Even though I’ve spent almost 190 hours over the past month and a bit at MokSana learning about asanas, yogic philosophy and western anatomy—as well as practicing yoga almost every day—I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface on what it means to be a yogi, let alone be prepared to teach the physical practice of yoga to other people.
But like any new skill, I know it will take many MANY more hours until I feel like I come close to understanding it all and feeling comfortable as a teacher. As our teacher Misha explained to us, “just when you come close to your 10,000 hours of practice and think you know all there is to know about yoga, you’ll discover something new and think, oh my god, I’ll never be an experienced teacher!”
I guess that’s why we refer to yoga as a practice; it’s something you’ll most likely be practicing for the rest of your life! (more…)
As part of my yoga teacher training program at MokSana, I’m required to prepare a written assignment comparing and contrasting two different styles of yoga. Since there are probably close to 20+ styles of yoga out there nowadays and because I come from running and strength training background, I thought it would be useful to look at two styles that endurance athletes could benefit from the most and share it here on the blog 🙂
Although pretty much every style of yoga is beneficial for athletes since most involve static stretching, functional movement, isometric strength, deep breathing and some form of meditation or mindfulness, two styles in particular stand out to me as being great for endurance athletes: vinyasa flow and yin yoga.
Vinyasa flow and yin yoga are fairly opposite of each other in terms of the pace and energy of the practice (perhaps vinyasa should be called yang yoga!), but complement each other and are particularly beneficial for athletes who do impactful, fast and repetitive activities like running and cycling. (more…)
I got up into a handstand all by myself in class this week!
After proper instruction and assistance from Ida to feel confident going upside down on my hands, I was able to hop up into adho mukha vrksasana (adho = downward, mukha = face, vrksa = tree, asana = pose), or handstand, on my next try.
It felt amazing. I could have hung out upside down longer if it wasn’t for all the mucus from my impending head cold stuffing up my face yesterday. (more…)
If you have a regular practice or certain habits that help you live with less stress, more sleep, more mindfulness, more empathy, better nutrition and more movement, you might have a sattvic practice. Sattvic come from the Sanskrit word sattva, which means quality of positivity, truth, wholesomeness, serenity, balance, lightness, peacefulness, and virtuousness. Sattva is one of the three guṇas (tendencies, qualities and attributes), a complex philosophical and psychological concept developed by the Samkhya school of Hindu philosophy.
One of my homework assignments last week for yoga teacher training was to come up with my own sattvic program – habits or practices I can do each day to bring myself closer to a state of sattva. Traditionally, some of these practices might include: (more…)
If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen the unboxing of something that looked like it was designed for home renovations, not to help your body recover from exercise and activity.
Yes, it looked and sounded like a power tool – but it’s actually a self-massage tool designed to “to help break down knots, increase blood flow, and release stored lactic acid.”
As someone who regularly runs and lifts weights and has issues with tight muscles (who doesn’t, really), I was more than happy to test out the latest tool in the self-massage toolkit: the TimTam Power Massager. (more…)
Even though I’m exhausted after my first weekend of yoga immersion at Moksana Yoga Center, I’ve never felt so energized.
As I’ve mentioned before, doing a yoga teacher training program has been a long time coming for me; my blog is called Run Lift Yoga, after all. And even though I’ve been practicing what I’ve known as “yoga” for the better part of a decade – which is really just the physical aspects of the practice and is a very small part of what yoga is – I’ve always felt like a bit of a fraud for calling myself a “yogi” when I’m really just an endurance athlete and personal trainer who borrows poses, or asanas, from yoga to get a good stretch at the end of a training session. I’ve skipped savasana at the end of practice more times than I can count.
What we know of as “yoga” today in the Western world is basically just the physical asanas, which we’ve turned into a fitness program, and bits and pieces of culturally appropriated Hindu and Buddhist words, symbols and practices we associate with yoga but don’t really understand. (more…)
And then more horrible things happened in the United States (and everywhere, really), and I made a commitment to use my various platforms to speak up and be the light?
Well, somehow the events over the past year have finally lead me to do what I’ve been thinking about doing for a while now – and closes the loop, so to speak, on the Run Lift Yoga brand I dreamed up four years ago when I started taking blogging, writing and fitness a bit more seriously.
I know this is primarily a health and wellness blog. But it’s a platform, and as a person with an audience and representation on the internet, I feel I need to use it to share my thoughts about what’s going on in our world right now.
While I was blissfully running the SeaWheeze Half Marathon over the weekend, horrible things were going on in the southern United States. Horrible things are going on everywhere all the time to both humans, animals and the environment, but it seems geographical space and less media attention allows us to distance ourselves from it enough we can go on to live our lives, happily making our avocado toast and going to yoga class and farmers markets and such.
When I returned home from my Vancouver running weekend, I spent some time getting caught up on what was going on. And after watching this disturbing video on Facebook from VICE, I felt I had to get going on contributing something to the conversation. You see, as Chrissy King rightly pointed out on her blog, my “role as a fitness professional goes far beyond exercise and nutrition.” My goal is to aid my clients and audience with overall health and wellness, which includes emotional health and wellness. And as Chrissy points out, “you cannot simultaneously help women (and men) with their fitness and wellness while remaining silent on issues of racism and the events that occurred in Charlottesville this weekend. Unless of course, you are only here to serve white clientele. In that case, I guess you can.” (more…)
What do you get when you combine west coast hippy vibes, summer sunshine, downward dogs, essential oils, $130 yoga pants and 10,000 runners over two days in August?
You get SeaWheeze, a half marathon hosted by athleisure pioneer lululemon in Vancouver, BC. And as a runner and sometimes-yogi from the west coast who lives in stretchy pants and sports bras, SeaWheeze was mecca.
For those weren’t initially into the whole “new-age-affluent-hippy” atmosphere lululemon created at SeaWheeze, you could avoid the whole Showcase Store line-up/shopping frenzy, yoga classes, smoothie bar and music festival, and simply just run the race on the Saturday — though I bet you were curious, checked everything out, and by the end of the weekend you were strutting around downtown Vancouver decked out in Luon (lululemon’s patented yoga pant fabric) with a rolled-up yoga mat slung across your back, Birkenstocks on your feet and a green smoothie in your hand, with the faint scent of lavender and patchouli trailing behind you… (more…)
I live in a rural area with hardly any streetlights, so all of my early morning or evening runs have an added level of sketchiness. It’s hard to see where I’m going, it’s hard for drivers to see me coming on the twisty and hilly roads in my neighbourhood, and who knows what kind of creatures are lurking just off the road in the bushes (seriously — even deer out here have been known to attack people and dogs, so my wariness is justified).
I have a headlamp for my early morning runs, but it only lights the way in directly front of me, not my periphery (where the creatures are hiding, haha). I also have to wear my headlamp with a hat, as the light presses into my forehead uncomfortably. So I was super excited when Knuckle Lights reached out to me to see if I wanted to try their handheld lights made for runners. (more…)
Last week, I was having a conversation with a colleague about my lack of motivation for blogging, writing, and side-hustling in general.
“It’s not that I don’t like doing it, and it’s not like my life has gotten exponentially more stressful or busy that I don’t have time to sit down and write,” I explained. “It’s just that when I get home I’d rather chill out with my fiancée and watch Netflix, or relax in the hot tub with a glass of wine instead of sit at my desk on my laptop. And now on the weekend, I’d rather peruse wedding and home furnishing boards on Pinterest instead of writing a blog and posting comments for an hour or two after breakfast like I used to do.”
Am I losing my motivation? Am I becoming one of those boring people who waste time instead of putting every extra second into trying to find a way to either make more money, serve others, or have a higher purpose?
My colleague offered some suggestions to help get me back on track, such as reaching out to do more coaching or teaching. They were good suggestions, but none of them felt right to me. (more…)
Not in a physical, that-took-a-huge-toll-on-my-body-and-mind-and-I-almost-died kind of way, but in a I-don’t-even-know-what-race-I’m-running kind of way.
Usually when I have a race or event I get everything packed the night before: I decide what I’m going to wear, lay out my running clothes, pack gels or a banana and water, pack a spare change of clothes, and charge my Garmin.
On Saturday, I looked up where I was supposed to be about 2 hours before the race started (I knew it was in Duncan but I didn’t know where), got changed out of my pajamas and into running gear about 30 minutes before I had to leave, threw some stuff in a bag (but not my Garmin because it was almost dead), decided to grab my handheld water bottle last minute even though I thought I was only running 7 km, and headed out the door.
I arrived at Providence Farm in Duncan—which is a beautiful spot, by the way—about an hour before the race was scheduled to start. When I checked in, I discovered I was still registered for the long course distance of 13 km instead of the short course distance of 7 km. I thought I had switched, but I forgot to confirm. Oops! (more…)
This past November, I decided to do some research on my family tree for Christmas gifts. I bought the AncestryDNA kit, which happened to be on sale for about $70 at the time, and a one year subscription to Ancestry.ca so I could access historical records and their extensive database of user-created family trees.
What I discovered was definitely worth the cost and time spent poring over records, photos and information. The DNA test told me I’m 91% Great British (Scottish/Welsh/English), with a little bit of Italian/Greek, Scandinavian and European Jewish. I also found out my 6th great grandfather John MacColl was a key witness in a famous murder trial in Scotland in 1745, and was featured in the novel “Kidnapped” by Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson (author of “Treasure Island”). (He was described as “a ragged, wild, bearded man, about forty, grossly disfigured with the small pox, and looked both dull and savage.” Sounds like we’re related, alright!) I also found out my 4th great uncle Hugh MacColl was a logician and wrote a few novels, which are on Amazon for sale.
I was also able to connect with a distant relative on my mom’s side who has the MacColl family bible from the 1800s, and another relative in New Zealand who sent me a ton of information and photos of my 3rd great grandparents on my dad’s side, who immigrated to New Zealand from England in the 1800s and owned a sheep farm that’s still around today.(more…)
One of the best things about logging and tracking your progress – be it keeping a personal diary, bullet journaling, logging workouts or tracking nutrition – is looking back at certain points in time when you remember feeling at your best (or at your worst) to see what was going on so you can either disrupt or adopt certain habits and behaviours.
A few months ago, the nice people at Swiftwick sent me three pairs of their running socks to test out and review. Because you can only get a good feel for workout clothes — and socks in particular — by wearing them during all kinds of workouts in all kinds of weather and conditions, I took my time putting each pair through their paces. Also, I’ve only been running once or twice a week, so I wanted to make sure I got a good feel for each pair as they are all a bit different in terms of material, cushioning and compression.
Yes, socks can be as custom as running shoes are these days! (more…)
I wasn’t planning on actually running much of the hilly 12 km short course at the first race in the Vancouver Island Trail Running Series (VITRS) this past Saturday since I haven’t been running much lately and wasn’t feeling good this past week, but I couldn’t help myself after I started to descend after the first of many steep climbs.
The course follows a fun network of hiking and mountain biking trails around Cobble Hill, and I LOVE running on twisty-turny downhills that aren’t too steep. Once I get into that downhill flow on the trails — you know the kind when you expertly navigate every rock and root with minimal effort and feel like you could run forever — I can’t be stopped.
The Cobble Hill race, held on Saturday, April 8, was the first event in the VITRS. It featured a long course (18km) and a short course (12km), as well as a kid’s race. Even though the weather was rather gloomy, there was a great turn out at this sold out race. (more…)
I threw together some banana chocolate chip protein muffins for snacks during the week and was really happy with how they turned out, so I made some again this week and measured everything this time so I could share it with you guys. (more…)
Hi friends! Even though I’ve posted a bit about what I’m up to on some of my other social media channels, I thought I had better update you here as to why I’ve been MIA from blog comments and posting in general.
I lurk around a bit on the weekend, but over the past few weeks I haven’t had time to be on the interwebs and follow all the latest in the health and fitness world. I’m currently running a private Facebook fitness challenge, have a few product reviews in the works, have a handful of online fitness clients and another magazine article coming up, but otherwise my downtime has been devoted to spending time with family and friends and studying for the GMAT. I found out last week I’ve been conditionally accepted into business school, so now I really need to buckle down and re-learn math 12 for this test. Ugh.
Happy Monday! It’s back to reality for me this week after what seemed like months of holiday bliss. I had 10 days off a Christmas; went back to work for a week and a bit; celebrated my 32nd birthday weekend by going out for dinner with Matt, hitting the trails with Debbie, brunching with friends and spending a day at my favourite spa; and jetting off to Maui for two glorious weeks with Matt and his parents.
This was my fourth time in Maui, and I’m glad we decided to go for two weeks instead of just one. You really can’t do everything in one week and feel relaxed (the mistake we made last time). Not that you have to do and see things every day, but with so much cool stuff do and see there, why not spend two weeks in paradise? And with four people splitting the cost of food, the rental car and accommodation, it didn’t end up being that much more expensive (though overall it was expensive — the CAD dollar sucks right now in the US).
Since I know a few people heading to Maui or are thinking about heading there this year, I thought I’d finally write a blog about everything you need to see and do while on vacation in Maui! (more…)
This year, I decided to spice up my regular strength training and running routine by trying a few exercise programs that seem to be popular with the Instagram crowd due to their impressive #transformationtuesday progress pictures and heavy focus on their respective social media communities: the Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide (#BBG) and the Tone It Up Bikini Challenge (#TIUChallenge).
Besides trying something new for fitness last year, I was curious to see if these Insta-popular exercise programs are actually safe and effective from a strength training, functional movement and body composition point of view, instead of just another way to burn extra calories.
**Warning! This post contains #Fitspo images (bikini bods, abs, butts, etc.), so maybe don’t read it on your work computer OR if you’re trying to avoid images like that.***(more…)
I’m sure we’ve all had mornings when we hit the snooze button on our iPhones a million times instead of getting up and out of our warm, cozy beds to face the day.
Maybe you’re just tired and you’d rather grab an extra 10 minutes of sleep instead of getting up to make a nutritious breakfast for yourself, opting for something less nutritious on the go instead. Or maybe the warmth and comfort of your bed is much more appealing to you than going for a chilly morning run. Or maybe you’d rather go back to dreamland than face the hard tasks you need to accomplish that day.
I’ve had those mornings, but thankfully they’ve been few and far between. I make my breakfast and lunch the night before to ensure I’m always fueled, and promise myself to exercise after work if I really don’t feel like getting up an hour earlier that morning.
I always manage to keep that promise. I think I’ve only missed 3-5 workouts this year due to illness.
So what’s the secret to getting up and getting sh*t done each and every morning, no matter how unpleasant it might be? (more…)
Happy Saturday, friends! And happy last day of 2016.
Although I’m sad my Christmas holidays are coming to an end, I’d like time to speed up again so I can be on a beach in Maui asap. Not just for the beaches, tropical forests, hiking trails, sea turtles, whales, mai tais, mahi mahi, sunsets and jeep adventures — but also because our unusually cold December weather is destroying my skin and I need to be exposed to heat, sun and humidity before I turn into a reptile.
Since I already shared my goals for 2017, here are a few random things to share going into the new year: things that I plan to do, things I’m obsessed with, and things that are on my mind lately. (more…)
First off, you might be thinking, akrasia? Is this some new sensitivity associated with gluten? Is it slowing down my metabolism so I can’t lose weight? Is it causing leaky gut syndrome so I’m retaining water and feel bloated all the time? Is it altering my thyroid and messing with my hormones?
Here’s the definition of akrasia from the Oxford Dictionary:
The state of mind in which someone acts against their better judgment through weakness of will.
So, in other words, this state of mind:
I think I’ll sleep in rather than get up and go for that run I planned to do because my bed is cozy and warm and it’s cold and gross outside, even though I know running will make me fitter and boost my mood.
Might as well eat this whole bar of chocolate/extra piece of pizza/bag of chips because it’s delicious and I’m feeling stressed, and this helps make me feel better right now… even though I’m trying to cut back on sugar/salt/fat to try to lose weight so I can be healthier and have more energy to play with my kids.(more…)
I started publicly sharing my goals back in 2012 as a way to keep myself accountable, but also so I could look back and see where I was at the time fitness-wise, professionally and personally.
My 2012 and 2013 years were tough professionally and personally, as I was leaving one long-term relationship and moving into another, and transitioning from a tough contract job into a government position. In 2011 I completed my first triathlon and was a running machine, signing up for almost every local race I could afford. But in 2013 my focus shifted, and for some reason I made it my goal to “have abs” in 2013. I’m glad I decided to run my first ultra instead. That’s a much more bad-ass goal. (more…)
Happy Friday, friends! Here are five things I’m excited about this week.
1. I woke up to a very rare sight this morning.
I’m so happy today is my flex day. I don’t plan on going anywhere — people in Victoria don’t know how to drive in the snow and we don’t have the infrastructure to deal with it, so it’s best to avoid driving anywhere if possible when it snows here. It also doesn’t help that we live on a hilly, twisty road that’s always the last to get plowed and de-iced. We had a bit of snow earlier this week and I was sliding all over the place trying to get from my house to the main road to work. Needless to say I’m glad I don’t have to go anywhere today, and get to spend the day playing in the snow with the dogs, doing a bit of writing and baking cookies. (more…)
With American Thanksgiving/Black Friday this week and Christmas too not far behind, you’re no doubt starting to experience that familiar holiday feeling: Stress.
Standing in line at Wal-Mart to get that Lego Star Wars kit for your 10-year-old; spending hours on hold with UPS trying to track down that package you ordered from Amazon early (because you were trying to beat the rush) that’s been shipped to the wrong address; hitting up grocery store after grocery store trying to find baking supplies for those thoughtful homemade gifts you’re planning to make (apparently everyone had the same gift idea); and trying to find the time to whip up a different appetizer to bring to each of the seven holiday parties you’re invited to over the next several weeks… it’s exhausting.
And let’s not forget about the guilt you’ll feel after mindlessly inhaling all the delicious holiday baking available at said seven Christmas parties (and the leftovers coworkers bring into the office after the weekend) and not being able to get to the gym because you have baking to do, decorations to put up, and Christmas parades to attend. (more…)
AWESOME GIVEAWAY ALERT: Before you read what my personal, professional and fitness goals for November, head on over to my Instagram page, find the image below, double-tap it to like it, and follow the instructions in the caption to enter to WIN $500 worth of awesome fitness gear and goodies that Kaella, Jen, Ange, Carmy, Heather, Allison, Janice and myself love from some of our favourite brands, including a Yoga Wheel from YogDev, Vega One Nutritional Shakes form Vega, Mizuno cold weather running gear, Starbucks Coffee and more! But hurry – it’s only open until November 9 (for US and Canadian residents only), so get your entry in today!
In light of last week’s post about why you should focus on consistency with small habits instead of end goals, I’ve decided to change up what I plan to focus on this month from previous months. Although most of my goals are already small habit changes, sometimes I still focus too much on my end goals: having more money available to spend on vacations and paying off debt, leaning out for faster marathon times, finding more meaning and purpose in my career, and spending quality time with loved ones. While it’s important to know what you’re working towards, too much big-picture thinking and not enough consistent action slows down progress – at least for me, anyway. So here’s what I plan to work on this month. (more…)
We often hear about how important goal setting is when it comes to achieving anything, from becoming more successful at work to improving your overall health and fitness. While setting short- and long-term goals are still important and a part of the process of achieving a more happy and healthy you, sometimes focusing too much on an end goal can be more of a barrier than a motivation factor.
I was listening to an episode of the Lift Like a Girl podcast the other week that touched on exactly this topic. In the episode, fitness coach JC Deen and Nia Shanks were discussing the perils of fat loss (you can listen to the whole episode here) and how where you’re at is a process of your habits. When asked how someone can successfully overcome the perils discussed earlier in the episode, JC read a quote from trainer Amir Siddiqui that I thought was a great analogy for why focusing on the end goal doesn’t always work:
“Get obsessed with consistency and the actions that feed the goal – getting obsessed with the goal won’t work and neither does having moderate goals. It’s like thinking about laying down the perfect foundation of bricks, perfect brick after perfect brick, rather than going nuts over seeing the building emerge.”
JC goes on to explain: “Your goal of seeing the building emerge is your ideal body or place in fitness. You can be so focused and obsessed with that you can forget to actually do what it takes right now to essentially create the process. A lot of times are habits are so low key that we don’t think about it; food, exercise decisions in the morning, etc. … we are a product of our habits. In order to make long-term lasting changes and improve everything, we have to start with building the processes. Either create new habits or change habits. Get obsessed with the habits and the processes, and then one day you’ll wake up and finally notice the change.” (more…)
Since Halloween falls on a Monday this year, I doubt we’ll do anything aside from watch a few scary movies and eat candy. I bought a huge box of treats from Costco, but we get zero children visiting our house since it’s in the middle of nowhere and also kind of creepy and ominous-looking from the street. If the odd neighbourhood kid was out treat-or-treating in our neck of the woods (we’re literally in the woods), they’d probably skip our house anyway.
So yes, that Costco-sized box of mini chocolate bars is for us.
I like to listen to fitness, health and business related podcasts when I’m on the treadmill and getting ready for work in the morning, and one name in particular kept coming up on several of my favourite podcasts that warranted an online search to see who this wise and influential person was. This person had clearly impacted and shaped the lives of the podcast hosts and guests, so I wanted to know what he was all about.
If you’re a basketball fan or participate in sports of any kind, you may have heard about John Wooden. Wooden was an English teacher, American basketball player and coach who, during his time as head coach of the basketball team at UCLA, won 10 NCAA national championships in a 12-year period, including a record seven in a row. No other team has won more than two in a row since.
It’s no wonder he was named national coach of the year six times and is one of the most revered coaches in the history of sports.
As a strength and conditioning coach, I’m always looking for tips and tools to not only help my clients reach their full potential in whatever health and fitness goal they want to achieve, but also to help develop myself to become a better coach and athlete.
During his years spent as an English teacher and coach, Wooden developed a guide to help his students and players become the best version of themselves that he called “The Pyramid of Success”. (more…)
Imagine you’re in a meeting at work and your boss compliments you in front of your coworkers on the stellar job you did getting a project together. Do you:
a) Smile and look embarrassed
b) Say, “Well, so-and-so actually presented it, so really he deserves the credit.”
c) Say, “Well, it was really a team effort.”
d) Say, “Thank you.”
I’m pretty sure I’ve done all of the above except D. An not just in work situations.
Receives compliment on attire: “Oh, this dress? I think I got it on sale at Old Navy.”
Receives compliment about hair: “Yeah but it’s so dry — just look at my split ends!”
Receives compliment about writing: “Oh yeah I just do it for fun, hardly anyone reads it.”
An activity is suggested that I don’t want to do: “Sure, yeah, whatever you want to do.”
Someone says something I don’t agree with: Silence
I am the ultimate conflict-avoider. I do it at work and in my day-to-day life. I apologize, I bend, I push aside my opinions to make sure everyone is happy and likes me. I’m agreeable and highly sensitive. Although being a highly sensitive person is an excellent human trait — especially now in our current culture where we need more people to consider the health of our planet and the other organisms that live on it — it can get in the way of being our true, authentic selves sometimes.
Authenticity is scary for a conflict-avoider. It means we need to show up and be real. Be honest. Let our true selves be seen. (more…)