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 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!

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/

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!

Become a Skin Checker in 3 Easy Steps

I love being out in the sun. With summer being my favourite season and constantly being in search of my next outdoor adventure, I spend considerable amounts of time outdoors every day. That said, over the years I’ve become a lot smarter with my sun habits.

Research has shown that skin cancer is more common than all other cancers combined yet it is highly treatable. 90% of skin cancers are curable if detected early. Because 86% of melanomas and 90% of non-melanoma cancers are caused by sun exposure, adopting safe sun habits is crucial.

Today, thanks to the help of La Roche-Posay, I’m sharing with you some of the habits I’ve recently adopted in order to not only save my skin but also play safe in the sun. It’s a simple 3-step approach that you can also follow.

Step 1: Become a Skin Checker and check for moles using the ABCDE method

Because skin cancer is a type of cancer that can be seen with the naked eye, becoming a Skin Checker and using the ABCDE method is key in early detection of skin cancer.

A – Stands for Asymmetry. A mole that has an asymmetrical shape, that isn’t round or oval, that has contouring and colouring that isn’t evenly distributed around its centre.

B – stands for Border. If borders are irregular or jagged like on a map.

C – stands for Colour. If the mole has several colours (brown, red, white, etc.)

D – stands for Diameter. If the mole is greater than 6 mm (the size of a pencil eraser)

E – stands for Evolution. If the mole evolves quickly and changes in size, shape, thickness or colour.

If any of the moles you have checked fall into any of the above categories, they must be checked by a dermatologist.

Step 2: Apply high broad spectrum sunscreen. 

Because not all sun protection is created equal, it’s important to choose your sunscreen carefully. UVA rays represent 95% of UV rays and penetrate through clouds and even glass, making these rays damaging all year long. When looking for a sunscreen, you should look for the UVA logo, that indicates that the UVA protection is in line with the Canadian sunscreen requirements. You should also look for High broad-spectrum protection and also look for Mexoryl® technology (is a specialized UVA filter capable of dissolving in water, thus giving unrivalled UVA protection and creating a homogenous protection for your skin). Also, contrary to popular belief SPF (Sun Protection Factor) does not indicate the time you can stay under the sun but rather indicates the UVB protection factor. La Roche-Posay‘s Athelios provides this advance protection for your skin. The sunscreen is dermatologist tested, suitable for sensitive skin, fragrance-free, non-comedogenic, allergy tested and is also free of parabens and water resistant. It comes in a variety of formulas including the new 100% mineral filter lotion. They offer both body and face lotions that are made for every skin type and kind of exposure for both adults and children.

Step 3: Play safe in the sun with My UV Patch, a wearable “sun-safer behavioural coach”

My UV Patch has proven to improve sun safer behaviour while also minimizing sunburns. The heart-shaped patch is easy to use with an intuitive mobile app that monitors your sun exposure in real-time. You can scan the patch and the app will use the different photosensitive dyes on the square to determine the UV exposure level. Using an algorithm that factors in your personal data (phototype, skin type, location and weather info), the app will generate essential information on what behaviours to adopt and what protection to apply. The app is incredibly user-friendly and easy to navigate while the patch is easy to scan. La Roche-Posay will be distributing nearly 1 million patches for free across the country so that you too can play safe in the sun.

By following these three steps and also making sure to avoid long sun exposure, especially during peak sun hours in the middle of the day, I’m one step closer to preventing any potential onset of skin cancer.

For more information on La Roche-Posay‘s Become A Skin Checker campaign, go here.

This post was written in collaboration with La Roche-Posay but all opinions are my own.

My Happy Place

My Happy Place can mean so many different things to so many different people. It can also evolve over time.

My Happy Place, has always been close to the ocean. Whenever I am close to the ocean, I feel at peace, I feel calm and I feel energized. So moving to Vancouver and most recently to North Van, has been such a huge boost for me. I’m happiest when I’m outdoors being active and having the ocean in front of me when I work out is such a huge bonus.

The views from North Van are epic, to say the least. I get to see the city skyline, the ocean as well as the mountains. It’s also so much calmer on the North Shore, allowing me to workout in beautiful spots almost all by myself!

Whether it’s going for a run, cycling, doing a little HIIT circuit, practicing yoga or whatever kind of activity I get up to, doing it outdoors and close to the ocean, is what makes me the happiest!

Hyba is launching a *CONTEST* today. They’re giving you the chance to win a $50 gift card. All you have to do is post a photo of you in your happy place on Instagram and tag @hyba while using the #HybaHappyPlace hashtag for your chance to win. The contest ends September 30th 2017. Good luck!

Photos by: @Offner

What I’m wearing: Hyba Reflective High-Impact Sports Bra (get it here), Hyba Fast Track Capri Legging (get it here), Tom Tom Spark 3 Watch (get it here).

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

Finding the Right Mattress For Better Sleep

A good night sleep is one of those simple things in life that I value the most. Growing up, I suffered from insomnia and had a pretty negative relationship with sleep. As I’ve grown older, I’ve found ways to combat my insomnia and one of those ways is making sure I had a mattress that made me excited about going to bed at night.

After almost a year of non-stop travels and not having a place permanent place to rest my head at night, we’ve finally found a place to put down our suitcase for a little while. Having sold all of our furniture before our great adventure, I was on the lookout for a new and comfortable mattress that would fit in our new place.

I first heard of Casper last summer, during one of their sleeping pod tours in Toronto. I had the opportunity to take a mid-day nap in downtown Toronto on one of their Casper mattresses and was immediately interested in the brand. So when came time for me to pick a mattress for our new place in Vancouver, I thought of Casper right away.

One of the things that makes Casper so great is their 100 Night Trial policy, that allows customers like myself, to sleep on their mattress for up to 100 nights and if you aren’t completely satisfied, you can return it for free without any questions asked.

The mattress gets shipped to you for free in just a few days from the time of purchase and arrives in a small box with super clear unpacking instructions. The mattress’ pressure-relieving memory foam is breathable yet also springy, allowing for the most support and comfort. Casper recently added a fourth layer to their mattress after doing further research and after having received precious customer feedback. The mattress’s removable cover allows for easier cleaning and added durability.

The Casper mattress comes with a 10-year warranty and is available in 6 different sizes, so that it can fit pretty much anywhere.

In addition to the mattress, Casper also provides customers with a wide range of other sleeping goods such as pillows, duvets and sheets.

I have yet to reach the 100 nights on my brand new mattress but I’m already convinced I made a great choice. I wake up every morning feeling relaxed, refreshed and ready to take on the day’s adventures!

For more information on Casper, go here.

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

Become a Skin Checker with La Roche-Posay

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This year marks La Roche-Posay’s 3rd edition of Become a Skin Checker campaign, which is designed to help individuals be proactive in detecting melanoma. The beauty brand’s mission is to educate Canadians to help them live a better life and to help prevent and fight skin cancer. As someone who is fair-skinned, freckled and has skin cancer running in their family, I feel compelled to talk about this initiative.

Started this June, the campaign wants to raise awareness for melanoma and other types of skin cancer through early detection via self-examination. Although 90 per cent of skin cancers are curable if detected early, 2 out of 3 Canadians have never had a mole checked by a dermatologist. And I myself, am one of them!

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La Roche-Posay’s Become A Skin Checker initiative can help not only protect your own life but also help friends and family learn more about spotting suspicious moles. The brand recommends 3 easy steps that Canadians can follow in order to save their skin and adopt safe sun habits:

1 – Become A Skin Checker by checking your skin and the skin of loved ones on a regular basis with the ABCDE method. (I will be going in depth on how to use this method in an upcoming post, so stay tuned!)

2 – Protect your skin with broad-spectrum sunscreen such as Anthelios, the #1 recommended suncare by dermatologists in Canada and most advanced in UVA/UVB sun protection.

3 – Play safe in the sun by wearing your UV patch. (I will take the patch out on some of my outdoor adventures and report back in my next post!)

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My UV patch is a cute heart-shaped wearable technology that has been proven to improve safe-sun behaviour and minimize sun burns. It is paired with an intuitive app that monitors sun exposure in real-time. Users can scan their patch using the My UV patch mobile app to determine the UV exposure level. With the help of an algorithm using your personal data (phototype, skin type, location and weather), the app will generate essential information on what behaviours to adopt plus what protection to apply and when. La Roche-Posay will be distributing 20,000 of these UV patches across Canada.

Stay tuned for an upcoming post detailing the process of skin checking and more!

This post was written in collaboration with La Roche-Posay but all opinions are my own.

3 Things I’ve Learned about Yoga

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Yoga was never really my thing. I have practiced yoga on and off for almost ten years now. I’ve tried countless studios, methods, teachers, but it never really stuck. I even tried going with friends or my mom at a point in time to be more motivated but it never really clicked until I moved to Vancouver. As cliché as it may sound, moving to Vancouver really made me discover yoga for the first time. Though I’m by no means a yogi, I’ve come to appreciate a 1-2 x a week yoga practice. It’s a great way to switch up my work out routine, increase flexibility, workout a few kinks and also allows for some quiet and down time. There are several things I’ve learned about yoga in the past couple of months but here are the most important.

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1) You don’t have to be flexible. When I look at videos of people doing yoga or even in classes, I used to think that you absolutely needed to be flexible to be able to do yoga properly. The thing that I didn’t realize was that practicing yoga itself would actually make me more flexible. Growing up, I used to dance and used to be quite flexible, but I was never one of those girls that could do the splits both ways and had the longest jumps or jettés (hence why I opted to specialize in hip hop and tap!). But as an adult, my flexibility decreased dramatically (like real badly!) so yoga has always been somewhat of a “painful” hobby for me. What I’ve been realizing, just like with anything, is that the more you practice the better you get at it.

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2) Find the right instructor that works for you. This is probably the most important thing that I’ve learned about yoga. Just like with anything else in life, there will be yoga teachers that will not vibe with you, that you won’t like, that will not inspire you and will not make you want to come back to class time and time again. That just means, you haven’t found the right person. It may take quite a bit of time to find the yoga teacher that offers a class that connects with you. So far, I’ve found two teachers in the city of Vancouver (Betty Meng @ Yyoga and Ally Maz @ The Distrikt), both offer different practices but I immediately feel welcome whenever I’m in their class. They offer a no judgement zone and help people no matter where they are in their yoga journey.

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3) You do you. The thing I had always found with yoga was that it always intimidating. I always felt insecure to go to a yoga studio, worried what people would think, that I wasn’t advanced enough, that I wouldn’t get the moves right and that my practice wasn’t developed enough. But then I realized, no one really cares. As long as you do you, you focus on your own practice, yoga can be quite magical.

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What are your thoughts on yoga?

Photos by: @Offner

What I’m wearing: Hyba sculptor biker shorts (get them here), Hyba printed bra tank (get it here), Always x Always yoga mat (get it here).

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