Do not try this at work: Happy Baby

by Alice Dommert
April 9, 2018
Happy, Yoga

Yes, there I am at 4 months, a very happy baby! Usually I write about poses you can do at the office however, there is no really good way to stay true to the intent of happy baby pose and make it something that would feel comfortable practicing at work.

This week I’m making a radical recommendation. Head home 13-minutes early and practice happy baby pose with full engagement on a soft comfy blanket in your pajamas! I want to share a few of my discoveries about this pose and then I’ll share what part of this practice you can bring back to work.

We’ve all seen babies in this pose. They do it at about a few months old when they are beginning to roll around and have discovered their hands and feet. The big fun is when they realize they are in charge of these flailing limbs and that their hands can, with good aim, catch their feet.

In yoga, we identify this pose as a good hip opener and release for the spine. For babies, they are gearing up to begin standing and walking; their hips are exploring more mobility and their legs are building strength. Their spine needs the engagement and preparation for adventures of two-legged locomotion that we humans enjoy.

Babies are so smart. They do all this instinctively. No conference call, event scheduled in a Google calendar or even a text reminder. Ahh…the simple life of a baby.

As adults, no matter what your age, we still need that hip mobility and spine stretch. More importantly, we need to honor our need to be responsible adults and also recognize the innate desire to feel good in our bodies. In more and more places, I am reading about how every movement of our body sends a message to our brains and affects our moods.

It seems that movement is like food. If you only eat a few things and do not get a range and variety of vitamins and minerals your body suffers. The same idea seems to hold true with movement. How varied is your movement? Are you missing one of the most delicious movement offerings? What if happy baby were the tastiest dessert on the movement menu. I have a secret…it is!

Here is a short 13-minute Happy Baby YogaFIX practice I created to help you enjoy this pose.

First, there are a few things before you get started.

1.Find your space. Find a cozy spot in your home that you love, put the lights low and decide on a space where you will have lots of room to roll around. If you are feeling self-conscious, have it be a private place so you won’t be worried about interruptions for your pets or cohabitors. Put on your favorite music, even if it’s just from your phone. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate speaker system with surround sounds.

I love my Michael Buble or Deva Patel channels on Spotify, but you may like smooth jazz or rich bluegrass or acoustic guitar coffee shop music. (I love browsing the mood section on Spotify when I want to explore new music.

2. Get comfy. Put on clothes that feel super comfy, that you can stretch and move in. No jeans for this one. Pajamas are awesome! Then find your favorite blanket or comforter. Comfort is critical here. You don’t need a yoga mat or any special equipment but it is fun to have a bathrobe belt or an old necktie or any kind of belt or a yoga strap around to use for a nice variation.

3. Have fun. Imagine you are doing this as the most curious, innocent child that is still inside of you. If your project manager self tries to take over, thank her and excuse her to go take care of something useful in the other room. This is time for your baby to feel good. Be playful, breath nice long inhales and exhales through your nose for the ocean breath and follow your body’s cues as to how to move. Holding this pose is awesome and slow rocks side to side feel like the taste of sweet Hershey kisses to me.

This happy baby video is just under two minutes short and I recommend watching it on the train on your way home or another time so you know the gist of the pose. Then listen to the audio I created or go for it and play with the pose on your own.

Regarding what you might practice at work…it’s the happy part. I was thinking today about the practice of yoga and the teachers I am drawn to these last few years. For years for me yoga was exercise, serious and an attempt to balance out my stressful life and whip my body into shape. It was as if yoga was a radical stand, a sort of warrior fight in my life to turn the tide, to proclaim in a physical way, that I was not going to be ruled by stress, tension and pain in my body. I knew when I practiced yoga I felt better in my body and in my life and I was fiercely committed to making a way for the practice.

Over the years as my body has moved and stretched and I’ve danced with my breath, something happened. Now we even have the science to reveal what that was however, it was not science that compelled me to keep practicing.It was that when I practice yoga It felt good. It made me feel happy.

These days my practice is about joy and the teachers I am drawn to are Adriene on YouTUBE, Jackie Mills who created BODYFLOW as part of LES MILS, and Kayla Fell whose classes I go to at Main Line Yoga Shala in Narberth.

These teachers embody a joy and lightness about yoga. They play and laugh and explore the poses and our bodies with compassion, gratitude and curiosity.

They choose to focus on all that our bodies CAN do, not the shortcomings.
They not only embrace us when we lose our balance, they encourage us to do so that we step beyond the edge of the path in the journey of this lush landscape called life.

They remind us that as we are on our mats we can be in life.

Life is like a yoga practice. It is a challenge and there are always possibilities and choices. What if we all brought that attitude of being a happy baby to work? What if being open, playful and curious could change an exchange with a coworker, shift the story about the success of a new project or redirect the future of your entire organization?

What if?

Alice Dommert

Alice Dommert

Founder, Wholebeing Architect

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