by Samantha Brazeau-Wilson
Yoga? For wee ones? Absolutely! Little Lotus Yoga offers classes throughout the Ottawa and Gatineau areas that the whole family can enjoy — right from the start. Amanda DeGrace, the self-proclaimed yoga lover behind LLY, believes everybody can and should have the opportunity to do yoga. “All are welcome and no yoga experience is necessary,” she says. That means all ages too.
The fundamental goal of Little Lotus Yoga is to create a welcoming space that invites children to learn and explore yoga through age appropriate activities, songs and games. Classes are offered with the whole family in mind, including prenatal, mom and baby, parent and tot, preschool, school age, teen and family options. “Often moms come to class and tell us they were thinking of not coming because they didn’t sleep well the night before or had a rough start to the day, but after class they feel relaxed, energized and more confident to take on the rest of the day,” Amanda explains.
In fact, everybody feels better for the experience. Prenatal classes allow expectant mothers to practise breathing techniques and increase strength all while relaxing and celebrating the life they are creating. And preschooler yoga helps young ones increase concentration, attention and focus while boosting overall health.
Little Lotus Yoga also offers family classes for children aged three to eight and parent-child and mother-daughter yoga for children aged seven to 12. All these sessions encourage spending time together while bonding, relaxing and relieving tension. Mom may also want to try Gentle Hatha Yoga, which involves breathing techniques, posture practice and relaxation methods to soothe mind and body.
The atmosphere at Little Lotus Yoga is welcoming. Amanda says that as a parent of two young children she understands life can get a bit chaotic. She encourages participants to come to class even if they may be a bit late, and to never stress about how their child may react.
It’s an opportunity for mom to get out of the house, away from her day-to-day activities and spend time on herself – mind, body and spirit – while sharing the time with her child, Amanda explains. “It’s okay if baby screams the entire time because the moms in the group show empathy.” She points out the yoga classes create a community and a place for moms to be around other parents who are going through similar things.
“We create a space where moms get to know each other, ask questions, share stories, learn information and just know that whatever they are going through at that time there is probably somebody else in the class experiencing the same thing.”
Yoga classes for mom and baby offer a number of benefits. Not only can mom experience relaxation and stress relief, she can also rebuild strength and stamina and increase flexibility, all while bonding with baby. Meanwhile, baby is nurtured while being introduced to yoga principles such as environmental awareness and whole body health. It’s great one-on-one time.
For details about Little Lotus Yoga and for a schedule of classes, see littlelotusyoga.ca. You can also like facebook.com/LLYoga on Facebook and follow @littlelotusyoga on Twitter