i'm taking a slight break from all things eco to reflect on what a wonderful time i had with lucy today. we went to a mom & baby yoga class at a privately-owned studio in berkeley this morning. lucy and i accepted an invite from new mom friend of mine, along with her 8-month old baby boy finn. i'm so glad that we did!
the studio was set up upon our arrival. yoga mats were laid out, and next to every mat was a set of cushy pillows covered by a fluffy towel, making a comfy bed-type place for each baby. each space also included a cozy blanket, a stack of spit-up cloths, various yoga accessories (blocks & straps) and a box of kleenex. as soon as we sat down, lucy was handed a basket full of natural baby toys to paw through--wooden teethers, hand-knit finger puppets, blocks and things of the like. i felt silly with my oversized, stuffed-to-the-gills diaper bag sitting beside me!
class began with stretching, rocking & swaying with the babies, along with focusing on different types of breath. new age music played in the background, along with "in utero" sounds also coming from somewhere in the distance. we were told to focus on healing our feminine organs. at this point, it became clear that "trendy yoga" this certainly was not!
after about 20 minutes of stretching we stripped the babies down to nakedness and placed them on their pillow beds for a massage (coconut oil was provided). lucy loved every minute of this. she often gets a quickie massage after bathtime but this was much more of an in-depth event. i learned a few new techniques as well, which will come in handy at home.
we got the babies dressed and nursed them. some babies fell asleep and were placed back on their pillows. others, like lucy and finn, were content to play with toys all on their own. the rest of the babies were taken by assistants out of the room while moms practiced "real" yoga (without babies in our arms!). the instructor took us through a whole set of totally difficult poses. now i don't know what those assistants did to the babies that they took away, but when they brought them back, they were fast asleep! each little one was placed gently on his or her pillow bed, and held there for a moment with "purposeful hands," ensuring that they didn't startle themselves awake. seriously, these women would take a wailing baby away and in no time flat, they'd have it back, sleeping away like a little angel. eventually lucy began to fuss, and one of the assistants came and worked her magic on lucy as well. after being gone for about 20 minutes, she was placed beside me, eyes closed, as we finished up the class by singing a goodbye lullaby to the little yogis.
it's impossible to impart the strange beauty of this 2-hour class. i was left feeling both worn out (i haven't exercised in a loooooong time) and totally at peace. to be surrounded by a large group of new mothers was wonderful (and lucy loves looking at babies of all kinds), but i also was reminded at just how powerful simplicity can be. connecting with myself and my breath, along with lucy and her delicate rhythm, was absolutely refreshing. and i can't help but think that this type of activity is something that she will come to enjoy and learn from as well.
anyway. it was over-the-top, even for me--there were 5 other cloth-diapering mommas there, which says a lot--but i was pleased to find myself feeling calm & connected. very good feelings to have. i *might* be dragging jeremy back to the studio for a chanting of the sanskrit on sunday. the instructor said the babies love it...