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Little Yogi Bears class in Forres introduces mums and their young ones to the benefits of baby yoga

By Garry McCartney

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Organiser Lauren Savage.
Organiser Lauren Savage.

A LOCAL mum is running baby and toddler exercise classes after what she describes as a “light bulb moment” during the coronavirus pandemic.

Lauren Savage had her second baby during lockdown. Unable to attend baby classes, she started doing baby yoga from home, recreating and developing the yoga experiences she had with her first child.

The success of these sessions inspired the young mother into further education and she has now added a practitioner diploma in teaching infant massage and a Royal College of Midwives-accredited certificate in training baby and toddler yoga to the HNC complementary therapies she gained in 2012.

Jacob Blackmore with mum Caitlin MacIver.
Jacob Blackmore with mum Caitlin MacIver.

Since June this year, Lauren has been running Little Yogi Bears, providing baby massage courses and yoga classes on Tuesdays at Forres Community Centre and Fridays at St Leonard’s Church Hall.

She said: “We use yoga, songs/rhymes, storybooks and sensory play to create fun for infants and parents/carers to enjoy together.

“During the baby classes, I enjoy seeing the bonding.

“I love watching the babies grow and learn new skills.

“In one block they can barely sit up and by the end of the next, they can be sitting up and clapping away!

“ I also set aside time for adults to speak at the end of the sessions while the babies play, as early motherhood can be lonely, so speaking to each other is so important.”

She added: “I love the proud look on toddlers’ faces when they manage to do yoga poses correctly... as well as the mix of personalities at the sessions.

“Afterwards, I have activities for them, including crafts or a parachute game. Seeing them smiling away and having a great time is the best!”

Kirsty and Amber Cameron.
Kirsty and Amber Cameron.

Baby Yoga (for babies aged six weeks or 12-week-old post C-section) is at Forres House 11.45am-12.30pm and at St Leonard’s 9.45am-10.30am. It involves gentle movements and stretches for parents and babies to do together. Songs/actions and sensory play are also used to educate and entertain.

Baby On the Move (for babies who can explore independently) is at Forres House 11.30am-12.20pm and at St Leonard’s 11.30am-12.30pm.

It has yoga stretches and movements that can be done independently or with the help of parents. Songs and actions are used throughout as well as themed sensory play.

Toddler Yoga (for youngsters aged 18 months to four years old) is 12.40pm-1.25pm at Forres House and 10.40am-11.25am at St Leonard’s. It features moves carried out independently based on themes and storybooks. Simple play helps with breathing techniques. Stories are read with yoga poses, and finished off with sensory play and relaxation techniques.

Lauren is in no doubt about the sessions’ many physical, emotional and spiritual benefits to both mothers and children.

She said: “The classes are baby/toddler led. At the start I point out that if your baby needs to be fed, changed or cuddled at any point in the session, then rejoin when you are both ready.

“Parents carry out moves on their babies and toddlers when they are happy to let them. No toddler is expected to stay on their mat the whole time.

“Some will take part in entire sessions, but others will go off and explore before rejoining.”

Jude Lapka with mum Hayley.
Jude Lapka with mum Hayley.

Lauren now has 40 adults who attend regularly with their little ones.

She said: “My classes are warm and inviting as I know how daunting it can be entering a class with a little one for the very first time.

“I’ve seen attendees who have held off regret not coming sooner. Parents have told me yoga has helped their babies sleep better and given them the skills to soothe babies’ tummy troubles. Parents have said their toddlers practise yoga poses at home and show their siblings what they’ve learned in class!”

Lauren is always researching new activities and techniques to bring to her classes. She said: “I have a few new things that I’m working on, so I’m excited to see what the future holds.”

Sessions are booked in five week blocks via https://bookwhen.com/littleyogibears#focus=ev-suqj-20211029094500

Lauren's Yogi Bears logo.
Lauren's Yogi Bears logo.

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