Mama Rules

Toddler tantra

0 Comments 01 September 2009


Photo by Michelle Kauntz, Captured Soul Photography

As parents, we know toddlers begin to mimic our words and actions when they hit about 2 or 3 years old. Rather than risk them mimicking our bad words and soda drinking, why not show them something that could be beneficial for them and you, too?

Practiced for thousands of years, the physical and mental discipline of yoga can be a therapeutic exercise that helps you become more aware of your body’s posture, alignment and patterns of movement. This awareness can benefit anyone for a lifetime.

Decatur resident Elle Banks was looking for something fun to do with her daughter, now 3, but found activities for children ages 2 to 4 were limited.

That’s when she noticed a little mimicking going on at her house. “I was doing some yoga poses and stretches and I looked over and my year-and-a-half-year-old was doing some of the same poses,” Banks says.

Banks became a certified yoga associate through a class from and home study. She’ll be teaching classes at Decatur Hot Yoga.

“The reason I started doing it is because there was nothing for me to do with my little girl when she reached 2,” she says. “Activities start again when they’re 4.”

For her class, Banks follows a lesson plan. “We might do a four-legged animal theme,” she says. “We would do dog poses, cat poses, cow poses.” She uses facts as fun ways to show poses, too. She mightå strike a flamingo pose and change the pose each time someone can tell her a fact about a flamingo.

“Sometimes [the children] might do the pose and sometimes they just watch,” Banks says. “But then a day later, they might do the pose.”

She also does “Reading Comes Alive with Yoga,” which incorporates story time and yoga poses. “It’s fun for the little ones because little ones love to be read to. And it’s interactive,” she says. “They don’t even realize they’re exercising.”

Mommy & Me yoga classes offer another way to bond with your child. “This is something where you do lots of partner poses and lots of stretches with one another,” Banks says. “It’s one way to have contact with your child and have eye contact with your child.

“It’s really about stretching, bonding with your child and children learning that they have their strength within them that from an early age.”

In addition to Mommy & Me classes, Banks offers a children’s yoga class for ages 3-11 as well. For these classes, parents can be in the next room doing their own class while the kids are working on their own.

Some area yoga studios also offer pregnancy classes that benefit mom and baby. Being pregnant can be stressful at times, and pre-natal classes can help release the muscular tension that builds up. In addition, yoga teaches moms how to breathe and relax in preparation for labor. Other benefits include: lower blood pressure, improved digestion, improved flexibility and reduced anxiety.

Relaxation places

Studios around town offer yoga classes for moms and toddlers as well as moms-to-be. Call before you go.

Firefly Studio
1026-C Atlanta Ave., Decatur
Classes include Baby Yoga & Massage (2-12 months), Toddler Yoga (21 months-4 years) and Yoga 4 Kids (5-8 years and 6-10 years). Weekly camps include Butterfly Yoga Camp (4-8 years) and Firefly Fit Kids Camp (4-8 years). $90-$108.

Itsy Bitsy Yoga (2 locations)
Sacred Garden Yoga
369 Campbell Hill St., Marietta
The River Church
501 S. Main St., Alpharetta
Mommy & me classes include baby (newborn to nearly crawling), tot (crawling to 24 months) and tyke (almost 2 to 4 years old).

Oh Baby! Fitness
116 Drexel Ave., Decatur, 30030
Pregnancy classes include Baby Basics, pregnancy pilates, pregnancy water aerobics, pregnancy yoga, pregnancy toning and pregnancy toning, fitness and yoga combo. Mom & Baby classes include H2Oh Baby! (water workout), Life After Baby (workshop for new parents), Mom & Baby fitness, Mom & Baby pilates, Mom & Baby yoga and Stroller Workout. $60-$150 per class series.

Pierce Yoga
1164 N. Highland Ave., Atlanta, 30306 / 404-875-7110
Classes include Mother & Baby, Infant message, postpartum yoga, pregnancy yoga with free weights and pregnancy yoga. $75-$150.
Springs Yoga Studio, Inc.
4920 Roswell Road
Suite 3
Atlanta, GA 30342
Family yoga classes and kids classes are scheduled as demand warrants. Previous family yoga classes $25.

Stillwater Yoga Studio
931 Monroe Drive, Atlanta
Classes include pregnancy and postnatal yoga and Mommy & Me classes. Children’s yoga classes are for ages 8-14.

Decatur Yoga & Pilates
431 W Ponce De Leon Ave., Decatur, 30030
Postnatal yoga for moms at least 6 weeks postpartum and babies newborn through crawling.

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