Mommy and me yoga has been a fun way for my daughter and I to bond. We began a mommy and me yoga routine at home when she was about 8-weeks-old and we still practice yoga together now that she’s a toddler. There are plenty of ways to have your baby meet you on the mat, and your joint practice will shift and develop as your baby grows. I like to try different poses and play music to keep my daughter engaged and entertained. Here are some of my favorite mommy and me yoga poses. We call them by our own fun little names — matching yoga pants totally optional.
Lap Hangs AKA Easy Pose
After having a baby, your body won’t be up for much at first. So, “easy pose” (or Sukhasana) is a great way to warm up your practice and focus on two of the most important things: posture and breathing. Our babies spend so much time in our laps anyway, this is a perfect way to ease them into mommy and baby yoga. Sit cross-legged with your baby in your lap and focus on taking slow, targeted inhalations and long, draining exhalations. If you can get away with it, try closing your eyes as you do this. Welcome back to the mat.
Legs Up the Mommy Pose AKA Legs Up the Wall
When I was pregnant, “legs up the wall pose,” a very basic version of Viparita Karani, was my favorite. It’s basically exactly what it sounds like. Lie down and put your legs up the wall. I found it helped me feel calmer and reduced swelling in my legs, ankles, and feet. Now, I do this pose side-by-side with my tot, or set her up so she’s doing it against my legs. This leads to plenty of giggles for her, and I get a forward fold out of it, which is a tension-relieving stretch that always makes me feel great at the beginning or end of practice.
Tree pose is one of my favorite balance poses for mommy and baby yoga. You can start with your foot resting just above the opposite ankle and in time it’ll climb farther up. Just make sure to always avoid resting the foot against your knee joint. I bring my daughter right up on my hip for this one, which is fun for her and enhances my balance challenge. When she gets a little older, I’ll help her find her own little tree pose.
Kitties & Moo-Moos AKA Cat & Cow
With a little baby, you can set up cat and cow poses right over them, with baby looking up at you. Get on all fours first. Moving with your breath, alternately round your back, tucking your chin and then arch your spine so you’re in a back-bend. Do a good ten of these before moving on. If you have an older baby or young toddler, get them in on the fun. My daughter even says “meow” as she crawls around stretching her spine on all fours.
Downward-Facing Doggies (with a Smooch!)
Down-dog is one of the core poses of any yoga practice, and once you’re in there, the stretch and strengthening just feel so good. When my daughter was a little baby, I would rest her on the mat below me and kiss her little tummy while I was in my dog. Now that she likes to be more involved, I’m helping her find her own down dog, which is basically the cutest thing ever.
Goddess & Baby Squats
An awesome workout for Mom and a ridiculously good time for baby, I love doing goddess squats with my little. You can either wear your baby in a wrap or just hold him in your arms. Set up a wide stance with your feet pointed out and slowly, with control, squat down, keeping your back straight. You can do this in succession or hold at the bottom for more of a burn. Ideally, your thighs will be parallel with the floor, but it takes time to gain flexibility back, so focus more on keeping an upright spine and engaging your core. I like to add a balance challenge by popping up on my toes at the bottom of my squat.
Baby Hand- or Headstands
It won’t help you burn much, but babies with sturdy necks who are ready for more active play will absolutely love this one. Lay them down and then, supporting them as you pull them up, elevate their legs so that they’re “balancing” on their little hands. My daredevil recently turned this one into a headstand. I would never let her try and hold it — they have years ahead of them to learn proper form for getting into an inversion. But it sure is fun practicing toward it and getting them comfortable upside-down!
Baby Over the Bridge
An amazing ab workout, and wonderful pose for mamas like me who suffer from back pain post-pregnancy and into the first year of carrying that babe around all the time. Do a standard bridge, lifting up your tailbone and spine vertebra by vertebra until you have an arch. Once you feel comfortable in your bridge (it took me a few months after childbirth), try with your baby sitting on your pelvis. The added weight (especially when they reach 30 pounds, like mine recently did!) does amazing things to this pose. Sometimes, as shown, my baby will use this as an opportunity to straight-up zone out. Totally works for me.
Warrior Mommy & Babe
Any variation of a warrior pose can be adapted for mommy and baby yoga. My personal preference is Warrior II, especially for new moms, because you’re more grounded here than in other variations. Your back foot should be turned out and parallel to the end of your mat, while the front foot points forward. Bend your front knee and seat baby in the hip area while you hold the pose. Quick check: Glance down at your front foot and make sure you can see your big toe on the inside of your knee. If not, turn your knee outward more to achieve proper alignment and relieve stress on the joints. Once you’re in it, you’ll know why this is a workout!
Naptime AKA Shavasana
I’ll say it: Final resting pose has always been my favorite part of practice. It’s a moment of peace and calm, to re-center your body and reflect on what you’ve just accomplished. Lie on your back with your palms facing up and let all tension leave your body. Even holding this pose for a couple of minutes can make a big difference in my mindset; when my daughter was tiny I would place her beside me on the mat and just lie there. Nowadays, she’s usually on to the next thing, but I keep trying. One time we both fell asleep for a while, and that was pretty much the biggest win of my yogic journey thus far.
More for Moms with Babies:
- 21 Things Every Mom Thinks During Her First Week Home with Her Baby
- Breastfeeding? All the Times Your Boobs Will Leak for Sure
- Absolutely Adorable Ideas for Month-by-Month Baby Photos