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5 Top Tips for fun-filled Mums n Bubs Yoga Classes

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Ana Mums n Bubs YogaThis month, Senior Bliss Baby Facilitator and experienced Mums n Bubs Yoga Teacher, Mari Notaras shares some valuable insights on how to create harmony and joy in your Mums n Babies yoga classes.

As a prenatal yoga teacher there is nothing more divine than sending off your very heavily pregnant woman (or ‘head of the class’ as I like to say!) from (potentially) her last prenatal class, with a powerful womanly chant of ‘Ommm’. 

This time of transition, just before a woman gives birth and becomes a mother, brings up mixed emotions for her, and often the number one question asked upon her departure is: “when can I come back to yoga?”. 

The prenatal class that she has been attending since she was ‘five minutes pregnant’ has become an important part of her weekly routine. Apart from the most obvious and recognized benefits of yoga, the class has given her a sense of belonging, community, peace and connection to the other ‘pregnant goddesses’, along with quiet, contemplative connection to her baby growing within.

Mums n Bubs PC 4 Aug 2014 LRThe transition into motherhood often challenges our sense of identity and connection with others. We are removed from the familiar settings that we knew before baby arrived to find ourselves in a more intense, often tiring and isolated environment. The sheer bliss of holding that little bundle of joy in your arms opens your heart in a way that words cannot express. But the joy, the love, the hours of watching your baby respond to you, can quickly turn into moments of uncertainty and pure exhaustion!

It is obvious for prenatal yoga teachers that the next addition to your repertoire of yoga classes is Mums n Bubs Yoga.

What I personally love about teaching postnatal yoga, is saying goodbye to the women in the prenatal class and then joyfully welcoming them back into the nurturing postnatal setting. The connections are re-kindled with their past fellow prenatal yoga students, and the women love to proudly show off their new addition to the family!

I am frequently asked by yoga teachers contemplating teaching Mums and Bubs Yoga, what it is really like to teach yoga to mums and babies?  In theory, the idea of a mums and bubs class all sounds amazing, but it is important to know that this class will not resemble your typical yoga class - as you have known it! (Read Ana’s article on managing the chaos in a Mums N Bubs yoga class).

Mums n Bubs 0815 LRI have personally taught Mums N Bubs Yoga, on and off, for over 12 years now. I have loved watching the women in these classes regain their body awareness and move confidently through yoga postures designed to help reset, realign and strengthen their postnatal bodies. It is joyful to see the mothers interact through play, touch, song and delicious eye contact with their babies more confidently as time goes on. The babies absolutely love all of the massage, yoga movements, chants, songs and connection that they get to share with their mummies. We honestly have a heap of fun!

With the benefit of hindsight and from my personal experience, here are some tips to make the process of teaching Mums N Bubs Yoga more enjoyable for yourself, your students and their babies. 

1. You need to like babies! Yep, babies burp, pass wind, poo, cry and omit extra quantities of milk from their full bellies - frequently! It is really important to take this into consideration. Suggest to your mummies to bring their own blankets from home for their babies to comfortably lie on. On saying that, having extra blankets, wipes and even a change table (you can pick up one online for next to nothing!) will certainly come in handy during the class.

2. You need to adapt to the changing circumstances. You will often have to graciously let go of the ‘class plan’ developed in your mind or on paper. Have an idea of what your theme is for the class, but be willing to be spontaneous if things start to change. Importantly keep the class informal, relaxed and empower the mums to take care of their babies as they need. Staying relaxed as a yoga teacher amongst the ‘sometimes chaotic environment’, laughing and even breaking into a spontaneous Omm can be an excellent ‘circuit-breaker’ for the noise that can erupt at different times during the class. Babies love Ommm’s!

3. Less in best! Keep it simple, slow and safe! It is really interesting to note that your mums are often looking at other babies as well as their own (naturally!). They learn from observing other mothers interacting with their baby which is wonderful for new mothers! Copious amounts of information coming from the yoga teacher can be met by the mothers with glazed looks. So sticking with simple cues and repetition can serve you well as a Mums n Bubs yoga teacher. 

Sometimes you will find that the yoga asana that you are teaching can take on a life of their own! Watch your mummies’ posture, especially in seated positions – instruct them to take care and use their bodies intelligently to avoid any strain on their already ‘out of kilter’ spines. Gentle reminders and soft cues will enable them to reconnect and realign their bodies in a positive way.

4. Respect mother’s choices.  We all have our own way of doing things – so be sensitive to how and what information and recommendations you choose to share with your mothers. A new mother is more often than not questioning if she is doing things right. Therefore, it’s best as her yoga teacher to offer her a compassionate, listening ear and be cautious of judging her choices. Our classes are designed to primarily aid in enhancing the bond between the new mum and her little baby; as teachers we are there to remind mothers to listen to their own instincts and trust what is right for themselves and their babies.

Mums n Bubs Yoga PC 15. Make the class-environment baby friendly. Consider what your studio entry is like for mothers with prams, or even suggest that they bring their baby in a carrier to avoid stairs. The lack of space may inhibit a large procession of prams entering your studio at the best of times!

Spare toys may come in handy and are great entertainment for older babies that are not yet crawling.  A ‘Baby Bouncer’ may also work a treat for younger babies - elevating them and enabling them to view the world from a different perspective.  Many of these items can be picked up second hand or perhaps donated from friends who have finished with the ‘baby phase’. Other inexpensive ideas are blow up pool balls for balance and cheap pie tins for tactile stimulation, and of course, their favourite music!

Mums and Bubs Yoga classes are a wonderful way to encourage a sense of community amongst new mothers. These classes are really popular and in my experience often have waiting lists.  The talking, bonding and friendships that women share in these classes all assist in the promotion of positive mental health. The soothing environment, the playful interaction and the sheer delight of spending valuable time with mum all leads to babies who sleep really well - by all accounts!

Happy Teaching!


Want to learn more about running your own postnatal and mums n babies yoga classes? Join Mari for the upcoming Bliss Baby Yoga Postnatal Yoga Teacher Training Intensive in Melbourne, 11th-13th March, 2017,  or join our New Zealand based Postnatal and Mums n Bubs specialist, Jennifer Allen, in Auckland, NZ, for this 3-day intensive over the Labour Day long weekend, 21st-23rd October, 2017. The course delves into the post partum physiological and emotional changes, and provides the practical skills and tools to help you develop an extensive teaching repertoire of appropriate asanas and other yoga-techniques for postnatal and mothers n babies classes.


Mari Bliss Baby News Postnatal YogaMari Notaras is a Senior Bliss Baby Yoga Prenatal, Postnatal and Restorative Yoga Teacher Training Course Facilitator, experienced yoga teacher in these specialised areas of yoga, and mama of 2, who is passionate about nurturing women through their pregnancy and into motherhood.

Mari will be leading our Bliss Baby Yoga Postnatal and Mums n Bubs Yoga Teacher Training course in Melbourne, 11th-13th March, 2017 over the Labour Day Long Weekend, where our trainees will explore yoga practices suitable for new-mamas including nurturing Postnatal Restorative practices.

Mari will also share our Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training in Perth, WA, 19th-21st May, 2017 and in Melbourne 9th-12th June 2017 over the Queen's Birthday Long Weekend, with an optional 1-Day Level 1 Restorative Yoga Teacher Training add-on.

 

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"I really enjoyed the Bliss Baby Yoga teacher training online course because it was flexible, allowing me to do the work and practices at a convenient time....especially helpful for mothers with babies."  Helen Santamaria Popescu

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