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    News — balance

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    Mixtures and Solutions

    What does balance have to do with the senses?  A whole lot! And here are a few recipes to get those senses revved up in a playful, exciting way.  We've put together a few recipes that your kids will go ga-ga for.  They are safe, easy, and fun.  They'll not only entertain your child's sense of touch and sight, but they'll open up their minds with a splash of curiosity.  And why again are these related to balance?


    "Integration of sensory input

    Balance information provided by the peripheral sensory organs—eyes, muscles and joints, and the two sides of the vestibular system—is sent to the brain stem. There, it is sorted out and integrated with learned information contributed by the cerebellum (the coordination center of the brain) and the cerebral cortex (the thinking and memory center). The cerebellum provides information about automatic movements that have been learned through repeated exposure to certain motions. For example, by repeatedly practicing serving a ball, a tennis player learns to optimize balance control during that movement. Contributions from the cerebral cortex include previously learned information; for example, because icy sidewalks are slippery, one is required to use a different pattern of movement in order to safely navigate them. " (https://vestibular.org/understanding-vestibular-disorder/human-balance-system)

    Ok, now that you have that down, here are the recipes to help exercise those senses of yours.  Enjoy!

    SOFT AS A CLOUD playdough

    1 part conditioner: 2 parts cornstarch.  Mix together and add a teensy bit of water if necessary.  That's it! 



    Not only is this recipe so easy, but it smells good.


    Homemade Playdough

    1 cup flour

    1/2 cup salt

    2 Tablespoons cream of tartar

    1 T oil

    1 cup water

    Mix all ingredients together and cook over low heat until desired consistency.  Add food coloring or herbs, such as lavendar to the dough for an added sensory experience.

    P.S.  When I lived in Taiwan, I couldn't find cream of tartar.  I made the recipe above and added a bit of vinegar instead.  The dough turned out fine.


    cornstarch mixed with a bit of water and watercolor paints until desired consistency makes a great bath paint to paint on the walls while taking a bath. We made this last night and it was a hit! The paint was easy to clean.  Just make sure to remind your child that they are creating a masterpiece, not a mess-terpiece. 


    If you have any other recipes you would like to share, please do so! 

    A Strong Core

    Strengthening your core has many health benefits.  An unbalanced, weak, or tight core can cause a lot of problems, so it's important to not only strengthen your abdominals, but also your back muscles and the muscles in between. 

    Here are just a few of the benefits of maintaining a strong core.

    Good Posture:  You will not only stand taller and look more confident, but you will also feel more confident.  You will be able to breath better and your spine will thank you.  Good posture helps the spine and the plates in between the spine align and feel less stressed.

    Stability and Balance:  By having a strong core, you will have better balance and stability.  This will allow you to move more freely on all sorts of terrain.  Increasing balance and stability helps decrease accidents and falling.  Thus, you will have more independence.

    Sports and Activities: Your core is your powerhouse.  The stronger your core, the stronger you will be in the sports and activities that you do.  Whether it's golf, swimming, skiing, snowboarding, rowing, tennis, or just playing around with your friends-be the best that you can be with a stronger core.

    Healthy Back:More and more people today have back pain.  It's a debilitating, excruciating pain which can be prevented or treated with core strengthening and exercises.  It's best to prevent back problems from happening by keeping a strong core. 

    Every day activities will become easier and safer to do when you have a strong core.  House-cleaning, getting onto a bike or train, getting in and out of a car, or bending over to pick up a ball all require your core muscles.  We want to maintain our health and be able to do things with ease.  This is why it's important to strengthen your core and thus, have more power.

    5 Poses for Balance and Flexibility

    Here are five poses to help you with flexibility and balance.  Improving your balance strengthens your core and other muscles, improves stability, posture, muscular control, and body awareness. It also improves mental focus and clarity.  Try these on a balance board for an extra challenge, in the sand, on pebbles, or on your yoga mat.

    Crow Pose: Whenever we teach yoga to kids, they love to try the crow pose, because it's such a challenge and they feel so proud of themselves after they have mastered them (or even while trying).While in frog pose (squatting on feet with hands touching the ground between two legs), take hands and place them in front of legs.  Kneel forward, bending elbows to make a shelf for your knees.  Then, lean forward and place your knees onto your elbows like a shelf.  Keep leaning onto your tippy toes and then lift both feet off the ground so that your elbows are supporting your knees.

    Half Moon Pose:Begin in Triangle pose, then slowly start to shift your weight forward onto your front foot. Lift your back foot off the floor, and center your hips over your standing leg. Open your hips as you extend your arm upwards (lift the same arm as your leg), keeping the other hand on the ground.

    Dancer Pose:Begin in Mountain pose, then lift one foot so that the heel makes contact with your behind. Grasp the top of the foot with the hand on the same side, then lift your foot up and away from your torso and the floor. This pose requires arm and leg strength, as well as balance, but with enough practice it is a majestic balancing pose.

    Tree Pose:Begin in mountain pose, then slowly slide your foot up the length of your standing leg and let it rest against your upper thigh. Bring your hands to your chest or above your head, and balance, breathing deeply.

    Warrior III:Begin in a high lunge, with both arms above your head and your torso leaned slightly forward. Exhale and attempt to straighten your front leg and lift your back leg at the same time. Let your torso and arms come parallel to the floor as you balance on your standing leg.

    These poses will strengthen your arms, wrists, belly, back, legs, and hips. 

    Balance in our lives

    When we talk about balance in our lives, sometimes it's about the balance between our emotional health, physical health, and spiritual health.  They are all important and in fact, they all compliment each other and work together in harmony (or disharmony).  So often, emotional health is left out of the loop. There are a number of ways to help yourself or a child regain strong emotional health.   


    Yesterday I was watching a Tony Robbins video on YouTube.  It was actually a very inspiring way to start the day, after my yoga routine.  The clip was only 7 minutes long, but it talked about how in order to have good relationships with others, you first must have strong emotional health.  Emotional health starts when we are born and how we are raised, and it can change in either direction as we grow older. Emotional health is not about money, but about the way we feel about  ourselves.  Are we happy? Are we proud of who we are? Do we understand our background and upbringing (whether good or bad) and feel secure with our feelings? Are we able to let go of the things that have gone wrong, learn from our mistakes, and set goals for our future? Do we treat people kindly and compassionately? Can we control our emotions? Do we have self-confidence? These are all questions that we would ask ourselves, and all deal with emotional health.  If you have strong emotional health, you are probably a very happy person who is grateful in life. 

    What are some tips to improve our emotional health?  For one, surround yourself around happy, healthy people.  We are social creatures, and it's important to be able to talk to others about our lives, problem-solve together, and have fun together. As I mentioned before, physical health and spiritual health are connected to emotional health.  Therefore, get some exercise, fresh air, and sunshine. Get plenty of sleep and eat healthy.  Invite art and nature into your daily habits.  Engage in meaningful, creative work.  Challenge your creativity whether you think you are creative or not.  Indulge in free time.  Yes, it's important to have fun and relax.  Listen to music that makes you smile and feel proud or courageous. Greg Louganis, who won two gold medals in diving in the 1984 Olympics and two more in 1988 said that he listened to the song "Believe in Yourself" from "The Wiz," which helped him focus and feel strong.    Appeal to your other senses: surround yourself with things that look pleasing, feel good (think soft textures), and smell good.  Read or listen to inspiring words.  And lastly, be thankful for 10 things every day. 


    Your body is your first home:

    “Breathing in, I arrive in my body.

    Breathing out, I am home.”

    Thich Nhat Hahn

    Inflatable SUP

    What's an SUP?  STAND UP PADDLEBOARD...and they're awesome! If your not on your balance board at home, this is a great alternative or visa versa.  Think it's hard? YES.  Think you can't do it? WRONG.  You can do it! And if you are doing any sort of balance activities at home or anywhere else (ice-skating, snowboarding, surfing, etc.), then you should be able to knock this baby out in no time.  Some tips are to practice on a body of water that is calm,cool, and collect.  I say "cool" because if the water is cold, you will for sure try your best not to fall in.  The colder, the better.  Once you get the hang of it, give it a shot on the ocean for even more fun and challenge.  Not only will you be able to see all around you, but you'll be able to see things in the water under you (think: sharks, rays, jellyfish). 
    Supping as they call it, is just like using a balance board.  It has all of the great benefits such as a core workout, improvement of focus and balance, and coordination.  What are you waiting for? Give it a shot!
    Girls + Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Boards = Easy Cheesy Lemon Squeezy
    Warning: Inflatable SUPs cause lots of laughter and silliness!
    Question: Where do people stand-up paddle board these days? I know they are doing it in California and Taiwan.  Where else?