yogi

On Yoga and Golden Love: Jessica Pyper Profile

The yoga and trail running retreat is filling up fast and now only a few weekends away, so we thought it high time we shared some information on our Golden local yoga instructor, Jessica Pyper.  Jessica will be working with Kristen Stuart leading the yoga classes and Elinor Fish will guide the running practise.

Tell us a bit about yourself... 

I am a yoga student and teacher. I grew up in Grimsby, ON and moved to Golden, BC in 2009 to spend more time in the mountains snowboarding and studying and I just never left. A typical day for me looks like this: wake up, do some computer work for my business (marketing, social media, planning retreats, etc.), practice yoga, eat breakfast, get outside (either snowboarding or mountain biking- seasonally dependant), garden/house work, dinner, more computer work or work at the restaurant or hang out with friends. For work, I teach yoga classes, SUP yoga classes, workshops, and retreats. I also give Reiki treatments and currently work at a restaurant in town, too. 

When did you start practising yoga?  Why?  What do you love about it - what keeps you practising?

I started practicing yoga when I was 19 - only a few classes here and there. I gradually began practicing more and more and now I aspire to practice everyday if I can. I starting practicing yoga for the physical benefits and kept developing my practice because of all the other amazing aspects of yoga. I love yoga because it centres me and makes me feel comfortable in my own skin. I have an identical twin sister, so growing up was quite a challenge for me - I never felt like I had my own sense of identity and I didn’t really like myself too much. I was always wanting to be someone else- which sounds sad, but it wasn’t, I was very loved… just not by myself. Practicing yoga has really taught me to love myself as I am- it’s the best thing in the world.

Jessica with some garden rewards.

Jessica with some garden rewards.

What do you like about teaching yoga?

My favourite part of teaching yoga is teaching my students to love themselves, teaching gratitude, and helping them release their fears. My class is very physical, too, but my biggest focus as a teacher is teaching love.

Where do you find your inspiration for your classes?

I find inspiration for my classes all over the place- usually from my students. I never plan my classes and I base my teaching on the energy level of the group and I always teach a class around the needs of the group that day. Music also inspires me a lot, whenever I create a new playlist, I get pretty excited to teach! 

Why Golden?

I like Golden because of the amazing mountains here. We have such awesome mountain biking and snowboarding- Kicking Horse is the best resort I’ve been to yet. I LOVE the small town vibes and the people here are so rad. If the mountains don’t humble you, the people here will for sure.

What do you think are the most important poses for runners to practise?

Some yoga poses I enjoy after running are hamstrings; any type of forward fold either standing or seated will stretch out your hammies and your lower back. Downward dog is great because it stretches the calves, hamstrings, and back. I also really enjoy low lunges, with the back knee on the ground; if its available, grab the back foot for a deeper thigh stretch. Lastly, legs up the wall is my favourite all-around restorative pose.

Thanks for sharing, Jessica!

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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. 

Meet our Running Guru, Elinor Fish

For those runners lucky enough to be coming to our running and yoga retreat in June, you'll get to be mentored by Elinor Fish for the entire weekend.  Here's a bit more information on this beautiful soul and fantastic runner.

ElinorFish.jpg

Where did you grow up?
I grew up in the little ski town of Rossland, British Columbia, though I spent a lot of my childhood in Nelson, sailing on Kootenay Lake and riding horses.  After many years of running, traveling and studying on three continents, I now live in Carbondale, Colorado, which is about 30 miles north of Aspen.

Why did you move to Colorado from Canada?
I moved here from Canmore, Alberta, in 2006 to join the editorial team at Trail Runner magazine. I met my husband soon after and we decided to raise our family here because it’s a fantastic outdoorsy mountain town ideal for raising active kids.

You’ve competed in events ranging from  track and cross country in University to 100-mile ultramarathons. What keeps you going?  
Over the course of my 25-year competitive career, my source of motivation has shifted dramatically. In the beginning, I thrived on the competitive aspect of the sport, and spent many years pushing myself to see how fast and how far I could go.

But more recently, running has become much more about managing stress and supporting my overall health. I have a chronic auto-immune disease that reacts to stress. I’m good at working myself to the bone and pushing myself to always do more (at work and in sports), but if I don’t take care of myself, I suffer immensely.

Not only does my condition flare, but I get exhausted to the point I can’t get out of bed.

Trail running puts me in beautiful mountain places and wipes the mental slate clean so I can do everything I want to do in life, and have the energy to show up for the people who rely on me.

Lots of people say that running is not a lifetime sport.  What do you say to that?  
I specifically wrote The Healthy Runner’s Manifesto, an e-book published last year, to dispel that misconception.

Running is one of the healthiest habits we can possibly have, and when you run for health above all, then you can do it well into old age. When I see stories about people running marathons in their 80’s, I see them not a physiological marvels, but people who’ve got it right: they not only place a high value on their physical well-being, they find immense joy in the experience of running.

Instead of running to achieve specific performance goals, when you run for the process of it, of being in your body and truly experience running’s meditative qualities, then you’ve just tapped into a bottomless source of motivation that can last a lifetime.

You do a lot of personal coaching; what inspired you to help other runners? 
Trail running helped me through dark periods of mourning, loss, deep sadness and discomfort during many transitions and disappointments in my life.

So I committed myself to understanding specifically how running makes us more resilient to stress. This led me to dive into a four-year research project (that’s still ongoing) to fully understand the science behind how running changes the mind as well as the body.

What I discovered blew my mind, and I want to share those lessons with other runners. My clients are runners who are broken, burned out, disillusioned, or desperate to have running in their life, but face many obstacles.

I help them get a clear picture of their total stress load (from all aspects of life) and how it  affects their health. Then we take specific action to reduce the stress and rebuild health. It’s customized to each person, but usually involves a combination of natural running form, nutritional habits, self-care and recovery, sleep habits and mindfulness.

That foundation of health becomes the basis for their running training, whether they run ultramarathons or run to socialize or whatever their goal.

Retreat participants are looking forward to your running technique sessions. What immediate improvements will they experience?
Yes, tweaking one’s running form can create immediate improvements in running economy (efficiency), endurance, comfort and post-run recovery.

At the retreat, we’ll talk about what is means to let gravity do more of the work. Instead of using muscular force to push them through the gait cycle, I’ll show runners how to align their posture to lessen the work load.

When you don’t have to work as hard, you can be more relaxed while running, which helps you not only decrease your chance of injury, but find more joy in the experience.

What are you most looking forward to running during the retreat? 
I’m really looking forward to Kristen Stuart’s yoga classes. As a mountain athlete herself, Kristen has a deep understanding of how we endurance junkies can benefit from the thoughtful, controlled movements of yoga. I began doing yoga with the intention of working on flexibility and core strength, but I’ve learned that it offers so much more. Yoga is great for teaching runners about how to find ease and relaxation in the face of discomfort or challenge. 

Sneak Preview our Courses at the June Yoga and Running Retreat

Join us in Golden in June for an exclusive yoga and trail running retreat.  

We're super excited to announce a yoga and trail running retreat from June 25-28 in Golden, BC.  Not only will this give you the opportunity to "sneak preview" the courses with the designer, but you will also get authentic and passionate trail running coaching by Elinor Fish and twice daily yoga sessions with Kristen Stuart and Jessica Pyper.

So maybe you're not such a runner but love doing yoga in beautiful places... well, we are offering an "all-yoga" option whereby you can opt out of any run in exchange for more yoga and meditation.

The retreat will feature luxurious accommodation on Kicking Horse Mountain Resort and wholesome meals to suit any dietary requirements.  The running - well, well take you on the best trails in the area to fill you spirit and lungs with the passion of the great outdoors.  Plan on high alpine views, fun singletrack, and a nice cool lake for your post-run cool down.

More information on the retreat and our registration link is here.

Share the Love

Do you know somebody who would benefit from this retreat?  Tell us about them and they could win a free entry!  Email your nomination to registration@goldenultra.com.  Don't forget to include your name, your nominees name, why they would benefit from the retreat, and why they might not be registering themselves.  (Nominations due April 15, 2015)