2017 – The Year of Honouring Myself

 A few months ago a client asked me what my fitness goals were for this year – what training programs or fitness challenges was I taking on in 2017.

And, for a moment, I didn’t know what to say.

Why?

Well, because I am currently on a journey of healing, nourishing and being compassionate towards my body and my mind.

I am on a journey of accepting that ‘good is good enough” and living by the mantra “progress not perfection” (which, let me say, is a huge challenge for a perfectionist!)

When my client asked me this question I really was floored for a moment, and almost a bit embarrassed. I couldn’t answer with “I’m focused on running my first City to Surf marathon” or “I’m training for Tough Mudder”, because those are the last things I will be doing in the foreseeable future. That is not to say they are challenges I don’t want to take on. However, this year is not the year.

So, what is my focus in 2017?

Well, the focus for me personally this year is to ‘Honour Myself’.

But, I hear you saying, what on earth does that mean?

To me, to ‘honour myself’ means:

  • To schedule “me-time” every week, and a little every day
  • To listen to my body more and by tuning into what it needs on a daily basis
  • To nourish my body with food and movement, rather than punishment and annihilation
  • To continue with self-love practices, such as daily movement, meditation and personal affirmations
  • To well and truly deal with my inner critic!
  • To spend time quality time with my beautiful family
  • To continue to embrace, nourish and develop my passion so I never have to work another day in my life

As a fitness professional I have always believed that I should be able to do everything I ask my clients to do, and then so much more physically. To be so much stronger mentally, and have this nutrition thing down pact!

However, let’s face it – I am human! And I am far from perfect!

And, I have come to appreciate that I also have a responsibility to lead by example, and be honest and genuine with those that I work with about who I am, my journey as a women and mother and what I have learnt along the way.

Ok, so that all sounds good, I hear you say. But how do I ‘honour myself’ when I’ve got little ones to look after, a house to keep under control, a relationship to nurture and a job that I have to go to?

Schedule it!

Are you really great at scheduling all of your children’s appointments, and are always considering your partners work schedules and commitments?

And, possibly, are you always making sure you have put into your calendar all the times that you are helping a family member?

Or are you one of those wonderful friends that will happily change your schedule to help someone out but never to spend some time on you?

Well, it’s time to also schedule some time for the most important person in your life – YOU!

So, look at your schedule, and put time in for you!

K.I.S.S!

Yes, keep it simple! This morning all I managed was 10 minutes of meditation before I started my day. But, it was 10 minutes of time for me, and, in my book, that’s a win!

Time for you really doesn’t have to be much time at all. Like I did this morning, wake up 10 minutes earlier to do some meditation or simply start making ‘me time’ a habit by taking a few deep breathes before the chaos begins.

When your little one goes for a nap, take 15 minutes for a cup of tea. Or, after putting the kids to bed, take 10 minutes to have a stretch.

It doesn’t have to be complicated or take a lot of time. It just needs to be something that makes you feel more alive, more energized and it’s yours!

Don’t listen to that inner critic!

You know, the one that sits on your shoulder, or whispers in your ear, just when you’ve finally taken a moment for yourself, or you’re making plans to nourish your body well and not just that of your kids.

It’s the one that tells you you’re not a good mum because you weren’t there for every single moment of your child’s life, or, that says to you ‘why bother starting to look after yourself now because you won’t stick to it’!

He’s pretty powerful that inner critic! But he needs to be smacked in the face and told to shut the f*%k up!

Wrap yourself in compassion, and remember to tell yourself, and that inner critic, that you are awesome and you do deserve to be healthy and happy!

And that doing something for you is OK! Actually, it’s more than ok – it’s absolutely essential!

Ask yourself what truly makes you happy, relaxed or energized

The time you take for yourself should be enjoyable and make you feel alive and light.

It should be all about you and what makes you happy!

If you love to exercise, then find a type of movement that you enjoy. There are so many options out there.

And, that’s how MumaTime evolved here at MumaBubs. I realised that the beautiful ladies that were coming to my sessions absolutely loved the ability to bring their children.

But, for the ones that started coming Saturday mornings without their children, they remembered just how energizing and uplifting just 1-hour per week to do a workout without their little one’s around was for them.

So, if you’re looking for some time to yourself, while using movement to energise, uplift and strengthen, come and join us at our MumaTime session on Saturday morning at 8.00am.

But, whatever it is, it should be just for you, and it should be a priority!

And, speaking from experience over the past 3 months, taking just that little bit of time to honour yourself will have a positive effect on all aspects of your life.

Go on beautiful lady, take a little time to honour yourself –

 you need it and you deserve it…

“Setting time aside to take care of yourself is not being selfish.

It is honouring  yourself”

Nyambura Mwangi

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Jody is a pregnancy and post-natal specialist, with tertiary qualifications in exercise science and registered as a Level 3 Exercise Professional with Fitness Australia.
Jody is also a mum of two young children, and therefore understands the demands and challenges of being a mum.
Jody is passionate about educating, energising and empowering pregnant and post-natal women through the provision of safe but effective exercise programs and fitness sessions.
Contact me today to see how I can help you with your fitness and health!

How Do You Want To Feel?

“Give yourself permission to get really clear
on what fulfils your soul
& then put your time there”

Wow! It’s already February! Where on earth did January go?

A new year is well and truly here. And, I must say, so far it has exceeded my expectations!

To be honest, at the end of last year, I wasn’t sure if I was excited about the new year to come. Like for many people, I found 2016 really tough – physically, psychologically and professionally.

Physically, I had to take a step back from the intense, very scheduled workout regime I have always had, learn to be kinder to myself and listen more closely to what my body was telling me, so that it stopped screaming at me!

Psychologically, I went on a rollercoaster of emotions as I tried to figure out who I was – as a women, a wife and as a mother. I felt I had lost the true essence of what made me me!

And, professionally, I took the big step of quitting my ‘job’ so that I could focus on my passion of energising, empowering and supporting women, through my love of fitness and movement, to evolve into the best version of themselves whilst on their own journey of becoming and being a mum.

Let me tell you, things got a lot worse, and a lot harder, as Christmas and the new year approached, which made me wonder about the new year and what it had in store for me.

But, y’know, we all have choices. And with a little support and guidance from my coach, and a little inner reflection about what I held important to me I made the commitment to myself that I was going to make 2017 a fabulous year, both for me and for my family!

So, did I sit down and write a list of new years resolutions? Nope!

Yes, I know, with a new year comes a time when so many people set new year’s resolutions.

But, did you know that research by the University of Scranton, U.S.A, suggests that only about 8% of people who make New Year’s resolutions achieve their goals! Seriously? Only 8%?!! That’s NOT good!

However, this research also indicated that you are 10 times more likely to change a desired behaviour if you make a New Year’s resolution than if you don’t.

With this in mind, and with my commitment to making 2017 amazing, I decided to join a nation-wide movement of women rebelling against the New Year’s resolutions!

Why?

Well, I have found that every year I had the “what” of what I wanted to achieve, but not necessarily the “how”.  So, rather than just sitting down and writing a list of “New Year’s resolutions”, as I had in the past, and hope they would just all eventuate, I decided to go on journey with a number of other rebellious women as part of a body, mindset and mojo course developed by Nardia Norman.

This doesn’t mean I haven’t spent the past few weeks setting goals for myself. It simply means I have been delving a little deeper to truly understand myself and where I want to go with not just 2017, but with my life as a women, mother, partner and entrepreneur.

And, one of the most powerful activities I have done this month as part of this process is simply ask myself  a simple question:

What do I want to feel as the clock strikes at midnight on December 31, 2017?

I wrote down words to describe what I wanted to be feeling as this year comes to an end. I explored what I meant by those words and then followed this be writing down what I would do to ensure I felt the way I said wanted to be feeling on December 31, 2017.

 Fulfilled, strong and free – those were some of my words.

What would your words be?

I challenge you to sit down and ask yourself how you want to feel this year. Then delve a little deeper as to what this means to you, why and what are you going to do to accomplish these feelings.

You will learn so much about what’s important to you and where you want life to take you this year, and possibly even in the years to come.

 

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Jody is a pregnancy and post-natal specialist, with tertiary qualifications in exercise science and registered as a Level 3 Exercise Professional with Fitness Australia.
Jody is also a mum of two small children under 5, and therefore understands the demands and challenges of being a mum.
Jody is passionate about educating, energising and empowering pregnant and post-natal women through the provision of safe but effective exercise programs and fitness sessions.
Contact me today to see how I can help you with your fitness and health!

 

Frankincense – The King of Oils

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Renown as one of the most prized and precious essential oils,

Frankincense has extraordinary health benefits.

Known as the king of oils, nearly all ancient religions have used frankincense in their spiritual practices, and it is known to be extremely powerful. As many know, this gorgeous essential oil was given as a gift to Christ after his birth.

This centuries-old knowledge contributes to the modern uses of Frankincense today. It’s soothing and beautifying properties are used to rejuvenate skin and reduce the appearance of imperfections.

As the king of oils, Frankincense is known to support healthy cellular function.

When inhaled or diffused, Frankincense promotes feelings of peace, relaxation, satisfaction, and overall wellness.

These varied applications make it the perfect essential oil to include in your collection, whether you be trying to conceive, carrying precious cargo or already have little ones to care for and nurture:

Sunburn relief:  Blend frankincense with lavender and a carrier oil, such as fractionated coconut oil, and apply to the affected areas.

This blend is also very soothing and aids in healing, therefore many women have used this blend postpartum.

Ease aches and pains: Blend with ice blue and and a carrier oil, such as fractionated coconut oil, and ease away aches and pains. Or use with a cold compress after working out, or with a hot compress to soothe tired muscles or occasional cramps.

Promote relaxation and lift your mood: Apply Frankincense to the bottoms of your feet or diffuse to relax and calm mood swings. This oil is used during pregnancy and labour to help calm expectant mums, especially blended with other essential oils such as roman chamomile and bergamot.

Use Frankincense to relieve anxiety and create a positive mood by combining it with such essential oils as peppermint and wild orange. Either place in your hands, rub hands together and inhale deeply, or diffuse for obtain the lift.

Great for skin:  Add 1 -2 drops to your daily moisturiser to reduce the appearance of blemishes and rejuvenate the skin.

Overworked Hands?:  Apply Frankincense to your hands and massage in after housework or gardening to soothe and rejuvenate.

Strong, beautiful nails: Apply a drop of frankincense to strengthen weak nails.

Frankincense is harvested in Somalia as part of doTERRRA’s® Co-Impact Sourcing Initiative. The frankincense harvesters are provided with greater opportunities for income, while providing doTERRA® with access to skilled harvesters who help accomplish the intricate steps of frankincense resin harvesting.

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Emotionally, Frankincense is the oil of truth and enlightenment. It is said that this beautiful oil helps you understand your purpose and uncovers your divine truth.

 

For more information about doTERRA’s® Frankincense Essential Oil:

https://doterra.com/US/en/difference-co-impact-sourcing-frankincense

https://doterra.com/US/en/blog/spotlight-frankincense-oil

Would you like to know more about doTERRA® essential oils and products…..

If you’d like to learn more about doTERRA® therapeutic essential oils and how you can use essential oils to support you and your family’s health and wellbeing, contact me to have a chat or go to my doTERRA®website to find out more about doTERRA®.

 

Disclaimer: All information provided are recommendations & advice only. All individuals should discuss the suitability of their health and exercise requirements with their doctor, exercise professional, physiotherapist, midwife or health professional.
For further advice about your individual health, wellness and fitness needs, speak to a health professional, women’s health physiotherapist and/or pregnancy and post-natal exercise professional.

 

Stretch Sequence For Stress Relief, Mobility & Flexibility

This stretch sequence is a full body program that will not only provide your body with movements that assist with mobility and flexibility, but also provide your body with an opportunity to relax and recover.

When I am dealing with a stressful time, and my body is telling me to slow down, I find this sequence helps me to take a moment, breathe and be kind to my body.

However, this sequence can be used as a recovery workout during your week. It is important to include such sessions in your week to assist your body in remaining supple to cope and benefit from your other, more strenuous or higher intensity workouts.

And, for new mums with young babies, when you are feeling fatigued or are running on little energy or sleep, sometimes a nice, gentle full body stretch is what is required to stimulate the muscles, and stretch out tight spots from awkward postures that motherhood brings. This sequence will also give you the benefits of relaxation and deep breathing, which will help with any anxiety or feelings of stress that you may be feeling.

Given that we are holding the stretches a lot longer than normal, this enables us to go deeper with the stretches, which will also stretch the fascia, which is a type of connective tissue that runs in and around your muscles.

During each stretch I take the opportunity to close my eyes, slow my breathing and focus on my breath or visualise a place or situation which brings me calm and joy.

Move through the sequence 1 to 3 times, depending on your available time.

Be gentle with your body and only take each stretch to the point of tension. Then, if through your breathing, the muscle relaxes, only then take the stretch a bit deeper.

Length: 30 – 45mins       Intensity: Low

Equipment Needed: Chair, Stopwatch or Clock, Towel, Theraband or Strap, Cushions or a Mat for comfort

If you would like to view the video of this stretch sequence please click here .

Lower Back Stretch 

Lie on your back with your knees bent so that your feet are flat on the floor.

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Gently grab both your knees and pull them slowly up toward your chest. If you feel discomfort in your knees doing this, hold the backs of your thighs. Keep your neck and shoulders relaxed.

 

 

Slowly straighten your arms, img_5885continuing to hold onto your knees, as you breathe out.

Repeat 10 times

 

 

Lying Spinal Rotation

Lie on your back with your knees bent so that your feet are flat on the floor, and your knees and feet are together. Take your arms out to the side so that your arms are resting on the floor, half way between your hips and your shoulders.

img_5887Gently drop you knees to one side, and, if more comfortable turn your head to look the opposite way. Hold for 1 to 2 breaths. Then gently drop you knees to the other side, and turn your head to look the opposite way.

Only drop your knees until you feel a gentle stretch. If you feel discomfort in your back, straighten the bottom leg.

Hold each side for 5 counts – Repeat 10 times each side

Quad/Hip Flexor Stretch

img_5875Using a chair, couch or bench, place one foot on the edge. If necessary place a cushion or folded mat under that knee for comfort.

Bring your other leg to 90 degrees at the hip and the knee. Keep the torso vertical, and your back hip over your back knee. The back leg is the leg that is being stretched.

Ensure you gently brace your abdominals and squeeze/activate the buttock muscle on the back leg.

Hold for 2 minutes each leg

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Option 2 (on video):

If you do not have a chair, use the same hand as the back leg to assist the stretch.

Hold for 2 minutes each leg

 

Option 1 (on video):  If this stretch is too intense or causes discomfort in the back leg, try this variation:

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As I am not lifting the back leg, I have pushed my hips forward to increase the stretch.

Before pushing forward, ensure you have lengthened your back by doing a slight tuck under with your pelvis.

Hold for 2 minutes each leg

Glute/Buttock Stretch

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Prone Glute Stretch – bend your front leg at the knee. and push your back leg out behind you. Keep your hips even and square to the ground. Fold your body over your knee and relax.

Hold for 2 minutes each leg

 

If the prone glute pose is too intense, do the lying glute stretch.

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Lying Glute Stretch – Lie on your back, with both knees bent. Cross the ankle of one leg over the upper thigh, just above the knee, of the opposite leg. Lift the lower leg off the ground, and let the knee of the top leg drop away from the body. Keep your head and shoulders relaxed and on the floor.

Hold for 2 minutes each leg

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For a more intense stretch, grasp the shin of the lower leg with both hands.

Hold for 2 minutes each leg

 

Hamstring Stretch

(use a towel, strap or theraband to assist with this stretch)

Lie on your back. Hook the towel/band around your foot, and pull your foot towards your face and straighten your leg until you feel a gentle stretch in the back of your leg.  The position of the other leg is dependent on how tight you are.

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Keep the other leg bent if you are tight.

 

 

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To increase the stretch lengthen out the other leg.

Hold for 2 minutes each leg

 

ITB Stretch (use a towel, strap or theraband to assist with this stretch)

img_5879From the Hamstring Stretch, take both ends of the towel/band in the opposite hand, and pull the leg being stretched across your body. Pull the leg slightly towards your shoulder.

If you wish to add more intensity to the stretch, pull the hip of the leg being stretch back towards the ground, while maintaining the stretch.

Hold for 2 minutes each leg

Back & Butt Stretch

img_5788Sitting on your heels, spread your knees so they move away from your body.

Allow your feet to move into a comfortable position, but so that your toes are touching or almost touching.

Push your butt back over you heels, aiming to sit on your heels, while pushing your knees apart.

Fold over your knees, towards the ground, while keeping your butt over or on your heels.

Hold for 2 minutes 

If you would like to view the video of this stretch sequence please click here .

 

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Jody is a pregnancy and post-natal specialist, with tertiary qualifications in exercise science and registered as a Level 3 Exercise Professional with Fitness Australia.
Jody is also a mum of two small children under 5, and therefore understands the demands and challenges of being a mum.
Jody is passionate about educating, energising and empowering pregnant and post-natal women through the provision of safe but effective exercise programs and fitness sessions.
Contact me today to see how I can help you with your fitness and health!
Disclaimer: This article is advice only. All individuals should discuss the suitability of their health and exercise program with their doctor, exercise professional, physiotherapist or midwife.
For further advice about your individual fitness needs, speak to a pregnancy and post-natal exercise professional, women’s health physiotherapist or health professional.

3 Simple Ways To Manage Your Stress

Well, I can’t believe that Christmas is only weeks away. And, I don’t know about you, but my calendar is already being filled with end of year events, school assemblies, Christmas activities and, some where in all that, ensuring Santa visits our home this Christmas!

This is the time of the year where we are so busy that we don’t really have a chance to stop and breathe. And, this can be a time of much stress for many of us (even if we don’t admit it!) as we are pulled in so many directions during what is supposed to be a season of “joy”,”peace” and “good will to all”.

So, this really is a good time to remind ourselves how important it is to look after our emotional wellbeing and manage our stress levels.

Our emotional wellbeing is just as important, if not more important, than our physical wellbeing. And if we are emotionally not in a good place, then, let’s face it, our physical wellbeing suffers.

For anyone who knows me well will know that I have truly high expectations of myself, and those closest to me. And, being a perfectionist means that for many years I have put a lot of pressure on myself, causing myself much stress, and, as a consequence my health has suffered.

I have been on my own journey this year. A journey to become a healthier, happier, less stressed version of me.

And, until this year, I really did not understand or appreciate just how much chronic stress impacts on your hormones – do you?

[Check out this YouTube video by Naomi Judge where she explains the interaction between stress, your thyroid, blood sugar, progesterone and estrogen.]

So, this month, I really want to share with you 3 simple ways I have learnt to help look after my emotional wellbeing, particularly managing my stress that, as mums, we face every day…

1. Include Movement and Exercise In Your Life

In a recent article in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise it has been demonstrated that it is important to stay fit, particularly in relation to ones cardiovascular fitness, especially during periods of high stress.

The researchers demonstrated that the relationship between an individual’s perception of stress and cardiovascular risk factors is moderated by fitness.

When an individual is stressed, they also generally suffer from impaired mental well-being and an increase in depressive symptoms. Stress also raises the likelihood of cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure and an unfavourable blood lipid profile.

shutterstock_196137764Interestingly, it is generally during periods of high stress that individuals reduce the amount of time they participate in exercise. Sound familiar?

Therefore, being in good shape, and including some form of movement or exercise in our daily routines, especially during periods of high stress, is so important for our health, both our physical and emotional health.

2. Take Time To Be Mindful

Over this past year I have really become so very aware of just how powerful our mind, in particular, our thoughts, impact the way we feel every day.

And, more importantly, I have truly come to appreciate how we really do have a choice every day as to how we approach the day no matter what is going on. This might be obvious to many, but it’s taken me almost 39 years to really understand the power of the mind.

As part of this, I have learnt to enjoy more quiet time – whether it be through movement and exercise, yoga, meditation or a simple walk outdoors. And, I encourage you to do the same.

shutterstock_324606446Meditation is a wonderful stress management tool to have in your emotional wellbeing toolbox. And, I have found, it is following these brief moments of being still and in the moment that I have more clarity and the answers to so many different issues become clear.

And, it is when you have clarity, you really do appreciate all that is good in your life and that there is a way forward, no matter what the situation.

However, if meditation is really not for you then just breathe, keep a gratitude journal, or find an activity where you can just be present in the moment, such as going for a walk and being aware of all the sights, sounds and smells.

3. Discover The Amazing Benefits Of Pure Essential Oils

The scent of smell is very powerful. It has been shown to have effects on mood, stress and feelings of anxiousness. Why? Well when we inhale scents and smells, they communicate with the olfactory system that then stimulates our limbic system, which is responsible for basic emotions and drives memories.

Therefore, img_4818when we diffuse or inhale pure essential oils, such as lavender and lemon, studies have shown, and from my own experience, theses scents can help to relieve stress and anxiety. They also help with relaxation and improve the ability to focus.

Learning the benefits of the many gorgeous pure essential oils available, and how blending them can provide support when your feeling stressed to relax and balance, or, if your mood is low, to uplift and energise, is a wonderful way to manage your stress and support your emotional wellbeing.

 

Please know – not all stress is bad. In fact, we do need some stress to ensure that we know how to act in the moment and fast if necessary.

However, excess amounts of stress, especially over a long period of time, can harm our health. And, in reality, no amount of nourishing food or supplements are going to make a difference if you do not learn to manage your stress. And if you do not include some form of regular stress management in your daily routine, you will simply be sabotaging your efforts with exercise as well. Believe me – I know!

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Jody is a pregnancy and post-natal specialist, with tertiary qualifications in exercise science and registered as a Level 3 Exercise Professional with Fitness Australia.
Jody is also a mum of two small children under 5, and therefore understands the demands and challenges of being a mum.
Jody is passionate about educating, energising and empowering pregnant and post-natal women through the provision of safe but effective exercise programs and fitness sessions.
Contact me today to see how I can help you with your fitness and health!
Disclaimer: This article is advice only. All individuals should discuss the suitability of their health and exercise program with their doctor, exercise professional, physiotherapist or midwife.
For further advice about your individual fitness needs, speak to a pregnancy and post-natal exercise professional, women’s health physiotherapist or health professional.

Smiling Mind – Mindfulness Meditation

In the past year, I have truly come to appreciate and enjoy the benefits of taking time breathe and learn the technique of mindfulness meditation.

Now, if you know me, you will know that I find it very difficult to stop. If I’m not busy, I’m wondering why! Sound familiar?

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So, when I had to work my way through a few challenges and struggles over the past couple of years, which was affecting my stress levels, my ability to cope and my sleep, I realised I need to maybe give this meditation and mindfulness a go.

I first started with Smiling Mind, and I feel in love with the simplicity of the meditations. I also loved, and still love, the fact that you don’t have to dedicate a lot of time unless you want to. You can do 2 minutes or 30 minutes. And, there are programs for school-aged children, teenagers and adults. There’s even specific programs for the classroom, sports and for the workplace.

As I have written in a previous blog, Just Breathe , taking the time to stop and breathe deeply will instantly calm you down both mentally as well as physically. It will help relax your entire body, and, once you have calmed yourself, you are better able to cope with what you need to do or work out how to move forward.

So, learning to be mindful and meditate greatly benefits both your physical and your emotional wellbeing, and in time, bring a little more balance to your life. Which, as a Mum or Mum-To-Be, is something we all want, don’t you agree?

So, if you haven’t given it a go yet, I recommend you do. It may take you a few tries to get the hang of it, but it’s definitely worth it.

Download the Smiling Mind App for free and experience the benefits of mindfulness meditation.

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Jody is a pregnancy and post-natal specialist, with tertiary qualifications in exercise science and registered as a Level 3 Exercise Professional with Fitness Australia.
Jody is also a mum of two small children under 5, and therefore understands the demands and challenges of being a mum.
Jody is passionate about educating, energising and empowering pregnant and post-natal women through the provision of safe but effective exercise programs and fitness sessions.
Contact me today to see how I can help you with your fitness and health!
Disclaimer: This article is advice only. All individuals should discuss the suitability of their health and exercise program with their doctor, exercise professional, physiotherapist or midwife.
For further advice about your individual fitness needs, speak to a pregnancy and post-natal exercise professional, women’s health physiotherapist or health professional.