Yoga instructor Laurie Martin of Naples believes the power of yoga is not only good for adults, but also for babies.
Martin started a small mom-and-baby yoga group out of her home in Island Walk in Naples. It meets every Thursday at 9 a.m.
“It’s a great opportunity for moms and babies to bond,” Martin says in an open space in her home lined with colorful yoga mats. “Because I’m a teacher of self-love, inner peace and empowerment, it’s a class full of positive affirmations and relaxing visualizations.”
She explains that her yoga space is also totally green, with no chemicals used for cleaning the home.
Martin became a certified yoga instructor in 2002 but quickly got into teaching for all ages. She taught two seasons at Little Ducks Day School in Naples and recently decided to launch her own program for moms and babies. In addition, she teaches private yoga instruction for individuals and couples, as well as other group yoga classes.
She also recently wrote a book about self-love, called “Smile Across Your Heart: The Process of Building Self-love,” and writes a biweekly column for the Community section of the Daily News.
Much of her self-love techniques and philosophies cross over to her yoga instruction.
“I’m passionate about helping others tune into their heart and follow their own guidance, be their innate beauty and live with an enlightened level of empowerment.”
Client Marta Suarez brought her children, Max, 6 months old, and Magnolia, 3, to a lesson recently. The lesson focused on stretching and strengthening exercises using baby Max, while Magnolia was set up at a table with stickers and markers to play with.
Martin demonstrates most of the moves with a stuffed animal, showing clients where to position their baby for each yoga pose.
“Close your eyes, breathe in through your nose, out through your nose, in and out,” Martin says in a soothing voice.
During a break, Martin says one of the main reasons she wanted to offer a class like this was because she loves babies and doesn’t have any of her own.
“I thought it’d be a great way to be around babies, and I believe in everything yoga has to offer,” she says.
Max seemed to enjoy bonding with his mom; he smiled throughout the session and even tried to mimic some of the stretches his mom was performing.
Suarez was glad to find an affordable class ($15 a session) that might stick with her kids for life. She wants her children to one day adopt all the healthy lifestyle choices yoga inspires.
“I think it’s a wonderful thing to do. It’s something to do with my children and show them a lifestyle for a whole healthy life — not just exercise, but body, spirit and mind,” she explains.