Have you ever watched a baby learning to move? It is possibly one of the most fascinating things in this world. Babies are hard wired to learn movement and the most amazing thing is they do it by themselves. We can’t teach them because they have not yet developed the communication skills. Getting back into some of these baby poses and postures are a great way to stretch the body and to start becoming more flexible, something that yoga teaches and inspires. There’s a lot we can learn from the ways babies move…

What motivates babies to move?
Babies are solely motivated to move by attaining something. They might want a toy or to get to their mother. The need to achieve this is greater than staying put so they figure out with the facilities they have at any given developmental stage how to get to where they want to.

Sight leads movement
Have you ever noticed that babies only move towards something once they have seen it and they keep looking at the object of their desire until they get it?  It can be behind them but if they can see it their whole body is sent messages to move towards the object of desire. This mechanism stays with us and vision can be used to rehabilitate muscles that are not firing effectively. Try it – look towards something behind you and you’ll notice your body starts to rotate towards it. A great stretch – whether or not you practice yoga. And these kinds of stretches are a good reason to start yoga.

Babies will repeat a movement at a particular stage of development over and over again. It is how they teach themselves unconscious movement and also how they get strong. It is also why they need so much food and rest because they are moving and learning all the time. This applies to adults too – especially in a rehabilitative setting. If you are injured and you need to relearn movement patterns or a better breathing pattern or how to activate your core again, it is repetition that is the key to success. You want these mechanisms to be unconscious.

Pure movements and postures
If you are looking for perfect posture and pure movement patterns look at babies. They use the most efficient and effective movement patterns to get them where they want to go. Have you ever seen a 12 month old in that beautiful primitive squat position? That is what our squats should look like. We lose the ability to do this because we stop moving in this way. This squat is another great stretch, great for the digestive system. One of the best, most relaxing and happiest yoga poses is the Happy Baby Pose, a wonderful hip-opening pose that helps to realign the spine, calms the mind and relieves stress. Learn how to do this pose.

Set for life
The postures and movement patterns that babies develop form the basis for how we will move and function as a child and as an adult. If faulty postures and patterns develop in this crucial stage they need to be corrected immediately as it can result in problems later in life.

BOE Magazine