Attempting yoga with a toddler

So I took the plunge and brought my toddler to a yoga class. She’d been to plenty of “mommy & me” classes as a squishy & stationary infant, but it’s much harder to find a public yoga class that’s friendly to small walkers and crawlers.

This class was advertised as an outdoor “Family Yoga Class”, but out of 14 people, I was the only one there with a child. No matter, I thought. I had tricks up my sleeve to (hopefully) keep Claira from running across the grassy park straight into the nearby ocean. Luckily my fellow yogis didn’t seem to mind when Claira wandered in between them during extended pigeon pose, saying, “baa, baa, baaa….” like a sheep.

The highlights of our class were little C sitting in my lap during opening and closing “Om”, and during savasana. She also laid on my stomach to participate in an extended leg stretch, sticking her right leg up in the air beside mine. Proud mama moment.

Admittedly, my little one spent plenty of time pointing and squealing at dogs as they passed by, sitting on her mat inhaling snacks, and staring at the class like it was a wildlife documentary. But overall I’d say it was a very good experience for us both and some fun, quality bonding time. I got some yoga in, and Claira seemed to enjoy herself as well.

A few women came up to us after class to praise Claira’s budding yogi skills. Many of them said the same thing, “Oh I could never bring my child!” But I say you never know until you try! 🙂

Here are some suggestions for attempting a yoga class with a toddler:

1. Bring plenty of water and snacks (the less messy, the better) – I learned the hard way that banana was NOT a good idea as it ended up mashed all over Claira’s mat.
2. Bring an extra mat or a towel for your little one to sit/play on. You don’t want them crawling all over your own mat the whole time. Just keep in mind that it will happen for part of the time…
3. Bring sunscreen or a hat for little one if the class it outside. You may be in bright sun for a full hour with no shade. – Again, I learned the hard way.
4. Try a morning class if possible or a time when your wee one is bright eyed & bushy tailed.
5. Give them a little free rein to wander & explore. L.O. may be very curious about all these people in strange positions all at the same time. And it is family yoga after all, your fellow yogis should be understanding.
6. Let your toddler be part of the class. Let her help you carry the yoga mats beforehand, or bring the blocks/strap/whatever to the teacher at the end of class.
7. Have fun and don’t be bothered by your L.O.’s explorations. Of course you won’t have as “complete” of a yoga class as if you were there alone. But you will have a sweet & unique bonding time with your child, soaking up some very positive vibes. <3 Let me know if you’ve tried a family yoga class and how it went!

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