I have learned a lot from teaching yoga over the last decade, but I have learned the most from teaching Baby Yoga! Babies have a way of making everything so pure and simple.
They approach (most of) life with curiosity and joy, and I try to conjure a little bit of that into my every day.
Here are some of my takeaways from leading Baby & Me Yoga classes that I’d like to share with you to apply to our everyday life:
1. It's good to have a plan but be prepared to go with the flow. You can show up with the perfect class in mind but your students may have an entirely different idea of how that class is going to go. Maybe their nap never happened, they could be hungry or generally unimpressed with the class. Roll with it! Lighten up about the plan and enjoy the class as it evolves. If that's not being in the moment, I don't know what is!
2. Keep it Simple. Sometimes I try and squeeze too much into a class or a day. Leonardo Da Vinci was quoted as saying "simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Prepare a plan – for a class, for the day, for the month - and while it's good to be ready to abandon it, sometimes a quick review and small paring down will do the trick. This can be applied for any part of our busy lives.
3. We practice yoga because it feels good! I say this all of the time: "It's called Happy Baby pose; it is not called stressed out adult trying to perfect their Happy Baby pose." We have been doing many Yoga poses since we were kids but never knew it - Happy Baby, Bridge, Wheel, etc...the positions are intuitive. We did them because they felt good. This is a beautiful thing. We start with the knowledge that it feels good to roll on the floor and hold our feet in a Happy Baby pose (hence the name) but somewhere along the line, we forget. When we return to the Yoga studio in later years to relearn these poses, our adult minds wish to perfect it. But the perfection is in the act of practicing the pose, not the end goal of perfecting it.
4. Just show up – it is half the battle! Being home with a new baby can be very lonely at times and sometimes the caregiver is just happy to have found the motivation to have gotten out of the house. While the class is about connecting with their baby in class, it is also connecting with other adults. Social interaction and connection with like-minded people can brighten anyone’s day – whether it’s a parent, senior citizen or friend. Even when showing up is the hardest part, more often than not, it is the most rewarding.
These four pillars of why I love teaching Baby & Me classes hold true in both my classes and daily life. It's easy to forget the little things sometimes. But when you go with the flow, keep it simple, do what feels good and commit to showing up to the things that bring you joy, it's not often met with regret.
As an instructor, it’s humbling beyond measure to try and lead these classes, especially with a 6-month-old of my own, and starting in January when I launch a new session of Baby & Me classes, I’ll be doing my best to practice what I preach.
Tracee Dolan is a Yoga Instructor at Privé-Swiss Fitness, an award-winning, upscale, boutique fitness studio, located at 1587 Boston Post Road, Westbrook, 757 Boston Post Road, Madison and 57 Main St., Ivoryton (coming soon); phone: 860-391-8735; website: www.priveswissfitness.com.