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, an invitation to begin again, align breath, body, mind and spirit. Yoga has kept me conscious and 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 10 and 13 years later.
My Bring Your Own Baby (BYOB) Yoga journey began when my daughter Reyna was four 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 outing 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-judgement, acceptance, and surrender. I am thankful to have intentionally nourished these qualities by attending BYOB 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; time that I reflect on with a savoring sweetness.
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 BYOB 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. BYOB 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.
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. Now that more time has passed, I am fortunate to be teaching BYOB yoga at Blooma. A few times a week I get to offer a class where moms and dads can show up during this this tender and vulnerable season, create community, move and breathe together, and practice a sequence developed to deepen the level of connection between parent and child.
Absolutely in love with teaching this format of a parent and baby yoga class, I was excited when Sarah Longacre Ehlers asked me to design a Bring Your Baby Teacher Training for Blooma. 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 a weekend teacher training at Blooma.
Our upcoming Bring Your Own Baby Yoga Teacher Training at Blooma is a two-day immersion, March 17 and 18. We dive into the main components of a BYOB 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 will present and inform students during this 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 BYOB Teacher Training.
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.