.
  • Smells: One of the wonderful benefits of massaging your baby is that you both have a special time to spend together which can greatly strengthen your bond. Part of the bonding process is a baby becoming familiar with its parent’s natural smell and vice versa. Try to eliminate any artificial smells such as perfumes, air fresheners or aromatherapy oils. It is important to remember that just because you like a particular fragrance it does not necessarily mean that your baby does too! In fact it could irritate and become very distracting for your baby.

Equipment

Before the massage begins, prepare the following items:

  • Changing mat or large thick towel for your baby to lie on.
  • Large towel rolled up into a sausage that can be used for containment of a smaller baby or used for alternative positions for the back massage.
  • CD player and relaxing music.
  • A pillow for you to sit on or to be used for alternative positions. tissues, baby wipes or a spare towel for little accidents!
  • Small bottle or dish of massage oil at room temperature.
  • Teddy or toy and a small mirror to amuse older babies.
  • Fresh nappy for when the massage is complete.
  • A drink for your baby to have when the massage is over.

 

Insight
Be mindful of the type of music you choose for your massage and yoga sessions. Not all classical music is relaxing and may be too stimulating and upset your baby.

Preparing for yoga

The Room

  • Space: Choose a room that is carpeted and spacious enough so that you and your baby can move about safely and with ease. Ensure pets are not going to get under foot.
  • Warmth: Choose a room that is warm but not too hot your baby does not need to be undressed during the exercises and may over-heat.
  • Light: Choose a room that is light and airy. As there is some floor work, make sure your baby is not directly beneath an artificial ceiling light, as this can be distracting.
  • Music: Soothing background music can really help to create a relaxing atmosphere.

Equipment

Before the yoga routine, prepare the following items:

  • Yoga mat or non-slip rug for floor exercises.
  • CD player and relaxing music.
  • A pillow for you to sit on.
  • A drink of water for you and your baby to have afterwards.

Getting yourself ready for yoga and massage

Not only do you need to prepare the room, the equipment and your baby, but you need to be prepared too. It is vital to be as relaxed as possible before giving your baby a massage or starting the yoga session. Sometimes, this is easier said than done! So, do try the relaxation techniques below; they may be helpful.

  • Be comfortable: It is advisable to wear comfortable clothing, as you will be spending lots of time sitting on the floor when massaging and moving around for the yoga exercises. Wearing a T-shirt or loose top may allow for easier movement and ensures that you do not become too warm. Use a cushion or pillow to sit on to reduce any discomfort for floor work.
  • Jewellery: Remove any jewellery that may scratch your baby’s skin or dangle in their face.
  • Hands and nails: Ensure that your hands are washed before the massage and any nail snags have been filed away. Take care to use only the pads of your fingers when massaging your baby as long nails, in particular, may cause discomfort to the baby if they dig into their skin.
  • Hair: If you have long hair it is advisable to have it tied back during the massage and yoga, this will ensure it does not dangle on your baby’s skin and tickle.
  • Position: You need to be aware of your sitting position so that you are comfortable when doing the floor exercises and massage routine. Use a cushion or beanbag and, if possible rest against a wall, or a sturdy piece of furniture.
Insight
It is important before starting the yoga or massage that you feel as relaxed as possible and have put the worries of the day behind you for the time being.

Relaxation Techniques for You to Try

If you are not relaxed, your baby will intuitively feel it during the routines and will not benefit as much as they could do. Possibly, they may refuse the massage or the yoga session altogether because of the tension they sense in you (it is recommended that you try these relaxation techniques at any time of the day if you feel tense, regardless of whether you are about to massage your baby or not.)

A Short Relaxation Technique

  1. Sit in a comfortable position (if this is just before the massage or yoga, hold your baby or place your hands gently on them while your baby is lying on the mat).
  2. Close your eyes.
  3. Inhale deeply and slowly through your nose, filling the whole of your lungs.
  4. Exhale slowly through your mouth.
  5. Repeat three times.
  6. During the breathing exercise, consciously relax tense areas, such as neck, shoulders, back and upper arms.
  7. Imagine a bright golden light shining above you.
  8. While you are breathing in, imagine the bright light being drawn into your body through your head all the way down to the end of your fingers and toes.
  9. Imagine this glorious light filling the whole of your body with calm and peace.
  10. While exhaling, think of the word ‘CALM’.
  11. Repeat three times.
  12. Now focus on your baby.
  13. Slowly open your eyes.
  14. Once you are relaxed, massage and yoga can begin. If not, repeat the above.

A Deep Relaxation Technique

For parents who have problems relaxing, try the deeper relaxation technique below. It is advisable that this is done when your baby is asleep or being cared for by someone else.

  1. Lie in a comfortable position.
  2. Inhale deeply and slowly.
  3. Exhale slowly through your mouth.
  4. Repeat three times.
  5. Slowly
    • tense your toes, relax your toes
    • tense your ankles, relax your ankles
    • tense your calves, relax your calves
    • tense your knees, relax your knees
    • tense your thighs, relax your thighs
    • tense your buttocks, relax your buttocks
    • tense your abdomen, relax your abdomen
    • tense your chest, relax your chest
    • tense your back, relax your back
    • tense your arms and hands, relax your arms and hands
    • tense your shoulders, relax your shoulders
    • tense your neck, relax your neck
    • tense your face, relax your face
    • tense your head, relax your head.
  6. Imagine you are in a beautiful place somewhere in nature, a very special place.
  7. Imagine the sun high above your head in a beautiful blue sky.
  8. Lie in this beautiful place for as long you need.
  9. When you are ready, slowly come to the present,
  10. When ready, slowly open your eyes.
  11. Stretch out the whole of your body.
  12. When ready, sit up slowly.

Things To Remember

  • Create a relaxing ambience for yoga and massage for you and your baby.
  • For yoga, give yourself plenty of space!
  • For massage, make sure the room is warm, light, cozy and free from any strong smells or scents.
  • To reduce disturbances gather all the necessary equipment for massage and yoga before you begin.
  • Think about your own comfort before you start; wear light clothing and use cushions and back support if needed.
  • Try the simple relaxation technique to help you relax and try to forget your stresses for a short while.