Laughter is Always the Best Medicine

Laughter is the best medicineWe’ve just survived another Blue Monday – the most depressing day of the year – so the arrival of ‘Global Belly Laugh Day’ this week was most welcome!

Belly Laugh Day is not just a day for having a good ol’ chuckle, but a much needed reminder for us to do it more often. Because laughter really IS the best medicine.

It does so much more than make you feel good mentally – laughter induces actual physical changes in your body. Blood flow is increased; as is your intake of oxygen-rich air which stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles; it aids muscle relaxation, reducing some of the physical symptoms of stress; boosts our immune system and improves efficiency, mental focus and concentration. Yes, to all that please!

Best of all laughter is FREE! And available to you every day – even on the roughest of parenting days.

You don’t even need to rely on humor, jokes or comedy for belly laughs – you can fake it yourself with Laughter Yoga. Have you heard of that? Google Offices use it. Even Oprah Winfrey swears by it.

Laughter Yoga is a practice of prolonged voluntary laughter – because voluntary or ‘forced’ laughter still delivers the same physiological and psychological goods as spontaneous laughter.  And trust us, (we’ve tried it), it might start off as fake laughing, but you end up feeling so ridiculous that it soon turns in to a genuine fit of the giggles!

There are an increasing number of laughter clubs across the US where you can practice laughter yoga in groups, but you can also do it at home alone, or with a partner. Take a look at this video and you’ll get the idea. Here’s also a list of 150 laughter exercises to try yourself at home – our personal favorite is forcing yourself to ‘laugh’ Beethoven’s Fifth: Ha ha ha haaaaaaaa, ha ha ha haaaa!! We’re giggling even typing it.

In a nutshell, laughter yoga not only offers every parent a simple way to relieve stress, it also gives them a license to act like a crazy spontaneous toddler again! So, what’s not to love!? Your kids will find you hysterical – and most likely join in too.

Go on, give it a try! Find the jolly in every day – you’ll probably feel very silly, but our bet is, you’ll probably feel pretty great too!

 

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What You Need to Know About Baby & Me Yoga

mom-baby-yogaWhile it may have felt like your little wriggly one was already practicing yoga moves in utero, once they’ve arrived, there really is no better time to think about starting yoga.

Yes, we know, energy and time can be in scarce supply postpartum. So the thought of a mama and baby yoga class (not to mention the thought of putting on exercise clothes) from six weeks, might be daunting. Even stressful. Will I strain myself too soon? Where will I feed baby? What if my baby cries and interrupts the class? What about diaper changes?

But it’s not about putting stress on you, your body or your baby. The right classes offer an inclusive, safe environment. All other parents will be in exactly the same position, with exactly the same worries. If baby cries, no one will judge. If you need to stop and feed baby, go for it. This type of yoga experience is all about destressing and reconnecting with your body. It’s about creating new bonding experiences with your baby. A real win-win for both mom and baby:

Here are our 5 top reasons to give mama and baby yoga a try:

  • NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY: Don’t worry if you weren’t able to fold yourself in to a pretzel pre-baby. It doesn’t matter. No prior skills or yoga knowledge is necessary for new parents to enjoy and benefit from this experience.
  • BONDING TIME: It offers you dedicated time where you can both relax. Remember, your baby will relax when you relax! Joint relaxation is so powerful in strengthening connections and non-verbal communication.
  • BETTER SLEEPERS: Yoga promotes MORE and BETTER sleep. Hooray! Short classes offer just the right amount of stimulation they need to help them sleep for longer stretches. If that’s not good news enough, tactile stimulation has also been show to contribute to the development of the brain and nervous system.
  • BETTER DIGESTION: Yoga stimulates all of baby’s bodily systems including the digestive system. It’s been known to help keep babies contented between feeds and also alleviate wind and colic too.
  • GOOD FOR MOM: Yoga can be great for mom’s all important emotional wellbeing. Not only is parenting hard and stressful at times, for new parents especially, it can be darn scary. Yoga gives moms time to relax and refocus via breathing exercises and focused stretches. And let’s be honest, parenting can also have its lonely moments too, so classes like this are a great way for parents to get out, socialise, support and find a healthy balance.

If this sounds good to you, we offer an all-levels Mama and Baby Class at Babies in Bloom, suited for 6 week olds to crawlers – check out the next few dates on our calendar. All you need is a yoga mat and blanket for baby to rest on.

Our wonderful instructor Holly also recommends some helpful home resources if you want to bring the yoga experience and relaxation vibes home – the Itsy Bitsy Yoga series and Yoga Pretzel Cards.

Enjoy and Namaste!

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