2018 is here!

Wow, you blink and suddenly the last blog post you wrote was four months ago. Whoops!

2018 is here now and I feel like I don’t even know where the time has gone. I started a new role at work two months ago, and although it’s not what I expected, I am enjoying work more now.  This year, I’m coming up on five years with my company.  I’m pretty proud of that, being a millennial and all.  Where’s my gold star?

Once a week, I’m teaching a restorative/yin yoga class for crossfitters at CrossFit Sunalta (my home away from home still). 75 minutes of glorious stretching with loads of props – I have two hockey bags full of bolsters, foam and wood blocks, blankets, and straps – and a delightfully relaxed environment.  I play random music like (too much) Jack Johnson and sometimes Simon and Garfunkel, and I tried The Piano Guys this week and they were a hit.

People chat amongst themselves, and ask me “where am I supposed to feel this stretch?”  We have some laughs, and then towards the end of class, everyone properly settles in and we do long restorative poses and just veg.  I’ve run two 6-week sessions, and I’m in the midst of teaching a 3 class session.  I still take forever to class plan, but I definitely feel more natural teaching now.  If this type of class sounds up your alley, you don’t need to be a Sunaltan to come and I would be glad to have you!  Message/email/talk to me!

On the CrossFit side of things, I’m definitely still going to class around 4x per week. That quantity seems to be ideal in terms of not being too beat up.  With that said, I strained my low back at the beginning of December so I’m seeing a chiropractor (Dr. Brad) weekly for treatment, and also seeing a physio (Gina) weekly to heal up a strained tricep.  I highly recommend them both!  So forget what I said about not being too beat up.  Clearly I need to check my ego at the door.  But I’m still going to class – just lots of modifications right now, and that’s fine.  There’s a season for everything.

The biggest bummer about being so injured right now is that the 2018 CrossFit Open is nearly upon us! Clearly I’m a bit of an enthusiast as evidenced by my weekly Open write-ups in both 2016 and 2017.  18.1 drops in about a month’s time, and I’m getting nervous that I won’t be able to participate.  Although laughably I get nervous either way – the Open is very fun and very stressful for me.  Another option could be doing the scaled division, but I may wait to see what Castro has up his sleeve.  I may heal up in time too – who knows?

What else do I usually write about? Oh, hiking!  Naturally, due to the white stuff, we haven’t been doing much hiking of late.  Penny’s cardio is shot at this point.  It’s going to take months to get her back up to our end-of-season hiking standards (let alone her poor owners…).  Dana is of course already trying to get some weekend backpacks planned for the summer months (while I’m over here like “take me on a hot holiday with some time lazing on a beach!!!”).

My sister came home from work for a month and a bit, and we had so much fun!

I’ve been hella busy every weekend meal prepping lately. It seems the only way Dana and I can eat moderately healthy food during the week, as by the time we get home from the gym and walk the dog, it’s 8:00 pm and we’re both hangry.  My two approaches are: batch cooking enormous pots of something stew-like, like chili or West African peanut chicken, and also I’ve been trying recipes out of a meal prepping cookbook this month.  I’m not 100% sold on the “Healthy Meal Prep” cookbook as far as time-saving/efficiency, but I do like the variety and emphasis on balanced meals with vegetables.

 

I’m mentally bracing myself for my usual bout of [undiagnosed] [seasonal?] depression. February and March are historically the hardest two months of the year for me.  If I can make my birthday (March 30th, don’t forget!), I’ve made it through the worst part, but until then, I’m using every tool in my box to keep my spirits up.  What’s in my mental health toolbox?

  • Exercise
  • Eating healthy
  • Supplements: vitamin D, 5-HTP, magnesium, fish oil
  • Spending time with friends and family
  • Yoga/meditation
  • Time outside
  • Seeing my therapist

I don’t bring this up to make people uncomfortable, but rather, to start the discussion. Depression is nothing to be ashamed of, and I’ve struggled with it in spurts for the past decade.

Whew, that conversation got heavy fast. I’m not suffering right now, so don’t worry about me!

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading!

Hope that 2018 is off to a fun start for you, and I’ll be back sooner rather than later with another post (I promise)!

♥ Kait

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Happy International Day of Yoga!

As you might be aware, I’ve been living and breathing attending a 200 hour yoga teacher training program here in Calgary at the Alberta Yoga College since March 30th (my 27th bday by coincidence!).

I started the program for a number of reasons that I talked about in this post, such as:

  • With (previously) all-crossfit-all-the-time, I wanted to work on my mobility and core strength to prevent future injuries, so yoga seemed like a perfect yin to the yang.
  • Mental health – learn more about how to be mindful and present in my life, and let stress be something that rolls off my shoulders.
  • Make friends!
  • I kept thinking about that manifesto slogan on the old Lululemon shopping bag – something about “have you woken up two days in a row uninspired? change your life!” I’ve always daydreamed about owning my own business/moonlighting, so taking training to expand on something that greatly interests me made sense.

When I started the program, I was of the opinion that yoga was 99% about the postures (asanas), and about 1% other components. I was so wrong!

Yoga, especially with the Alberta Yoga College’s Iyengar focus, is about alignment, spirituality, and mindfulness. We learned yoga postures – and the many finer points for sure – but SO MANY other lessons as well!

  • Anatomy
  • Restorative yoga (props for life!!!)
  • Yoga for Better Backs
  • Sanskrit
  • Philosophy
  • Prenatal yoga
  • Children’s yoga
  • Pranayama (breathing!)
  • Meditation
  • Ashtanga/vinyasa yoga
  • Ayurveda
  • Teaching/assisting/observing
  • And the list goes on!
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Photo credit: @albertayogacollege

 

Over the past three months, for sure, I missed attending crossfit with more regularity. I missed the crazy endorphins, I missed the strength, I missed my friends there, and the list goes on.  But as my time doing yoga went on, I also realized that a large part of the injury component for me at crossfit was heavily related to ego.

When I come to yoga, I happily grab whatever props I need to achieve the desired benefits of the postures. I don’t care what anyone else needs to do their yoga, because my yoga is about me and my body.  I can let my ego go and just focus on me and my mat.

Although crossfit shouldn’t be about competition, I know that I used to always show up and eyeball what the other gals were doing. “You doing it RX?” we would ask each other, and I would grab the RX weights even if they weren’t appropriate for my workout.

What was I achieving by doing it RX?  Did I get the stimulus Coach designed the programming for?  Did I honour how my body was feeling that particular day?  Was it worth it for the red RX beside my name and score at the end of the workout?

Ego. I’ve learned a few things about ego.

But lately it’s been easier for me to show up to crossfit, and only think about what I need, that day, from the workout. I’ve just been grateful to be there. Who cares what everyone else is doing?

So what else have I gained from my yoga teacher training over the past three months?

  • Gratitude – for my body and all that it is capable of, for the opportunity to attend training, for all that I have in my life
  • Compassion – for others: everyone is on their own journey
  • The realization that I can do hard things
  • Respect for my body’s limits and abilities
  • A sense of calm and mindfulness
  • A toolbox of yoga postures that I can use to help others feel better in their bodies and minds
  • A new appreciation for slow, gentle, relaxing restorative yoga ❤
  • A huge appreciation for yoga class sequencing
  • New friends! I have met so many incredible people doing my certification!

The big question: am I going to teach?

The short answer: Yes! I would like to start small and teach mobile restorative yoga classes.  If you live in Calgary and are interested in restorative yoga, reach out to me!

I am graduating from my program this Saturday and I feel a mix of sadness and happiness. Sad, because I have loved being a student again, meeting new people, and regularly practicing yoga.  I will especially miss the feeling of community we shared as a class.  Happy, because with the free time I will have back, I can spend lots of time with Dana and my friends, go on weekend hikes, and continue down the road on my yoga teacher journey.

Happy International Day of Yoga!

Namaste

The balance of two great loves

For whatever reason, this post has sat in my drafts folder for the past six weeks.  WordPress tells me I’ve revised the post 25 times over those six weeks.  Today’s the day though, and I’m ready to share what I’ve been up to lately…

For the past five weeks (well, actually, since the blog’s inception), Peanut Butter Kait has been full of crossfit, crossfit, and more crossfit.  But behind the scenes, I’ve been working a bit on the yin to the yang (or something like that.)

If you’ve been reading my blog for any amount of time, or know me in person, you definitely know that I’m a crossfit junkie. I’m at my happiest and strongest when I’m at CrossFit Sunalta four or five times a week.  I love the workouts, I love how it makes me feel, and I love the community and the friends I’ve made – basically crossfit can do no wrong.

Now here’s the surprising part: I also love yoga, probably equally as much. So you’re probably wondering why the hell haven’t I blogged about it before!?

Well grab your cup of coffee and let’s sit down for a 900 word visit.


I started doing yoga probably nine years ago.  My cousin Vicky brought me to a class her friend, who was new to yoga teaching, was offering.  She played good music and I learned a few things, like not to wear socks while doing yoga as well as an introduction to the postures.  When summer rolled around, we did classes outside in the park.  For me, then, yoga was a workout to do with friends.

When I moved to Calgary to go to university, I immediately signed up for yoga and spin classes at the university rec center.  I’ll be honest that I started prioritizing the spin, and skipping the yoga.

Eventually in my third year of university, two things happened that were influential in my pursuit of health.  Firstly, I started working with a personal trainer who designed crossfit-style workouts for me, and secondly, she invited me to go to hot yoga with her.

That first hot yoga class was everything: exhilarating, sweaty, rewarding, and also completely shocking.  I was hooked.  When I graduated from Mount Royal and had my first job, I bought an annual pass for a hot yoga studio and took as many classes as I could.  Again, yoga for me was about the workout and the sweat!

Notably, with my poor diet and lack of other forms of exercise, I didn’t become the smoothly muscled, lithe yoga body type that I aspired to at the time.  I got chunky.  But I felt pretty dang good about myself, so that was an interesting combination.

Right about that time [five-ish years ago], Dana and I got married, and then a few months later, I started drinking the HIIT/crossfit koolaid at 2110 Fitness, and then CrossFit Sunalta.  I lost a bunch of the weight I’d packed on, and instead put on some muscle.  But it wasn’t about weight gain or loss anymore, I went because I loved the fitness!

But what about yoga?  I did a handful of classes over the years, but it wasn’t a central element in my life anymore because with both the cost of a crossfit membership and limited time, I couldn’t prioritize both fitness loves.

But I kept thinking about yoga.  How I felt after a sweaty flow class.  How focused I was when I was on my mat.  How great it made me feel about myself and what my body was capable of.

Around the end of December 2016, Meg and I talked about having an epic day of awesome together.  We knew that day would include crossfit (duh), brunch out, a pedicure, and a chickflick with loads of popcorn.  I had been missing hot yoga so much by this point that I said we should crossfit first, then head to a hot yoga class with one of my favorite instructors.

We had an epic day!  The hot yoga class was so amazing that we both bought one month passes and agreed we needed to fit more yoga in our lives.  The weekly yoga ritual throughout January added value to my life in so many ways: time with a friend, flexibility, sweat, happiness, and so many other positives.

It turns out, my old friend yoga was right where I left her.

Because of the happiness and mindfulness I’d recognized since I’d returned to my mat on a regular basis, and conversations my therapist and I had this year, I was finally able to vocalize something I’ve mulled over internally for a very long time: I wanted to take a yoga teacher training course!

I did my research and picked a school in Calgary to attend.  Conveniently the school offers a few public yoga classes every week, so I’ve really enjoyed taking restorative classes there.  Although I do love hot sweaty flow classes still, I have really started to appreciate the benefits of slower, gentler yoga on my crossfit-weary joints and muscles.

My adventure started March 29 at the Alberta Yoga College here in Calgary.  It’s a Yoga Alliance-certified 200 hour teacher training spread out over Thursday and Friday evenings and Saturday afternoons for three months straight.


FAQ’s

Kait, I didn’t know you were super flexible?!  Well, friend, I’m not!  Take that preconceived notion about all yoga teachers being bendy pretzels out of your head (don’t worry – I thought this too!), and replace it with the idea that everyone’s body is different!  Bodies can be super flexible, or super strong, or anywhere in the middle of that spectrum.  I am definitely on the strong end.  I am increasing my body’s mobility with yoga; however, my body type is more prone to muscle and I’m cool with that.

So you use props?  One of my favorite aspects of my yoga college is that they embrace the concept that everyone is capable of yoga, no matter how flexible or inflexible their bodies are.  As a result, I’ve really embraced using props (which previously I mentally put in the category of “must be for beginners.”)  I was wrong – props can help yogis at any level get into yoga postures with healthy alignment.

Does this mean I want to teach yoga?   Very possibly!  I have a few ideas rolling around in my head about where yoga could take me.  At the very least, I’m learning a ton about myself and my own yoga practice.

Does this mean I love crossfit any less?  Of course not!  If anything, I think pursuing my yoga passion will only make me a stronger, less injury-prone, more focused crossfit athlete.  And as I’ve been busier with school and apprenticing, I haven’t been able to attend crossfit as frequently, and miss class and my crossfit pals unbelievably much!  Distance really does make the heart grow fonder.


I’ve been learning so many wonderful and interesting things over the past month and a bit, and I’m excited to learn more about myself, my yoga, and yoga itself.  Although settling into being a part-time student with a full-time job has been a balancing act of its own, I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to explore one of my passions in depth.  Thanks for reading!