By Betsy Elworthy Sundell, BYOBaby Yoga Teacher Trainer
At 22, I was introduced to the practice of yoga at the Piedmont Yoga studio in Oakland, California. Since then, yoga has been a constant. When I step onto my mat, it is a feeling of coming home. Yoga has kept me thoughtful during times of change and transformation – especially when I became a mother. Being able to practice yoga with both of my children since they were infants, introduced a way of being together that I still sense and feel as they grow into their tween and teen years.
My Bring Your Own Baby (BYOBaby) Yoga journey began when my daughter Reyna was 4 months old. I packed us up – curious, nervous, and ready to try something new. It was time to change up our daily routine and get into a community with other new mamas.
One class in, and I was hooked! I was transformed by this mama-and-baby activity option. I loved coming to a place where we were not talking about parenting; instead we were parenting.
We practiced yoga with our babies in the form of mindfulness, 100% presence, non-judgment, acceptance, and surrender. I am thankful to have intentionally nourished these qualities by attending BYOBaby Yoga. This hour carved out of my day to move, breathe, and connect with my baby in the safe and loving company of other mothers was truly sacred time.
In 2006, we were blessed with Boden. More confident with my parenting through the practice of Bring Your Own Baby Yoga, I could really focus on getting to know this little guy.
What made the experience of BYOBaby Yoga a unique form of parent education was the space we were given to navigate our new relationship. The sequence taught during class introduced a variety of ways to connect:
- centering together with breath,
- physically connecting through infant massage,
- mindfully moving with integrated baby and parent yoga poses,
- and at the end of class, an opportunity to rest together.
BYOBaby Yoga cultivated an awareness of how to be myself while navigating my role as mother and how to trust my response in tending to the dynamic needs of an infant.
Creating the BYOBaby Yoga Teacher Training
A few years later I was delighted at the opportunity to study with Lisa Bergly, creator of YogaBonding. I became a certified postnatal yoga instructor and began to guide sweet mamas, papas and their little ones through a YogaBonding class.
Seeking another perspective, more training, I traveled to Boulder to study Mommy and Me Yoga with Katie Wise. I returned inspired and ready to integrate my learnings and my experiences into Blooma’s BYOBaby Yoga Teacher Training. I’ve continued to refine the training over the past 5 years.
Along with the BYOBaby Teacher Training, I teach BYOBaby Yoga to parents and their babies a few times a week. I feel fortunate to get to offer a class where moms and dads can show up during this this tender and vulnerable season to create community. As parent + baby move and breathe together, they practice a sequence developed to deepen the level of connection between parent and child.
BYOBaby Yoga Teacher Training, August 18-20
We dive into the main components of a BYOBaby yoga class:
- creating community,
- supporting and empowering new mamas,
- connecting with baby through infant massage,
- and yoga postures to strengthen postpartum bodies/rehabilitate the core.
Local experts in the fields of mental health, mama well-being, anatomy, and infant massage add to the depth of the training.
Please come and join other new and experienced yoga teachers as you prepare to explore a yoga practice that focuses on the intimate relationship between mama and baby. The training is ideal for yogis, childcare providers, Nannies, Mamas, Healthcare workers and more. Prior experience with yoga is encouraged, but not required for the BYOBaby Teacher Training.
To learn more about the training on August 18-20 in Nashville and register, click here.
Written by Betsy Elworthy Sundell, RYT: Mama of two, Yogi, Blooma teacher, creator and instructor of Blooma’s Bring Your Own Baby Yoga Teacher Training. Betsy is also a licensed elementary education teacher and holds her MA in Education.