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    Partner Pose: Wheel

    Kids love to perform the wheel pose. This pose is great for stretching the abs, strengthening the spine, and helps bring blood and oxygen to the brain.  It's very challenging and thus gives kids a boost of confidence when they are successful at it.   This pose is great to do with a partner, as each person can take turns being either the wheel or the mouse supporting the wheel.  The mouse pose is a good counter stretch to the wheel, another benefit of doing these two poses together. 


    Wheel Pose: 

    Wheel Pose Partner Variation: 

    Remember, even if you aren't completely successful doing the wheel pose, attempting this pose has it's own benefits! It improves posture, balance, and flexibility.  Namaste to that. 


    Core Strength with Dumbbells


    The other day I was teaching a yoga class when my 4 year old daughter decided to climb all over me.  The next day, it felt like I had gone to a personal trainer for a hard-core workout and it got me thinking: I should incorporate some weights into our balance board routine.  Why not, right?  So, here are 4 core-strengthening and whole-body power poses for you to try on your balance board. 

    Try going through the whole series 2-3 times.  I used 5 pound weights, and recommend starting off light and then working your way up if needed. 




    Holding the end of the dumbbell in your fingers, place your feet just wider than shoulder-width apart, bend your knees and at your hips slightly, and swing the dumbbell back through your legs.

    Pop your hips forwards and bring the dumbbell back up to eye level. If you’re using an adjustable dumbbell, be careful and make sure that the plates are secure.  Do this 8 times.




    Hold the dumbbell with both hands up and to one side of your head with arms outstretched.

    Pretend to slice the dumbbell down across your body and squat as you go, so the dumbbell ends up beside your opposite shin.

    Return to the start and repeat. Repeat 8 times, then switch sides.




    Sit on the floor with your feet in the air and knees bent, holding a dumbbell in both hands in front of your sternum.

    Keeping your core braced and arms straight, rotate to one side. Then twist the other way. Return to the start again to complete one rep.  Do this 8 times like the others.



    Begin in a full plank position with a dumbbell on the floor a few inches away from the outside of left hand. Engage abs to keep torso steady and reach right arm under or over left to grab dumbbell. Pull the dumbbell across the floor to the right side of body, releasing it just outside of right arm, and then return to plank. That's one rep. Do 10 reps, alternating sides each time. 


    Ok, so now you should really feel your core! Always make sure that you keep your core strong and a neutral spine when doing these poses.  And by the way, instead of letting my daughter climb all over me while doing these movements, I had her be the photographer….otherwise I would have been a MILKSHAKE board sandwich!

    10 Foundation Poses

    So, you just received your brand new balance board.  Congratulations! Here are some stretches and balance moves to get you started.  It's important to do them in a sequence, as some of the stretches go hand and hand.  For example, the cat/cow poses go together because the cat pose is the counter stretch to the cow pose for your back.  Snake and Mouse poses also go together.  Have fun!

    Let's start with something easy.  Sit in the middle of your board, facing the "MILKSHAKE boards" logo.  

     Airplane Easy Pose: (criss-cross apple sauce) or put your arms out to your sides as if you are in an airplane.

    Now pretend to fly like an airplane.  Hold each stretch for a few deep breaths.  

     Cow Pose: let your belly drop down with your back bent like the letter U.

    Cat Pose:  arch your back up like a mountain and look down under your belly at your legs behind you.


    Do cat/cow together as they are counter stretches to each other.  Inhale for cow, exhale for cat.  Repeat 10 times.

     Mouse Pose: curl up like a ball on top of the board.  Feel your belly breath against your legs as you remain in this pose for 3-5 deep breaths.  

     Snake or Cobra Pose:  From mouse pose, slide your feet out from under you and make sure that your feet are together, legs, and seat are firmly placed on the board behind you. Then, lift your chest up from the board and feel the stretch.  


    After Snake Pose, do Mouse Pose again for the counter stretch (snake and mouse can go hand-in-hand).


    Downward Dog: In downward dog, you will want to make a triangle with your body.  

    Upward Dog:  From downward dog, drop your belly and keep your legs and belly off the ground, arms shoulder width apart.

    Elephant Pose: Standing up, keep your legs straight and let your torso, head, and arms hang down.  Clasp your hands together like the trunk of an elephant and sway or pretend to drink water.



    Now, slowly come up and pretend to splash water on your body and back.  You can also spray water all around you.

    Mountain Pose: Stand tall on your balance board.  Take some deep slow breaths.  Then, try standing on your tippy toes.  For an extra challenge, stand on your tippy toes and look up at the sky.

    Tree Pose: An all time favorite....while standing tall, take one heel and rest it against the opposite leg.  Then, let your "branches" or arms grow.  Remember to repeat with the opposite leg.


    Have fun with these poses to get you started on your board.  Remember to always be careful and share your MILKSHAKE board with your friends.  


    Yoga for Shoulder Pain

    Do you ever wake up with shoulder pain?  Or perhaps after playing a sport, your shoulder is killing you?  Instead of heading to the medicine cabinet, try some yoga moves.  If anything, these yoga poses will help strengthen your shoulders, which can help in the prevention of further shoulder and or neck pain. These yoga poses will also build your muscle endurance for special sports such as rowing, archery, horseback riding, and gymnastics. 

    To start with, try Sun Salutations 3-4 times to get the body going.  This will be your warm up.  Remember to move slowly through the poses, so that you really get a good stretch and warm up your muscles. 

    Warrior I, II, and III

    When working through the warrior poses, focus your energy on keeping your head up high and arms straight.  Open up your chest like a strong warrior, protecting the Earth.  Inhale and exhale a few times with each move, so that you get the most out of this series.

    Crab/Table Pose and Lounge Chair Pose

    Crab/Table pose is great for opening up your chest and strengthening your arms.  We like to kick our feet up a few times while in this pose and then after we're pretty tired, we rest in lounge chair pose, which opens up our back and shoulders.  This pose also helps your wrists relax after being in crab/table pose. 

    Criss-cross Pose

    While lying down on your belly, criss-cross your arms in front of you.  Your arms should be out to your sides at a 90 degree angle from your body, so that your back is open and prone.  Take some deep belly breaths, counting to 5 for each exhale.

    Bow Pose

    Lie down on your belly. Reach your arms and hands behind you and grab your ankles. Gently pull your feet towards your head.  Lift your chest and legs off the floor and breath deeply.  Remember to do a counter stretch such as mouse/child pose afterwards.

    Remember to always listen to your body and instincts. If your shoulder pain persists and you feel like you may have a serious injury, talk to your doctor.





    10 minute workout

    When all you want to do is 10 minutes, do it!  When I was living in Taiwan, it rained a lot.  Sometimes the rain never stopped, and though jumping in puddles is always fun, we didn't feel like it all the time. There weren't any gyms around either.  So, we had to come up with a plan b on getting in some exercise or getting those heebie-jeebies out of our bones.  My daughter and I came up with a fabulous idea.  We spent 10 minutes going through a circuit training or obstacle course.  Honestly, I was the one who did the obstacle course, while my 3 year old daughter jumped all over me during the process. Here's what I did:

    60 jumping jacks

    15-30 push ups (partly on my knees)

    60 bicycles on my back

    100 squats

    15-30 dips (on a chair)

    15-30 step ups

    100 jump ropes (if you don't have a jump rope, just pretend)


    I would do 2-3 sets of these and a little meditation or deep breathing.  Sometimes I would leave something out or add something in for variety (frog jumps or superman back stretches for example).  Lately, we've also been adding the balance board for more core-strengthening and improving our balance.  Whatever the case, this mini workout is great for the heart and for relieving stress. My daughter enjoyed creating her own little circuit simultaneously. It's a great way to start or end the day.