The Yoga Baby Program
Life is filled with rhythms. The planet has rhythms: the ebb and flow of the tides, the seasonal changes as Earth journeys around the Sun, the sequence of night and day as the planet spins on its axis. Your body and your baby's body have rhythms also: the heartbeat, the pulse of the blood flowing through the veins, the breath, the pattern of the brain waves, the pulse of the cerebrospinal fluid surrounding the brain.
When the rhythms of the body pull together, there is a coherent and central pulse that becomes the characteristic and identifiable rhythm of the person, like the purr of a cat. Because rhythm is formed by vibrational patterns, we speak of people as having a particular central vibration. Vibrations are said to oscillate like waves and are described by length and frequency. If two or more people vibrate at the same frequency, they are said to be on the same wavelength or in harmony. They have bonded. Once a parent and a baby bond, a parent can intuit the baby's needs. Yoga Baby
is about teaching you how to bond with your baby so you can parent intuitively. In this way, you are the expert with your baby; the professionals are then your aids.
In this book, I will teach you eight major ways to bond with your baby--spiritually, physically, emotionally, ego-to-ego, empathetically, expressively, mentally, and by empowerment. Each of these corresponds to a different energy center, or chakra, in the body. Getting synchronized will allow you to create a bond of security and trust with your baby that can last a lifetime.
In my experience with the Yoga Baby program, I have found that all new parents are concerned with how to connect with their babies and are somewhat anxious about being physical with them. A tiny newborn, in all his vulnerability, can evoke all of a parent's hopes, dreams, and fears. Yet the establishment of trust and security in the bond between parent and baby can change the baby's life. The Yoga Baby program uses yoga as the medium through which this bond is established. Through Yoga Baby, moms, dads, and other caregivers can learn to be comfortable with and relax around their babies. This sense of security and peace of mind can be transmitted to their infants in our ten-session program, strengthening the parent-baby bond and encouraging greater harmony, ease, security, and even serenity.
Specifically, the Yoga Baby program combines yoga and psychology. The yoga portion of the program is based on hatha yoga, a form that focuses on spinal alignment, and the development of bodily flexibility and strength. It benefits the nervous system, the endocrine system, and the brain, resulting in increased mental focus, greater emotional stability, and an enhanced sense of well-being for both parent and baby.
The Yoga Baby program ties infant development stages to eight energetic centers of the body, which are related to the baby's endocrine and hormonal systems. Specific movements are given to stimulate each of the energetic centers for both baby and parent. I call this "relationship yoga" because parent and baby engage in yoga movements together. As the baby develops, I highlight the developmental task involved in each of these energetic centers and address potential imbalances and difficulties.
These are the seven energetic centers in the human body plus one unofficial addition:
1. The permanent center
is not an official center, but a location I added. It is situated at the navel, where the umbilical cord is connected, and is psychologically related to being centered and spiritually synchronized.
2. The root center
is at the coccygeal plexus, is associated with the eliminative organs, and is psychologically related to self-preservation and being physically synchronized.
3. The regenerative center
is located at the sacral plexus, is associated with the assimilative and sexual organs and glands, and is psychologically related to self-gratification and being synchronized emotionally.
4. The solar plexus center
is associated with the digestive organs and adrenal glands, and is psychologically related to self-identity and synchronization of the will.
5. The heart center
, associated with the heart, lungs, and thymus gland, is psychologically related to self-acceptance and being synchronized empathetically.
6. The throat center
is associated with the thyroid and parathyroid glands and is psychologically related to self-expression and being synchronized expressively.
7. The head center
, associated with the brain and pituitary gland, is psychologically related to self-reflection and being synchronized mentally.
8. The crown center
, associated with the pineal gland, is psychologically related to universal identity and being synchronized spiritually.
In the Yoga Baby program, a series of three or four movements is performed several times in order to stimulate different areas of the body. The total number of movements per session may vary from twenty to thirty, depending upon the age of the baby. The point is not the precision of movement but the quality of the relationship as the parent and baby engage in this shared activity.
Psychologists have found that the art of soothing oneself is the most important of psychic tools and that it is learned through a baby's primary relationship to a caregiver. The parent's ability to soothe leaves a child less vulnerable to the vicissitudes of life. We know that emotional learning is critical to brain development, and that the brain develops to two-thirds of its full size during the first three or four years of life. Therefore, what we adults do with our babies, both in utero and after delivery, is of the utmost importance. The Yoga Baby program was developed to amplify emotional learning for you and your baby. Because emotional learning is a lifelong process, it is set in motion with the first and most important relationship, the one between parent and child. This relationship sets the stage for later peer relationships so critical to healthy human development.
You are now ready to embark on what could be the most rewarding experience of your life--bonding with your child. You and your baby will be giving to and receiving from each other your entire lives, a process that started in utero where your baby's connection to you and those close to you existed for nine months, only to continue naturally after the baby is born.
Excerpted from Yoga Baby by DeAnsin Parker, Ph.D. with Karen W. Bressler. Copyright © 2000 by DeAnsin Parker, Ph.D. with Karen W. Bressler. Excerpted by permission of Harmony, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.