Toddlers frequently require constant attention and a watchful eye, and the consequent lack of alone time means that new parents face challenges in finding time to exercise.
It is with this particular set of circumstances in mind that Juliana Anandamayi Phua introduced baby-wearing yoga – a twist on the baby-wearing tend that has been becoming more popular of late – as one of her classes.
Juliana Anandamayi Phua (above) introduced baby-wearing yoga to help parents who face challenges in finding time to exercise. Photo: Sport Singapore
“A lot of people were asking as it is really hard to come out and exercise when you are a mum. A lot of people wanted to do it and bring their baby at the same time,” said Phua, who runs Om Shiva Yoga with her husband.
“A lot of the new mummies, they are into fitness, they want to get fit, so they start looking around for baby-wearing activities.”
Half a year ago, Phua became the first in Singapore to hold a baby-wearing yoga class after she was inundated with requests from modern parents, but the transition from traditional yoga to one with modern twist was a natural one for the baby-wearing enthusiast.
“It was quite a natural progression. We have seen videos of baby-wearing yoga, and because sometimes when I teach, I actually have to wear her.”
”Because she will be fussy, I will actually be doing poses with her in a carrier. When you search baby-wearing, sometimes you will see people doing yoga poses and baby-wearing.
Juliana and her baby doing baby-wearing yoga. Photo: Sport Singapore
“And then people started asking, and that’s when I seriously started considering it and working on the sequence.”
Having an additional weight on your upper body when baby-wearing, however, means this novel version of yoga brings with it its own unique set of challenges as compared to conventional yoga.
“The centre of gravity is different so it is very much harder to balance. And because you are so scared you going to fall and you are focusing on the baby as well so that makes it even harder to focus. But it’s a good challenge,” Phua said.
Due to this, Phua has had to tailor her classes to take into account the physical limitations of baby-wearing as well as the safety of both parent and child.
“When you are baby-wearing you can’t go on your belly and you can’t bend forward too much or your baby is going to fall down,” she said.
“That’s why the sequence and the poses that we do have to be modified quite a lot. The balancing poses and the standing poses are okay. It’s only when we come to the prone poses and the supine poses that the poses have to be modified.”
Health benefits of yoga and exercise aside, having your baby in such close proximity also provides a precious bonding opportunity for mothers and their babies.
“It’s a bonding exercise as well, and it’s very challenging for new mums,” said the mother of two.
“It’s easier to feel closer, because you are constantly face to face with your baby and you’re constantly interacting with them.”