Baby & Me Yoga Sequence

Song & Movement

Itsy Bitsy Spider – Comfy Seat / Baddha Konasana

Wheels on the bus – Comfortable Seating

Head Shoulders Knees and Toes – Wide Legs

ABC – Hip Circles

 

Flow

Hands Knees 

Cat / Cow

Child’s Pose

Down Down 

Sun Birds

Side Planks

Planks 

Dynamic Cobra

Opposite Extension – Salabhasana

Uttanasana Fold

Tadasana

Standing Side Stretch

Step Back Low Lunges

Salutations

Side Angle

Triangle – Twinkle Twinkle

Half Moon – Zoom Zoom Zoom

 

Standing Poses

Squats – Down Down Down (1/3)

Step Back Lunges

Warrior 3

Squats with Arm Press (1/3)

Warrior 1 (baby front hip) / Warrior 2 (baby back hip)

Malasana Squats (1/3)

 

Floor Core / Play Time

Step Back to the Floor

Seated Supported Boat / Spinal Health – Row Your Boat (strap?)

Jumping Baby – Counting 1, 2, 3 

Rolling – Wee!

Baby Fly (on shins infants / on feet toddlers)

Bridge Poses – 2 sets of 10 with baby 

Freestyle / Leg Lifts / Bicycles / Double Exhale Sit Up – Don’t Worry, Be Happy


Cool Down – Chill Time

Long Exhale (with sound)

Baddha Konasana – Forward fold

Pigeon

Straight Leg Forward Fold – Head Shoulders Knees Toes

Supine Floor Twist

Happy Baby

 

Closing Thoughts

What’s a commitment for self-care?

What energy are you looking to cultivate?

What is your “I AM” statement?

 

Final Relaxation – Long Exhale

Quiet Time / Relaxation / Meditation

Savasana / Side Lying Savasana

Legs Up the Wall

Seated Meditation Against Wall

How to Turn a Hard Week Around

It was just a week ago that we heard the tragic news about the death of Kobe Bryant, his 13 year old daughter, Gigi, and 7 other individuals. I know we might be done with this topic but I will say this…

Becoming a Mother has multiplied my sensitivity and empathy by a million. 

In my first year postpartum, I cried EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Seriously, it might have been a song, or a commercial, a sweet moment, or just sheer exhaustion, and I would start to sob. All of a sudden, I just FELT everything to the maximum (both the good and the bad).

Nowadays, I don’t get as emotional, but this week, I’ve actually cried SO hard about this tragedy because of the pain I know the families must be feeling.

I can’t help but think of Vanessa Bryant who not only lost her husband, but also her daughter, and I get sick to my stomach (or I start bawling).

I also think about 16 year old Alexis Altobelli who lost her Mother, Father and Sister in the helicopter crash. Ugh. Isn’t it heartbreaking!? It really messes me up.

Of course, I know, terrible tragedies are happening around the world at all times, but this one is in our face and it permeates our city. I honestly keep deleting social media apps from my phone because I keep falling down the rabbit hole of this heartbreaking news.

Although the sad truth is unavoidable.

Even driving around Los Angeles, I see buses, buildings, banners, etc. reminding us of this horrible loss. There’s no escaping the pain. It must be acknowledged and it must be felt (see how I took care of myself last week below).

REMINDER: You do not have to suffer alone. I’m here for you if you want to connect or talk.

It’s true, life is beautiful but brutal.

And if there’s anything that I’m taking away from this heartbreaking reality of death, it’s the preciousness of life. Death is a harsh reminder that tomorrow is never guaranteed for any of us. So I’m gonna love more, practice more kindness, be more patient, and give thanks for all of it.

I do not want to take anyone, or anything, for granted.


How I turned a hard week around:

• Talked to lots of friends

• Turned off my phone

• Spent time in Mother Nature

• Served my community

• Shared quality time with family

• Tried something new

• Wrote about my feelings

• Allowed myself to be emotional

• Got creative with my kids

• Listened to great music

• Surrendered

• Sweat

Note to Self: I am Blessed

I’m really not trying to be dramatic, but this has been a challenging year. I literally started 2019 with my head in a bucket – so sick that I was in and out of the ER without any relief.

It turns out, many of my symptoms including severe nausea, headaches, and chronic back pain could be attributed to a congenital kidney issue that I had learned about in 2009.

Back then, when my doctor suggested surgery, I refused. Instead, I tried a holistic approach. But sometimes physical circumstances cannot be fixed without science and technology, and this was one of them.

In January, I had my first surgery. In September, I had my second. And two weeks ago today, I had my third (and hopefully final) surgery.

As soon as I got home from the hospital last week, with strict orders to rest, we had the Palisades Fire just a few miles to the West.

This week, it was the Getty Fire a few miles to the East.

Some of my family members had to evacuate their homes and some of them haven’t been able to return yet. Plus for the past week, the kids’ school has canceled and did I mention that our Nanny left for another family last month!?

So it’s been a lot.

It’s been so much that I had a moment of frustration and wrote on Facebook:

“This was a hard day, well, more like a tough week. Actually, it’s been a pretty rough month. Eh. Who am I kidding? This whole year has been a freakin’ sh*t show. Seriously, this has been a brutal but beautiful year. Such is life.”

I know, looking at it now, it kinda sounds like I’m complaining. But sometimes it’s ok to acknowledge that things are difficult.

Just like my latest instagram post with a quote from Alex Elle:

“Note to Self: Even on difficult days, I trust that I am blessed.”

I know that I am blessed.

I know that I have countless things to be grateful for.

I know that I am a survivor.

And yet, I’m still kinda having a hard time.

#GettyFire

I woke up this morning to the sound of loud knocking. 

In my sleepy state of mind I thought it was our son trying to tell us he needed to wake up and go pee. But we quickly realized the surprising reality that it was actually someone at our front door.

Nearly pitch black, with the sound of wind blowing hard outside, my husband called “who is it?” We were both relieved (yet simultaneously alarmed) that it was our neighbor from across the street.

“There’s another fire,” she said. “It’s been burning since 3am and we’re in the evacuation zone.”

My heart stopped. Am I dreaming?

We had just gone through the #PalisadesFire less than a week ago. That was scary but more manageable because it started during the day and we were a mile from the evacuation zone. More importantly, the fire was smaller and a lot less destructive.

Our neighbor’s news freaked us out so we got to work packing and preparing to evacuate.

I can’t explain the feeling of packing a bag with the items I want to save from a fire. My husband and I both were surprisingly non-nostalgic. We packed just the essentials – clothing for a few days, toiletries, money, jewelry, important paperwork, and our wedding album (well, I was still kinda nostalgic).

As I looked around the house at all the items I live with daily, my houseplants, kids’ artwork, family photos, furniture, etc. I knew that if necessary, I could live without all of it. And yet lots of families didn’t even have the choice.

Hundreds of families had to rush out of their homes in the middle of the night, knowing that none of their belongings might be there when they returned.

Waking up the children was an exercise in patience. I tried to stay calm but they were both still in a dreamy state and they didn’t understand why I was getting them dressed so early and not going to let them eat breakfast in their pajamas per usual.

The more I learned about the fire, the more safe I felt for my little family. We were quite a ways away from fire itself and technically we were in a voluntary evacuation area. However, my mother, father and one of my brothers all live in the mandatory evacuation zone. 

So I started the family phone tree calling each family member and keeping them updated on everyone else’s situation. As of now, things are quiet. But apparently the winds are about to kick up again so we’re not yet safe.

So we have our suitcases by the door, the car is packed, and we’re ready to go and say goodbye to our home as soon as they say we must. 

I pray for everyone everywhere all the time but today, in particular, my heart goes out to all the people being displaced and affected by the numerous fires in California. Mother Nature is one crazy bitch (and I mean that with all due respect).

Stay safe out there. Click here to stay informed. Help each other and let’s acknowledge the bravery of our firefighters and first responders. I am so grateful.

Modern Sacred Circle Podcast, Episode 5: Relationships

What do healthy relationships look and feel like to you?

In this fifth episode of the Modern Sacred Circle, I explore the topic of relationships with fellow yoga teacher and doula, Keya Nkonoki, and women’s coach and healer, Gwen Dittmar. These entrepreneurial moms and I discuss why working with women is so magical, the power and beauty of duality, and what it takes to maintain balance in healthy relationships.

The Modern Sacred Circle podcast was created to provide modern women with the inspiration, tools, and resources to host sacred circles of their own. Hosted by me, Gigi Yogini, each week showcases a sample women’s circle featuring two fabulous female guests who share their unfiltered and uninterrupted thoughts and feelings about a specific topic of the week.

Click here to listen.

The actual experience of recording this podcast was ridiculous. I didn’t have the normal podcast producer that I’m used to and everything that could go wrong, did. Luckily, these ladies and I were having a lot of fun and did our best to create continuity and flow. But I apologize ahead of time if this episode isn’t the same quality as normal. I hope you still enjoy.

Be sure to subscribe to the podcast, rate and review us on itunes, and please share using the hashtag #ModernSacredCircle.

Modern Sacred Circle Deck of Card

Thank you for purchasing your Modern Sacred Circle deck of cards.

I hope these cards will bring you lots of inspiration and help you host many, many magical circles. Use this deck to help you come up with your three questions for a Modern Sacred Circle.

You can spread out the deck of cards and choose your questions randomly OR you can look through all the questions and find the ones you like the most. You can even lay out the cards and invite your participants to choose. Have fun. Get creative.

Remember, there are lots of ways to host a circle, but here are my suggestions:

MODERN SACRED CIRCLE FORMAT

(Copyright Gigi Yogini / Briana Anderson 2017)

1. Choose a specific day and time.

Start by picking a day and time. Consider picking a date that coincides with a full moon or new moon, a solstice, symbolic date, etc. or any date that is good for you.

2. Create a clean, safe, and comfortable space to gather.

Pick a place that is private, protected, and free from unwanted distractions and interruptions. Make women feel safe to express themselves.

3. Invite women (and invite those women to invite other women).

This is a great opportunity to intentionally build a strong community. When your favorite people invite their favorite people, the potential for powerful connections and lifelong friendships is potent. It will be wonderful whether it’s three women or 13.

4. Consider making the circle donation-based.

Money can be an obstacle for some, so making the gathering donation based can foster positive energy. Instead of money, we can also ask women to bring something for the shared experience including tea, snacks, candles, incense, or flowers.

5. Bless the center of the circle with an altar or offering.

Place objects of significance in the middle of the circle; including crystals, feathers, statues, candles, flowers, a mala necklace, or any special item with symbolic meaning. You may also cleanse/bless your space by smudging with sage, palo santo, etc.

6. Welcome women and share guidelines/agreements.

Remember that confidentiality is key for a safe environment. Another way to honor each woman is to agree to no interrupting or giving advice during shares. Remind each participant of the opportunity for each woman to be heard, witnessed, and seen in her divine essence. No fixing is required. Create agreements that everyone commits to.

7. Ceremonially open the sacred space.

This could be as simple as taking a deep breath together. Other ways include holding hands, chanting together, calling in the light, reading a passage or poem, or doing an invocation or grounding exercise.

8. Ask your first intro question.

The first question is a warm up. Have each woman share her name and answer a question. Sample questions can be found in the green cards of your Modern Sacred Circle deck.

9. Ask a more in-depth question (time limit & timer optional).

The second question is the main body and offers more space for sharing. As facilitator, you can decide whether this is an open ended question or whether you want to enforce a time limit. Sometimes a timer can help limit the women who have the tendency to over share while also stretching the women who find it harder to speak in public. You can choose your main body question from the blue cards of your Modern Sacred Circle deck.

10. Ask a closing question.

After going around the circle with your intro and main body questions, ask a significant closure question. These questions can be found in the purple cards of your Modern Sacred Circle deck.

11. Have a specific, ceremonial closure.

Just as you opened intentionally, finish with a deep breath, poem, or prayer. You can also hold hands, chant together, read a passage or poem, or choose any closing ceremonial exercise of choice.

12. End with lots of connection.

When the circle comes to an official end, leave time and space for women to visit and connect in smaller clusters. Practice and encourage lots of eye contact, hugs, and gratitude for sharing. It’s always a good idea to set a specific time for the next circle.

Take a photo of you using the cards, or your alter, or your group of women and when you share it, use the hashtag #ModernSacredCircle

No Zen Master Here. #notperfect

Just for the record, I am not perfect. My life is not perfect…

..and what does that mean anyway?!

This social media world definitely makes it easier to perceive peoples lives to be “perfect” because we share mostly the prettiest pictures with positive vibes, but I just want to set the record straight: My life & I are not perfect.

Just in case any of you were wondering.

For instance, a couple mornings ago I was crouched in a fetal position in my kitchen, crying (sobbing), hiding from my twins while my husband did the morning routine. I even stayed in that position to drink some coffee because

I just needed a f-ing break.

Or how about the nights when I flop face first onto my bed with sheer exhaustion the moment my kids go to sleep at 7pm!? Even though I still have things to do. Or mornings, like today, when I get up at 4am to console a crying baby & then try to go back to sleep but I can’t because I’m totally overwhelmed with anxiety, so I just get up!?

See, not perfect.

Sometimes I regret my life choices & think waaaaay too much about what life would be like if I had done things differently. Sometimes I feel like I will never fulfill my potential. Sometimes I feel like I don’t have a partner. Sometimes I feel like my only friend is the city I live in, the city of angels…wait, that’s Red Hot Chili Peppers’ lyrics.

Anyway, you get the point.

Even though I post pretty pictures, positive mantras & share my successes, don’t be fooled. I struggle too. We all do. Life can be messy at times but that’s just life, right?!

 

 

Is your life messy? Comment below!

My Birth Story

As my twins approach a year an a half, I decided to return to BIRTHFIT and their Postpartum program to build strength and community. On day 1, coach Embo gave us the assignment to write our birth story, which I had always wanted to do, but never got done. I had shared the story verbally on the BIRTHFIT podcast, but I hadn’t taken the time to write it. So I was grateful for the assignment and here it is…

 

** TRIGGER WARNING**

My Birth Story

I was very intentional when I was picking my options for a wedding day. I chose weekends that were during a waxing moon (between the new and full moon) and no where close to my menstrual cycle. We eventually landed on August 22, 2015.

It was a beautiful morning wedding outdoors overlooking the ocean with a jazz brunch and dance party that followed. The next day we left for our Hawaiian honeymoon where we spent 10 days resting, relaxing, and rejuvenating.

After arriving home, we were in bliss. We both went back to work and things seemed relatively normal except my period never came. We were pregnant. Like, whoa. I had joked to friends that I wanted to get preggers on my honeymoon but I couldn’t believe that it actually happened.

Just like that.

It was two weeks before we saw the doctor and when we went in for our first ultrasound, she asked: “Do you see that?” as she pointed to two ovals on the screen and held up two fingers, like a peace symbol.

“SHUT UP!” I blurted.

“There’s two,” she said. “You’re having twins.”

I was in shock.

Twins!?

I’m not exactly sure what happened next. I just remember my husband Antonio talking about getting a minivan.

Long story short, the pregnancy had it’s ups and downs.

We were encouraged not to tell anyone because there’s always a chance that you might miscarry one or both of your twins. The concept felt counter intuitive but I only told my mom and my friend Corti.

To everyone else, it felt like we were keeping a very big secret and I hated it.

I started to isolate myself. I didn’t want to see friends because I didn’t want to lie. So I just immersed myself in work which eventually took it’s toll on me.

I was working full time for Yoga Journal Magazine & Events while teaching 6am and 6pm classes at YogaWorks. Plus I was teaching weekend yoga classes at the Viceroy Hotel and juggling a handful of private clients.

I was tired. Eventually sharing the pregnancy was a great relief.

On the day of our 30 week check up, Antonio and I were not getting along and I had an anxiety attack. We went to the doctors office and I could hardly hold myself together.

I was told that everything looked “perfect” but before I left, I mentioned to the doctor that I couldn’t feel the babies kicking as much as I was used to. She suggested that we go across the street to the hospital for fetal monitoring and 20 minutes later I was listening to the heart beats of my children.

Little did I know, I was having contractions every five minutes. I just thought it was gas. Hah. I was immediately admitted into the maternity floor for preterm labor and began a series of tests. Results indicated that I was going into labor.

It was a new moon.

Needless to say, delivering at 30 weeks is not ideal. I was put on bed rest (something I was previously against) and given a cocktail of steroids and medicine to stop the contractions and protect the babies. I was still in the hospital a week later when all my friends gathered for my baby shower, without me.

I was able to go home, on bed rest, for another week before my water broke in the middle of the night. I didn’t want to believe it. But I woke up Antonio and we called the hospital for advice. They told us to come in.

It was 2am and a full moon.

My doctor had just delivered a baby so she checked in on us. After sunrise the contractions started swelling. My doctor was not available and I wasn’t allowed to move. I just laid there and let the painful waves of labor wash over me. The nurses kept calling my doctor but she was telling the nurses to wait. When I started to feel the urge to push, a nurse lifted my bed sheet to check me and could tell that our daughter was crowning. Her head was at my cervix.

From there it was a whirlwind. The nurses were scared and the anesthesiologist was downright frenetic. They began to argue with each other in front of me. The nurse kept repeating that the doctor wanted us to wait and the anesthesiologist kept repeating, loudly, “I overrule. I overrule! We need to take her to the O.R. (operating room) NOW!”

“Excuse me,” I finally said. “Can we all just take a deep breath and calm down?”

The room fell silent for a moment, somebody chuckled, and then the chaos ensued. I was wheeled to the operating room, told to roll over and curl into a fetal position, got a shot in my spine, had my sports bra cut off, and it was go time.

So in a room full of masked strangers, I started to push my daughter out into the world. They let me kiss her forehead for the briefest moment before whisking her away to the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit).

I asked Antonio to please go with her.

The doctors started massaging my stomach trying to get our son, who was breached, to flip. But no luck. Alarms starting screeching and my doctor told me his heart rate was dropping so they had to take him out via c-section.

Next thing I knew I was being cut, feeling a hot searing sensation as if the pain medicine hadn’t quite kicked in, I was jerked a little from side to side, and then he was out. They started to take him until a nurse advocated for me and said, “let her see her son!” They held him up briefly at the doorway before leaving.

In a room full of people, I never felt so alone.

My doctor started sewing me up and began discussing her upcoming family vacation with the doctor next to her, as if I wasn’t even present. I remember thinking that I should say something clever but I passed out and woke up behind a curtain in a recovery room alone.

At some point, I was wheeled into the NICU while still in a hospital bed. I’m not sure where Antonio was. I was placed between the two incubators of my twins and I put one hand into each.

The twins each grabbed one of my index fingers, with their teeny tiny little hands, and the nurse named, Hwa, took a picture.

For me, there is something so sweet and so sad about that memory. I can’t help but cry.

In the end, my birth experience definitely was nothing like I had expected or hoped for, but it’s what happened. And I have to say, my children are the greatest gifts in the world. They are healthy, happy, and absolutely hilarious.

Nearly a year and a half later, I keep re-learning the same lesson:

Life is mostly out of my control but it’s my choice to show up with grace, faith, and a sense of humor.

Modern Sacred Circle Podcast, Season 1, Episode 1: Opportunity

As most of you know, I host women’s circles and train other women how to host circles of their own. The format that I’ve been using and teaching is lovingly referred to as the Modern Sacred Circle. It’s pretty simple but really specific. We gather, establish our agreements, define our conscious communication, intentionally open the circle and then one at a time, each woman answers three questions. Then we close the circle intentionally and go back out into the world feeling seen and supported.

As a way to share this Modern Sacred Circle format with more women, and to connect my online community with my in life community, I created a weekly podcast. Today, I am so excited to share the first episode of the Modern Sacred Circle podcast in an effort to provide listeners with the tools and resources to host a circle of their own.

Each week I invite two different guests to join me and together we consciously communicate about a topic of the week. For this first episode, I invited two of my close friends and collaborators, yoga teacher and surfer, Mary Haberski, and postpartum doula and early childhood specialist, Raffi Dobles, to discuss the topic of Opportunity.

Circle Questions:

  1. What is one thing you’re proud of?
  2. Spend 1 minute exploring Fear / 2 minutes exploring Opportunity
  3. What are 3 things you’re grateful for?

Please click here to listen. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast, rate and review us on itunes, and please share it on facebook and instagram with the hashtag #ModernSacredCircle.

Special thanks to my guests Raffi and Mary. Join me again next week when I discuss the topic Nourishment with actress and activist, Johanna Watts, and healthy food chef blogger, Emma D’Alessandro.

Mantra Tuesday (!?)

I normally send out this post on a Monday with a Mantra, which was: I deserve time to myself.

So I took a Monday morning hike instead of heading directly to the studio office. I thought it would be a good way to start my week after hosting a three day women’s leadership training.

After reaching the peak of the hike, I was feeling really good. I was boosted with endorphins, wearing my Strong As A Mother t-shirt, and started to jog.

I know I’m feeling good when I start to jog on a trail.

I was peaking with physical and emotional confidence.

I slowed around a corner and saw two women. One of whom said, “Excuse me. Can you help us?”

Of course I said YES!

Long story short, one woman had broken her ankle and needed help down the last mile of the trail.

Feeling strong and confident, I introduced myself and kicked into my CPR training mode. I reverted back to my wilderness leadership experience in Australia when I was a teen. I thought of the time a man fainted at a waterfall in Honduras. I remembered my emergency training and…

I became the leader.

I put her on my back, her friend carried all the bags, and we slowly walked down the Santa Monica Mountains together as three strong women helping each other.

We were passed by young men, older men, other women, until finally one woman who was leading 10 kids asked if we were ok. Granted, we could have asked for help if we needed it, and…

Of all the people we passed, it was another woman (leading children) who asked if we needed help.

(Take a moment to breathe with that.)

We assured her we were ok because we were. We finally made it to the road. Granted, I used up a bit more time (and energy) than I had expected, and that’s ok. So I didn’t get to writing the Monday Mantra yesterday. But that’s ok too. I got my time to myself AND I was also able to help someone else.

I guess it’s just what I needed after all.

Now today’s Tuesday Mantra is: I’m as strong as a Mother!