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For The International Day of Yoga 2023 we are sharing a film we recently made about Baby Yoga after filming at our Baby Yoga Festival in London at the Museum of the Home. As B. K. S. Iyengar, said “Yoga cultivates the ways of maintaining a balanced attitude in day-to-day life and endows skill in the performance of one’s actions.” Parents, carers and other family members find the experience of baby yoga in a class and then at home an enriching way of being with their baby or toddler and interacting in a respectful, joyfully playful and physical way. This was part of several events and contributions from various countries where Birthlight Baby Yoga is shared and we’re also sharing a film made at a similar event in Bangalore in India- with special thanks to colleagues and friends at the Bangalore Birth Network.

Françoise pioneered Baby Yoga in the 1980’s and explained it very succinctly in the preface to her Baby Yoga book in 2000…

“Yoga with babies is part of my life. It has brought together my practice of yoga and what I learned about parenting from Amazonian forest people, both before and after I became a mother. I first thought of baby yoga as physical play, an expansion of the daily massage and bathtime at home for sedentary living in a northern clime. Sequences developed with each baby, and Luke, my fourth child, was such a happy yoga baby that friends soon joined in what was to become a little practice group. To this day, baby yoga classes keep this friendly atmosphere because doing yoga together induces shared pleasure, relaxation and closeness among those doing it.

“I believe that yoga with babies not only promotes health but also lays a foundation for non-violence and well-being.”

Françoise FREEDMAN

The two books that influenced me the most as a new mother were Jean Liedloff’s The Continuum Concept (1975) and Frédéric Leboyer’s Loving Hands (1977). Both introduce western parents to other traditions in which communication with babies is achieved through physical contact and active handling. Their message corresponded to my experience as a young anthropologist helping to care for my Amazonian sisters’ babies. When I gave birth in England, what I experienced in the hospital was deeply alien, and yoga with babies became a way of creating harmony between these approaches to parenting in my experience. As I gained further understanding of yoga through practising and teaching it, I became motivated to develop baby yoga in a way that was faithful to the core aspects of classic yoga. I believe that yoga with babies not only promotes health but also lays a foundation for non-violence and well-being.”