Yoga and Kickboxing Moves Can Lower Stress for Moms

Beat new-mom exhaustion and get back in shape with these easy moves.

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Get Zen Fast

James Michelfelder

Get Zen Fast

New motherhood often feels anything but serene. Get zen fast with this routine designed by trainer Jessica Smith and her husband Guillermo Gomez, who just happens to be a fourth-degree black belt. It alternates kickboxing moves (to blast fat and karate-chop stress) with yoga and tai chi movements (sending your heart rate back down to earth and bringing you a sense of calm and focus) in a just-tough-enough circuit that takes about 20 minutes and—we almost forgot to mention—burns up to 250 calories. Balanced and buff in less than half an hour? We're in!

The Plan

How it works Three or four times a week, complete the entire circuit of 6 moves 3 times, resting 1 minute between circuits. The kickboxing moves (1, 3 and 5) are high intensity—push as hard as you can. During the alternating moves (2, 4 and 6), focus on your form and breathe slowly and deeply from your belly. When you've finished all 3 circuits, do the final seated move as instructed, then enjoy your newfound sense of calm.

You'll need Space to kick!

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Hook And Weave

James Michelfelder

Hook And Weave

Hook And Weave

Works abs, arms, legs and glutes

Stand with feet wider than your shoulders and fists near chin. Keeping elbows bent, punch right arm across your body as you pivot toward the left on right foot (A). Repeat on opposite side. Continue, alternating sides, for 30 seconds. Next, squat, as if you're ducking a blow to your head, then lean to the right and rise up slightly (B). Squat back down and repeat in other directions. Continue for 30 seconds.

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Warrior 3

James Michelfelder

Warrior 3

Warrior 3

Works legs, glutes, back and core

Stand with feet hip-width apart, arms at sides. Take a big step back with right leg and lower into a lunge, fingertips resting on the floor near left foot for stability. Rise up, shifting weight to left leg as you extend right leg to hip height behind you; bend forward from hips, so your body forms a "T" shape, and extend arms straight back at your sides (shown). Focus on extending right leg; keep a slight bend in left leg if you need to. Hold for 1 breath, then lower into lunge again. Repeat for 30 seconds, then switch to left leg for 30 seconds to complete set.

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Side Kick

James Michelfelder

Side Kick

Side Kick

Works legs, glutes and abs

Stand with feet hip-width apart, toes slightly turned out. Hold fists near chin. Shift weight to left leg, bend right knee slightly and point right toes (A). Lean left as you raise right knee, then kick straight out to the side (B). Bring leg back in and return to starting position. Continue for 30 seconds, lowering right foot back to floor between each kick, then repeat on the other side.

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Pushing Water

James Michelfelder

Pushing Water

Pushing Water

Works legs and glutes

Stand with feet wide, toes slightly turned out and elbows bent at sides, palms facing forward. Bend knees, then shift weight to left leg as you pull left hand toward hip and extend right arm across your body to the left, palm facing left (shown). Slowly shift weight to right leg as you press left hand forward and across body and bring right arm down. Continue for 30 seconds.

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Knee-Strike Crunch

James Michelfelder

Knee-Strike Crunch

Knee-Strike Crunch

Works legs, glutes and abs

Stand with feet hip-width apart, toes slightly turned out. Bend elbows and hold fists near chin. Shift weight to left leg and point right toes so they're barely touching the ground. Rotate upper body to the right as you raise right knee toward left elbow (shown). Return to start and repeat for 30 seconds, then repeat on other side to complete set.

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Figure-Eight Flow

James Michelfelder

Figure-Eight Flow

Figure-Eight Flows

Works legs, glutes, abs and shoulders

Stand with feet wide, toes turned out, and arms straight down. Turn to the left as you swing arms up (A), then swoop arms over and down in front of you as you pivot torso to center and bend knees into a wide squat (B). Bring arms up to the right, making a big figure 8. Continue to swing arms and pivot torso in figure 8 for 30 seconds.

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