New moms, you can squeeze your yoga into a walk this summer. Ashley Goldberg, owner of Michigan-based Born Yoga says Stroga (Stroller Yoga) has been trending. “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,” she explains. We talked to her about everything Stroga and got a few of her favorite poses for you to try on your next walk.
YogaJournal.com: So tell us, what is Stroga?
Ashley Goldberg: 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). At Born Yoga, the stroller becomes a tool 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 standing and balancing poses.
YJ: Who typically comes to a Stroga class?
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 and 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.
YJ: What kind of training do teachers who are interested in offering it need?
AG: There isn’t a Stroga certification, but I’d recommend that anyone who teaches it to be a 200-hour 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.
YJ: 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.
YJ: What’s unique about Stroga?
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.
YJ: What do you see as the biggest 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 into 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.
YJ: How long do sessions typically last?
AG: 45–60 minutes.
YJ: Do the moms need to have prior yoga experience?
AG: No, newbies are always welcome.
See also True Confessions of a New Yogi
YJ: How do babies benefit from Stroga?
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.
7 Stroga Poses to Try on Your Next Walk
Start by warming up the body with a walk. Then find a nice place to stop for your practice. Make sure the brakes are locked!
Hero’s Pose (Virasana)
Instead of placing hands on your lap, reach up toward the stroller handles and allow the head and neck to sit between the arms, releasing any tension. Hold for 5 breaths.
Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II)
For Warrior II, align your front knee to face the stroller and extend arms out to a strong T. You can place your hand on the handle of the stroller for support and get a little deeper into the lunge. Gaze toward the stroller. Hold for 3–5 breaths and change sides.
See also Stand Strong in Warrior II Pose
Extended Side Angle Pose (Utthita Parsvakonasana)
Keeping the lunge in the front knee, rest the forearm on the thigh and extend the opposite arm up and over the ear, reaching toward the stroller handle and gazing toward the stroller. Hold for 3–5 breaths and change sides.
Wide-Legged Forward Bend (Prasarita Padottanasana)
Come around to the front of the stroller and step your feet wide apart. Inhale and stretch up. Exhale and place your hands on either side of your baby’s legs for support as you fold forward and get a nice stretch through the shoulders. Hold for 3–5 breaths.
Warrior III (Virabhadrasana III Airplane Pose)
Come into a Crescent Lunge facing your baby and shift forward into Warrior III, using the handle of the stroller to help maintain balance while making swooshing airplane sounds to engage with baby.
See also Watch Your Patterns in Warrior III
Extended Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose (Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana)
From the back of the stroller, lift one leg up and rest your ankle on top of the stroller. Inhale, reach up and exhale, fold forward over your lifted leg. Hold for 3–5 breaths and change sides.
Dancer Pose (Natarajasana)
Standing facing the back of the stroller, place one hand on it for balance. Shift your weight into one leg and catch the ankle of the other one behind you, extending your chest forward and lift ankle back into a backbend. Hold for 3–5 breaths and change sides.