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!
img_3113

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

Hike: Raspberry Ridge 

I’m a little late getting this blog post written but better late than never?  Who even knows where the past three months have went!  Working full-time, being a yoga teacher trainee in class 10+ hours a week, crossfitting, seeing friends in tiny windows of time, and hanging out with Dana and Penny… oh, that’s where all the time went.  🙂 All good things!

Anyways, hiking!  Our season is vastly different from last year’s epic hike-a-palooza summer, but the season is young and the mountains are still somewhat snowy so I’ll cut us some slack.

I just checked what day we did this hike – way back on May 22nd.  Whoops!  Raspberry Ridge ended up being quite an adventure, but the hike itself was pretty and a good season-opener for us.  12 km with a loop, and about 700 m elevation gain.

We always head out to Kananaskis on the busy highway #1, so it was refreshing to drive out to the Raspberry Ridge trailhead out the Longview way down highway 40.  It was a beautiful sunny day for a drive, but typical Kaitlyn, I had us running 20 minutes late leaving town.  We were going to meet our friends Laura and Adrian where highway 40 meets highway 940, and then proceed to the trailhead together from there.

The unfortunate thing is that there is no cell reception as you enter Kananaskis out that way.  So we couldn’t communicate our location or late arrival to our friends.

We also didn’t know what kind of vehicle Laura drives.  So we got to the meeting spot, drove around, but couldn’t see Adrian’s truck and didn’t know what Laura drove, so we reckoned they got tired of waiting and headed to the trailhead without us.

The most unfortunate aspect was our faithful 2006 Ford Edge.  We were in Kananaskis by this point, and heard something like the sound of a plastic bag whirling underneath the Edge, but we didn’t see anything fall off as we were driving so we kept going.  Shortly after, the A/C stopped working and we were all getting pretty warm, Penny included.  I was getting a sinking feeling about the whole thing when we pulled in to the Raspberry Ridge trailhead parking lot, as we had no cell reception to call for help.

Still no Adrian’s truck, and uncertain about Laura’s car, we decided to start the hike and hopefully catch up with them.  We hiked rapidly!

The sky was brilliantly blue and the sun had some heat to it.  It was a beautiful day.

img_0830img_0831img_0835

From a distance, we’d see couples with dogs, and race to catch up with them, only to realize that they weren’t Laura, Adrian, and Ruby.

There was a bit more snow up near the top and we lost the trail.  Dana carried Penny up over the ledge, and I scrambled up behind them.  Only a few tears were shed.

We ate lunch at the picnic table and then checked out the fire warden’s shack and helipad.

img_0848

Failed family selfie

img_0853img_0855

We really lost the trail after that, but figured… Raspberry Ridge is ridge walk so how hard can it be to find our way down?  Shortly after that conclusion, we bushwacked our way down the side of the hill? mountain?  It was hard on the knees/ankles but we did just fine getting down.  We were on high alert for ticks, and I saw my first tick on Penny’s back.

She was filthy after that hike.

img_3187

Dirty dog!

At the parking lot, we immediately saw Adrian’s truck.  Somehow we had missed them on the trail!  Dana left them a note on their windshield about how we were sorry to miss seeing them, and that we’d see them soon.

How soon?

We got in the Edge and headed out.  We’d hardly got going, and then the dash started flickering and the GPS screen went black.  We were all sweating profusely, since the A/C wasn’t working.  Then the dash went totally dead after telling us the brakes were gone.  We still didn’t have cell reception so Dana drove us as far as he could, then eventually the power steering went, and we pulled over on the side of the highway.

We decided Dana would hitchhike to Longview to call a tow truck, and I would stay with the Edge (and hopefully see Laura and Adrian driving home.)  We popped the hood of the Edge (the International Sign of Our Car is Dead), and shortly after a car pulled over to offer assistance and Dana was whisked away to Longview.  Penny and I hung out, sweating, on a blanket by the Edge, watching the highway.  Several vehicles pulled over to offer me help, but I kept turning them down.

Probably 45 minutes of waiting later, I was so pumped to see Laura and Adrian’s truck booting along the highway.  They saw the Edge and pulled over to rescue Penny and I.  We couldn’t believe we’d missed each other on the trail, but thank god they came along when they did on the highway.  We all drove to Longview and met up with Dana at the gas station, just as the tow truck was arriving.  We sent the truck to pick up the Edge and transport it to High River to see what was wrong, and Laura and Adrian drove us all home.

So, in short, Raspberry Ridge – the hike – was a great first hike of 2017, but the adventure was super memorable for other reasons!  The story has a relatively happy ending but it was all thanks to Laura and Adrian.  You guys saved us!

Oh, and the Edge?  Turns out the only problem was the serpentine belt.  So thankfully it wasn’t an expensive fix, other than the tow to get it to the shop.

I’m graduating from my 200 hour yoga teacher program next weekend, so our hiking adventures will resume then.  We have a few solid plans in place: the Wild Side hike on Flores Island, and the Rockwall Trail in the Kootenays in September.

Going to be a great summer!  Thanks for reading!

Battle in the Barracks 2016

Note from Kait: I apologize for the long-winded and delayed posting, but sometimes I need to mull things over for a bit.  It’s been quite a week since the comp! 

Another Battle in the Barracks has come and gone, with all the excitement, fitness, camaraderie, and sweat that goes with it.

The Battle in the Barracks competition is a two day individual competition with male and female Rx and Rx+ divisions hosted by my box’s sister gym, CrossFit Currie Barracks here in Calgary. This was my second year competing (you can read about my first year here.)

There were 30-some women competing in the women’s RX division, and my goal for this year’s comp was to finish in the teens. Last year I finished in the low-20s.

Source: CrossFit Currie Barracks

 

I trialed all the workouts in the weeks beforehand, but unlike last year, didn’t go crazy training at Open Gym on Sundays at CrossFit Sunalta. Partly I knew from last year that Coach Eric would program prep workouts during the week at Sunalta, partly I love having Sunday as a rest day, and partly my stress level has been very high this fall with work and Dana’s ongoing unemployment.  Working out has always been a sort of active meditation for me where I find peace and calm, but I also know crossfit spikes my cortisol (stress) levels so I have to enjoy my hobby in moderation.

The vibe just felt different this year. Namely no Meg and Anna (my Sunalta Strong teammates!).  Perhaps because I’d done last year’s competition, or because I’ve had my focus elsewhere this fall, I didn’t feel crazy nervous for the weeks leading up to the comp.  The nerves didn’t kick in until Friday the 3rd!  Then of course my stomach was full of butterflies for the rest of the weekend.

Dana went to a birthday dinner on Friday night, but I stayed home in order to get a healthy meal in and to be in bed early. Somehow I got a really great sleep Friday night, even though my body woke me up at 5:45.  It wasn’t all bad because I had time to enjoy a leisurely breakfast and walk Penny.  Dana had signed up to judge, so we got to Currie around 8:30 to hear the workout standards.  I was incredibly nervous by this point, but wasn’t scheduled until the third heat so had a bit of time to warm up beforehand.

Events 1&2


My game plan was to treat the ladder like an EMOM (every minute on the minute). If I was going to hit 135# for the jerk, it would be a PR (personal record), so I didn’t want my heart racing out of my chest for that lift.  My plan worked like a hot damn, except I could only clean the 135#.  My jerk was more like a small bounce of the barbell off my shoulders – definitely no locking out of elbows to be seen!  I was happy to hit the 2×125# though.


Then I modestly hit 80# for my snatch.  Then 90#.  Then 95#.  Then I still had time so I did 100#!  I tried 105# but failed before the time ran out.  I was happy with my performance on events 1 and 2!

Event 3

I was basically sick to my stomach from the end of event 2 until event 3 started. Something about doing my less than ideal pull-ups in front of a crowd… My game plan was, again, an EMOM – ideally 9 reps per minute so I’d be close to done around 9 minutes in to the 10 minute workout.


Somehow I found myself having an out-of-body experience for this event. The barbell movements were fine – snatches, overhead squats, and squat snatches.  Those pull-ups though!  Meg and Dana coaxed/coached/yelled at me until somehow – somehow – at minute 9:00, I only had three pull-ups left!  I couldn’t believe it!  Of course those three pull-ups (and one no-rep) took 36 seconds; however, I finished at 9:36 and was so proud/happy/relieved/worn out from anxiety that I collapsed on the floor and had a good cry.  Haha hormones…

It was so great – Haley came by to watch this event, and brought me beautiful flowers too. I felt like a gymnast accepting a bouquet at the podium.  Except, you know, I was beet-red, crying, and had mascara, sweat, and chalk running down my face.

Dana got hooked into judging the rest of the afternoon, so I found some ladies to visit with and cheer on other competitors. Somewhere in there I also had a super relaxing quad massage.

Someone masterfully captured me looking super dazed. At least I’m among friends. Source: CrossFit Currie Barracks

Dana and I headed home around 4:00, and I promptly filled the tub with steaming hot Epsom salt water and had a lovely bath (other than the part where I had to rip the physio tape off my shoulders, and also when my torn hands touched the hot bath water).  I could have slept in the tub, but instead of taking a nap, Dana and I went for sushi at Kinjo then watched part of “The Santa Clause”.  I love Tim Allen!
tim-allen-santa

I didn’t feel nervous at all about event 4 until I went to bed that night. Then I couldn’t sleep because I was so worried about it.  Even though I was plum exhausted!

Somehow Sunday dawned on me and I went through my morning routine in a half-asleep daze. I was already so, so sore from Saturday, and wanted a massage pre-workout but the tables were full already.  Since I was sitting tied in 20th place, I was in the second ladies’ RX heat, along with a few other Sunalta women.  Nice to be among friends!

Event 4

Speaking of friends, Meg somehow showed up minutes before I started and stepped up as my judge again. I was so thankful to have her there!  Event 4 was all about getting the work done: shoulder-to-overhead, deadlifts, burpee box jumps, rowing, double unders, power cleans… Just keep moving!  This event was my best finish.  I got 12th!


My double unders were the slowest part because I kept tripping, and perhaps my second row was a little less powerful, but overall I was really pumped about my pace.  Sunalta’s Carrie F. just barely beat me in my heat!

I was so relieved to be done competing for the weekend, and have the rest of the day to enjoy. I definitely enjoyed the complimentary chiro and massage treatments!  I also loved sitting with the rest of the Currie Barracks/Sunalta athletes and cheering everyone on!

The organizers were short judges again, so Dana stepped up to the plate and judged all day – even the finals! He was such a trooper!  It was safe to say we were both 110% exhausted when we headed home after on Sunday!

Today I am completely tired, exhausted, and sore, but I’m also really happy with how the weekend played out. I got 17th overall!  Not an amazing score perhaps, but for me a sign of my ongoing learning and progress with crossfit, and I’m damn proud of 17th.  Competing is incredibly hard, stressful, and emotional for me, but I never regret signing up because I love finding my limits and then surpassing them.

Thanks Dana (and Haley and Meg!!) for cheering me on and supporting me this weekend! And thank you to Coaches Eric and Christi for hosting the competition, and a big thank you to all the volunteers and judges.  Another great competition is in the books!