Publication Date

Spring 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Theodore M. Butryn


babies, exercise, feminist, focus group, postpartum, yoga

Subject Areas



Women in the postpartum period face a number of physical and emotional challenges that research results indicate could be alleviated through exercise. Unfortunately, many new mothers are unable to participate in regular exercise due to a variety of personal and societally constructed obstacles. There is a growing trend to incorporate babies into yoga classes in an effort to increase the accessibility of postpartum exercise. There has been limited research conducted regarding the effectiveness of this emerging trend, and none have examined the feelings of participants engaged in mother and baby yoga classes. To address this gap in the literature, the experiences of 17 new mothers who participated in mother and baby yoga classes were explored. Four focus group semi-structured interviews were conducted utilizing feminist methodology designed to create an egalitarian and empowering experience. A thematic data analysis produced 12 higher-order themes aggregated into four preliminary general categories, including transformation, therapeutic experiences in class, community in class, and mamas’ solutions for mamas. Results indicated that mothers relied on these classes to provide physical and emotional healing during their transition to motherhood. Mother and baby yoga classes provided educational, social, and exercise opportunities for the women. The mother and baby yoga classes offered a unique format to provide health and wellness benefits to a potentially vulnerable and underserved population.