I love my mother.
I'm sitting at my computer gazing at a small frame of artwork I've had since childhood. It has simple etches of hearts and houses with the words inscribed,
"No matter what
No matter where
It's always home
If love is there."
I keep it on my desk as a constant reminder that my family lives in my heart--as well as thousands of miles away. It's a constant reminder of gratitude. As Mother's Day approaches, I can't help but admire the woman who raised me. She taught me how to love freely and to remember light exists even in the darkest places if you ask for it. She taught me that laughter can clear energy and that a huge bear hug is better than any prescription medicine.
In honor of my mother and mothers everywhere, I created this sequence for you and your child. It is short and can be done anywhere. Enjoy these four postures as a quick way to tone up and lean out as you entertain and bond with your little one!
P.S. I haven't had the joy of birthing my own child yet, but I am the mother of a 23 lbs curly-tailed puggle who really enjoyed this sequence as well!
Captain of the Ship!
Navasana (Boat Pose): This is excellent for strengthening the core, lower back and hip flexors
Get your boat afloat for your tiny passenger! Begin seated with you knees bent, soles of the feet flat on the ground. Pick up your little one and have them straddle your hips facing in or out. Find your tripod to balance on--your tailbone and two sitz bones. Careful not to roll back entirely on the tailbone or you'll be sitting in your lower back. Lift the chest up then pick the feet up. Lift the shin bones parallel to the floor. Spread the toes and either hold on to your passenger or extend your arms out in front of you in-line with your shoulders. Take a good five to eight breaths and repeat up to five times. Land Ho!
Mini Drill Sergeant
Leg Lowers: This pose tones the lower belly and strengthens the hip flexors
Lie down on your back and place your mini drill sergeant onto your tummy. Their weight will keep your spine flat and ribs down. This helps isolate the abdominal work instead of creating a curve in your spine and overworking the lower back. Lift both of your legs straight up towards the ceiling. Either holding onto your child or keeping the arms next to you, keep one leg straight up as the other slowly descends towards the floor, hovering right above the mat. Pull the leg back up and switch sides. Keep working the single leg lowers for up to a minute or more ... or do as many as your sergeant tells you to!
Utkatasana (Chair or Fierce Pose): firms the rear, strengthens the thighs and tones the shoulders
Stand up straight with your feet hip width. Hold your little rocket ship (yes, your baby) underneath the arm pits facing you. Inhale, bend your knees keeping the weight in your heels. Drop the tailbone but keep the chest upright. If this is plenty, keep your baby at chest level. For more arm strength, simultaneously lift your child up like a rocket as you bend your knees into Chair or Fierce Pose. Exhale, straighten the legs and bring your child back into your chest where you began. Take off! three to five times. Add a countdown for extra drama!
Puppy Tent Time!
Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog): Stretches the lower back and legs, tones the shoulder platform and arms
If your baby isn't so tiny anymore and lifting them up is too intense, try this pose instead of Chair Pose to build your arm strength and engage your child at the same time. Begin on all fours: shoulders stack over the wrists, hips over the knees. Curl your toes under and straighten your legs as you lift the hips up and back. Arms go straight and gently rotate in to spread the upper back. Either have your little puppy dog mimic you underneath like a big tent or have them crawl in and around as they wag their puppy tail! Ask for plenty of kisses.
Special thanks to Anselm and Henny Clinard for helping me with these photos.