yoga

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…)

Year-end check in: Did I achieve my 2015 goals?

The start of my consistent yoga practice this January

The start of my consistent yoga practice this January

In January of this year, I shared three goals I hoped to achieve by December 31, 2015: master some variation of the scorpion pose and hold it for 10 seconds, grow my client base at Koru Personal Training, and get a consistent meditation practice going.

Before I get into how I did this year, I’m kicking myself now for not adding GET INTO THE BOSTON MARATHON as one of my 2015 goals. Although I achieved my 2014 goal of qualifying in October last year, I missed getting in by 1 minute and 25 seconds. Not that it was in my control, but you better believe I’m going to be much more specific with my 2016 goals (more on those to come next week).

So how did I do this year?

(more…)

7 things you might not know about me

Secretly a hippy at heart.

Secretly a hippy at heart. Photo by Penny Lane Photography.

Last week, I was tagged by the lovely Jill of jillconyers.com to share seven things you might not know about me to help wrap up the #7daystretch challenge with prAna and Sweat Pink.

Since I’m coming off a busy long weekend and have no idea what to post on the blog so far this week, here are 7 things you might not know about me:

  • I am [wildly/strangely/obviously] obsessed with: dark chocolate and peanut butter. But you already knew that, I’m sure.
  • I have a collection of: Beach pebbles and sea glass. I pick something up every time I’m at the beach, and put it in my jacket pocket. Sometimes I forget they’re there and get confused when I stick my hand in my pocket only to pull out a handful of stones. When I remember to take them out, I put them in a meditation bowl or in the glass vase with my bamboo plant.
  • I secretly (not so secretly): Want to be a minimalist hippy living in a tiny house by the sea growing my own food, writing a novel and taking in rescue animals.
  • When I was 7, I wanted to be: Jane Goodall and a children’s book author.
  • If I could do one thing today, it would be: Get on a plane to an exotic country to explore and relax for a bit.
  • I’ve always dreamt of: Hiking Machu Picchu.
  • My favorite way to travel is: By car or train, even thought it takes longer. I love looking out the window and stopping in small towns you wouldn’t normally get to experience.

Your turn! Answer one or more of the seven things listed above in the comments or on your own blog.

1 million minutes challenge: Wrapping it up with Prana!

Hitting the trails upside down during the #1millionminutes challenge!

Hitting the trails upside down during the #1millionminutes challenge!

Happy Monday! This morning I’m filling out a fun mad lib blog prompt for Fit Approach, as it’s the last week of their fun 1 million minutes challenge.

When the 1 million minutes challenge with Fit Approach started, I set out to achieve 3,000 minutes of activity over the two months of the challenge. And according to my Garmin and LEAF activity tracker, I came fairly close to that goal by running, hiking and strength training my way to 2,640 is minutes of activity. Of course, I totally failed to track everyday at Fit Approach, which only racked up my official time to 340 minutes. Despite my lame contribution, us Sweat Pink Ambassadors (SPAs) have racked up 375,839 minutes so far — well done SPAs!

The best part of this challenge for me was seeing how all the SPAs were logging their minutes on Instagram. Sometimes when I would be on the fence about going for a run, I’d open Instagram and see a photo from a fellow SPA that made me want to lace up and get out there. (more…)

My 2015 goals progress update

The start of my consistent yoga practice this January

The start of my consistent yoga practice this January

In January of this year, I shared three goals I hoped to achieve by December 31, 2015: master some variation of the scorpion pose and hold it for 10 seconds, grow my client base at Koru Personal Training, and get a consistent meditation practice going. Although training for the Boston Marathon is also on my to-do list (since I achieved my 2014 goal of qualifying in October last year), I’m not going to know if I made it in until September, so that goal is a bit out of my control.

So how am I doing on my 2015 goals now that we’re half-way through 2015? (more…)

Unhappy with your body? Change your perception by thinking of it like this.

At the right place at the right time for this rainbow in Maui.

At the right place at the right time for this rainbow in Maui.

Are you unhappy with the way your body looks? Do you pick yourself apart, thinking negative thoughts about how this part of your flesh looks in that particular outfit, or the way that body part of yours should be just a little bit more narrow/wide/tall?

If you’re critical of your body, try thinking about it in this way.

Try thinking of it as a rainbow.

Seriously.

During my last few long marathon training runs, I started listening to AudioDharma, a podcast recorded at a meditation centre in California that explores Buddha’s teachings. Being an aspiring yogi, I decided I might gain some insight by brushing up on the teachings of this often-quoted spiritual sage. I like a lot of the concepts practiced in Buddhism (kindness, gratitude, generosity, mindfulness, etc.), so I thought I might be able to find little nuggets of wisdom I could take away and practice in my daily life while getting those training miles in under my belt. (more…)

#FitnessFriday: That time I was almost kicked out of a yoga class

timber6I figured it’s time to live up to my blog name.

I’ve been a runner for over seven years and have completed many marathons, half marathons, 10Ks, trail races, triathlons and even an ultra. I’ve been a gym junkie since I was about 22 years old, and finally decided to take my love of resistance training to the next level last year by becoming a certified strength and conditioning coach.

The first time I tried yoga was at a community centre when I was in high school. I went with a bunch of my girlfriends, and almost got booted out of the class for snickering during cat-cow pose. (It was Kundalini yoga, so there was a lot of heavy, guttural breathing, which was making us giggle like a bunch of, well… immature high school girls.) We decided if wasn’t for us, especially after the instructor made us sing a song at the end about a long-time sun. (I still remember that song, and we’d jokingly sing it on occasion in class at school, operatic style.)

I didn’t try a yoga class again until I was about 21 years old. I got a pass for Christmas and went a few times. I really enjoyed it, but couldn’t afford to go regularly. I did my own thing at home based on what I learned in the studio for several years, practicing less and less until the only yoga I did was a few stretches at the end of my runs. (more…)

My Annual Non-New Year’s Resolution Post: 2015 Goals

IMG_3542Unlike last year’s annual non-New Year’s resolutions post, this year I can actually say I accomplished the three goals I set for myself at the end of last year: get my CSCS designation, get published in a print magazine, and qualify for the Boston Marathon. This is one of the reasons why I love having this blog — I can publicly announce things I want to accomplish and hold myself accountable to them, no matter how lofty they may be.

And lofty they were this past year. (more…)

#FitFashion Friday Feature: Carrot, Banana & Peach yoga wear

Carrot, Banana & Peach sounds good enough to eat, doesn’t it?

Though I don’t recommend it, you probably could eat the clothing made by Carrot, Banana & Peach, considering most of the materials the company uses to create their eco-friendly yoga apparel comes from bamboo, soybeans, milk, bananas and aloe vera.

Carrot, Banana & Peach is a U.K.-based yoga and lifestyle apparel company specializing in “hypoallergenic yoga clothing created from organic and sustainable sources.” While I’m curious as to how they make stretchy, sweat-wicking fabric from aloe vera, milk and soybeans, I can imagine the fabric feels super soft. I love the subtle and natural colour palette they’ve used in their collection of “retreat” wear, and the bright pops of colour featured on some of their yoga and fitness gear. Below are a few of my favourite looks from their fall collection. (more…)

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