Hey Masalamommas! Before going into the workouts, which, by the way, are all centered around disguising exercise with playful interaction with your little ones, I wanted to take this opportunity to throw in some real talk. I will not be offended (um…nor will I even know, ha) if you skip ahead to the exercises 🙂
A couple of weeks ago I saw this post on my Instagram feed that really resonated with me and my outlook on fitness and healthy living.
I truly believe that age, weight, size of clothing, appearance, or the shape of our bodies does not define our health or fitness levels. What matters is that we’re LIVING each day. We’re MOVING each day. We’re PUSHING ourselves to be better each day. Usually, I am a positive person and even when my confidence wanes, I am able to remind myself of the many things I have to be grateful for. On days like that, I know my outside shines with the goodness coming from within. But what about the days when nothing seems to go right?
Kajal Desai, Founder, Doonya
The same week that I was loving on this post, I had one day in particular where I woke up in a foul mood and my negative feelings transferred to every aspect of my self, my thoughts, and my perceived appearance. I also skipped my morning Sun Salutations because it was later than I usually get started in the morning. I had class that evening and changed into 5 different outfits because I felt gross and unattractive. I finally gave up and headed to class feeling dejected. It just so happened that upon entering the classroom, a student asked if I was ok and that I looked tired. There it was – the flip side of your inside matching your outside.
In that moment, I knew I had to change my mentality otherwise my class was not going to be a positive experience for those who were there. I reminded myself that it was my job to not only help them escape from a possibly tough day but this was my time to turn things around as well. I took a deep breath and reminded myself how blessed we were to all have bodies that can move, that can feel music, that can enjoy the moment.
Post-class, another student commented that I looked great that day and she loved my energy in class. HA! It had worked — a simple mental change reminds us that our insides DO match our outsides and that endorphins work in both directions. Of course I left feeling ten times better than I had all day. But here’s another thing that I realized — it took someone else noticing what I had felt all day for me to do something about it. Why didn’t I take a moment in the morning to correct my mood myself? In times when we’re down, can we look to ourselves to say the things we need to hear?
I am working on this and hope that you join me. The most important reason to find the answers within ourselves is to guide our children to do the same. Maybe if I had just done those darn Sun Salutations even though I thought I was “running behind,” I would have had a better day.
The act of DOING makes us feel better in and of itself. This is why I love to view exercise as a positive experience – no punishment, just have fun. And with that…here’s a couple of things we’ve been enjoying at home lately.
If you feel like you need to get pumped before you start: Check this Out.
Find a piece of furniture that you can use to “hide” behind. A couch works perfectly! With your hands on top, squat down with knees and feet turned out into a wide sumo squat. Make sure knees do not push past the toes and that you are sitting back into the hamstrings to avoid pressure on the knees. Push off your feet, heel-to-toe, and squeeze your thighs and glutes to burst up into a high jump peek-a-boo!
Try not to use your arms to lift but instead focus on pushing off of your legs. The arms can help control you on the way back down. Make sure to come down gently, bending the knees and sitting directly back into a squat.
***Be careful not to land with straight legs and locked knees!!
Do 3 sets of 10 of these (with breaks between each set) for a great leg workout and some good cardio!
Baby Bounce Russian Twists
Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor about hip-width apart. Raise your upper body about halfway to form a “V” position with your thighs. Hold baby directly in front of you with arms straight if possible or with a slight bend as needed.
Inhale and then twist your torso as far to one side as possible on the exhale. Make sure you are twist from the abs and keeping your legs forward and hips and buttocks on the ground. Inhale to come back to center and then repeat rotation to other side.
**If your baby weighs too much (I have a lightweight!), you can always place him/her on one side or the other and look at him/her when twisting side to side. They will still be engaged!**
Complete 3 sets of 10 (both sides is 1)
“I’m Gonna Get You” Forward and Reverse Sprints
I named these sprints because that’s usually what I say as I run forward to R-man and he ALWAYS cracks up. I try to find a long stretch of hallway space for this though it may even be something you can do outside. Just run forward as fast as you can. Stop for a hug, kiss, or just to say hi.
And then jog BACKWARDS back to the starting point. Running backwards is great for the hamstrings. Just make sure to stay light on those feet!
If your little person has moved from your run-to endpoint, it’s ok to zoom past him/her too. Regardless, I’m sure they will find it hilarious!
Complete 2 sets of 10 forward-backward runs
Baby Bear Crawls
This move is a great core strengthening full-body exercise. Here’s the bonus: your kiddo probably already does it all of the time! I have met so many babies that either skip crawling and do this or start bear crawling once they’re knees hurt from regular crawling. haha. Mine loves to join me in this exercise (and then apparently take cuddle breaks halfway through!).
For this exercise, keep your arms and legs straight with hips high in the air and move forward with opposite arm and legs moving together as you crawl around the room!
Sun Salutations with Your Sunshine
My husband and I have started doing 6 rounds of this every morning as soon as we wake up. We have seen a huge shift in our energy level and it has been a great way to start our mornings off with positive thoughts and sound minds. Baby R loves to walk and crawl around and under us and we know he is learning by example as he breaks into downward dog randomly throughout the day!
1) Start in Mountain Pose with legs directly under the hip bones, belly button in and tailbone slightly tucked under. Keeps shoulders down and relaxed
2) Inhale – arms over your head and into namaste if you like, shoulders relaxed (Utthita Hastasana in Tadasana)
3) Exhale – forward fold, bend knees slightly if hamstrings feel tight, and keep back straight. Inhale here.
4) Exhale – step the right foot back to a high lunge, finger tips on the floor next the the front foot. Inhale here.
5) Exhale – step back and come into plank position – shoulders directly above wrists, arms straight and body aligned from head to tailbone. You should be in a horizontal Mountain position.
6) Inhale – keep arms glued to sides and bend elbows to bring body towards the floor trying not to lie flat on the ground.
7) Exhale – straighten arms and push hips forward while lifting the upper body through the chest into Upward Dog. Use arms to lift up without putting pressure on the lower back.
8) Inhale – push back into plank position.
9) Exhale – lift hips upward into Downward dog keeping spine aligned and legs as straight as possible forming a slight V with the body.
10) Inhale – step the left foot forward high lunge on the same side as before
8) Exhale – step the right foot to meet the right foot. Bend the knees if your hamstrings feel tight
9) Inhale – walk the fingers forward flat back
10) Exhale – forward fold
11) Inhale – slowly come up, keeping the back flat
12) Exhale lower the arms down
Repeat with lunge on the other leg and make sure to do an even number each side.
I suggest 6 rounds (3 each side) to start but work up to 10!
And last but NEVER least…Don’t stop the feeling…JUST DANCE!