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Special baby yoga - a family case study

Family special baby yoga

Birthlight teacher Jessica Healy shares a case study with us of her experiences with special baby yoga - 'Henry, Percy, Carly and Harry - A family case study using Birthlight yoga'

Henry and Percy are identical twins. In the womb they were thought to have a syndrome called Twin to Twin Transfusion syndrome. Doctors were very concerned about Percy, who was the ‘Donor twin’ in the womb, meaning his blood volume was reducing. This lead to a cesarean birth at 29+5  weeks in February 2018. When the boys were born, Henry became very poorly. Later it was discovered that he had significant damage to his white brain cells. After 100 days in hospital, the boys got to spend their first day at home together. I began working with them in December 2018, aged ten months. Henry’s current diagnosis is cerebral palsy.

Our yoga sessions

We met weekly or fortnightly, sometimes with the whole family, sometimes both twins and their Mum Carly, sometimes just Henry and Mum. We did some oil massage in the early sessions, then switched to yoga with some ‘dry massage’.

At first we did the hip sequence and kept his pelvis on the mat; progressing to dynamic low shoulder stands like this ‘wiggle and drop’! You can see Carly’s responsive sensitivity and bond with Henry in the video. Henry has made lots of progress in the time I’ve known him and this is largely down to very dedicated parents, and a full programme of special therapies and visits from sound baths to SLT to Conductive education, to physio, to numerous hospital appointments.

“Henry can be quite irritable, and a calm environment seems to help with this. Yoga seems to be able to provide this for him. It also helps with his muscle stiffness, flexibility, body awareness. Recent studies suggest massage can help to improve vision so that element will also help. Anything that helps Henry, helps us as a family. The calm side of yoga and relaxation is beneficial for us, as our lives are generally all go.”   Carly, May 2019

I do feel that yoga adds something unique and special for all of the family and he REALLY loves rolling: guaranteed to relax him! We have worked slowly up to the hip lift and drop. We did our first full inversion yesterday and Mum was really pleased to have the confidence to try it and to see Henry respond like going upside down was the most natural thing in the world to do!   Jessica Healy



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