All photos by Nigel Barker.
Downtown had the opportunity to talk with Cristen and Kimberly Chin about their new show: The Chin Twins! The show follows Cristen and Kimberly as they show us how to cook some of their favorite family recipes while they teach us how to love life and stay balanced in such a crazy world! From visiting local shops and restaurants to learning natural beauty hacks, The Chin Twins has something for everyone! Read on to see what they have to say about their new show, the importance of food and family, and much more!
You both practice yoga. How did you start? How has it helped you during the pandemic? Do you have any tips or advice for beginners?
Kimmy: We grew up dancing. We’ve always used our bodies as an art form. We did ballet, tap, jazz, point. And we were pretty athletic. We were swimmers. We tried to do diving; it didn’t quite work out.
It began with a Bikram studio. And that’s the very hot, pretty regimented type of yoga. We started out being drawn to the physical practice of yoga. It deepened after we became parents, when we became pregnant. We did prenatal yoga, Mommy and Me yoga, with our babies. Yoga has evolved with us as we’ve aged.
And then we both did our teacher training. We wanted to share it with other people, so we both teach, we both practice.
Crissy: The pandemic was a huge shift. I for one love to go into studios; I feed off the energy of all the other yogis in the room, and I love breathing together or flowing together. Everything just came to a halt.
It was a forced change to our practice, but it did deepen it in a different way. That is one time I needed yoga the most just because of the anxiety and the unknown, having two kids at home trying to do homeschooling. Yoga shifted, and it was amazing the way you can find what you need from your practice under different circumstances. You find ways to carve out a space in your home. It was a struggle, but I think it deepened my relationship with yoga. My practice is definitely more restorative, more calming; I go to it for that.
Kimmy: There’s just so many types of yoga, and yoga can meet you wherever you are. The best advice is don’t try to compare yourself to anybody else, even when you start in a classroom because yoga looks different to everybody. Yoga can be doing things mindfully, it can be meditation. There are so many different classes and styles. Just keep searching and find where you fit.
Crissy: Try as many different styles as you can until you find one that suits you, and that might change. Just keep an open mind. And that suits all points of your life like being a student, being a mother. That’s a healthy way to approach all things in life.
And I think that’s also why Kimmy and I created this show, The Chin Twins, to introduce some of the more lofty, complicated yoga philosophies in a more day to day way. Ways to use everyday activities in your home to kind of emulate these larger yogic principles. That’s really what the show’s about.
How do you use food to stay connected with your family?
Crissy: It’s a human, primal desire to be able to care for people, and food, for us as mothers, definitely plays a role in that, for caring and nourishing. And connecting, to gather, to commune.
Kimmy: When you’re cooking, when you’re nourishing, you’re putting a little bit of heart into your food and sharing it with your family. In the show–we filmed it all in Woodstock where Crissy lives–we went out and embraced the community like little local shops, and that also strengthened the community.
Crissy: I love to explore different cultures through food. So my friends and my family will have a themed night, like it’s Moroccan Night and we’ll have the tajin out and the couscous, so I love using food to broaden and teach.
Kimmy: Like when we’re having Italian Night, I put on Italian bistro music. You bring Italy to you, especially during the pandemic. Everybody got so experimental. I think it was Christmas Eve and I said, “Let’s go get snow crab legs.” We’ve never had that! We were just trying to bring the world to our kitchens because we couldn’t get out and travel.
In the episodes that have aired so far, you visit quite a few local shops in Woodstock, NY like Harana Market and Three Turtle Doves. What do you love about shopping local, and why is it important for you and for us to support local stores in our communities?
Crissy: Small businesses got hit so hard during the pandemic, and they struggled to stay open and keep the foot traffic going, and, as Kimmy mentioned we haven’t been traveling as much, so I really feel like I’ve reconnected with my small town. And not that I didn’t appreciate them before, but every little community…there’s so many treasures in our own backyard. It’s amazing to be able to visit them and to really sit and hear their stories. I go in and out of shops everyday, and it’s nice just to connect with the owners. It’s really special to be able to share that with our audience. It’s a real gift that we can go and help share that with the world.
We visited Tinker Taco, which I go to all the time, and I love their tacos. But I had never watched him make them by hand. And he really starts with the kernels of corn and soaks it and grinds it and presses it.
Kimmy: It’s nice to appreciate what’s in your own backyard. And when we support our local businesses, they really look out for us too. The community, if we need something, they’d be the first ones to bring food to your house. And you know where your food is coming from.
Crissy: It’s important to know where that tortilla came from! And now it makes me want to go and make my own at home.
The first episode talked about staying grounded and having a solid foundation, and we saw that one of the ways you do this is by cooking. What are some other ways you have found to stay grounded?
Crissy: Outside of the physical practice of yoga, it’s just taking a break. Stopping. Sometimes we get very caught up in the to-do list or the kids or whatever is happening. Just take time for yourself. It’s very helpful in staying grounded. And surround yourself with grounded people.
Kimmy: Something easy no matter where you are is your breath. It’s probably the easiest tool anybody can use to ground themselves. You can be in an airplane, in the grocery store waiting in line, driving…just taking a long, deep breath…there’s so many simple breathing techniques. Your breath is the quickest, easiest way to ground yourself.
Crissy: Or taking a walk in nature. Just taking a walk connects you with the solid foundation, the ground.
Kimmy: Or music. And what ground me might not work for you. You kind of find that, what does it for you.
Crissy: There is such a thing as being too grounded. Like if your root chakra is overly active, then you’re sluggish. You’re not motivated; you feel stuck. There’s being in tune with your energy centers, and your mood just helps you know that you’re too grounded, that you need to elevate. Finding tools in your tool kit that help you find that balance. It’s a journey.
What helped you most during the pandemic, and what advice do you have for people who are struggling to build a solid foundation in their lives?
Crissy: Sometimes you have to tune it out. Turn off the news. Be aware but don’t leave it on in the background. You have to carve out time where you’re safe in your environment with your family. Or doing things that you enjoy, and that bring you creativity. Don’t let the outside world bog you down to a point where you can’t hear yourself anymore.
Kimmy: I think a big thing that can bring peace to people is surrendering. As humans, we feel safe when we’re in control, or when we think we’re in control. But really we’re not in control of anything at all, especially the big things happening all over the world. So being okay with not being in control, which is just surrendering. Trusting the universe. And that’s a practice.
Crissy: Anxiety is with us all the time. We have to surrender or find ways to assert control over how we deal with things, how we process it. Pick out something small. What can I do on a small scale that is going to help? There are little things we can do.
Do you have any funny twin stories for us?
Crissy: When we were little–this is an example of how Kimmy and I, to this day, will tag team and get the job done and use our strengths to enhance the others weaknesses–we went to a Catholic school and wore uniforms. And our teachers were nuns, older nuns, that didn’t have great eyesight. So on days where there were two tests, I would study for math and Kimmy would study for history, and then she would take both history tests and I would take both math tests. And we never got caught!