Many of us have experienced days, weeks and months whereby the baby, toddler does not want to be put down. This may be the result of new teeth coming in, separation, a leap, fussiness from tummy upset/gas/reflux/colic etc. Many then chuck the baby on the hip and try to carry on with the normal household duties etc because we all know that the jobs just dont get done by themselves!
This way of carrying puts pressure on one side and eventually tilts/unbalances the pelvis region like below:
One of the ways that can help this issue is baby wearing. Purchasing a good quality carrier and getting it fitted for to you. Carrying a baby in a sling or snuggled in a wrap has more benefits than simply being a hands-free carrier – it can aid colic relief, bonding, physical development and more.
When selecting a carrier it is important to remember the following:
- Head and neck support for babies and sleeping infants/children
- Wide base of support that supports the thighs and flexes the knees
- Postural curves support
- Wide or cushioned adjustable shoulder straps
- Ability to distribute the baby’s weight evenly across the parents body
- Ease of loading/unloading, so that the parent can keep their spine in a neutral position
When it comes to exercise you can still get it done and we have found an uplifting fun and motivating class that is for you. It is called Kangatraining.
Kangatraining is a babywearing fitness class for mum and babies. One of the biggest positives of Kangatraining, is that not only do you bring your baby to class, they are an active and important part of the workout!
PreKanga is the best activity program during pregnancy. KangaOnWheel, KangaTrail, NordicKanga, ReactivKanga and KangaMix are our outdoor classes. KangaBurn is the most efficient workout without your baby. Each of our workout concepts is based on sports science and created with experts such as gynecologists, sport scientists and physiotherapist. The best bit is you can take part with a small bub or even with a toddler.
Kanga-Classes are being offered in over 25 countries. Here in Australia they have over 100 Kangatrainers running sessions across Australia in both regional and metropolitan areas. Their programs include-: PreKanga (the prenatal program)KangaTrail, KangaOnWheel and KangaMix.
You can get more info HERE
Right now the role of exercise has taken an even higher priority. Not only are people stuck at home, so they have more time to spare. Secondly, mental health has taken a hit and many are struggling with a range of heightened emotions. Research keeps demonstrating that exercise can help to level out the emotional state and is imperative to copying at this time.
An area parents struggle with is finding the time to exercise - but there are ways to do exercise at home and no matter what age the kids are they can be a party to the activity. Not only is it a great bonding exercise but you are also being a role model in showing that exercise is important for mind and body….
Exercise also helps to increase the rate of postnatal recovery, improves muscle tone, circulation, digestion, mood, sleep patterns and so much more. (The list is endless)
As a result of CO-VID19 gyms and recreational centres have closed resulting in all needing to exercise at home or in their local park. Just because you are at home doesn’t mean you need fancy equipment to get in a resistance workout. By creating a HIIT style workout you can get a whole body, sweat producing workout that can be changed daily to keep motivation high. Ours normally consists of 6-8 exercises. We do 40-45 sec of work and 15 sec rest- with 30 sec recovery at the end of each circuit.
For example a leg focused workout might look like this:
7 exercises: Knee up, Plank, glute bridge, donkey kick, fire extinguisher, grapevine and sumo squat pulse. 45 sec work, 15 sec rest=7:30 one circuit. (2 circuits =15 min, 4 circuits=30 min etc)
People are also struggling to get equipment because demand is high. The other day we saw a kettlebell advertised for $260…Just because you don’t have equipment or can’t buy at this time doesn’t mean you can’t do resistance workouts. Here are some ideas for creative ways to make your own equipment:
- An upside down saucepan can act as a mini step- use it to do toe taps, travelling pushups, around the world, knee up etc
- Filling an old cushion cover with triple bagged sand/potting mix can be a medicine ball substitute- lift above head, slams, press ups- chest, squats with hugging weight, sit up with weight, lunges etc
- Fill a backpack with those extra cans that you now have stockpiled- all sorts of weighted exercises can be done- walking lunges, squats, bicep curls, press, farmers walk, tricep extensions, jump over burpees
- A chair- tricep dips, step ups, mountain climbers
- A bucket filled with water- 1 L = about 1 kg
- Use chalk to draw an agility ladder - great for cardio speed work , jumping, quick feet
Including your children in your workout is also a possibility.
Nadine is a Brisbane Mum of two, a personal trainer, Emergency Military Nurse, blogger and a health and fitness enthusiast. Nadine has lived and breathed fitness for many years and was motivating the troops at F45 until she went on maternity leave.
During both pregnancies Nadine suffered from severe HG (Hyperemesis Gravidarum) or extreme morning sickness where she had to be hospitalised a number of times due to dehydration/monitoring. For those of you who know Nadine would appreciate that she gives everything 110% and will train anywhere/anytime. Due to unforeseen circumstances Nadine went into labour 6 weeks early and underwent an emergency caesarian. She then spent the next few weeks going back and forth to the special care nursery-pumping around the clock to nourish her little one.
For Nadine, exercise is like brushing her teeth, it is part of her day so when she made the conscious decision to NOT return to exercise postpartum it was a big thing. Listening to her inner dialogue and body is an important message for all Mums. Some tend to rush back into a regime which they may not be ready for mentally or physically- the fourth trimester is just as important as the first three…
“As you guys know I made the very conscious decision to NOT return to ‘Training’ at 6 weeks when I was cleared to begin ‘light’ exercise. Hear me out tho!! It’s interesting seeing me talk about my birth because birth trauma is REAL and what we experienced to bring Beckham here safely was incredibly scary for all involved but that is a story for another day perhaps, this is something I deal with everyday…. Anyhow this isn’t just about my birth experience….because….I hadn’t felt ready and I had to listen to that internal dialogue. I knew my recovery was going to be longer in duration due to what occurred physically and mentally for me and I know that i have had to be very meticulous, careful and very structured and progressive with my recovery. Slow and steady is absolutely what is needed for me and my body. Physically and mentally my mind and body have been through the wars. And my body has needed REST and a chance to do some internal repair on its own.-mind, body and soul without the additional stressors….Irrespective of my birth experience, I also DECIDED that the 4th trimester was something again that I wanted to immerse into, to truly soak in the time with my newborn and my family…time I’ll never get back, time to bond, time to find our groove. And without the added pressure or ‘postpartum bounce back’ that seems to be on the trend which I refuse to enter into….
Project ‘get my body back’, and some rapid postpartum mum bod has been so far out of my priorities it is not funny. That may seem interesting for someone whose life is revolved so heavily around health and fitness…(if your new to my page you may not know that I have a background in personal training, group coaching, have my online coaching and mentoring business, published fitness modelling and heavily involved in this industry) BUT and that’s not to say others that return sooner are doing the wrong thing, I would hope we are all guided by the professional advice and pave our own path unique to our journey, but what I am saying is this is MY journey and my decision making and SLOW RETURN is and has been my PRIORITY.
But THIS to me is HEALTH! Its looking after ME in all life pillars- the physical sense, the emotional sense etc etc. I have had times where I’ve wanted to get back into it. Let’s not lie. BUT it was in those moments I reminded myself of THIS. Newborn life is fleeting and Ive focused my time and energy into my baby, my family and my WELLBEING OVERALL and gentle walks with Beckham a couple of days a week and that is it, focusing on nutrition especially when a prep baby is exclusively breastfed and that is my HEALTH, my body right now is still an extension to someone else aka BABY BECKS and will be for a while. These decisions have been easy to make-especially when it involves a MIRACLE baby that was born prematurely after a traumatic birth and him being in hospital in special care for the first few weeks of his life and heck a whirlwind pregnancy with trials along the way from the get-go, trust me when I say that we were a bees dick away from our birth being the catastrophic WORST day of our lives with the outcome being potentially VERY different…now as a result; my core and abdominals have needed and will be needing progressive rehab work just like anyone would need to; but perhaps on a grander scale due to what occurred that day. Which i too have been and will continue to be working on. My c-section fortunately and unfortunately had to be rapid, had to be severe, had to be rough and was complicated to say the VERY least. What happened had to happen in order to BRING our baby out alive.
Someone doesn’t recover from birth trauma overnight. Im a resiliant person but Im not immune from that- it rocked me and Dane too- because our birthing partners experience it too lets not forget them. And it still does. It takes time. And I work on that in various ways everyday. We are appreciative and grateful with what eventuated in the end but it was a harrowing experience that perhaps I’ll share one day.
In a nutshell, taking this time slow but smart, meticulous and planned, progressive in nature and ensuring reassessment on all fonts along the way, but more importantly being discerning of where I focus my time and energy while I recover has been my priority. I know where my body ‘can go’, what it ‘can’ look like, what it is ‘capable’ of doing and achieving. But doing that in record time would be foolish and detrimental long term. Pregnancy and birth is short term, my postpartum is FOREVER. AND I choose to honour and look after that!!!!!
I’m 4 months postpartum this weekend. I now move into a new phase of my rehab. Take note, in my opinion I started rehab day 1- it just looks different which is MY VARIATION OF NORMAL. And being in a ‘gym’ hasn’t been part of it until now. 4 months postpartum now involves a progressive program that I have taken time to develop with so much intention and will be assessing as I go, and with the necessary health professional checks and advice along the way with a women’s health physiology which also will be ongoing! This new phase isn’t some crazy step up, its simply simply the next part of my progressive step in my current rehab and restrengthening this mind and body. The bi-product of all of this of course will be some aesthetic change but again the focus isn’t that solely!! Im excited to be entering this phase and Ill be sharing it with you and I hope my journey will and can inspire others to also LOOK AFTER AND TAKE MUCH CARE IN THEIR POSTPARTUM JOURNEY……”
*Nadine has released her birth story on Dear Mama Project Podcast if you are interested in hearing more.
It was once believed that lifting weight above your head would result in the umbilical cord being wrapped around the babies neck.
This sounds a bit bizarre at first, but surprisingly, many women have been subject to urgent warnings not to raise their arms above their heads for fear of strangling the baby in the womb with the umbilical cord. The truth is a woman’s arm movements have no bearing on a fetus, as her arms are not in any way connected to the umbilical cord. Babies often tangle themselves in their umbilical cord with resulting harm.
Education has taken a big step forward since then because it is ok as long as care is taken. Be especially careful lifting weights over your head in the last three months. It is also advised to not use heavy weights, hold your breath (known as the valsalva manoeuvre) and consult to gym staff/qualified professionals/obstetrician about technique if you are concerned. Overhead lifts will increase the curve in your lower spine so it is recommended to use seated position on a bench to reduce the curve.
(Swapping to front shoulder raises and lateral raises to shoulder height is preferable)
“Exercising during pregnancy, including weight training, comes with many benefits, such as help with labor and delivery, with improving your stamina, and strengthening back muscles to limit back pain,” explains Dr. Alison Mitzner, MD.
“Research has shown that women who exercise regularly are less likely to develop gestational diabetes, and on average have shorter labors, less constipation, and less swelling in the extremities,” says Dr. Jamil Abdur-Rahman, MD.
How would you feel if I told you, that you could do a 15 minute workout anywhere at any time at any stage of your fitness journey that could burn a large amount of calories and did not require equipment?
Well the training method called HIIT offers you exactly all of that.
Hiit Style training is a great introduction if your looking to come back into fitness or it’s a great challenge if you’re a seasoned exerciser.
Here are the benefits of Hiit Style Training –
I have put them in order of what I know are the biggest concerns mum's have when thinking about Hiit Style training -
1 – I’m not fit enough to do Hiit
Perfect for all fitness levels.
If you’re a mum and you're just thinking about where to start with the whole exercising thing as you want to start feeling good again, Hiit training can help. You start with a 15 minute workout and you will notice in a short amount of time you can increase the length of these.
HIIT workouts offer experienced or fit gym goers a new challenge, and beginners a quicker way to see results. You are constantly pushing yourself out of your comfort zone with the shortened rest phases.
2- I don’t want to train at a gym
You can do it anywhere
HIIT is such a simple concept of work phase and rest phase, you can take it anywhere with you – to the kids park, the gym floor, the beach, your lounge room or a hotel room on holiday. And you can choose the exercises that you have enough space to complete!
3 - I have no time to think about exercising even though I know I should
HIIT is great if you have a limited amount of time to work out. You don’t need to spend hours in the gym to reap the benefits of regular exercise and Hiit helps play a huge part in this.
- 4. I don’t own any equipment
No equipment required
HIIT workouts are so great as no equipment is required. All you need is a little bit of space. HIIT workouts can focus just your own body weight, so any workout that gets your heart rate up quickly such as plyometric, high knees, and jumping jacks can be implemented into a HIIT workout. particular muscle group – and of course if you have any injures regressions of all movements are available and still great to use.
5.. Will this help me lose this baby weight
Burns calories and helps with fat loss
The harder you exercise the harder your body has to work to fire up those muscles. Hiit is challenging for the body as you are pushing yourself through each working phase.
6 . I am more interested in making sure I can run with my kids
Great for cardio conditioning
During the high intensity periods (working phase) of exercise, HIIT takes you into an anaerobic training zone (where your body's demand for oxygen exceeds the oxygen supply available).
With consistent training in this zone, you will be able to out run your kids and be able to show them up in no time.
Article written by Cass Wilson, Mum of two who runs and co-owns HIIT That Group Fitness in Perth.
She is on a mission to help women to take better care of their bodies, and give them the confidence to get stronger both physically and mentally as their embark on their journey as a new mum. She has a special interest in pre and postnatal woman and is passionate about educating them on how to lift weights and exercise correctly,
Many woman struggle with urinary incontinence post birth....firstly it is completely normal and extremely common. It is caused from being pregnant and giving birth stretches the muscles of your pelvic floor — (the muscles that keep your bladder closed). Weakened pelvic floor muscles can’t stop your bladder from leaking. This leaking happens mostly when you cough, sneeze, lift or exercise. You may also find that you can’t wait when you want to pass urine. (It;'s known as stress incontinence)
The pelvic floor consists of layers of muscles that stretch like a supportive hammock from the pubic bone (in front) to the end of the backbone.
By performing pelvic floor exercises, you can strengthen the muscles. Pelvic floor muscle training will help the body cope with the growing weight of the baby. Healthy, fit muscles before the baby is born will mend more easily after the birth and helps to reduce or avoid stress incontinence after pregnancy. All pregnant women should do pelvic floor exercises, even if you’re young and not suffering from stress incontinence now.
If the pelvic floor is not strengthened and possibly even assessed there is a strong correlation to it rearing its ugly head during menopause. It has been found that if woman continue to do pelvic floor exercises post birth and see a woman's physio to assess the functionality then the rate of pelvic floor issues or incontinence during menopause decreases. So squeeze those kegels post birth to save your future self some embarrassment.
Support in bras is oh so important.
Did you know:
That a pair of D-cup boobs weigh in at 7 to 10kg. “That’s more than enough to pull your trunk forward, force you into a hunched-over running posture, decrease your stride’s efficiency, and up your risk of injury,” McGhee says.
If you haven’t noticed, pretty much the only thing keeping your breasts up during a run is your bra’s shoulder straps, which take a lot of weight. When straps are thin, the pressure can be so great they not only leave dents in your shoulders but hit the brachial plexus nerve group, causing numbness in the pinky fingers.
We recommend a razor back or full back and should support for high-intensity exercise.
How much your boobs bounce depends almost entirely on breast size and elasticity of the skin covering your breasts, McGhee says. However, skin tends to lose its elasticity with age and “excessive breast bouncing.” So, the more your breasts bounce, the more they will bounce during future runs. Add in breastfeeding or post breastfeeding and your lady friends could be dragging on thin ice mid run….
How much do breasts bounce? Measuring the bounce of both bare and bra-covered breasts during treadmill workouts, McGhee found the average 38D moves about 13cm from top to bottom during running. Smaller breasts bounce about 7.5cm, which can still be uncomfortable. And breasts don't just bounce in an up and down motion; some larger breasts bounce in figure-eight shapes.
While they can’t completely eliminate bouncing, high-support sports bras can cut the range of motion in half (approximately), McGhee says. The goal is for the breasts to move in unison with your torso and not bounce independently of one another.
During pregnancy there is evermore of a concern. When you're pregnant, your body has very high levels of oestrogen and progesterone, hormones that stimulate your breasts' milk glands and milk ducts, respectively. The result of all this can be a big change in bra size, but growth usually slows or stops at the end of the first trimester. No special foods, massages, exercises, or creams affect breast growth during pregnancy, so spend your money on a good supportive bra instead.
To train or not to train....
Generally if you have been doing CrossFit of F45 for a period of time prior to pregnancy you are ok to continue and scale/modify the activities. This is of course if you have no medical problems and have been generally cleared to from your doctor.
The BOXLIFE magazine sums up some great myths around this topic.
MYTH OR FACT? “Women should scale their workouts while they are pregnant.”
The most important thing for the woman to remember is to listen to her body. Each day will be different and certain movements may begin to feel awkward or uncomfortable. The competitive nature of CrossFit can cause women to feel frustrated when their bodies are telling them to slow down. Remember: It’s only for nine months!
What modifications should be used no matter what?
Whether you’re pregnant or not, form is king. Form should never be compromised when performing a lift or during a workout. As a woman’s belly grows, it will be impossible to maintain an optimal bar path. This means there will come a time where a switch to kettlebells or dumbbells is called for. Also, pregnant women release a hormone called Relaxin which causes ligaments to be looser and can affect balance. Therefore, movements such as box jumps should be avoided after the first trimester. Double-unders, for example, should be left to each individual and how she feels on the given day.
MYTH OR FACT? “Intense workouts will harm the baby.”
Intensity is a relative term. Exercise is very beneficial to your baby. Mom and baby share everything, including hormones. If mom releases endorphins while exercising, baby will reap the benefit as well. Studies also show that moms who exercise during pregnancy have larger placentas which mean more oxygen exchange for the baby.
MYTH OR FACT? “I need to monitor my heart rate when working out during my pregnancy.”
This is also an outdated fact. It’s more important to listen to your body and take breaks as needed. Over the course of a pregnancy, a woman’s blood volume increases by as much as 50%! This is why women feel short of breath during workouts a lot sooner than they are accustomed. Every minute on the minute (EMOM) workouts are great for pregnant CrossFitters as it gives them built-in rest.
MYTH OR FACT? “My diet needs to change tremendously.”
That depends on what you were eating before you were pregnant. A Paleo or Primal diet is ideal for pregnancy as it ensures that moms are getting adequate protein, minerals and good fats. The best book I’ve read on this subject is “Beautiful Babies” by Kristen Michaelis.
MYTH OR FACT? “I just found out I’m pregnant and want to start CrossFit to start living a more active lifestyle. Is it safe for me?”
Newly pregnant women have asked me this very question. I think the functional movements we do in CrossFit are definitely beneficial for pregnant women. However, if you’ve never done it before, I recommend you find a personal trainer or coach who truly knows about the pregnant body. Have them work with you one-on-one. I design programs for women with little to no CrossFit experience as well as those with many years under their belt. Beginners can benefit greatly from some of the basic movements, but I would not recommend that a newbie jump into a CrossFit class newly pregnant!
MYTH OR FACT? “Miscarriages are more likely if you CrossFit.”
It’s hard to know what exactly causes a miscarriage. It’s also easy for women to blame themselves for something they did, something they ate, etc., when sometimes nature just has other plans for us. I know many newly pregnant moms worry about this, but I would say, again, take it easy for the first trimester. You may feel tired and nauseous or you may feel awesome. Each day is different. Use this time to move your body and release endorphins, even if it’s by walking or doing something lighter until you feel more confident jumping back into a workout.
Just tell us…Is it safe to CrossFit while pregnant?
As with any exercise, as long as you’ve been doing it for at least six months prior to pregnancy, you should be fine. The functional movements we do in CrossFit are extremely beneficial for helping women get through labor. Squatting is one of the best exercises for the pelvic floor and tends to help CrossFitting mamas have shorter pushing times.
I tend to be conservative when it comes to some of the more “controversial” topics regarding pregnancy. For example, I am adamantly opposed to going upside down while pregnant. It’s one of those instances where you will probably be OK, but what if you aren’t? Why risk it for a handstand push-up? I think it’s important to take a step back and put it all into perspective. Women must also remember not to compare themselves to anyone else. Just because your friend is doing muscle ups while pregnant doesn’t mean it will feel OK for you. Listening to your body each and every day is key.”
The BARBELLPHYSIO.com recommends not doing the following exercises:
- Bench press
Despite the common misconception otherwise, resistance training is actually very beneficial for pregnant women. But one situation you should avoid is lying flat on your back for too long, especially as you advance into your second trimester and the weight of the uterus puts pressure on the major blood vessels running alongside your spine. Replace the bench press with an incline dumbbell press to avoid this issue.
- Sit ups
Although exercise during pregnancy is definitely good for you, the muscles of the abdomen are being put under considerable strain as the baby forces them to stretch and thin. Side planks and Pallof presses are good alternatives to sit ups with lower risk.
- Push ups and burpees
Although your body is still capable of doing these in muscular terms, the simple mechanics of the situation may well defeat you as your rapidly growing belly starts to press the floor. Luckily, all you need to do is raise the upper part of your body, either on a bench or bars, to give yourself enough space to enjoy these CrossFit basics.
- Snatch and clean
Again, this becomes difficult due to the sheer mechanics of your protruding abdomen as pregnancy progresses. Perform the power version instead and then move to squatting under control.
- Pushing your personal best
OK, so this isn’t a specific exercise, but it’s pretty much the bread and butter of CrossFit, so it’s worth addressing. Although the old ‘don’t let your heart rate rise above 140 bpm’ myth has almost completely died out, there’s a consensus that putting your body under too much stress while exercising may be uncomfortable for your growing baby as his oxygen levels drop.
Kirsty Palmer is a Personal Trainer and Nutrition coach. She also balances this with her beautiful 9 month old little boy.
Her passion is helping others and if you follow her on social media you will see she has quite an army of woman who are inspired by her greatness.
“Seeing the change in someone throughout their fitness journey is incredible. Not just physically, but also emotionally. They have become more confident, more optimistic, healthier and stronger in all aspects of their life.
Working with all different skill sets and fitness levels I am always working for my clients. Doing everything I can to teach them how to live and love a healthier life.
My aim is to encourage many females to love their body - feel confident in their own skin - and to enjoy the life they have by moving their body daily and feeling their body with nourishing foods!”
She is Owner and Personal Trainer of Kirsty Palmer Fitness, has coached at Team Des Fitness In Birmingham UK as well as being the author of 2 Exercise Ebooks based for gym and at home workouts.
We caught up with her recently to discuss all things pregnancy and beyond:
1.How did your exercise regime change in your pregnancy?
My weights dropped and reps increased.
I had to ensure my heart rate didn't over work through the roof like normal, so listening to my body whilst training and not pushing like crazy was a must!
I was also so tired so some days I listened to my body and had a rest day instead of working out. Don't beat yourself up, its only a season!
2.If there was a change, why? Energy, not sure about what to do etc
My energy levels were so up and down throughout my pregnancy, some days I woke up and felt like I could run a marathon and others I just wanted to sleep. Pregnancy really taught me to listen to my body and rest when I needed to.
3.What exercises did you do in your pregnancy?
Exactly what I was doing pre pregnancy as that is what my body was use to. I preferred going on the stationary bike than walking. And did mini resistance/body weighted circuits when my energy levels where high! my aim was to try move my body daily, even if it was a walk around the block, just to get outdoors and be in the fresh air!
4.Number one top training tip for mums to be?
Don't start exercising crazy and doing different movements if your body is not use to it or you have never done it before just because you want to be healthy as you have found out you are pregnant.
If you want to exercise start with walking And light cycling on the bike. Remember the stress from exercise you go through your baby does to.
5.Did you breastfeed?
Yes, and still breastfeeding - 9 months in and going strong.
6.If so, do you think your active pursuits effected your supply?
Ive never had a crazily high supply from the beginning, it's always been just enough. So I had to ease my way back into exercise and still to this day I manage 3-4 sessions per week and I am okay still to this day.
7.How did you balance feeding and exercise?? - tips
Sometimes I don't know half the things I have been able to balance out. Especially being a single mum. But for me exercise makes me feel better, and I honestly can't live without it. Its been my form of me time. I have been demand feeding from day one so once I feed Elijah I know I have a good hour to workout from home, or even when he sleeps, I do a quick workout. Every day is different. So I just go with the flow and how I am feeling!
Head to www.kirstypalmer.com to find out more about this inspiring mumma.
I have been using essential oils daily to support my family for over two years now. It’s funny really, I cannot imagine my live without them. Then have supported each and every one of us in so many ways and I am so grateful to have these amber bottles of mother nature in our life.
If you google the word “mindfulness” then the word “mediation” is usually featured in the same paragraph or post. However, personally I think there are other ways to practice mindfulness too. According to Russ Harris, author of The Happiness Trap, “mindfulness involves bringing consciously awareness to you’re here and now experience with openness, curiosity and flexibility…”
I love using essential oils to connect with myself on a deeper level. They are the gift from mother nature, that can help support our emotions and we love to use them in a way to support us in how we want to feel and let go off in that moment.
Here are some examples of how you can use essential oils to support your mindfulness practice. Please note I am only talking on behalf of my practise:
Diffuse Essential Oils – When I first wake, I love to diffuse citrus oils like Wild Orange or Lemon or Lime with Peppermint. It allows me to focus on what needs to be done to start my day. I love writing a list of the days tasks I need to get done and then putting it aside to later time in the day. I feel my mind is fresh when I first wake. I continue to diffuse essential oils throughout the day depending on what I want to feel. I love using the resource EMOTIONS & ESSENTIAL OILS – A Reference Guide for Emotional Healing to help find oils that are suitable for my mood and both positive and negative emotional support.
Drinking Water – Whenever I have or make a glass of water, I take time to be practice gratitude and mindfulness. I tune into the moment. I listen and focus on the water trickling into the glass, I pick my favourite essential oil from my shelf, inhale some from the amber bottle first and then add the drop to the glass. I try take my mind off whatever I am focusing on at the time and bring it to that moment. It calms my mind so much, it’s so simple to do. Plus, so many people in the world are without this luxury, so practicing this daily helps you to feel gratitude for it. You can also do a similar practice when washing your hands too.
Taking a few deep breathes in and out –Sounds simple right? It is, but most of us don’t do it enough. I love to apply 1-2 drops of essential oil on my finger-tips, rub my hands together and cup my nose. Then take a few deep breathes in and out. I love the dōTERRA Balance and Lavender Peace blend for this practice. Wild Orange and Peppermint are great for a focus reset and gives you uplifting vibes.
Moving your body – Getting outside in mother nature or out of the house to the gym can support all those good endorphins. When working out, practicing yoga, Pilates or just walking, most of the time our mind is focusing on being present in that moment due to the fact you have to focus on what you are doing, eg lifting up weights, walking to your destination, pushing a little harder on your run. I love using essential oils to motivate me to work out. Peppermint, pink pepper, ginger, lemon, black pepper and cinnamon bark are all essential oils I call “mother natures preworkout.” Place a drop under your tongue or in a veggie cap or on your inner ankles to give you an energy boost.
Gratitude Journal – I place a drop of Frankincense over my heart and write in this book daily. I write 5 things I am grateful for, some days its little things and others in big things.
Create a roller bottle filled with your favourite essential oils – apply to your pulse points and over your heart.
Want more from Alice – www.instagram.com/aliceinessentialoilland
Join her tribe - https://www.mydoterra.com/aliceinhealthyland/#/
Written by Joanne Shepherd for bodyandsoul.com.au
Can’t find the time to exercise? Make your newborn, baby or toddler, part of your routine, says this mum and personal trainer.
One of the hardest things when you become a new mum is making time for you. Actually, in a way, it’s one of the more important things because if you don’t look after yourself then the rest doesn't function very well.
When you’re a brand new mum it’s important to get fresh air and get the main body systems working. It helps to increase the rate of postnatal recovery, improves muscle tone, circulation, digestion, mood, sleep patterns and so much more.
Once your doctor has cleared you to exercise there are a range of options. The opportunities are endless so depending on the age of your children here are some other ways to fit in some exercise with your little ones in tow.
Putting the baby in the stroller and doing a bench to bench workout
At your local park or equivalent, complete an exercise then walk to the next park bench and complete a set of the next exercise. An example could be as simple as the following: static lunge whilst holding the pram (10 each leg), Bear crawl across 10m up and back, incline push-up, sprint, tricep push up, squat pulse, mountain climbers. (At each bench perform 10 -15 reps).
Make the most out of your baby carrier
Most newborns love the Baby carrier. I remember days where the baby was strapped to me 24/7 which made it hard to get anything done. But by placing them in the carrier you can still do a workout. It is a great way to ease back into exercise and can be done anywhere or anytime. Examples of exercises that you can perform are walking lunges, sumo squats, torso twist and punch, the chair dip, hip-raisers, wall sit, standing donkey kick (leg raiser).
Postpartum the most important thing is to listen to your body, work from inside out and focus on core, pelvic tilts and Kegel exercises.
As the baby starts to become more aware of the surroundings and enjoy the time outside there are a number of extra options that you can include into your daily workout schedule. Setting a positive and healthy example from the beginning is so important. Remember monkey see monkey do!
You don’t need gym equipment to get you started - the stroller is a great option! You can include sit ups by keeping feet on the stroller and doing peek a boo, plank/reach and tap on either side of the stroller, side and back leg lift, squats to calf raisers, lunges, one leg flute bridge/lift, push-ups, knee lifts, back leg lift to front leg crunch.
A mat is another option where the little one can have tummy time or lay on their back kicking about while you perform a sequence of exercises. They particularly like the push up and planks as you can make it into a game. It is also a great bonding time as you have no other distractions and focus the attention on them (it also takes the pain of the exercise away.)
Examples of mat exercises are leg lifts, baby weight bridge hip thrusters, Russian twist with baby, superman, side plank, extended leg lift. Some higher intensity options include burpees, reverse crunch or high knees. Yoga and Pilates is also another good mat option to include the little one in.
As children grow into the next stage they like to mimic and feel part of the workout. This is great bonding time and is also demonstrating a positive and healthy role model.
A partner workout
This is a great way to get them to burn off some additional energy. Doing exercises like squat jumps, incline push-ups, burpees, sit up hi 10’s, plank and feet taps. Your child may even have some creative ideas of their own! Anything to get the body moving.
Park and playground equipment offer great exercise options including: pull ups on the monkey bars or leg hangs and lifts. The slide is a good tricep dip option. You can use a curved ladder to do incline push-ups or hanging row. The swing can be used to do a plank tuck or Bulgarian split squat.
The options are truly endless, but the benefits from working out with kids gives you the well-deserved time for you, great bonding time (they pick up on the positive vibes from you doing something for yourself), you are setting a positive lifelong example and it can benefit their muscular and motor skills at the same time. Realistically it is ourselves who put the barriers up to exercising once we have children. Remember ‘the first step is often the hardest’ and ‘where there is a will there is a way’.
Joanne Shepherd is a personal trainer and founder of Mummactiv
After the oxytocin wears off….
Let’s be real for a second. Let’s stop and reflect on what you’ve done. YOU GREW A HUMAN! So to me, you are in fact a Superhero! Whether you home or hospital birthed, whether your baby came out through the sunroof or not, whether you breast or bottle feed, your baby is here and earthside because of you. When was the last time you gave yourself a pat on the back for that?
From the shitty nappies and vomiting, to PND and sleep schools, to bizarre mothers groups and unsolicited parenting advice, mothering is a right of passage that stretches not just your belly but your soul to grow.
The oxytocin wears off, the delivery of home made meals and new baby gifts stop. You’re neck deep in forever washing and sleepless nights and right there perhaps some doubt about your life direction comes up. You stare in the mirror potentially at this new body you judge and loathe, resenting the biological privilege that just railroaded life as you knew it. And that’s the moment, right there where you can catch yourself, and the negative self talk. Where you connect and redirect with you again (just like you will with your toddler in the years to come, thanks Dr Dan Siegel!) because this is where it gets better.
Yes your pelvic floor will recover, yes they will in fact one day sleep through the night. Yes you will enjoy sex again, wear white, and even another babe if you choose to do so. You’ll be stronger, fitter, wiser and more full of love than ever before.
As a Mother you are the embodiment of grace under pressure. Alongside congratulating yourself for carrying and delivering your babe, celebrate the fact that you are keeping your babe alive! You’ve acquired new skills like being able to pick things up off the floor with the big toe hook and flick method and you now have this quiet understanding of women in a new way that you may not have experienced before.
This babe of yours took time to grow and it takes time for the body to recover and that’s ok. Thank your body. Be kind to her. Love her and celebrate her. The older, wiser me would go back to tell the young new Mum me exactly this today.
CATCH YOURSELF in the now. Be present to the sweetness and stillness of every moment, chaotic, wild and wonderful. Simply feel your feet on ground beneath you and become the witness to the sensations and flow of your breath. Inhale. Exhale. Repeat.
Affirm and say…
I AM AMAZING.
I AM LOVED, HELD AND SUPPORTED.
I AM AN INCREDIBLE MOTHER.
I AM ENOUGH JUST AS I AM.
And remember the great mothering Mantra, this too shall pass.
Laura is a Mother, Lover, Seeker and Yogini. She wears lycra as part her living! She is SAMA Studio’s Founder and Principal teacher, facilitating Yoga classes, retreats, workshops and Yoga Teacher Training. Find and follow her on the below links or catch her teaching at Ekam Yoga Festival this year:
First introduced to Yoga around 10 years of age and has fond childhood memories of chanting the Gayatri Mantra, meditating, gazing at paintings of Hindu deities and playfully hanging upside down.
By 2007 Laura was a regular student of Yoga. In 2008 her interest in Buddhist philosophy and mindfulness practices led her to taking vows with HH 14th Dalai Lama. Teaching Yoga has been her full-time profession since 2013. She is a Yoga Australia Level 2 registered teacher.
Laura’s motivation to share the gifts the practice brings with others is in service to cultivating and strengthening a greater sense of Kula –Community of Heart. Having experienced first-hand the support a Yoga practice offers in times of trauma, illness and injury, Laura hopes to inspire and connect students to the wisdom and intelligence of their own bodies moving. To feel and know the resiliency and courage of one’s own Spirit.
Known for helping students connect to the intelligence of alignment, she progressively builds students to meet their edges – be it in a flow, alignment or restoration class. She shares in a fun and light-hearted fashion, without skipping the particulars, weaving mythological storytelling and philosophy throughout.