June 17, 2011 Paul Hawkes

Yoga with Babies

I’m in very sunny Fuerteventura enjoying a family holiday.

Leo is becoming a bit of a travel expert with a trip to China and holiday here all within his tiny 9 month’s of life experience.

As well as relaxing & spending time with the family, I have also planned on training my Wing Chun & practicing specific mobility and flexibility routines.

I incorporate a variety of exercises that I’ve picked up over the last 25 years that help loosen me up and make my body feel more alert and alive.

As well as practicing specific routines I also incorporate stretches within everyday activities… there are not enough hours in the day, so the more I can slot in to areas that are not specifically martial gives me an extra feeling of maximising time.

Stretching can be practiced in all sorts of situations and having a baby son gives me plenty of opportunities.

I think of it as baby yoga, but instead of it being yoga for babies, it’s yoga for me while playing and being with him.

Yoga with babies

Yoga with my baby son Leo

Due to his size I’m always bending down, squatting, lunching etc… instead of being unaware of how I interact with him, I consciously move in a way that is beneficial.. funnily enough, not doing so is probably damaging as bending over, picking things up and twisting are all very common ways back injuries occur.

Check out the photo of me with Leo…
In China it was common place to see people of all ages squatting in this way, I never see it in the west.  I think some of it is that we don’t see it, have not been shown it so don’t do it and also that many, many people lack the necessary flexibility/mobility to squat that far… which is unfortunate as we are designed to do so.

When you squat in this way, your bodies structure sits very comfortably and there is no stress or muscular work..

Try it yourself and see how it feels.

There’s a good chance you either can’t or it feels very tight…

I’s not the movement… it’s you.

Forget about doing the full splits… practice being able to squat all the way down…

It’s a movement we’re designed to do and I certainly find it a very useful position to play, hold, change nappies and generally interact with Leo.

So my tip for improving your flexibility.. bin the idea of doing full splits and focus on something useful.. like being able to move fully… I can’t remember the last time something dropped on the floor and I dropped in to the splits to pick it up.

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