Finding the Type of Yoga that Works for You

Traveling is a great way to discover new yoga studios as well as new spots or ways to do yoga. I was recently in California for a couple of days and took the opportunity to try a variety of different yoga practices. Some of which where a first for me and some of which I had tried before. There’s definitely a yoga practice for everyone out there, all you have to find is what floats your boat. Here are a few that I tried out:

1) Yoga on the sand – Second time doing a flow and yoga while being on the beach. I must say, it’s a great way to work on balance, especially for poses that require strength and potentially even some balancing. It can even become hot yoga, on warm beach days. That said, the views are exquisite and the sound of the ocean is the perfect soundtrack for a relaxing session.

2) Yoga with candles – While in SoCal, I tried out a brand new studio called Yoga Bound in Carlsbad. What drew me to the studio is that they were offering a candlelit yoga session in the evening which sounded incredibly relaxing. And relaxing it was! It was a great mix of restorative yoga and meditation, a calming way to end a busy day.

3) Yoga with music – I love doing just about anything to music and yoga is no exception. A good playlist can get me feeling and thinking about all sorts of stuff, which is especially true while I’m doing yoga. I love yoga studios like The Distrikt because they play hip hop during yoga or classes that play folk or singer-songwriters during practice. I find it makes the experience that much more special and for someone like myself who’s still new to the practice, it makes it a lot more approachable.

4) Yoga at a hotel – Lots of hotels these days offer either complimentary yoga classes or even mats to use on their property for yoga. That way, you don’t have to worry about traveling with your own mat. Hotels usually have either beautifully groomed lawns or even rooftops or poolside spaces where you can practice either alone or with a teacher, depending on the hotel.

5) Yoga in a park – I never shy away from practicing yoga in a park on my own. Parks are a plenty in California and pretty much everywhere. It’s always easy to just bring a mat or even beach towel to do a quick flow in the park. I used to be shy and feel a little strange about it but after seeing so many people about it, it didn’t feel so awkward. I’m all about taking workouts outdoors, so this is a great option that you can do just about anywhere.

What is your favourite kind of yoga? Where do you like to practice?

Photos by: Polarized Studios (https://www.polarizedstudios.com/)

What I’m wearing: Hyba mesh medium-impact sports bra (get it here), Hyba open back tank (get it here), Hyba Ribbed Legging (get it here).

This post was written in collaboration with Hyba but all opinions are my own.

5 Things to do in Palm Springs

Traveling to Palm Springs and looking for new activities to do while in the area? I’ve got you covered. The greater Palm Springs area offers such a wide variety of activities that there’s something for everyone! This was my 5th trip to the area and I always find new things to do. Here are my latest recommendations.

1) Pioneertown – Located just a quick drive from downtown Palm Springs via route 62, Pioneertown is an old live-in film set dating back to the 1940s that has now been transformed into a tourist attraction. The area was incredibly well kept and though a little small, is worth the trek. They’ve got a few shop as well as a bar and restaurant where you can stop in if you’re in need of a snack.

2) Tahquitz Canyon – This hidden gem is a stone’s throw away from downtown Palm Springs. Tahquitz Canyon is a very well kept secret in the city and rightfully so. This beautiful canyon has been around for 1500+ years and is part of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians Reservation. There is a beautiful 2 mile hike that leads to a 60 foot waterfall right in the middle of the canyon. You have to pay a small fee to walk on the trail but they also have a visitor centre with exhibits and information about local archeological finds, etc.

3) Native Foods Café – Around since 1994, Native Foods Café provides delicious and quality plant-based meals in a cafeteria style low-key restaurant in Palm Springs. Whether you’re craving a bowl, sandwich, burger or salad, they’ve got a wide variety of tasty eats to choose from. Though originally from Palm Springs, they’ve had so much success that they’ve expanded to several other locations across the Southern United States.

4) Off Road Rentals – If you’ve driven into Palm Springs before, you’ve probably noticed Off Road Rentals, located on the right of the highway 111 heading into town. This family-run business has been around since the late 80s. You can rent one of their 4-speed quads and drive up and down their huge sand dunes. It’s an amazing time for anyone wanting a little adventure. Depending on how busy the course is, they may even give you some free riding time!

5) Mt. San Jacinto – One of the greatest finds in all of Southern California. Mt. San Jacinto can be accessed via the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway (at $25+ a round trip!). It’s a quick 10 min ride up or for those wanting an extra challenge, you can also hike up the 10,000 ft mountain and just got a one-way down. Once at the Mountain Station, you can refuel or pack snacks and explore some of their 50+ miles of trails at the top. The trails offers some of the most stunning views of the desert, valley and high country forest.

 

5 Things I’ve Learned Riding a Bike in Vancouver

Being a new cyclist in the greater Vancouver area, I’ve learned a lot about cycling around the city these past couple of weeks. So I wanted to share with you today, some of the things I’ve learned if you’re thinking of starting to ride a bike (even as fall rolls around!) or if you’re planning to rent a bike when you come to the city for a visit.

1) Bike lanes – Unlike Toronto, where I’m from, bike lanes in Vancouver are legit. Every bike lane is clearly indicated at the top of street signs. Some of the bike lanes are also painted in green, reminding drivers that they are not allowed on that area of the road. Additionally, a lot of the bike lanes here in Vancouver are separated either with cones, plants or even a cement median, thus protecting cyclists even further when biking around town. To get a full cycling map of the downtown core, go here and for the North Shore go here.

2) The hills are alive – If you’re like me and you’ve never really biked up hills before, be prepared to be doing a lot of uphill climbs. No matter where you are in the city or on the North Shore, the hills will have you sweating up a storm. That said, what goes up must come down, so the downhill rides are always that much sweeter. In all honesty, I’ve stopped or even walked my bike a couple of times when I couldn’t pedal anymore, it definitely takes some getting used to but it’ll make you that much stronger!

3) Relationship with cars – I’ve found that compared to a LOT of other cities across North America, a cyclist’s relationship with automobile traffic in Vancouver is a lot more pleasant (most of the time!) than it is in other places. There’s an awareness here that isn’t present in most parts of the country and because so many drivers are also cyclists, I think it makes a huge difference in their attitudes towards you and your bike. That said, buses and cabs are still the scariest, so definitely always be vigilant when riding around town. I’ve learned that the best thing to do is be VERY visible and loud. Invest in bright lights for your bike, a good bell and even a reflective vest or clothing. MEC has a ton of options for you to choose from, including the vest below.

4) You need rain gear – It’s inevitable, no matter how sunny it is right now, if you’re coming to Vancouver and planning on biking or hoping to bike well into fall and winter (which is very doable, as temperatures stay quite warm all-year-round!), you’ll want to invest in rain gear, or else cycling won’t be nearly as enjoyable. Since I’ve been commuting with my bike to and from work, I know that I will soon have to invest in proper slacks and jacket to protect me from the rain. Luckily, MEC has a ton of cool and reasonably priced items like these waterproof pants priced at $69 that can definitely do the trick.

5) Get to know your bike – I’ve never owned a brand new bike before and never really cared much for learning about bikes. But when I got my new bike from MEC, I was able to learn a ton about how my bike worked, how to take it apart, how to pump up its tires, etc. Whether your bike is from MEC or not, you can easily bring it in the store and not only get a tune up and bike parts but also get some education about cycling and your bike in general from one of their store experts. MEC even has cycling clinics and events that you can register for (check them out here). That way, you can ride around the city having all of the knowledge necessary for a safe ride. Plus, in times of crisis, you can always resort to YouTube tutorials. I did just that the other day for my back tire and I got it all figured out.

Safe riding everyone!

Discovering the New 2018 Toyota C-HR

I had the pleasure of spending the last couple of weeks adventuring around British Columbia with Toyota‘s brand new car, the 2018 C-HR. It was the perfect vehicle for both city and nature discoveries. Its ultra-sleek and unique design combined with Toyota’s best safety features, made it a reliable and fun car to drive, in all driving conditions.

LOOK

Its two-toned colourful exterior turned heads everywhere I went. This car is without a doubt one of the coolest looking vehicles on the market with its modern design. Toyota did a great job imagining a car that stood out from the pack and pushed the envelop on a design standpoint. The vehicle’s standard 17″ alloy wheels and also diamond-cut lines, make it very pleasing to the eyes.

SAFETY 

Toyota is renown for its top of the line safety standards and features. The Toyota Safety Sense P system includes lane departure alerts, pre-collision system with pedestrian and dynamic radar cruise control, just to name a few. The vehicle also comes equipped with 10 airbags, a monitoring system that alerts you if you have low fuel or washer fluid, an ajar door, etc. Moreover, the vehicle also offers the Toyota Star Safety System that features Brake Assist, Traction Control, Vehicle Stability Control and more! All of these safety features gave me peace of mind while exploring through the city and mountains and allowed for the safest driving conditions.

PERFORMANCE

Performance enthusiasts will be happy to know that the C-HR contains a 144-hp, 2.0L, 4-cyl VALVEMATIC and a continuously variable transmission. You also have the ability to choose Sport mode, which transforms the vehicle in a simulated 7-speed sequential Shiftmatic transmission, making it that much more fun to drive. But with speed comes the need for a reliable breaking system, something that Toyota has not overlooked. The car’s braking system works with front and rear discs and an Anti-lock braking system, braking assist and electronic brake force distribution, which allows you to keep control of the vehicle no matter what situation may arise.

TECHNOLOGY

It’s impossible to talk about the vehicle without noting some of its great tech features such as the backup camera that comes up in the electrochromic rearview mirror, the rear cross traffic alert with blind spot monitor as well as the Smart Key system, allowing you to start the car with just the push of a button. And for avid music fans like myself, the car boasts an impressive sound system and all the jacks you could need to play your favourite playlists or albums while on the road.

RECAP

All in all, my time driving around with the 2018 Toyota C-HR was very pleasant. It allowed me to discover new parts of British Columbia and drive through windy country roads, mountainous areas, the beach as well as the crowded streets of Vancouver. The C-HR is a car that has all the modern features a driver wants, a spacious interior and trunk for longer trips while never compromising safety or comfort for the driver and passengers of the car.

For more info on the 2018 Toyota C-HR, go here.

Fueling my Recovery with CLIF

One’s journey back to any sport after an injury is always a challenging one. It requires patience and a whole lot of dedication to make sure you get back to the same level of conditioning as before and that you become stronger than ever, while also carefully monitoring your injury to make sure everything is on track.

This is my second comeback to running after being injured twice in the past two years, so I’m being extra smart this time around and putting all the chances on my side for a successful recovery. One of the things that is key during training is making sure you fuel your body right. I have always loved bringing along some CLIF snacks with me no matter what adventure I get up to and this is especially true when I go running.

CLIF just released some brand new organic BLOKS that come in 33-calorie cubes that are easy to bring along in my running pouch. These cubes supply me with energy during long runs, sprint workouts at the track or even races. Since I’ve been ramping up my training again, leading up to my next race at the end of October, I’ve been bringing these along. The chews provide the perfect combination of carbohydrates and electrolytes yet without any of the garbage. There are no partially hydrogenated oils, no high fructose corn syrup, no synthetic preservatives and no artificial flavours. CLIF’s new Salted Watermelon Flavour supplies you with even extra sodium that helps counter muscle cramps and gives you even more electrolytes when your body needs it the most. The BLOKS come in 9 different flavours including Tropical Punch, which is also flavoured with caffeine, for those needing that extra little boost.

I have used BLOKS in races before, it was my go-to snack during my first ever race over two years ago at the Nike Women’s 15k in Toronto and I have stuck to this winning formula since. I like that you can easily calculate portions while running and that they aren’t too sweet, so they won’t make you feel nauseous or heavy while running.

Since I’m now training primarily in British Columbia, I’ve been including more and more hikes and trail runs into my regimen. Making use of the beautiful scenery and mountains that are right at my doorstep. For hikes, I always pack CLIF Nut Butter Filled Energy Bar because I know that I’ll want a healthy and filling snack along the way. My favourite flavour is the creamy Peanut Butter bar. These bars are great because they are 100% plant-based (made with nut butter, brown rice and peas), certified organic, non-GMO, contain less than 10g of sugar, and are free of hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup and artificial flavours. They’re the perfect blend of carbohydrates, protein and fat that will keep me going throughout my hikes.

I feel good bringing these products along with me because I know CLIF has my best interest at heart as an athlete. This family and employee-owned company is not only committed to providing the best sports nutrition to their consumers but also committed to supporting the community of athletes and adventure seekers out there through a variety of initiatives.

Now that I’m back, I’m excited to see where my journey will take me while making sure I fuel my body right along the way. #FEEDYOURADVENTURE

For more information on CLIF, visit: http://www.clifbar.ca/

Top 3 Greens Blends Worth Checking Out

Greens blends have become one of the top health trends these days. I started making green smoothies and beverages over a year ago and can honestly say they have made a positive difference in my overall wellbeing.

Because I’m always on the go and traveling, I can never predict what I’ll be eating throughout the day, no matter how much I plan. So I start every day off with either a green smoothie or add some organic greens powder into my water in the morning.

There are many health benefits associated with adding greens to your diet including:

-getting the recommended 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables daily

-supports a healthy immune system

-easy to digest

-alkalizes, detoxifies and energizes the body

-enhances your nutrient profile

etc.

I have tried a handful of greens blends but my top 3 are the following:

1) Life’s Abundance Greens Blend Berry Flavor – I love the taste of Life’s Abundance greens blend, it can added to a smoothie or just mixed with water. They’ve also added a certified organic blend of reishi, maitake, and shitake mushrooms to provide a vegetarian source of iron and B vitamins, and also a great source of phytonutrients and antioxidants.

2) Genuine Health Greens+ O Vegan Natural Acai Mango – This greens blend from Genuine Health is great because they add ingredients like organic spirulina, Atlantic dulse seaweed, chlorella, alfalfa grass, ginkgo balboa, grape seed extract, chia seeds, and sunflower lecithin to their greens mix. This nourishing superfood is a great energy booster.

3) Botanica Unflavoured Organic Greens – Because it is unflavoured, the Botanica greens goes great in morning smoothies and contains some key beneficial ingredients such as barley, wheat grasses and leafy greens, that are all rich in nutrients and vitamins that your body needs.

It is always best to be consistent and also take the recommend dose of greens in order to attain its optimal health benefits. That said, there are tons of qualified holistic nutritionists as well as great books out there that can help you make the best and most education decision for yourself and whether or not you need to add these greens to your diet. What works for someone may not necessarily work for someone else, so it’s best to always do your homework first.

Go Snorkeling with Seals at the Subsea Retreat in British Columbia

For as long as I can remember, I have always been fascinated by marine life. There was even a period of time in my life where I considered studying marine biology, but that ambition quickly faded when I reached high school, due to my poor grades in science. That said, my passion for all-things water-related, has remained over the years.

So when I heard of the Subsea Retreat, out of Sidney, British Columbia, I immediately contacted them. This family-run eco-tour allows ocean enthusiasts like myself, to realize their lifelong dreams of snorkeling or even scuba diving with local seals and other marine creatures. The retreat is run by Jack Madro, who has over 35-years of scuba diving and tour organization experience, Pam and also his daughter Amanda Madro, who is a biochemist, a boat captain and an all-around inspiring woman who is passionate about ocean wildlife. Each bring their many years of diverse experience together to create not only a fun and safe retreat but also give you a ton of information on the area and the local marine life.

What’s great about the Subsea Retreat is that they offer different types of excursions for people of all-ages as well as skill levels. I had personally never gone scuba diving before, hence why I opted for snorkeling. Additionally, they have all the gear necessary for their excursions, so you don’t have to worry about bringing anything with you. You will be able to try on all the equipment with Jack by your side. The family will then bring you out on the water with their own private boat and make sure you are fully comfortable the entire duration of the excursion.

Sidney, is just a short ferry ride away from Vancouver (only 1h40 mins, and the retreat is a 5min drive from the ferry terminal!) or a quick 30min drive from Victoria. While you’re out in Sidney, you’ll be able to stay at their beautiful home that contains several private rooms, a large dining room and living room as well as outdoor deck, BBQ and pool, all located on a beautiful and quiet property. In between excursions, you can really kick-back and relax, you may also see hummingbirds, eagles or even deer while you’re lounging outside.

In addition to snorkeling or scuba diving, there are tons of other activities you can do while you’re staying at the Subsea Retreat such as hiking, SUPing, swimming, there are also lots of cafés, restaurants, farms and even wineries to check out in the area. The family gives great local tips on where to go, if you’re on the hunt for some additional activities.

I couldn’t believe that in just one afternoon, I got to cross two things off of my bucket list: I snorkeled with seals and also got to see a local pod of transient killer whales swim by the boat. I had such a wonderful time with the family that I’m already planning my return. Below is a little recap vlog of my adventures at the Subsea Retreat.

For more information on the Subsea Retreat, go here.

A major thank you to Toyota Canada, for allowing me to test out the 2018 Toyota C-HR during this trip!

5 Questions With: Casey Brown

This week, I had the opportunity to try downhill mountain biking for the very first time at Crankworx in Whistler Blackcomb. One of the top athletes in the sport in British Columbia’s own Casey Brown. She was on the World Cup circuit for several years before continuing her journey with Crankworx and working on tons of rad creative projects related to the sport. She is just about to start filming a new project in the mountains around Revelstoke and will be heading to Italy for the last round of the Enduro World Series. She was also part of the Women in Action Sports forum presented by Red Bull just last night in Whistler and took some time to answer a few questions below.

1) What first got you interested in downhill mountain biking? 

What got me interested in mountain biking in the beginning was my brother, he was my main inspiration, I saw that mountain biking gave him so much freedom and reward with his progression and I wanted to follow in his footsteps.

2) You were part of the Downhill World Cup circuit for quite some time, how much has the sport and circuit evolved since you initially joined? 

I’ve seen a big progression in the World Cup circuit, on the female side the bar has been consistently rising and the way they ride has changed to be more aesthetically pleasing (chicks are riding with better style now).

3) You’re part of the Crankworx tour and though you won’t be biking this weekend due to an injury, how do you usually prepare for such an event? What does your training regime look like these days? 

For Crankworx my training regime is always changing for the events that are coming up. If I’m racing an Enduro, I’ll have to get my cardio up and if I’m doing Whip offs, I’ll need to spend some time on big jumps. I do incorporate yoga and gym time as much as I can.

4) Do you find there’s a growing and supportive community of women in the sport at the moment?  

I’ve seen a decent growth on the women’s side of the sport, when you see more chicks on big teams, it’s a good sign that companies are figuring out the value in having female influence.

5) For those who have yet to try mountain biking or for young riders, what is the one piece of advice you would give them? 

My one piece of advice is have fun with it, you don’t necessarily need to race or be the best, just have a good time with the wind in your hair!

Crankworx

The biggest mountain biking event in the world is current taking place at Whistler Blackcomb.

Crankworx started in the early 2000s due to the increase popularity of the sport in the area. Originally called the Whistler Summer Gravity Fest, the event began in 2003 and included events such as the Joyride Bikercross and “Slopestyle Expression Session” and really kicked off Cranworx as we know it today. In only a few short years, it has become the world’s premier mountain biking festival that attracts both riders and biking enthusiasts from all over the globe.

In addition to the festival organized in Whistler, Crankworx now stops in three other countries throughout the year – France, New Zealand and the newly added destination: Austria. One of the reasons why this festival stands out from the rest is that it showcases not only the top athletes in the sport but also legends as well as gives a platform to up-and-comers, which includes a great program for children called Kidworx.

They have also been working hard at promoting female athletes in the sport, giving them the opportunity to shine as brightly as their male counterparts. This Saturday August 19th 2017, Crankworx and Red Bull will be hosting a Women in Action Sports panel, to celebrate some of the top athletes in action sports from 7:30-8pm at the Whistler Olympic Plaza. This will be a chance for everyone to get to hear these athlete’s journeys, what they love about their sports, etc.

Crankworx has become the most popular event held in Whistler each year, attracting over 300 000 spectators. The Red Bull Joy Ride, the most popular event of the festival, attracts 30,000+ fans each year!

As part of my inaugural Crankworx experience, I decided to give mountain biking a try and had the best time with the folks at Whistler Blackcomb Bike School yesterday. Whistler Blackcomb has so many amazing trails for riders of all levels. It is definitely worth giving the sport a try if you haven’t already!

Crankworx is on in Whistler until August 20th 2017. For more info on the festival or how you can attend, go here.

Top 5 Hiking Essentials for Summer

Since hiking is everyone’s favourite activity here in British Columbia, I have also started going on a handful of day trips across the province. Your success as a hiker can definitely be determined by the gear your wear and bring with you so I wanted to share with you today some of my current hiking essentials for the summer and fall!

1) Camelbak Hydration Pack – I loath carrying around several water bottles with me when I hike, so getting the Camelbak pack was one of the best ideas I’ve ever had. It comes equipped with 2L hydration bag as well as tons of pockets and storage to put snacks, my phone, wallet, etc. This one also comes equipped with a whistle, which is a must when you live in bear country!

2) Saje Wellness Journey On Kit – This customized Saje kit is perfect for staying energized and refreshed during those long hikes. The kit comes equipped with deodorant, lip balm, lotion and their energy remedy. It also comes in a super lightweight bag that is easy to strap onto your Camelbak or backpack.

3) KEEN Terradora boots – These lightweight boots are a must-have for any short or long hike. KEEN specifically designed these boots having women in mind making sure they fit like a glove and can be used in all sorts of terrain. The boots are also breathable and waterproof.

4) MEC Aquanator Jacket – Because you can never be sure what type of weather you’ll encounter during a hike, this MEC waterproof jacket with fully taped seams is a great layering piece to bring along. It comes equipped with underarm zips for cooling as well as adjustable cuffs and hood.

5) Stance Socks – A good pair of socks is crucial when hiking for a long time. These Stance Peak Hike socks are made with merino wool, polyester, cotton and nylon fibers that help keep your feet cool, pull moisture away faster and will last you hike after hike!

Some other must-haves include: a headlamp, trail poles, bear spray/bear bell, hat, etc.

Happy Hiking!