Archive for the ‘yoga’ Tag

A blank page.

Our children come into the world, much like a blank page but with personality. A blue page, or a pink or a textured page but blank. The underlying being is there but the words have not been written, and especially not engraved in stone. What do we decide to teach them? There are so many possibilities, important things like, numbers, letters, names for things, to get along with other kids, look both ways when they cross the street, and to not pick their noses in the middle of ballet class.

I believe that for me the most important thing I can teach my children is a love of physical activity. Except I didn’t need to teach them this, they were born with it. (The way I may have influenced my children and their physicality was by being as physically active as I could be while I was pregnant. I ran, I stretched, I did yoga, push-ups, lifted weights, and walked many miles a day. So, my kids came out running give or take about 9 months. Check my fitness pregnancy blog if you want more details. An excellent resource if you are considering being active during your pregnancy is the book Exercising Through Your Pregnancy by James F Clapp III MD and remember to consult your ob/gyn or midwife.) I’m sure most, if not all children, are born with this love of being physical, the need to explore the world around them and the only way to do that is by moving.

Let the crawlers and toddlers be active, get out of their way, be close, spot the adventurous ones, but also let them fall, let them climb, pick them up, let them explore some more. And so quickly the toddler years are over. Preschool years begin and we, as parents, begin our anxiety about schooling our kids. Relax. Let the preschool years and early elementary years still be about motor skills, both fine and gross motor skills. You can focus on their “schooling” from first or second grade until they are through high school and into college. School will not keep your kids active, in fact it’s the beginning of a decline into adult sedentary living!

So let your kids be active! Have a cartwheel competition, a handstand competition, a jump on one foot competition, a bridge competition. Just do it with your kids! Let them see your love of being active, of sweating, of exercising, of playing a sport, and then give them an airplane ride or wrestle a bit.

Airplane

Back to business

I am back! Feels like after the past year of very little structured exercise I am now getting a daily dose of exercise and what a difference that makes!

Since my daughter was born just over 2 years ago, it has really been tough to have any sort of regular exercise beyond basic survival activities. Tough to even find time or motivation to write in my fitness blog. After all if I wasn’t feeling fit, how could I write a fitness blog?I was in super amazing shape when I was pregnant with my daughter, (Check my Pregnancy Fitness Blog), but now, not so amazing. Still 5 pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight, not a big deal, but I have been feeling weak and squishy, not toned at all. My back has been aching every morning and I just haven’t had energy. But exercise does wonders for the energy and the motivation, my back doesn’t ache every morning and I hope soon I will actually let my kids climb on me without complaining that they are too heavy!

The best part was this morning: My daughter, remember she turned 2 in June, woke up early and decided to get out the yoga mat and “do yoga”. I was still laying in bed trying to sleep. Then later my son wanted to do yoga with me. We did tree pose separately and then holding hands helping each other to balance. Very soon there was a bit of a tussle; only two yoga mats and my daughter wanted to join us. I pulled out the other mat and all three of us were doing yoga (they also did somersaults, donkey kicks and cartwheels) together.  I guess even though I feel that my exercise routine has been super irregular over the past year or two, my children have seen me exercise enough to understand and believe that “exercise,”  yoga and all types of physical activity are normal activities that people do; may they continue to believe that for the rest of their lives!

Centering


This morning as I was running by myself I had the pleasure of letting my brain run and as I was heading home I began thinking over the past week. My mom had come for a visit so she had spent a lot of time with my son giving me lots of time to “get things done.” I did get a lot done, but I also spent very little time (compared to the normal amounts of time) with Mateo. I saw him for just over 2 hours on Friday. That is nothing to a two year old and Saturday morning the effects were felt: toys were thrown, water spilt with gusto, and he refused to put a shirt on. When we asked if he wanted to go outside, he said, “No.” He knew he would be going with Grandma; Mama and Papa would be staying home. They did finally leave and we continued to “get things done.”  

This continued over the whole weekend. Mid-day Sunday Mateo had had enough. I was busy trying to clean up the lunch dishes and finish putting books back onto the bookshelves that we had moved, he began to pull all of his books off the shelves while sending sly, devilish glances toward me. He wanted my attention. 

He got it.

I had run earlier that morning but had not stretched; the yoga mat was still open on the living room rug. “Let’s go to the yoga mat,” I suggested. This was met with great enthusiasm. He loves when I stretch on the yoga mat.

We went to the yoga mat and had a bit of a role reversal: he lay down in the middle of the mat and wanted me to climb on him. I’m not heavy, but he would have been squashed if I really climbed on him. So I modified, I supported my weight in a reverse table top (like in a crab race, hands and feet on the floor hips

pressing up), Reverse Table Topbut then I lowered down on top of him so he was getting a bit squashed. Then I came up and suggested we get his stuffed monkey instead. So, his monkey climbed on him (with my assistance), then we switched and his monkey climbed on me. Then Mateo climbed on me and the cat climbed under my legs, then Mateo followed her under the tunnel of a pelvic lift. 

This physical bonding and physical play together is so important to young children. It centers them, helps them center physically with all the movement, and emotionally by being close to a parent. As parents we are the center of the lives of our children and we are where they can come back to when they need to be secure, or just to organize their busily building brain, a place where they can center themselves and be comfortable. 

So we played tunnels and it was great fun, for the stuffed monkey, the cat, the toddler, and me. And I finally did a little extra stretching and physical activity for myself.

I found a running partner!

7:55 am August 2, 2008

 Today I will go for a run with a new running partner, if I can coordinate meeting with her at the correct time. I will be great if we can, for both of us. It always helps to have a partner especially when winter arrives and it’s cold and dark outside, very difficult to motivate for running and especially when I haven’t slept enough. She is a mother of two cute little girls, I think her second one is close to 6 months now. I will finish the log when I return. 

Later….

Okay, that was a hard run, too fast, and plenty long. My new running partner is very good; an endurance runner. We did a loop around Cadman Plaza running loop (which I adore, the rubberized surface is fantastic), then we headed down Middagh Street to the Promenade, and up Montague Street with a confused turn onto Clinton, to Pierrpont Street to get to Cadman Plaza West, turned onto Tillary Street, then onto the entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge (I didn’t realize we were turning so there was a momentary collision of two sweaty, heavy breathing mothers as I went straight and she turned), then the difference between the two of us really became apparent as we reached the stairs going down off the Brooklyn Bridge that would allow us back into our neighborhood of Dumbo; she was ready to keep going, I was ready to call it a day. 

We called it a day and went down the stairs; I still ran the rest of the way back to Bridge Street (“ran” may be a little strong a word, “jogged slowly” is more accurate), then walked up the two flights of stairs. When I arrived home, Mateo was awake, so we said good morning, got out the yoga mat and I did a round of the sun salutation. My son decided it was time to poop, I changed the diaper and then finished the rest of the sun salutation… Okay, finished is not quite the most accurate word: 

The rounds were not consecutive, many poses became tunnels for Mateo: downward dog, plank, the step backs. Then Mateo climbed on top  of me in the middle of a round and I held plank position with him on top; 25 pounds of toddler is a great challenge for the stabilizing muscles of the torso and shoulders. I attempted Vashisthasana, but Mateo decided it was time to climb on me again.Mateo climbing

I think Vashisthasana is one of the most challenging poses to do with a two year old climbing on top, but I could really feel my oblique muscles working, more than the usual amount. Then he wandered away to play with cars and I began to prep for a headstand, which I have not done consistently since before he was born. That was when Mateo decided that I had exercised enough, “whine, whine, cry cry.”

It was time to end the session, Time to just be, no more trying to get in one more pose.  

Mateo cuddled up in my lap, resting his head on my belly. Arms wrapped around my waist.

Inhale.

Exhale. 

Rock, rock. 

Inhale. 

Exhale.

Inhale, “do you want breakfast?” 

Inhale.

“No.”

Exhale. 

Inhale.

Exhale.

Rock, rock.

Inhale, ”you just want to sit with me, right?”

“Yes.”

And so we sat.