When we created the Golden Ultra Yoga & Running Retreat our goal was to pull together some of the most real, inspiring and talented teachers to share their love of running and yoga with you. There was no better person to invite than yogini Kristen Stuart.
Kristen is a registered Yoga and Meditation teacher and a Lifestyle Coach, passionate about guiding people towards their passion, purpose and powerful presence in this life. To introduce you more to this beautiful person and inspiring teacher, here is a quick question and answer.
Tell us a bit about yourself... Who is the real Kristen Stuart?
I live in Canmore, Alberta, in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. Although I’ve lived here for many years, this place never stops inspiring me.
A typical day for me would be to wake up around 6:00 am with a warm lemon water drink. This is part of my ayurvedic self care routine that I’ll share more with you at the retreat. I follow that up with some meditation, an Americano and my yoga practice. A healthy breakfast follows. Once I’ve taken care of myself I start my work day of coaching, private and public yoga instruction, and all the other stuff that goes into having your own small businesses. The evening is all about healthy dinner, quality times with loved ones and grounding.
I love hiking and climbing and there is no better place than Canmore for that. Grassi Lakes is a quick hit close to town for hiking and the climbing gym at Elevation Place is simply amazing. I’m so thankful that being active is so easy to incorporate into my life.
When did you start practicing yoga? What got you interested in it? What do you love most about yoga?
I started practicing yoga in 2001 and was initially interested from a totally physical perspective. I came from a background of personal training and started my yoga journey with the Ashtanga style of yoga – strong and sweaty!
For me, yoga is a way of life, a lifestyle. Once I began the practice my life shifted in so many positive ways. I was more conscious of the food I was eating, how I was communicating with others, and I was so much more conscious of energy. As a totally type-A over-achiever, yoga chilled me out while still allowing me to accomplish.
Yoga is a practice that you can lean in to on a daily basis and use to help shift you in the direction that you need to be shifted. If I wake up with low energy I can use a powerful practice to invigorate me. Likewise, I can use a grounding practice and meditation to soothe anxiety. My practice is ever evolving and always brings me the exact ‘medicine’ I need.
The beautiful thing about yoga is that there are so many styles and practices and everybody connects to it and values it in a different way. This is what has kept me interested as an instructor and even within my own life. I love to use yoga to help guide people through times of transition. This is what forms a key part of my business – yoga-influenced life coaching.
If I was to sum up my practice: Yoga meets me where I’m at, takes me where I need to go and never leaves me where I was.
Lots of runners are not good stretchers and are nervous about getting into yoga. What would you tell a beginner to “ease their fears?
That was me 14 years ago!
It would be a rare runner that could show up to their first marathon without training & expect to win it. Just like that, with yoga you have to start somewhere. A small step is to incorporate some yoga into your daily routine.
Our plan for this retreat is to put together a great foundation in yoga from an anatomy and alignment perspective. This won’t be about the end result of touching your toes (for example) but about how you can get there, slowly. You’ll learn about both strength and flexibility, while we make it fun and playful. Overall you’ll be able to take home a mini-program that you can incorporate into your training plan.
4. What is the most rewarding thing about teaching yoga for you?
By far the most rewarding thing about teaching yoga for me is watching people change. It’s about seeing how the practice influences their lives in a positive way. Over time I see people stretching the edges of their life, moving through fears, doubts, uncertainty, and all the other things that make us human and open us to grow and evolve.
On a more physical level, it’s amazing to see people nail their first arm balance or to watch their body move deeper into a pose. These ‘aha’ moments never fail to bring smile to someone’s face!
If somebody only had time in the day for 10 minutes of yoga (or meditation), what would you suggest?
I would say take 5 minutes to sit in a quiet space and meditate. Go screen free and listen to your breath. Then, turn on some music and take 5 minutes to run through some yoga postures like sun salutations. Or just unroll your mat and move in a way that feels intuitive. The key thing is to use those 10 minutes, embrace them, don’t be afraid or to busy!
Words of Wisdom?
Our beliefs create our environment. They have the incredible potential to attract more kindness, abundance, gratitude and beauty, thus setting the tone for greater wellbeing and self-empowerment.
The Golden Ultra is a three-day stage running race (or relay) in Golden, BC, Canada. Runners may participate in all three stages as a solo or part of a relay, or may register for any single or combination of two stages separately.