Yoga

Meet Yogini Kristen Stuart

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.

A Challenge for the Ladies

(c) Fast and Female

(c) Fast and Female

Golden Ultra organizers are putting up a big challenge to female runners: join us in Golden and your participation will contribute to keeping girls involved in sport throughout and past their teenage years. 

The Golden Ultra will be donating 20% of each registration fee for every additional female registered over male participant to the Fast and Female organization.  Runners will also have the opportunity to donate to Fast and Female as part of the registration process and collect pledges from others for participating.  Ultramarathon and trail running events traditionally have a higher percentage of male participants so this is a challenge to female trail runners to gather in Golden in September to change this trend.

Chandra Crawford, Olympic Gold Medallist and Fast and Female Founder responded to the fundraising initiative with her typical enthusiasm: “How cool is this?  A gorgeous mountain adventure and you can sign up for the entire beastly thing or just one stage... let’s get our run on, ladies, and raise awareness and funds for female empowerment with Fast and Female while we do it!”

Fast and Female is a not-for-profit society founded in 2005.  The organization’s goal is to support, motivate, inspire and empower girls aged 8-18 to stick with sports and a healthy lifestyle.  Fast and Female creates “empowerment through Sport” for girls by hosting fun-filled, non-competitive programming led by female Olympians and elite athletes, as well as by delivering educational content to parent and coaches.

The Golden Ultra is a three-day stage running race (or relay) in Golden, BC from September 18-20, 2015.  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.  For more information, please visit www.goldenultra.com.