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Monday, May 29, 2017

Stroga Yoga? Get the low down on this stroller-based practice for new moms!

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Grab a stroller and try this popular yoga off-shoot! We've spoken with Ashley Goldberg, owner of kids yoga company, BornYoga for the low down on everything Stroga!

KYD: What is Stroga? (Stroller Yoga)
AG: There are different definitions of Stroga, depending on who you ask and who is teaching. For example, some people would describe a stroga class as a combination of Stroller Walking (outside), followed by a 20-30 minute, gentle yoga class (inside or outside). When practicing Stroga at Born Yoga, the stroller becomes a toll to assist in various standing asanas and balancing postures. Rather than using the wall, we ...
place the stroller in the lock position and it becomes much like a wall for balancing, allowing moms to get deeper into more challenging poses or the ability to hold balancing poses longer while still maintaining a close connection to baby. If baby is comfy and content in their stroller, we always recommend leaving them in, while mom practices (and taking them out when needed). Moms also have the option of wearing baby while doing the standing/balancing pose.
KYD: Is Stroga new? Has it been trending for a while? How did it come about?
AG: I don’t think it’s necessarily new. It is something new we have implemented and plan to continue especially in to the Summer, as we will be doing Stroga meet-ups in local parks.
KYD: Who are the target participants?
AG: Typically, it’s targeted towards new moms with babies 9 months and under, however, it’s a practice that can benefit all. Moms with older babies an kids will of course benefit from the physical practice involved. It’s important to consider the child’s developmental stage, active babies and children participate in our play-based yoga classes where they have more freedom to move around, explore and experience yoga through songs and games.
KYD: Do you have to be certified to teach Stroga?
AG: No, there isn’t a Stroga certification, but I’d recommend that anyone who teaches it to be a 200hr RYT with additional certification in pre/postnatal yoga in order to have an understanding of the practice and as it relates to the new mom’s body.
KYD: Where do Stroga classes take place?
AG: It can take place anywhere. Outside is certainly nice, since it’s always wonderful to connect with our kids outside in a natural environment. Again, you want to be careful if you have active movers as to the safety of the setting. Come prepared with a blanket and age-appropriate toys to keep them happy and engaged.
KYD: How many class participants are typically in a class?
AG: 8-10
KYD: How did you learn to teach Stroga?
AG: I created my own concept of Stroga by borrowing from my personal practice and often using the wall to assist me in combination of my experience working with new moms in the yoga studio.
KYD: How does Stroga differ from other styles of yoga?
AG: Similar to any mom and baby yoga class, Stroga isn’t exactly what I’d call a peaceful/zen experience. Although, there is much beauty and calm to be gained in the shared experience between mom and baby as they move together, babies are unpredictable and need to be cared for. Therefore, don’t expect to have an hour-long quiet practice without disturbances. These classes often involve feeding or changing baby in the middle of a flow. But isn’t that what yoga is all about? It teaches us how to be present and mindful amongst all of the challenges and stressors we face on a daily basis. We can find a space of love, peace and calm while practicing with our babies.
KYD: Which asanas are included in a typical Stroga class and how are they modified?
AG: After warming up through the body through a gentle seated stretching sequence, including Hero’s Pose (Virasana) Hero’s with a stroller variation, instead of placing hands on your lap, reach up towards the stroller handles and allow the head and neck to sit between the arms, releasing any tension and hold for 5 breaths.
Crescent Warrior Pose (high lunge) – inhale arms to the sky gazing towards the fingers, and exhale hands down to touch the handle of the stroller gazing towards baby, (repeat 3-5 times and change sides).
I like to add a Warrior C (Virabhadrasana III Airplane Pose), from Crescent Warrior pose, again using the handle of the stroller to help maintain balance while making swooshing airplane sounds to engage with baby.
Warrior B (Virabhadrasana II) is also a nice asana to practice in Stroga. The lunging knee will be closest to the stroller and as arms are out to a strong T, you can use the handle of the stroller to place the hand down on to and thus get a little deeper in to the lunge with the support of the stroller handle gazing towards the baby (hold for 3-5 breaths and change sides).
From here, it’s nice to move in to Extended Side Angle Pose, keeping the lunge in the Right Knee (closest to the stroller), rest the right forearm on the thigh and extend the left arm (opposite arm) up and over the left ear, reaching towards the stroller handle and gazing towards the handle/baby.
KYD: What are the benefits of Stroga?
AG: I believe the most important benefit of Stroga is the opportunity to practice yoga while bonding with your baby. For a lot of new mothers, it’s hard to get back in to an exercise routine and the thought of leaving baby for an hour or two can be difficult for many moms. With Stroga, you can stretch, strengthen and bond with your baby at the same time.
KYD: How long do sessions typically last?
AG: 45-60 minutes.
KYD: Do you need a background in yoga to participate in Stroga?
AG: No. Newbies are always welcome.
KYD: Do babies benefit from Stroga? If so, how?
AG: Babies benefit from the bonding experience that Stroga provides. Babies love to be touched and need constant engagement to aid in their rapidly growing physical and mental development. This is achieved through Stroga, as moms continuously interact, hold or make a connection with their babies throughout the class.

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