Prenatal Yoga Dance to “How Long Will I Love You,” By Ellie Goulding

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Mother’s Day just passed two days ago, and at times I am still in disbelief that Mother’s Day is now a celebration for me too!  How much changes in 5 years… from never sleeping in anymore, to taking 1 hour to get out of the house in the mornings versus 15 minutes, to having stuff… just stuff… all over the house.   And now… to having endless kisses and snuggles, to having a helper put away dishes or laundry, to knowing a love that is so deep and so great that my heart actually hurts thinking about my kids.

Motherhood has been a wild ride, starting with being bedridden for 3 months in my first pregnancy!  Fortunately, my second pregnancy was smooth sailing and I was able to teach my fitness and yoga classes literally until the morning of my labor.

18 months ago, I shot this impromptu yoga dance video with Jamie Ginsberg at Marin Power Yoga when I was pregnant with my second child.  I am so grateful I have this footage.  My heart is full.

Some other yoga dances I’ve made:

Yoga Dance – “Make You Feel My Love”

Yoga Dance – “Amazing Grace”

 

Other pregnancy posts I wrote:

Prenatal Yoga For Experienced Yogis

I Am Going to Miss Being Pregnant!

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Girls, Healthy Doesn’t Mean Skinny

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The truth is: my husband was disappointed when he found out we were having girls.  It sounds harsh, but the reason is because he knows all the problems and drama that girls are more-likely faced with these days, including especially body image issues that lead to anorexia or worse.  And as a father who dearly loves his daughters, it is an added worry and heartache in his life.  As a mom who completely understands these roller coaster emotions, binge eating habits, and struggles with self-esteem, I completely agree with my husband.  I am scared of all the peer pressure, media, and negative influences that are out there telling girls they are not pretty or skinny enough.  This is not OK.

I don’t usually forward articles, in fact, this is the first time I am sharing an article on my website.  However, my friend Jackie Ashton, who also teaches at Marin Power Yoga, published her powerful article, “Why This Mother Is Stopping It With the Cleanses, Diets,” on The Washington Post today and I feel drawn to share it.  Reading this article has brought more awareness into how my own actions may be creating positive or negative examples for my girls.  Teaching my girls healthy eating habits is one thing, but teaching them to love their body is another, much more important lesson.

“I am not my body. My body is an instrument that allows me to do great things in this life: to take care of my children, to be a loving friend, sister, daughter, and wife. In time, my body will decay and ultimately, it will die and dissolve into the ground. But what is inside—the true essence of who I am—will never change.” Jackie Ashton

I hope Jackie’s article speaks to you and all the women and daughters in your life.  Feel free to share your responses below!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/parenting/wp/2016/03/31/why-this-mother-is-stopping-it-with-the-cleanses-diets/

“You Must Do The Thing Which You Think You Cannot Do.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Marin Power Yoga

This past weekend I taught my Power Yoga class and began with 2 questions for my students to reflect on:

  1. What is something in your yoga practice that you have wanted to try or achieve, but you have been held back because of fear?  (For example, fear of falling, fear of not being strong enough, fear of getting out of your comfort zone, fear of embarrassment…)
  2. What is something in your personal life that you have wanted to change but fear has held you back?  (For example, changing jobs, saying no or yes more, apologizing to someone, fixing a bad habit…)

For myself, I also answered those same questions.  In my yoga classes, one area that I struggle with the most as an instructor is sharing about myself and letting students get to know my “story.” I hold back and usually stick to “textbook teaching” of cueing poses and alignment.  It is what I am comfortable doing.  Although teaching makes me seem like an extrovert because I stand in the front of a room full of people, I am truly an introvert and in all other areas of my life, I prefer to be hidden in the back corner of a room, keeping all my thoughts swirling around in my own head, silent to others.

Well, this weekend I decided to face my fear…

At the end of class, I shared about my hair.  My hair has been incredibly long since my teens, so around 25 years.  My hair is my security blanket.  I associate myself with Violet, from Pixar’s, “The Incredibles.”  Violet is the daughter of a superhero family and she uses her hair to hide behind so she won’t stand out. In fact, her superpower is becoming invisible, which is exactly how I relate to my hair – a symbol of something to hide behind!

The Incredibles "Violet"

As some of you know from my previous posts about migraines and attempts to heal my migraines, I have been suffering from migraines all my life and I am desperate for any chance of relief.  My latest theory is… maybe my 25 years of having long, THICK, hair, plus wearing them in high, heavy ponytails for most of that time during gymnastics, cheerleading, and now yoga/fitness classes, causes too much weight on my neck (my migraine pain seems to originate from my C1, where the base of my skull meets the top of the spine).

So in front of my students, (and facing my first challenge of sharing openly about myself…) I pulled out a pair of scissors (oh I wish I could have videotaped the giant gasps and “NOOO” cries in the room… haha!).  My husband and daughter came into the room and helped me to cut off my braid.  I went from shaking uncontrollably from nervousness and fear, to immediately feeling so refreshed and light!  It is just hair… but cutting my braid symbolized so much more.  I am facing my fears.  I am embracing change.  I am free!

Pantene Beautiful Lengths Haircut

I will be mailing my hair to Pantene Beautiful Lengths because someone out there with cancer needs my hair more than I do… sending all my love to everyone out there who has been or is fighting the biggest battle of their lives.  Stay strong and know you are loved!

Pantene Beautiful Lengths

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.  You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.

~ Eleanor Roosevelt

The Meaning of Easter Through Dance

What is the meaning of Easter?

To me, Easter is love, sacrifice, and hope.

It is a love that we receive regardless how many times we make mistakes, hurt others, or criticize ourselves.  It is a love that never leaves our side.  It is a love so deep that we were worth dying for.

It is a sacrifice that was unimaginable.  It is a sacrifice that was slow, painful, and absolutely horrific.  It is a sacrifice that led to death so that our lives would be saved.

It is a hope that tells us Jesus died for you and me, but miraculously rose from death 3 days later.  It is a hope that shows God has power over death and that death has been defeated.  It is a hope that through God’s unconditional love and Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, we have been saved from eternal death and we have been given the promise of eternal life.

John 11:25-26, New International Version (NIV)

25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

It took me about 25 years to believe.  I pray and hope that you will one day soon believe too.

Here is one of my favorite performances that is an interpretive hip hop dance about the story of Mary Magdalene and Jesus.  It begins with Mary Magdalene about to be stoned for adultery and Jesus stepping in to save her.  The dance represents Jesus’ love for all of us regardless of our sins, and continues to show His sacrifice on the cross and His resurrection.  This performance was at the Hawaiian Islands Ministry Conference in 2009 with my old hip hop dance ministry, Eight Count, and is choreographed to “Bleeding Love” by Leona Lewis.

 

 

 

 

Holiday Acts of Kindness

Christmas TreeIt started with a recent visit to Starbucks when the barista surprised me and “forgot to enter” one of my two Gingerbread Lattes.  I was so touched because I have never been on the receiving end of a random act of kindness like that.  But it reminded me why this is my absolute favorite time of the year.  Somewhere between Thanksgiving and Christmas, when holiday music starts playing on the radio, and decorations and lights are found everywhere, a little bit of magic starts to happen.  People start to think about others and how they can bring a smile to someone else’s face.  I absolutely LOVE it and wish that this type of magic happened all year long.  This is my favorite time of the year because a little bit of hope in a kind, compassionate, unselfish humanity is restored into my heart.  The holidays can truly bring out nothing less than amazing miracles.

Here are some recent magical events this holiday season that warmed my heart:

1) Mystery Christmas Tree Floating on Water

A thoughtful neighbor decorated a solar-powered Christmas tree and shared it with the San Rafael Community by sending it on a raft in the San Pablo Bay.

Click here to read the Mystery Christmas Tree article.

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2) WestJet Christmas Miracle: Real-Time Giving

Passengers had the opportunity to tell Santa what they wanted for Christmas, and at the end of their flight their wishes came true as their presents came out of the baggage carousel.

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3) Flash Mob: The U.S. Air Force Band at the Smithsonian

Tourists at the Smithsonian Museum were in for a special treat as one by one, instrumentalists and vocalists from the U.S. Air Force Band began performing a holiday medley.

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4) Tips For Jesus

Starting in September this year, an anonymous person began giving extremely generous tips, as in $500 to $10,000, to restaurant servers.

Click here to see the Tips for Jesus Instagram account.

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5) How To Be a Superhero

Two sixteen-year-olds dress up as superheros and do random acts of kindness such as giving someone flowers or balloons, to paying for their meal.

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Those are just a few examples of some really cool people sharing an act of kindness this holiday season.  Perhaps the most realistic story for an everyday person like myself is the last one on how to be a superhero.  Of course, we don’t have to dress up in spandex, or only wait for the holidays to do an act of kindness.  We can, however, make it a habit to look for moments where we could surprise a total stranger and do something that will make them smile, or even better, jump and down screaming with happiness (if you can afford that!).

In the video, they say it best: “All we’re asking you guys to do, is when you see an opportunity to do good, take it.” 

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

“My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others.  Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?”

– Bob Hope