#angegetshealthy – Backyard Workouts

One of the things I like most about Active Mums is that many of the exercise can be done, safely, anywhere, without any fancy equipment. While we’ve been on holiday from the classes, I’ve been working out in our backyard or in the lounge, with my own special helpers.

When the sun has been shining (pretty much most of the time since before Christmas), I’ve been getting out and mixing up some toning exercises with shuttle runs on the lawn. Using my mobile phone as a timer and music player has made it so much easier to keep track of how I’m going; doing press ups for two minutes sounds simple but without a timer, I find I always give up well before I need to!

IMG_6645 IMG_6660 IMG_6666 IMG_6672 IMG_6689Squats and lunges are fun and easy to do with kids – babies and toddlers make great extra weights – and my boys love copying me while I’m doing press ups. They usually turn a shuttle run into a race (of course), and often a bit of an obstacle course (balance bike or golf club hurdle, anyone??), and we have a lot of fun racing outside together.

It takes a lot longer, of course, but in my mind, a 30 minute workout completed over an hour is better than no workout at all.

(I often post on Instagram using #angegetshealthy and #angestayshealthy, and love seeing other people’s inspiring and motivating getting healthy posts!)


#angegetshealthy with Active Mums

Sitting here, listening to rain fall and thunder crash above me, this morning’s Active Mums outdoor exercise session seems like a bit of a dream. It was so good – SO GOOD – to be out in the warm air, getting some much-needed vitamin D at the same time as working off all the Kettle Corn I ate yesterday (seriously, have you guys tried that stuff? Sweet and salty at the same time, man it’s good!).

I used to go to Active Mums when Tiny was a baby, but I was never really that into it. If I’m completely honest with myself, I am inherently lazy, and if I can’t lift a weight or see a change in my fitness, my interest tends to wane pretty fast.

Running Dunedin NZThis time, it’s completely different.

I feel less pressure to keep up with the other lovely mummies, and this gentler approach has actually seen my fitness and strength improve more than I expected. Our instructor (hi Jo!) takes a very holistic approach to health and fitness, and mixes things up for us every week, which makes things fun – variety is the spice of life, right? Before my first class, I told her I was feeling apprehensive, having not dragged my lazy butt off the couch in a while, and her response has stayed with me: “There are no egos at Active Mums”. That helped, so much. I went to that first class worried that I’d be a sweaty mess after five minutes, and I was, but I didn’t care because I was made to feel like being there was more important than how long I could shuttle run for.

Running Dunedin NZIt also helps that I’m doing the classes with some very good friends. I used to be a solo exerciser – the idea of running with others didn’t interest me at all – but getting fit and healthy with friends is THE BEST. We chat, we encourage, we sweat, we chat some more. We go for walks and runs together and I look forward to those times like you wouldn’t believe – we’ve laughed and cried and vented and brainstormed, which has helped clear the cobwebs on many occasions. Being fit and healthy isn’t just a physical thing, and being able to get outside with like-minded people is pretty awesome.

Running Dunedin NZPhysically, I’ve noticed big changes too. There is muscle definition where there has never been definition before (or not for a looooooong time, anyway!), and my energy levels have skyrocketed. I actually look forward to each class, and our extra workouts – I missed them like craaaazy when I was sick recently!

Active Mums Dunedin NZAnd where else could you find a group of women willing to lift a heavy Holden Captiva that was stuck on a little pole???

(I often post on Instagram using #angegetshealthy, and love seeing other people’s inspiring and motivating getting healthy posts!)

40 Days of Yoga – round 2 complete

Done. Another 40 days on the mat, every day on the mat, every day a little time to breathe, to connect, to forget, to remember.

I actually finished a week or so ago, but haven’t had a chance to think about it until now. My hubs has been away for the past eight long days, and I haven’t been on the mat at all during that time, and I’ve missed it.

Like the first time, I went through stages of mat-resistance, where the last thing I wanted was to do yoga, but I pushed through, and the desire to be on the mat always came back. I found my flexibility and strength came back quickly too, which gave me that extra motivation when I needed it most.

I did fall off the wagon when it came to posting photos on Instagram though…there are only so many yoga-selfies that one can take without hurting oneself!

For now, I’m looking forward to starting a new yoga class this week, and will aim to practise at home at least twice a week; I do find daily is a stretch (pardon the pun) at the moment when my boys are so little, but I could manage a couple of times a week until I feel like it’s time to do another 40 Days.

Progress Report: 40 Days of Yoga 2

I’m almost halfway through this round of 40 Days of Yoga – it’s going much faster than the first round, and I’m enjoying it much, much more. I have just come out of a few days of mat-resistance, but on each of those days, I still practised and allowed myself to not feel guilty about taking it easy. And I came out of that yoga-funk, and am back to loving it.

Plank1 Plank2 I’ve found my flexibility and strength have returned very quickly, and it’s very easy to over-extend myself…I have to remember that it’s been a good long while since I last practised so regularly, there’s no one here to adjust my form, and throwing myself straight back into intermediate level poses might not always be the best idea.

YogaKnowing that I’m doing this alongside Cat makes it even more fun, and seeing her progress on Instagram is great inspiration; knowing I’d be letting someone else down if I miss a day is all the extra motivation I need.

Forty Days of Yoga – Round 2

It’s been a long, long time since I was last on my yoga mat, and for a long, long time I’ve been telling myself I would do another 40 days, to get myself back into the groove.

When I mentioned it briefly last week, Cat said she was keen to join me, and so as of yesterday…we’re on the mat for 40 days. We’ll be documenting our journeys on Instagram, and blogging, and there are another two lovelies (that I know of!) who are also playing along.

This time, we’ve made our own rules – we’re sticking to doing 40 days in a row, back to day one if you miss a day, but we’re being more flexible about the type of practise that counts (DVDs, apps, classes), which will make it more achievable for those not comfortable with a self-led practise.

I started strong, with a 60 minutes practise that reminded me why I do yoga, and in contrast to the first round, I was excited about getting back on my mat. Here’s hoping that enthusiasm will continue!

A Casual Sunday Morning Stroll

Over the (pathetic-excuse-for) summer, a group of friends and I have been walking at least once a week while our biggest ones are at kindy. We bundle our not-so-little littlest ones into their buggies, load up with drink bottles, snack boxes and sun- and rain-shades, and go for an 8km power walk.

As the summer has gone on, those hills have gotten easier, and we’ve been getting faster. During the holidays, we even took double-buggies, each pushing more than 30kg of children and buggy up those hills. Okay, so we only did that once, but we did it, which is the point here.

Stadium to Surf Dunedin 2014
On Sunday, we participated in the Dunedin Stadium to Surf 10km fun run/walk, sans children. We crossed the finish line at 1hour, 40minutes, a time we were all more than happy with, given that it was 2km more than we were used to.

Stadium to Surf Dunedin 2014
Along the way, we saw Ms D’s partner and kiddies having their morning tea – Mr W had cut up orange quarters to offer us. We also had Mrs C’s husband, sister and kiddies drive past a few times, horn tooting, hands waving, car covered in signs saying “GO MUM!” and “Yummy Mummy Support Crew”. They made our day….and the day of many people walking near us.

Stadium to Surf Dunedin 2014Stadium to Surf Dunedin 2014

It was great fun, and a small personal achievement. I’ve often thought about doing a fun walk, but never actually did anything about it until this year. And who knows? Maybe I’ll run it next year.

Forty Days of Yoga

Done. Just like that.

40 days. Every day – or night – on the mat, stretching and flexing, contorting myself into poses I thought my body would have forgotten.

The first few days were hard, physically, but I was amazed at how quickly my body remembered each pose, and how fluidly I seemed to move beyond my initial comfort zone.

It wasn’t always easy, getting on the mat every day. Some days, I was tired and I just did not want to be there. I wanted to pour a glass of wine and snuggle on the couch with my husband, watching mindless television and eating chocolate.

But I did it. Even if those sessions were shorter or gentler, I did it. The important thing for me was to still get on the mat, to do what I felt I needed, and to not beat myself up if my practise wasn’t very strong.

Some days, I was champing at the bit for my babies to go to bed so I could get on the mat. Those were the sessions that were the most energetic, the strongest and the most focussed. The sessions where I knew I could push myself just a little further.

Now that my 40 days are over, I’m having a few days off. I don’t think I’ll go for another 40 days in a row without a break, but I will continue to make getting onto my mat a regular part of my week. I feel too good to not carry on – mentally and physically. I’m regaining the tone I lost from my arms and legs, and I just feel stronger.

I’d like to do five days a week if I can, which gives me the flexibility to have a glass of wine or blob on the couch or just do something else if I feel like it. But I will keep up a home practise, because I have loved it more than I thought possible.

(If you’re on Instagram, you can see my yoga journey in pictures here)

Musings on my Yoga Mission

Today is Day 8 of my Forty Days of Yoga.

I was already feeling pretty good about how I was going, but now I have extra motivation: my friend with MS.

She’s trying to lose a little weight and keep herself fit and healthy, but has lost the motivation. Her partner is less-than-supportive, and as we were talking about what she could do, I mentioned Forty Days of Yoga and how one of my main allies is Tall. He is my motivator, my (nice) bully, and my supporter, all rolled into one. She sighed and said, “I need someone like you to motivate me,” and immediately, I responded, “I can do that for you.”

We sat down and worked out an exercise schedule for her (she likes to have things planned), and I was able to apply the Forty Days of Yoga principles to her chosen form of exercise. She’s starting today, and my role is to send her a text every time I get onto my mat; we’re going to remind each other, and be accountable to someone other than ourselves and our partners, which is an important part of this process. We all know that we can fool and justify to ourselves, but no one wants to let someone else down!

Part of the challenge is also to keep a journal. It’s a way of recording how I feel each day when I get on the mat, what I do when I’m there, and anything else that is pertinent to the whole challenge. Rather than bore you all with posting daily updates, I’ve added a page up there ^^^; if you want to follow along and see how I’m doing, I’ll be updating it regularly.

I’ve also been posting a daily photo to Instagram, which I may or may not continue, depending on how many postures I can take photos of! As I go on, I should be able to contort myself into some strange shapes… 🙂

Forty Days of Yoga

I haven’t been to a yoga class or done any serious yoga since I was about 22 weeks pregnant with Pickle. That was over a year ago, and I miss it. So much.

I miss the way it makes me feel physically: strong, flexible, toned, fit.

I miss the way it makes me feel mentally: calm, relaxed, capable, sharp.

I miss the way it makes me feel emotionally: in-tune, settled, balanced.

I miss the way it makes me feel as a parent: like I can cope with all the new challenges thrown at me daily. The way it makes me strong enough to stop, breathe, think, listen, respond. Not shout and react, as I’m doing all too often right now.

At the moment, I feel like something essentially me is missing, like I’m not operating at 100%. Part of that is tiredness, and breastfeeding a hungry 10-month-old, but when I do yoga, none of that is an issue.

I’d like to go back to classes, but they’re not cheap, and are often on at awkward times. I have DVDs, but I find them quite distracting when my pace of breathing through a sequence of asanas is slower/faster than theirs. I’ve been meaning to start a home practise for months, but always felt that I didn’t have the knowledge, or the discipline, or the time to do it. But the thing is, an internal practise (ie: one led by me) is the only way I can overcome the barriers my mind sets for me; an external practise (ie: in a class or following a DVD) only serves to cover up those mental barriers for a while.

IMG_3560When I heard of Forty Days of Yoga, I knew that if any book could get me out of that mindset, this would be the one. A good friend of mine knows the author, and she said it was likely to be a really good book.

What an understatement.

The book is amazing. Inspiring. Encouraging. From the first page I was hooked. I was nodding silently in agreement with everything she was saying. I felt as though she was talking directly to me. Everything she described, the reasons why people don’t start a home practise, the reasons why they should…it all made sense.

So here I am, about to embark on my forty days of yoga. And then, hopefully, I’ll choose to do another forty days…and another, and another, until it’s no longer a choice…it just is.

IMG_9961The rules are simple: miss a day, and you start back at day one.

That’s motivation enough in itself, but if I feel my resolve start to falter, I’ll just look at my husband and our boys. This is for me and it’s for the three of them. They are all the inspiration and motivation I should need.

(The images here have nothing much to do with yoga…they just serve as a reminder about beauty in the small things around us x)

What I’m Making (!!)

I’ll preface this post by saying that I am NOT a sewer. It took me three tries to get my sewing “licence” in Home Ec when I was 11 years old. I struggle to sew slowly and in a straight line.

A sewing machine. Awesome.

I hemmed a pair of trousers once.

Inside out.

For the next year or so, I would smile and say, “Cool, huh?” whenever someone commented on the “embroidery” (read: overlocking) at the top of the hem.

My nana was a dressmaker (a very good one, too), and my mum is an amazing sewer. She sewed my sister’s wedding dress, three bridesmaids dresses and her own outfit for the wedding, and she made my wedding dress without a pattern, based only on the quick pencil sketches we did after I tried on the St Pucchi dress-I-loved-but-could-not-afford. The bulk of it was made while we were living on the other side of the world from each other, and it wasn’t a simple dress by any stretch of the imagination.

My dress. Even better than the original.

Despite my distinct lack of skill with a sewing machine, I’m going to share with you a couple of things I’ve been making over the last week or so.

Be kind.

Not-So-Scary Little Monsters

Slightly Lopsided Owls

Not-Quite-Completed Cushion Covers: to buttonhole or not to buttonhole?

So there you have it.

I have been creating. And it feels gooooood.



I’ve been exercising. Yeah yeah.

My abs are aching after Monday night’s yoga class (yes, for all those who think yoga is all “ohm”s and half-lotus-positions – it’s a workout), and the weather has been so lovely the last couple of days that we’ve been out for walks, and we’ve been weeding (which is hard work when you’re battling an obnoxious weed like oxalis).

I feel good.