After my mom had me in the late 70’s, she was pretty determined to get back into shape. At that time, the only way she could do so, was to turn on the TV at some ungodly morning hour to watch some high energy woman with big hair do weird aerobics in a neon unitard.
(The one and only, Jane Fonda)
Thank you internet, because today we have beautifully inspiring blogs and videos that offer us any type of class, any time we please. If you have the time and patience to filter through these sites to find a perfect workout, you are my hero. I usually stumble across a great song or funny animal video at some point, and get sucked right into the YouTube vortex… without a workout .
I’d like to offer a 15 minute Stretch, Strengthening & Chill-Out Yoga sequence for you mamas that you may not have known you needed. Sure, a fancy 60-minute yoga studio session would also be nice, but that would mean you’d have to leave the house. And sometimes (most times) you don’t want to.
This sequence will leave you feeling stronger, longer and more grounded (with a boost of accomplishment) and, if you’re a real keener and feeling super ambitious, you can hold the baby for extra weight for some of the postures.
To start, put down a thick blanket in front of your mat and watch your little one (watching you) taking care of yourself. Trust me, your good vibes will be felt by your babe. It’s a win-win situation!
What you will need: a mat if you (or your kid) have one. If not, no worries – a carpet or hardwood floor will do just fine.
Okay ladies; let’s do this. You can do it. Ready 1, 2, 3….!!!
(That’s not really me. That’s me channelling my inner 70’s aerobics teacher.)
Start with a few breaths either sitting in child’s pose or on your back. I’m talking real, deep, belly breaths (relax your shoulders and facial muscles). If you have a non-walker with you, maybe lay your babe on your lap so they can feel your big, full breaths.
Now try (some or all of) these –
Crescent Moon Pose
HOW TO: Big toes together and heels apart. Interlace your fingers and release the index fingers. Reach your fingers to the right and keep your shoulders and hips square to the front of the room.
* Stretches side body and intercostal muscles.
HOW TO: Feet hip width apart. Sit down as if you’re in a chair with arms parallel to the ground. Broaden your chest and feel your heels root into the ground. Breathe.
* Works the thighs and bum.
HOW TO: Reach up and swing your right arm under your left; cross your right leg over left. Squeeze your inner upper thighs together. Reach your elbows forward and fingers up. Breathe.
* Releases Tension between shoulder blades and strengthens legs.
HOW TO: Place feet outside of your hips, bend your knees (knees in line with your toes), and grab babe (if they’re a lightweight). Lightly bounce up and down, using your bum muscles.
* Works legs and bum.
HOW TO: in a standing position, step back with your right foot (make sure your left knee is on top of your ankle and not in front of it). Reach back with your arms. Draw your shoulder blades together and let them slide down your back.
* Works the legs.
Reach your arms up (maybe grab your babe) and bend right knee. Lift your knee up and down a few times (this will work your legs and bum). Draw belly in and relax your shoulders (as much as you can with the little one).
Make your way into a downward dog.
Lift your right leg up to the sky. Come forward into a plank and take your knee to the centre of your chest (round in and feel your core working), lift leg up to the sky, then to the centre of your chest (repeat 3 times then switch legs).
Now, rest in a child’s pose and breathe deeply for a minute … still want some more goodness?
Make your way into a plank and continue the breathing. Heels back and chest forward. Shoulders in line with hips. Hips in line with heels. Hold for as long as you can (maybe gaze into your little beauty’s eyes to distract you).
And follow up with these:
Full Locust Pose
HOW TO: reach behind your back and interlace your fingers (if this doesn’t feel accessible, arms can be at yours side), big toes come together. Lift your chest, arms and legs off the ground. Breathe deeply.
* Strengthens the spine and helps with fatigue.
Now make your way onto your back.
HOW TO: feet are hip width apart, lift your hips and interlace fingers. Lift your hips and hug your inner thighs together, knees draw forward.
* Opens up the upper back.
Ok we’re almost done here. Hug your knees into your chest and rock side to side before lying in the Savasana Pose for as long as you can (which shouldn’t be too hard since it almost, kind of qualifies as a nap.
If you have one that won’t squirm, place your babe on your belly or chest and breathe together. Stay in that moment. ?