The Stewart C. Meyer Harker Heights Public Library is committed to the community. In addition to the many services it provides, it has also geared many of its programs toward both emotional and physical health. The latest of these is the new series of Yoga with Baby classes, the first of which was held last Saturday.
Library director Lisa Youngblood said she thought that the class would be something new and different. “Young moms are looking for a way to connect,” she said, adding, “It’s a neat and meaningful way for parents to bond with their babies while working on (babies’) development.”
The class was led by yoga instructor Tawni Choe of The Living Lotus. Choe has been practicing yoga for 24 years. She has been an instructor for 14 years, and a yoga therapist for two. Her son, 5-month-old Ezra, she said, “Comes to all the classes with me, ever since day one,” though the Yoga with Baby class is a first.
Intended for parents and caregivers and their babies, Choe said the class has many benefits for all. “It helps to promote a tighter bond between parent/caregiver and baby, helps improve sleeping patterns and can create brain balance, as well as aids in digestion, constipation and relieves gas and colic. (The) Parent/caregiver can experience a calmer, more relaxed mind and body from practicing, as well.”
Saturday’s class was held on Zoom and required only a yoga mat and a blanket for baby to provide extra padding. Choe began with Ezra in her lap while she led attendees in some deep breathing and posture work. Sweeping her arms up and inhaling, “Scooping up love,” exhaling with palms to the heart, “Sending that love to baby, and give him a little tickle,” attendees followed along with Choe’s modeling of the movements.
Choe encouraged plenty of eye contact with baby, explaining that it helps to keep them connected to the adult. Bicycling baby’s limbs, she said, aids digestion. Working baby’s opposite hands and feet balances baby’s brain and aids brain development. Other movements and poses help baby’s neck development and strengthen the spine.
Everything Choe did to benefit baby incorporated yoga poses for the adult attendees, as well. For instance, “walking” in the downward facing dog pose stretched the hamstrings, and the child’s pose strengthened the lower back and spine. Other poses included the mountain pose and bridge pose.
Attendee Destinee Barton said she found the experience beneficial. Though her son, Legend, got a little fussy at the end, she said that she found she needed, and appreciated, the “bonding, the stretching, (and) the breathing.”
As for Choe, she said of the class, “It was a wonderful experience.”
Youngblood said the classes will be held once a month through December. The next class will be held on Oct. 16, at 1 p.m., with subsequent classes on Nov. 20 and Dec. 18.