When Amber Anjali and her husband, Meeshi, decided to combine their passions to create GroovaRoo Dance, a facility that offers babywearing fitness and dance classes for parents, they had no idea that within six months, they’d be offering classes in six locations, or that their videos of dancing, babywearing moms would go viral.
Anjali, who works as a birth doula and postpartum yoga instructor, says the time she spent observing what she calls “mommy culture” made it obvious to her that the moms she worked with needed some help getting back into their groove after having their babies.
“I had seen a need for moms to have activities to do after they have a baby,” said Anjali. “It can be a very isolating and challenging time for them.”
Anjali’s husband has been a dance instructor for 20 years. After the couple came across a babywearing salsa class being offered in Europe, they decided to start offering similar classes with a more hip-hop feel in their Encinitas, California hometown.
GroovaRoo Dance grew quickly — with classes currently being offered in six locations. As their videos of babywearing moms dancing to Sugar Ray’s “Fly” and Vanilla Ice’s “Ice Ice Baby” continue to go viral, the couple is looking to expand their class offerings even farther.
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And, the Anjali family is growing quickly, too. The couple will welcome their first baby — a boy — in June.
“There aren’t a lot of activities where moms can feel comfortable bringing their babies and getting a workout,” Anjali told TODAY Parents. “They come for the exercise, but then through the process, they find a community.”
Anjali says another perk of the classes is that dancing helps moms feel sexy again after having a baby.
“We like to say that our classes bring the sexy back. It can be really great for the mom to get her confidence back, and then also to share that with her partner once she gets home,” said Anjali.
For moms outside the San Diego area who want to try a babywearing dance workout at home, Anjali offers these tips:
1. Attend a local babywearing chapter meeting before you begin
Anjali, who is a certified babywearing consultant, begins every class by reviewing safe babywearing techniques with the moms who attend. At home, Anjali suggests searching online for a local babywearing organization and attending a meeting to make sure baby is strapped in safely.
“They should make sure they feel comfortable using the carrier,” said Anjali. “There are a lot of meetings out there, and they’re usually free to attend.”
2. Choose the music you like most
For the best babywearing dance workout, Anjali says it’s important to focus on finding music you enjoy.
“Pick a couple of songs that you really like dancing to, and go with it,” said Anjali.
3. Choose simple movements
While GroovaRoo Dance offers choreographed line-dance classes, Anjali says moms should simply focus on keeping moving, and enjoying quality time with their little one.
“A lot of what we do is just different kinds of rocking — and doing that for an entire song is great,” said Anjali. “It doesn’t have to be a choreographed dance, but just pick a few movements and rock with your baby and really enjoy bonding with them during that time when you have them close to you in the carrier.”