Holding and lifting your baby/ toddler without strain

I spend a fair amount of time teaching Mums to relax their bodies, improve their posture and breathe deeply, as well as showing them ways to lift, hold, swing, roll and soothe their babies without strain.

So you would think that i would be the first to notice if i was putting strain on my pregnant physique by lifting my toddler badly,,, wouldnt you?! Well, i have realised that more than ever i need to be aware of lifting her with my knees deeply bent, my bum stuck out in a semi- squat, and approaching the lift as more of a swing than a jerky up and down lift. It is SOOO easy to slip into bad habits because it feels ‘easy’ to lift , carry or feed in a particular way. Focusing on the breath , lifting on an exhale, is a really good way to tie the postural points together and make the lift feel flowing, and to make this way of lifting ‘easeful’, which is much better than ‘easy’!

When tension takes over the way we move and carry ourselves, it gets a grip and does not want to let go! It can be a build up of stress, emotional tension, not enough opportunity to relax and let go or simply being exhausted from parenting, which causes tension to take over in our bodies. Yoga is fantastic for tuning into and then releasing tension and re-tutoring our bodies to keep it out.

If you cant get to a class i hope the pointers above will help.

Think of someone lifting a child making it look like that child weighs next to nothing, and that the adult is holding their own body beautifully , and the lift seems to flow from this inner core of strength and steadiness.

Dr Francoise Barbira Freedman, founder of Birthlight, discovered that the Amazonian Forest people who she observed, encouraged their babies to hold onto them from a very young age, rather than the other way around. Think of the rough terrain and the need to be nimble footed, and this makes perfect sense. I have tried to do this with my little one and although i have nothing to compare it to as she’s my first, i do think it has worked quite well. Of course i hold on to her too, it;s about getting a balance between you holding them safely and confidently, and them holding you but not clinging on fearfully! For me , baby yoga has been the key to developing this balance.

Watching a vintage film of BK Iyengar recently, doing yoga in his younger days with two children; im guessing they are his;( on youtube) i was in awe of the ease with which he lifted them into challenging poses and supported their movements in what looked like a perfect balance of trust and freedom. Inspiring stuff; i hope to bring even a little of this magic into my own parenting and into my classes, for the benefit of as many other parents as possible.

Ohm Shanti x