Downward dog makes a great tunnel for trains.
Bridge is useful during diaper changes.
Tummy time is nothing more than locust for the diaper set.
Early attempts to crawl show excellent plank form.
Happy baby and child are aptly named.
My squirmy wormy boy executes Surya Namaskar A (aka sun salutations), folding down then flopping legs back to up dog before swinging hips back to down dog. It’s a natural flow of playful movement. He doesn’t know there’s a name for it. That when “Mama go yoga” I teach grownups how to do this again.
From reading Mark Singleton’s book Yoga Body: the Origins of Modern Posture Practice, I learn that the asana-focused modern practice of yoga was created approximately 100 years ago by T. Krishnamacharya for the Maharishi of Mysore. His job was to combine calisthenics and spiritual practice to help build mental, physical, and spiritual strength among young people and thus help build the Indian nation. He refined and created the postures we practice today and his influential students like Jois and the Iyengars popularized them in the West. According to Dr. Singleton’s research, some postures were perhaps codified from the practices of Hindu warriors. Others were most likely adapted from colonial gymnastics popular at the time.
But watching my kiddo unselfconsciously wiggling on the floor, I wonder whether Krishnamacharya et. al. merely emulated their toddlers.
Sometimes he practices with me. Our kneeling salutations go something like this:
Arms up – reach to the sky!
Arms down, all the way to the ground.
Belly down, stretch long.
Sit on Mama’s head.
OK, so maybe I won’t bring that variation to class.
first published September 2011.