Mommy and Me Yoga Poses

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Double Butterflies

Our kids just want to spend time with us.  They want to come to work with us, join our date nights, and help with errands.  In my household, I am always doing yoga, so therefore my kids want to do yoga with me all the time!

Teaching our kids yoga can provide them with so many benefits including: having healthy exercise habits, learning body awareness, and building strength and flexibility.  In addition, kids learn emotional skills such as: determination, patience, and focus.  Perhaps the most important lesson is learning how to breathe, and teaching our children to take slow deep breaths when they are faced with challenges to stay calm.

Next time you step on your mat at home, instead of practicing alone, try out some of these fun mommy and me poses!  I guarantee you will both love your time together!

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Double Upward Facing Dogs

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Double Planks

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Double Boats

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Double Chairs

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Double Trees

And one more if you are feeling adventurous… have fun!

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Supported Cobra Pose

 

5 Ways to Stay Healthy at 94 Years Old

Staying Healthy at 94 Years

Being thankful for a beautiful and healthy 94 year old great-grandmother!

Today, my grandmother turned 94 years young.  And the amazing thing is that she is still the same Nai Nai I remember as a child – independent, thoughtful, active, energetic, and passionate.  How is she still just as healthy now as she was 30 years ago? 

Here are 5 ways to stay healthy that we can learn from my grandmother:

1) Learn to Cook

To this day, every time I see my Nai Nai, I am greeted with a ridiculous amount of home-cooked food stored in various plastic containers (see #3 below), including a huge tub of Almond Jello because she knows I love and will eat the entire thing.  My Nai Nai loves to cook and besides her thoughtfulness to give away food to others, there are actually a lot of side-benefits to cooking regularly, some of which include:

– being able to take care of yourself and your own meals

– eating healthier because you know exactly what ingredients are in your dishes

– building muscle strength (some of the pots are really heavy – no joke!)

– and stimulating your mind by reading recipes, measuring food, or remembering the steps to make a dish

2) Stay Social

My Nai Nai lives in a senior community center where she takes care of herself and her own apartment, but there are friends nearby and activities to participate in.  Almost every day she has some social engagement where she and her friends go on a field trip somewhere or they are taking a class together or they are just sharing a meal together and gossiping!  Staying social prevents us from being too isolated and lonely.

3) Express Yourself

Anyone who knows my Nai Nai knows that she has a very strong opinion about everything.  She knows exactly what she wants.  What matters here is that she cares.  If we stop caring and become apathetic about everything, then we lose that spark, that passion, that should be inspiring us everyday.  Here are some specific examples of what my Nai Nai cares about:

The U.S. Citizenship Test: My Nai Nai came from China in the 80’s to live in the United States.  She speaks very limited English.  And yet, 10 years after immigrating to the U.S., she decided she wanted to take the U.S. Citizenship test.  She spent months listening to a tape recording of questions and answers, memorized it all, and PASSED the test.  That’s determination, considering she really can’t carry a conversation in English, at all.

Re-using Please: Remember in #1 above I mentioned the various plastic containers that my food was stored in?  Well, my Nai Nai is the queen of re-using.  Containers from the grocery store get re-used (think round margarine tub).  Wrapping paper from birthdays and Christmas exchanges get re-used.  Yes, we all open wrapping papers slowly and carefully.  Presents she received from others get sent to you.  Re-use.

Dress to Impress: At 94 years old, my Nai Nai is one stylish lady.  Not only does she continue to take care of her skin every night, style her hair, wear make-up, and coordinate her outfits to match her jewelry, but also she loves her shoes!  You will never catch her in any flats.  Despite already having several falls in the past couple years (including stitches a month ago!!!), my Nai Nai will forever be wearing her heels (fortunately less than 2 inches!). 

4) Exercise Everyday

Of course my Nai Nai came from a different generation where she never needed a car, and therefore never learned how to drive.  Moving to the U.S. was a challenge because everything is very spread apart and transportation is essential.  Fortunately, my father lives close to my Nai Nai and frequently drives her to places that are a bit farther like a doctor’s appointment or her weekly grocery runs.  However, on a day to day basis, my Nai Nai exercises by walking around the neighborhood by herself (though we aren’t so fond of that), walking to the CVS a few blocks away, or walking to the In N Out because for some strange reason she loves their burgers….. I am sure if the rest of us did not have the luxury of relying on our personal cars, we would all be much, much healthier!

5) Believe in Something

Simply put, get in touch with your spiritual health.  My Nai Nai is a strong Christian and she has her weekly church services and fellowship that she attends (and takes the bus to), and on a daily basis, she prays.  Not only do we need to be physically and mentally strong, but also we need to be spiritually strong too.

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We have a lot to learn from the people around us.  Today, I am unable to physically celebrate with my Nai Nai in person because I live far away, but I am celebrating right now her presence and influence in my life, and now in my daughter’s life too.  We may not all be meant to live 94 years, but we all are meant to find purpose and passion in our lives every single day!

Happy 94th Birthday Nai Nai!

Dear Mom

Dear Mom Letter Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother’s Day to the most positive and patient person I know.

Dear Mom,

I know I am far away this year and I am sorry I cannot be there to celebrate your special day today, a day that should be celebrated everyday because you deserve it.  All I can do then is write you this letter, to say sorry for all the years I didn’t write a letter to tell you thank you, and all the years that I took your presence in my life for granted.  Now that I am a mom, I am quickly understanding how difficult it is to be as patient and selfless as you have been towards me all my life.  Here are a few apologies I would like to make to you…

In my childhood years, you always told me that I was a little bit too eager to climb every possible structure in sight and I am sorry for causing you to have a heart-attack each time.  I am sorry if I ever pushed you away and did not give you a hug when you asked for one.  I am sorry for not practicing piano enough when I should have and making you extremely nervous during piano recitals.

In my teen years, I was extremely confused and selfish.  I am sorry for not communicating and sharing more of my life with you.  I am sorry for not helping you more around the house with chores.  I am sorry that I did not say thank you for always having food prepared in the refrigerator.

In my twenties, I moved back home after college and you opened up your home to me, once again.  I am sorry for cluttering your clean and organized home with a lot of my stuff, even to this day.  I am sorry for probably causing you carpal tunnel syndrome to help me with my ridiculous craft projects – from hand-making programs, invitations, etc. for my 400-person wedding, to keeping you up past your bedtime to finish last-minute Christmas cards for 200 ex-students.  I am sorry I didn’t organize a special Mother’s Day celebration for you each year.

Now in my thirties, I realize I still make the same mistakes.  I still give you heart-attacks when I drive 5 hours home at midnight or decide to do extreme activities like skydiving.  I should be the one picking up groceries for you and cooking you dinner and washing the dishes, but now you’re not only cooking for me, but my husband and daughter too.  My “stuff” is still occupying your house, and an entire space in your garage.

“I’m sorry” will never be enough.  “Thank you” will never be enough.  But at least now, know that you can ask for a hug and I will happily give you one.  Know that you can call me anytime and I will eagerly share what is going on in my life.  Know that I will organize something special for you every Mother’s Day from now on.

Happy Mother’s Day Mom and I love you.

(BTW, I’m working on the get-rid-of-my-stuff-in-your-house issue…)