Tuesday’s giveaway: Yoga for Moms

Back in 2005, barely three months after moving to Vancouver, I woke up and could move. I wasn’t tired, hard-worked or stressed, I literally couldn’t move. I had an incredible pain all through my back and the only thing I thought it could’ve been from was from moving our boxes full of stuff that had recently arrived from Australia. New friends in Vancouver recommended me to a physio who has since been a great help, but he alerted me to the fact that I have Scoliosis as well as an abnormally long and slender torso which would mean I’d would likely be faced with a life-time of back pain… gee thanks. So, all it takes is for my husband to give me an extra tight hug and within 24 hours I am in excruciating pain. However, 5 years ago when I got pregnant with #1 a lot of my pain went away during the pregnancy. I was doing pre-natal yoga and after his birth, I continued, with post-natal workouts. Since then, my back pains have come and gone.  Most recently though, over the last Christmas break, I had the most pain I’ve ever experienced. I tried seeing my physio but nothing worked. Eventually I just rested and instead of going to my usual “power” classes at my gym, I attended yoga and only yoga for a month. And, voila, the back pain disappeared and as yet hasn’t reoccurred. I’m sure it will rear it’s ugly head again in time but at least I know that yoga is a proven method of pain relief. While I’m not crazy about the deep meditation and chanting, I absolutely love the physical side of it: the stretches, the poses and the peace.

Local yoga studio director and Mom, Danielle Mika Negel of Chopra Yoga concurs that yoga is imperative for Moms. Our days are filled with back-breaking activities: wearing our children, carting heavy loads of laundry up the stairs, running from place to place pushing a stroller with one hand and balancing a child on your hip with the other…

 Here are Danielle’s top five poses she believes a Mom should do everyday:

1.    Easy Seated Pose with “Success Breath”

Multitasking can easily become overwhelming. Try this simple posture for a few minutes to ground your thoughts and slow your heart rate down.

  • Sit in a comfortable position, either on the floor or a chair.
  • Rest your palms on your thighs or place your dominant hand on top of your non-dominant hand.
  • Close your eyes.
  • Take a couple of minutes to let go of what has happened prior to this moment and what is going to happen after this moment.
  • Relax your entire body, including your jaw, neck and shoulders.
  • Start to take a deeper inhalation through your nostrils as you constrict the throat muscles slightly. This will be an audible breath.
  • Exhale completely through your nostrils as you constrict your throat muscles again.
  • Keep your awareness at your breath as you continue to take these long, slow deep breaths through your nostrils.
  • Keep it gentle, relaxed and maintain the intention of letting go, each time you exhale.

 2.    Cobra Pose

Carrying your children, groceries, laptop, diaper bag, yoga bag, etc. can start to wear you down. Take a few of these gentle backbends to counteract the heavy lifting and back rounding we do each day.

  • Start lying down on your belly with your legs extended back, tops of the feet on the mat.
  • Root through the tops of the feet and legs and spider your fingertips off the mat onto the floor.
  • Lengthen your tailbone down towards the earth, inhale and slowly start to peel your chest off the floor.
  • Unclench your buttocks and your teeth and lift your heart.
  • Roll the shoulders back and down, keeping the shoulder blades hugging in towards one another.
  • Keep the back of your neck and forehead relaxed.
  • Exhale and slowly lower back down towards the earth.
  • Repeat 5 times.

3.    Standing Forward Bend

Let gravity support you as you lengthen out the backside of your body. Enjoy the benefits of an inversion with increased circulation and oxygen to the brain.

  • Stand with your feet about hip-bone distance and somewhat parallel apart.
  • Lift all your toes and fan them out.
  • Release your toes back down to the earth with space in between each toe. (make a mental note to yourself to make time to take care of your feet)
  • Root through all four corners of your feet.
  • Inhale and reach your arms overhead.
  • Exhale to forward fold, hinging at your hip crease, keeping the abdominals drawn in and your knees bent.
  • Bring your fingertips down to the earth. (bent knees are fine and good for supporting your lower back)
  • Let go of your head, neck and shoulders and keep your jaw relaxed.
  • Hold here for a few deep breaths, keeping the abdominals engaged to support the low back.
  • Put a slight bend in your knees, if you haven’t done so already, and slowly roll yourself up to standing, one vertebra at a time.
  • Engage your core center to lift you all the way back up.
  • Take a couple breaths in a standing position before moving back into activity.

4. Supine Spinal Twist

Spinal twists promote flexibility in the spine while improving digestion. As mothers, we are always concerned about feeding our kids healthy snacks but we often forget about feeding ourselves!

  • Start laying down on the floor with your legs extended.
  • Take a moment to just relax and do nothing.
  • Hug your right knee in towards your chest and take your leg towards the left.
  • Keep your shoulder blades on the floor and extend your arms out into a “t” shape, palms up.
  • Gaze towards the right hand and close your eyes.
  • Take a few breaths here to lengthen out the right side of your waist and nourish the ascending colon.
  • Inhale to come back to center, using your abdominals and release the right leg down.
  • Take a moment to notice the difference between the right and left sides of your body.
  • Repeat on the other side.

5. Legs Up the Wall (with or without the wall)

Try this restorative posture, especially if you have been on your feet all day. Use a block, bolster or pillow for support. This pose is a passive variation of Shoulderstand. (avoid during menstruation)

  • Start by laying down on the floor with your legs bent, feet on the floor.
  • Take your prop and place it underneath your sacrum. (make sure that it is comfortable there. If not, remove the prop and continue without it)
  • Hug one knee in towards your chest and then the other.
  • Extend your legs up towards the sky without engaging your abdominals, legs or toes.
  • Keep the back of your neck relaxed and avoid turning your neck.
  • Keep the gaze towards your toes and breath.
  • Stay for about 5 minutes.
  • Come out slowly by bending one leg, then the other and placing the feet back down to the earth.
  • Lift your hips and remove the prop.

For all these postures, make sure that they are comfortable and relaxing. They are here to support your busy life as a mommy!

Today’s giveaway: For one lucky Vancouver Mom, Chopra Yoga is offering you a free month of yoga! Simply comment on this post and for extra entries ‘like’ them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter (tell me you’ve done this!) This is an amazing giveway – their classes include hiphop yoga, yoga barre, pilates and hatha. What a great belated Mother’s Day gift! 

Congrats to Tracey who won last week’s giveaway of a family pass for Vancouver’s International Children’s Festival! 

image c/o spiritvoyage

Congrats to Zoe, the winner of this fantastic giveaway!


Choosing your play-mates

Recently when organising another play-date for my son (and myself), I got to wondering: how play-dates are like real dates (N.B I haven’t been on a date-date for over 10 years so I may be a bit out of touch with the dating world).

Play-dates are simply you organising a play-time for your child that, when your child is young, you as the parent often attend. When you meet another Mom at a Mom’s group, church, a party, the park or even grocery shopping, more likely your children connect and from that you schedule a play-date. However, how much of it is about the child really? Would you actually schedule a play-date with another child whose parent you find absolutely repulsive?

Generally, we schedule play-dates with childen whose parents we have developed a connection with ourselves. Is it just me or are you sometimes nervous when preparing for the first date oops playdate? You pick a location: a neutral place like a park, a kid-friendly cafe or an indoor play area. You then pick out a casual Mommy outfit: not too casual mind you but you don’t want to go overboard (I’ll be honest readers, most Mom’s I like to ‘hook’ up with are stylish dressers!)

You get to the play-date, child in hand and you strike up casual conversation with the Mommy – you know small talk. You don’t immediately go into great discussions about sex, religion or politics, you keep it light – and unless your kids get into a bloody brawl or conversation between you and your ‘date’ runs dry after five minutes, you plan to meet again soon. You wait the usual 2 days to contact them – unless they contact you first – a few text messages occur and a second play-date is planned – perhaps a more personal one, at one of your houses. A meal is shared and the kids – or rather you and the other Mommy, get to know each other more.

What are the deal-breakers in this kind of relationship? Your child wacks the other child with a baseball bat? You spill your hot coffee on the other Mommies cream couch?

When organising play-dates, what is more important to you:  your child’s connection with the other child or your connection with the other Mom?

image c/o pinterest

Spring 2012 trends: for Moms

While it’s very difficult for Moms to embrace Spring 2012 trends such as bra tops, sheer shirts, tuxedo trousers and lace gowns on a daily basis, there are some trends for this Spring that we can try to bring into our Mom wardrobe. Here’s my top ten trends for Spring 2012.

Pleats: add a pleated skirt to a crisp t-shirt and ballet flats

Old Navy


Black and White: Mix super crisp white with bold black lines

Piperlime

Lace: for the girly dresser, think doilies that lined your Grandmother’s side tables (don’t forget your undergarments!)

Anthropologie

Zigzags: perfect for our crazy up and down, hormonal Mommy days (think Missoni)

Forever21

Summer suits: For the working Mama, I love this simple, yet sexy work look.

Topshop

Draped pencil skirts: For work or for dressing up here’s a change from the classic pencil skirt, this Spring, add ruffles, ruching and folds to your skirt

Karen Kane

Pastel separates: we love eating ice-cream sorbet, well, this time: wear it!

Jeckerson

White: I know it shows all the stains, but at least you can bleach it! (just don’t wear it to a wedding, that’s tacky)

Asos

The Great Gatsby: Possibly my favourite fashion era, the flapper dresses are back! A great investment item for date nights, weddings and formal functions

Gryphon

Asymmetric hems: Add a bit of excitement to your skirt – and sexiness with a slanted hemline

Urban Outifitters

Hyperbright florals: keep up with the print mixing and don’t be afraid to don the bright, bold florals including floral pants.

Anthropologie

1 pair of jeans, 6 different looks

Moms, you know my love of jeans. I sing their praises in almost every post i write and 99% of my outfits involve a pair of jeans. They are my uniform like it or not. But they can get tiresome when you wear them everyday. But I firmly believe that if you find yourself a pair of denim that fits your body perfectly, there is no excuse but to wear them everyday. You just have to figure out how to work them into different outfits.

For example my pair of Mavi ‘Annie’ jeans that I scored at a close-down sale for $40. Here’s six ways to wear them.

1. Brr…it’s cold outside!

Wear these items with your special denims when you curl up on the couch with your current read and a cup of tea or when you’re running errands with the kids.

2. A pop of colour

 Whether its a baby shower, a coffee with a friend, Sunday morning church, this oufit is sure to get you some attention and help you felt bright and cheery in your everday jeans.

 3. A quiet, casual weekend

Wear your favourite jeans with soft, cotton sweatshirt and a hoodie. Grab your well loved slip ons and you’ll be comfy and cozy all weekend (and NOT be wearing sweats or leggings!!)

4. Colonel Mustard

Mustard and denim to me are like mmm, raspberries and chocolate. They are sooo good together. Also I’m a cardigan girl and I live in a cardi-friendly city. Try this look for everyday running around school drop off, pick up, 5 loads of laundry, sweeping the floors and cleaning up toys…what else do we do?

5. Casual Work Attire

Grab yourself a navy blazer and a classic crisp white shirt (hint, these are two items I would always invest in!) Pair it with some ‘Kate’ pumps and a good quality leather bag and boom: this Momma means business.

6. Girls Night or Date Night?

Who cares? You’ll look hot in this outfit: a fun, craaazy (for a Mom) top, some killer heels, a clutch and you’re looking good and feeling tired the next day! (handy tip: have a blister? rub some vaseline on it!)

Event: Mom’s in the City

On November 3rd, I attended the Mom’s in the City event at Yaletown store Saf and Benjamin. This was the first time I’d visited this lovely store so it was so much fun checking out all their stock and purchasing some early Christmas presents for my boys (from their crazy discount bin!) The evening featured various vendors such as Yummy Mummy Makeovers, Tawna Hill Baby Skin Care and Moo and the Bear. There was a prize draw and I actually won something (more on that later!) I must say, I absolutely loved all the products in the store (as you well know I am pretty picky when it comes to kids products) –  owner, Sommer Sawchuk has incredible taste and thus the products lack Disney characters, fairy floss pinks and overdosing on dinosaurs (some of my fave products include this, this and this). Need to do some holiday shopping for your little loved ones at the store with the best view in Vancouver? Head down to Saf and Benjamin.

Mommies mingling

Demonstration by Joyce from Yummy Mummy Makeovers

Manager Kristen and Owner Somner

Amazing skin care line (and what a story) from Tawna Hill Baby Skin Care

With one of my dearest friends, Christine

note the baby Hunters, aren’t they adorable?!

xxo, SSM

Mommies in Vancouver need…

everlytrue: [by Jenna Walker]

Good quality rainboots,

justinchungphotography: Annemieke @ Ford.

a practical, yet stylish rain jacket,

a pair of everyday jeans,

 

a comfortable pair of shoes and,

a cute accessory!

(DISCLAIMER: DON”T HAVE A CHILD FOR THE SAKE OF GETTING A CUTE ACCESSORY, HAVE A CHILD BECAUSE YOU WANT ONE, BUYING a PURSE is WAY LESS TROUBLE, YET DOESN”T BRING YOU QUITE AS MUCH JOY!)

images c/o jcrewing, everlytrue, justinchungphotography, ttlg, vineetkauur

40% off Spring Sale at Old Navy!

Basics ladies, Basics. Old Navy may not be the fanciest store in the world but it does sell great basics, at great prices. And the kids stuff is pretty good too (more on that later). So, at the moment go online to view their fantastic 40% off Spring  sale. Here are some of my picks for the stylish Mom.

Women’s Ruffle-Trim Slub-Knit Henleys $7.99, Women’s Eyelet-Trimmed Belted Tops $11.50, Women’s Linen-Blend Boyfriend Cardigans $23.50, Women’s Belted Cinch-Waist Skirts $17.50, Women’s Twill Button-Front Trench Coats $41.50

roll on to zoom in
roll off to zoom out
roll off to zoom out
roll on to zoom in Hmm…now to find my credit card..! Happy shopping Moms!
xxo, Simplystylishmom

Encourage nose-picking

When I lived in Paris i used to love watching all the kids. They are so beautifully dressed and there’s many kids clothes stores that are reasonably priced and their designs are amazing. They even have kids clothes in your local super-market! The French certainly know how to do kids clothes.

Now, 10 years later, with two boys of my own, i find it so hard to find boys clothes that don’t have skull & crossbones, trucks, or dinosaurs plastered all over them. I’ve recently come across this awesome French brand – with an even more awesome name: Finger in the Nose (!!) (www.fingerinthenose.com) Here’s some of the Spring 2011 looks for boys.