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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…)

Run. Lift. Yoga teacher training!

Remember how I was going to go to grad school this fall, but then got engaged, realized I can’t afford both an MBA program and a wedding next year, and then also realized I was feeling burnt out and decided to take a year of rest?

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’m doing yoga teacher training this fall! (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…)

Yoga. Run. PARTY. at SeaWheeze 2017

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…)

Review and GIVEAWAY: See and be seen with Knuckle Lights for runners

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…)

Stress plus rest equals growth: Why I’m taking a year of rest

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…)

Race review: Vancouver Island Trail Running Series race #2: Mt. Tzouhalem

I don’t think I’ve ever been so unprepared for a race as I was for Mt. Tzouhalem, the second race in Vancouver Island Trail Running Series.

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…)

What DNA testing can tell you about your health

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…)

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