Inner Peace and Toned Arms!

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I've been practicing yoga for almost 13 years. I can attest that for me no other exercise comes close to providing the emotional and physical well-being.

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I recently chatted with Christina Hatgis, mom of two and co-founder of Mala Yoga, about yoga, motherhood and fitness. Christina (40) has been teaching for 10 years and specializes in prenatal, Mommy & Me and open classes. "Mom's suffer from tight shoulders and need to build their core strength, " says Hatgis. In her post-natal classes, she focuses on getting women to connect back to their physical body. In her view, it's all too easy for new moms to forget about themselves. And let's not forget, moms need to be strong--it's a physically demanding job.

Mom and Baby classes are a great way to expand your network of mommy friends and bond with your baby. New moms can start up again usually 6 weeks after delivery. According to Hatgis, these classes tend to be low-key. It's a great place to learn a few basic postures.

Hatgis' favorite poses for new moms:

For novices who can find childcare, a basics class is the place to get started. Call the studio ahead of time to make sure the instructor is certified and try to pick a class that is small so you can receive plenty of individual attention. If you can't find a class in your neighborhood, Hatgis has a few suggestions for DVDs and books:

Yoga Mom Buddha Baby by Jyothi Larson $11.20

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Kundalini Yoga with Gurmukh $15

Hatgis notes, that a great thing about yoga is "You don't need an hour--you can do a few down dogs and twists" and call it a day. But if you can sneak a full practice, it's a great way to stay fit and build strength.

Calories Burned: around 300 for a 45 minute practice.

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