Why I had to stop running

Hello friends! It’s been awhile so I thought I’d pop back on my blog to share some life updates, since I’ve grown pretty quiet on social media lately.

My silence hasn’t been fully intentional; since January, I’ve been busy with wedding planning, entertaining three dogs, hiking, social events, friends, family, work, and now getting the yard ready for summer. Any free time/downtime I do have is spent reading in the bath or watching Netflix with Matt. And it’s not that I don’t want to write — I just don’t have anything new to say that fits into the categories of running, yoga and lifting for the blog.

I’m still practicing yoga a few times a week at home, strength training four days a week and running  3-5K once a week with Gus.

But I’m not logging miles. I’m not researching my next race. I’m not hashtagging Instagram photos with #yyjrun #running #sweatpink. I’m not spending all my money on running shoes and clothes. And I’m not devising yet another training plan to get my elusive 3:30 time so I can get into Boston. (more…)

Review: Freedom Mastery Life Planner

So far 2018 has been the year I’ve worked harder than ever at getting my sh*t together.

I made a budget in January and stuck to it. I write everything down I put on my visa so I don’t forget to pay it later. I went through the kitchen and cleaned out the pantry, and put together two huge bags full of non-perishable food items to drop off to the food bank. I sold almost everything I own on VarageSale to pay for all the wedding decor I’ve been amassing. I have a 14-page “Wedding To-Dos” document I update every weekend. I have a wedding budget spreadsheet I also update weekly. I never miss I workout, and I meal prep my workday breakfasts, lunches and snacks every Sunday afternoon.

None of this would be possible if I didn’t write it all down. Not track it in an app on my phone. Not rely on what things I’ve put in my Outlook calendar. No, I’ve come to realize that for things to stick and for me to feel calm and in control, I need to write them down. (more…)

How to design a yoga class around a theme

Although my formal yoga teacher training ended at the end of November, I still have one more observation to do, one more written assignment, my practicum, and my certification class to complete before I can actually call myself a yoga teacher. The plan was to do my practicum and certification class this February, but due to unforeseen things taking up my time this coming month and now being in full-blown wedding planning mode, I’ve postponed my practicum, observation and certification class until fall of 2018.

Since I had already started my final written assignment back in November, I thought it might be helpful to post it on the blog for yoga teacher class inspiration 🙂

Yogic Text Assignment: Design a class around a theme from a yogic text

Most of the yoga classes I attended at MokSana incorporate elements of yogic tradition into the asanas, which is important because without weaving yoga’s rich tradition into class in some form — be it chanting, meditating or sharing stories — students are just moving their bodies into various positions and gaining none of the mental and spiritual benefits. Yogic philosophy provides context, and a well-prepared class with a yogic theme that ties in nicely with your poses makes a class feel purposeful and complete. (more…)

Japa Mala Beads: What they mean and how to use them (and how to win one of your own!)

Most yogis and anyone who frequents craft fairs and markets on Vancouver Island will be familiar with malas: those long, beautiful necklaces made out of wooden or gemstone beads with either a stone or tassel hanging near the navel. Aside from looking gorgeous on anyone from Salt Spring hippies to New York fashionistas, malas have a much more significant purpose and meaning for the wearer.

What does “mala” mean?
A mala, which means “garland” in Sanskrit, is pronounced mall-laa with a long A—not to be confused with mālā with a short A, which actually means poop (like the malasana yoga pose, or pooping pose, commonly misinterpreted as garland pose). Malas are strands of beads traditionally used to count the number of times a mantra is recited during meditation. They usually consists of 108 beads made out of ‘Bodhi seeds’, which come from the Rudraksha tree in India. In Hinduism, Rudraksha seeds are said to be the crystallized tears of Shiva, who cried tear of compassion for the welfare of mankind. (more…)

Why everyone should take yoga teacher training

After attending 16 yoga classes, doing 3 class observations, spending 172 hours with my yogi cohort (or kula, as it’s referred to in yoga) on weekends over 10 weeks, spending 35-ish hours reading textbooks, working on research assignments and writing blog posts, and after having many eye-opening, ah-ha and emotional self-discovery moments, I’ve completed the in-class portion of yoga teacher training at MokSana Yoga Center. And it was worth every second.

I still have one more observation to do as well as my practicum, which involves shadowing the teacher, assisting by handing out props and then teaching the warm up over three consecutive Foundations classes before I take my final certification class. I’ve scheduled my certification class for February 18, so I have lots of time to practice my cues. (more…)

Yoga Teacher Training Update: 3 weeks to go!

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…)

The two best styles of yoga for endurance athletes

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…)

Yoga Teacher Training update: Handstands and the five koshas

Guess what?

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…)

How I’m switching up my daily routine to live a more sattvic life

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…)

Yoga Teacher Training Week 1: Initial thoughts and learnings

moksana teacher trainingEven 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…)

Speak up and be the light

Hi friends,

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…)

Hello 2018: My annual non-New Year’s resolution blog post

Welcome to another edition of my annual non-New Year’s resolution blog post, where I list my top three goals for the year to come: one fitness-related, one professional, and one personal.

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…)

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