Tuesday, May 6, 2014

2014 Term 5 Week 3. Tatty Bumpkin's Pose for the Week is BEE!

By Sue Heron – Training Co-ordinator Tatty Bumpkin and Paediatric Physiotherapist

Find your local Tatty or Baby Bumpkin class at http://www.tattybumpkin.com/classes/find-class.html and have a go at Bee pose with your baby, toddler or child at home – see below for information on how to do Bee pose and other games.

The Adventure This Week ..

This week Tatty/Baby Bumpkin find themselves in a beautiful garden.

As they listen to the sounds around them they hear a buzzing sound coming from a particularly beautiful flower..

It’s bee!

But, sadly, bee has not been out gathering honey recently as he has put on too much weight.. It’s time for the ‘Beefit’ programme to swing into action!

So Bee, with Tatty/Baby Bumpkin at his side, has a go at running, press-ups, even swimming!

What other games can Bee play? Come and give him some ideas at your local Tatty or Baby Bumpkin class…

In the ‘Bee Gets Fit’ Story Your Child Will Have the Opportunity To

1. Become more aware of their breathing as they ‘buzz’ along with Bee.

2. Develop their balance skills as they ‘walk down a branch’ with Bee.

3. Use gestures or words to express their thoughts i.e.
  • Feeling ‘upset’ with Bee when he realises he cannot fly. 
  • ‘Being kind’ and ‘encouraging’ to Bee along with Tatty Bumpkin
  • Feeling ‘amazed’ with Tatty Bumpkin when she sees Bee can swim! 
  • Feeling ‘proud of their efforts’ with Bee, as he keeps going and is eventually able to fly away!
4. Talk about their ideas on:
  • What colour and shape their flower will be?
  • How they will ‘walk down the branch’.
  • How they will swim as a bee!?
5. Develop their sense of rhythm, and co-ordination skills, as they jump with Bee and Frog along to the Tatty Bumpkin Frog song.

6. Feel calmer as they relax with Tatty Bumpkin to the Tatty Bumpkin Bee song. 

7. Have fun with their friends whilst they do their Bee exercises!

Bee Pose for Children and Toddlers

Buzz as bees with your toddler
Sleepy Bees - buzzing and relaxing!

Just standing quietly to buzz!

Description of Pose

If your child is about 4 years old or younger they will be learning new movements by looking at and copying others. Therefore it is best to do Bee pose with your child or toddler so they can see what to do. In addition, Bee pose has many benefits for both adults and children – see below.

Bee Pose for You
Bee pose is actually a form of breathing and is called ‘Brahmari’ from the Sanskrit for a humming black bee. Bee pose will give you the chance to focus on your breathing and help you to relax (see ‘Why it is good for me’ section). 

  • Start by finding a comfortable place to sit, and make sure your shoulders are relaxed. Think about increasing the distance between your ears and your shoulders, letting your shoulders move downwards and slightly backwards.
  • Breathe normally and close your eyes.
  • Keeping your lips lightly sealed, breathe in through your nose and then breathe out making the sound of the letter ‘M’, basically a humming sound, until you need to breathe in again. The longer you sustain your ‘Bee hum’, the more relaxing Bee pose is likely to be—but forcing the breath beyond your capacity can have the reverse effect, causing even more stress. So don't force yourself and only do your ‘Bee hum’ for as long as it is comfortable.
  • With your eyes still closed, repeat this Bee breathing pattern for a few minutes, or as long as it feels good i.e. breathing in through your nose, then humming like a buzzing bee as you breathe out.
  • To make the sound feel more ‘intense’ you can also put your hands over your ears whilst you do the 'Bee hums'.
  • Take the time to do a few ‘Bee hums’ whilst sitting quietly and see if you notice a change in your mood – hopefully you should feel calmer!

Bee Pose with Your Child or Toddler

  • Find a comfortable place to sit on the floor with your toddler or child, settling them either on the floor or on your lap facing you.
  • Start by doing the ‘bee breaths’ of Bee pose yourself (see above). Do a few ‘Bee hums’ with your eyes open and then with your eyes closed - to give your toddler or child the idea of the pose.
  • Then encourage your toddler or child to hum along with you.
  • Try doing louder, softer, higher, lower ‘Bee hums’ together. 
  • Have a go at humming along to Tatty Bumpkin Bee song (see below) or to other songs and rhymes – it is a great exercise for your child’s vocal chords and speech muscles.
  • You can try to do Bee pose in lying or standing.

Sit down together and try doing ‘bee hums’ together with your hands over your ears. If your child is younger, you may need to guide their hands over their ears initially until they get the idea. Then step back and see if they can do the activity by themselves. If your child is older they can have a go at doing ‘Bee hums’ with their eyes shut and their hands over their ears.

Bee Pose for Babies 


Doing 'Bee hums' with your baby!

Description of Pose

N.B. Remember, when you are doing the poses with your baby, never force the movements and keep looking at your baby to make sure they are comfortable. If you feel any resistance, or your baby becomes unsettled, do stop. Once your baby has settled, gently try the pose again, perhaps making clicking sounds or using a toy to distract them. If your baby remains unsettled, do not persist with the pose instead ask your Baby Bumpkin teacher for advice.

Bee Pose for You
Bee pose is actually a form of breathing and is called ‘Brahmari’ from the Sanskrit for a humming black bee. Bee pose will give you the chance to focus on your breathing and help you to relax (see ‘Why it is good for me’ section). It is probably wise to practise Bee pose before you do it with your baby, so you can feel confident.  See the child /toddler section, above, for instructions on how to do ‘Bee hums’ yourself.

Bee Pose with A Younger Baby
This adaptation of Bee pose is ideal if your baby is about 5-6mths or younger and has yet to gain good control of their head and body in sitting. However this adaptation can be used for babies of all ages if they are happy to lie on the floor. See picture above.

  • Settle with your baby on a mat or floor space, guiding them onto their back in front of you.
  • If your baby is settled, and you feel confident, start by doing a couple of ‘bee breaths’ yourself. Ideally close your eyes as you do the breaths, your baby will hopefully be listening to your humming sounds! Keep contact with your baby by resting your hands on their legs or body.
  • Then open your eyes and gain good eye contact with your baby.
  • Bend over your baby and gently lift up their arm or leg to ‘hum’ softly on their hand or foot. Make sure your baby can see their hand or foot and feel the vibrations of your ‘hum’.
  • If your baby enjoys this sense of vibration, try gently ‘humming’ on their tummy, chest and maybe their forehead.
  • Return to doing a few bee breaths yourself before ‘humming’ with your baby once more.

Bee Pose with An Older Baby
If your baby is about 5 mths or over and they are able to sit happily on the floor or on your lap either with support round their hips or lower body.

  • Find a comfortable place to sit on the floor with your baby, settling them on the floor in front of you, then they can lean back against you for support if they wish.
    • Start by doing the ‘Bee Hums’ of Bee pose your-self (see above). This will help you to slow your breathing and start to relax with your baby.
  • Then take a good breath in and gently ‘hum’, as you breathe out, on the top of your baby’s head.
  • Start gently at first. Then, if your baby seems to be enjoying the sensation, do louder, stronger ‘hums’ so your baby can experience more vibration.
Doing 'Bee hums' with your older baby

Why Bee Pose is Good for Both You and Your Baby or Child

As you do Bee pose with your baby or child you will both have the chance:

To relieve anxiety and relax together  
Recent research (1) highlights the powerful effect of a baby’s/child’s cry on most adults, regardless of whether the adults look after children or not. Areas in our ‘mid-brains’ (associated with the ‘fight, flight and fright’ response) appear to be quickly activated when we hear a baby crying as opposed to any other man–made sound.
This research is backed up by other findings which show that adults also have a hormonal response to a crying baby or child i.e. 

  • Men produce more testosterone – this can lead to increased stress levels. Interestingly, fathers who are more involved with the care of their baby or child seem to produce less testosterone on hearing their cry - this may mean that they are less vulnerable to stress when coping with a crying child. 
  • Mothers release more cortisol - a hormone associated with the stress response.
As a result of both these neurological and hormonal responses:
  • Our blood pressure and heart rate rise.
  • Our breathing becomes shallower and faster.
Researchers suggest that these changes our body state possibly reflect an increased need for our bodies to be ‘ready for action’ and ‘more alert’ so we can care for our baby or child in ‘distress’. However, over time, these responses can lead to an increase in our overall stress levels.  In addition, babies  and children will often naturally respond to their parent’s and carer’s ‘increased state of alertness’ by becoming more anxious themselves - breathing quicker and perhaps crying more and so the tension builds.
Try Bee breaths when your baby is crying and all their needs seem to be met

As you take deeper, slower breaths in Bee pose, concentrating more on the ‘breath out’, your heart rate will automatically decrease and this will hopefully lead to in an increased feeling of calmness. Lengthening the time you spend ‘breathing out’ in relation to the time you spend ‘breathing in’ reduces the 'fight, flight and fright' impulse described above - helping you to relax. 
Gaining awareness of our breathing rate can therefore be a useful way to prevent a build-up of tension. Try doing Bee pose with your baby or child when:

  • You are wishing to settle them ready for sleep.
  • Your baby or child is crying but they have been fed, changed and is clearly not in pain.
As you slow your breath your baby or child will be encouraged to slow their breathing as well.
Your baby or child will also enjoy the vibration sensations of Bee pose as they would have
experienced similar sensations whilst in the womb.

1 - C. Parsons, et al (2013) Ready for action: a role for the human midbrain in responding to infant vocalizations; Journal of Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience. http://f1000.com/prime/718046035?key=2jnd7zRjkErCSQv

Other Games to Play in Bee Pose with your Baby or Child 


Bee Relax for All Ages
After doing Bee pose with your baby or child, lie down together in a comfortable position and listen to the Tatty Bumpkin Bee song. You can download this song for 79p from iTunes or for a free preview go to:  https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/bendy-giggly-clever-strong/id376349531

Make it Multi-Sensory, Educational & Fun

In Tatty and Baby Bumpkin classes we use unique storylines to make the activities meaningful and to fire the imagination.

All our classes are multi-sensory comprising of:

  • Adapted yoga poses and activities which both stimulate and calm the body senses
  • Dedicated songs and rhythms which are relevant to the stories
  • Bespoke hand-woven props to look at and feel. Tatty Bumpkin has its own range of fairly traded animal props to back up the yoga poses and bring the stories to life. Our teachers are supported to use natural props in the classes which are great to feel as opposed to smooth plastic
We have carefully linked each Tatty and Baby Bumpkin to the new 2012 Early Years Foundation Stage framework. Importantly supporting children to learn ‘how to learn’ not just focusing on what on they learn.

Find your local Tatty Bumpkin class at http://www.tattybumpkin.com/classes/find-class.html 

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