My 45 days at Kula

This is me at yogalites at EnergyXchange. But you get the idea.

If anyone from Moksha Downtown was wondering where I’ve disappeared to for the past two months, don’t worry. I haven’t been kidnapped nor have a fled the country. Answer #1: I was home in July for a refresh and real outdoors Digby adventuring, and for birthday celebrating (not mine or Erin’s but our mother’s)! And Answer #2: I’ve been practicing at Kula. I know! I didn’t think it would ever happen either: the day I bought classes at another studio. Shame on me.

After the few experiences I’ve had a Kula (some great, others not so much), I had very mixed feelings about the space. Right away, I knew it would not be a place I would practice at regularly. But once I let my guard down and began to warm up to Kula a bit, I forgave them for my awful Reiki experience and actually brought an intro special. Lucky for me it was on the perfect day — the day of the Bloor Street Festival — because my 30 day intro turned into 45 days! Lucky me indeed. Kula was celebrating their birthday on June 10th and to celebrate Erin and I went to class for free. One discovery I’ve made – Kula loves birthdays (as do I!) whether it’s theirs or yours, there’s free yoga for everyone!

As you know Erin and JK are Kula advocates and practice there all the time. Given how close I live to the studio — which was too prefect for those early morning 6:30am-ers — I should too. But I’m too attached to my Moksha and can’t break away from it. It’s the yoga I love. But I do love trying new places and a break from the heat and sweat is always a good thing. So the next 45 days would begin a new challenge: to stay away from MYD and only practice at Kula. I had an extra 15 days, I was planning to make the most of it.

To this day I still think of my first class with Christi-an. I fell in love. Her class was pure magic.

I made the effort to try all the classes on the schedule and try a class with every teacher. I did rather well with this, but found my schedule more accommodating to the times Jen Slade taught. Which wasn’t a bad thing. Jen is a singer and. man can she ever belt out a tune. She also has an incredible joyful personality and makes you excited for yoga. Just know with Jen, class will always a surprise. Her music classes and the Power hours were my favourites. Tuesday 10pm nighttime yoga with Lindseed was also very lovely, if you can manage to stay up this late. I also really enjoyed my mornings with Marinella. Nothing like a hot hour and a hard class to wake you up in the morning. And the days where I would do both were both fantastic and tiring.

I have to say when my 45 days were over I was very sad. I think back to all the classes I didn’t get a chance to do and this makes me even sadder. But I guess you can’t win them all. I would have done a 45 day challenge, if June 10th wasn’t the final day of my secret 30 day challenge. 75 days would have just been too much. Or would it?

So with that, I take back my sour feelings towards Kula and would recommend it to everyone. Whether you’re a new or experienced yogi, Kula offers a great variety of classes – hot, power, yin and restorative – you name it. You will find something that works to your individual practice. And with the overwhelming sense of community it really is a space for everyone to enjoy. Oh, and everyone should take a class with Christi-an and some point in your life. Trust me on this.

Thank you, Kula, for a fun and challenging 45 days. JK, I hope I made you proud.

30 Day Challenge: The first five days

I’ll admit, when I decided to do this 30 day yoga challenge, I didn’t know what to expect. I knew it would be a challenge, both fitness-wise and time-wise, but had no idea how it would change my relationship with yoga or with my body.

Five days in, and I still don’t know. What I do know, however, is that this is had been a lot harder than I thought.

First: the time commitment. When I decided to do this, I had nothing really on my plate. Work was entering the slow summer period as radio shows winded up their seasons. My fall racing season was over. I had no other real obligations.

Then I got a bit writing project. (Details coming!) And I signed up for the Digital Media Skills certificate at OCAD. All of a sudden, fitting in yoga seems like an impossibility.

Take Tuesday, for example. I woke up at 6:30 to write until 8. Got ready for work. Went to work until 6. Headed to class from 6:30-9:30. Went to yoga from 10-11. Slept over at my sister’s place so I could join JK for a 6:30 class on Wednesday morning.

I am exhausted. Jill tells me it will get better. I don’t believe her.


The fit girl on the right is a liar.


Let’s recap the classes so far. The 30 day challenge kicked off on Saturday and I went to Power Yoga at Kula, taught by Serah. I enjoyed the class, as it was challenging by fun. I woke up the next day and my entire rib cage ached. From the twists, I guess? On Sunday, I hit up Kula’s live music flow with JK, as Mr. JK is the live musical guest. Solid class, not much to say. Typical Jen Slade fare. On Monday, I tried a new class and took my Passport to Prana to the Yoga for Hot hour. This is where things fell apart. Apparently my arms are not fans of this constant yoga-ing. It’s interesting to see how unbalanced my fitness is — anything requiring lower body strength, I can hold for 20 breaths without breaking a sweat. But ask me to do plank after 5 days of yoga? I’m a dead person. The class was fine — lots of flows and twists — but the room was hot, hot, hot. When the hour was over, my fingers were pruned (ewwwww) and I had left a giant pool of sweat all around my mat. (I mopped it up, I swear!)

Tuesday was bedtime yoga with Linseed, my favourite. Due to the aforementioned schedule, I missed her hot hour and took the flow class. Same vibe, without the heat. I was so grateful for that. I was not grateful for planks. (I better have biceps after these 30 days. Or else.) But it prepped me for bedtime. Yay sleep!

Then, we came to Tuesday morning. Hot hour at Kula. No big deal, right?


Hardest hot hour ever.

I have never wanted to cry in yoga before. That changed this morning. This class was like Ashtanga with the heat cranked up. Way up. Chair, plank, chair, plank, chair, plank. Chair. Chair. chairchairchairchair. Push-ups! I think I would have enjoyed the challenge on any other day. Marinella was a great teacher, a good mix of chill yet playful. But after what felt like the 87th time in chair this morning, I wanted to punch something. I felt like I was being punished, and I didn’t know why.

But I survived. Now I need a restorative class. Or two. Because I have no idea how I’m going to make it through all 30 days right now.

The birthday yoga challenge

What: Hot Hour
When: Saturday @ 12pm
Where: Kula (304 Brunswick Ave)
Who: Aaron Slade


What: Moksha
When: Saturday @ 3pm
Where: Moksha Danforth (372A Danforth Ave)
Who: Amanda Montgomery


What: Music Flow
When: Saturday @ 6pm
Where: Moksha Yoga Downtown (577 Wellington St. W)
Who: Peter Ward


Yes, it is true I was crazy enough to do three yoga classes on my birthday. Who does this?!? Well, I did and my original plan was to do four classes. Now you can call me really crazy.

The dream of taking on this city wide yoga challenge began three birthdays ago when my boss Kelly at Fashion Takes Action treated me to a yoga and lunch date for my birthday – we actually celebrated a day early because she was tried up with meetings on my real birthday. We took class at Moksha Danforth (Kelly’s regular yoga spot) and this is where I discovered you get a free class on your birthday. The girl at the front desk suggested I come back the next day because class would be free! I didn’t go the next day and have regretted it ever since. And from this very day on I’ve been determined to find out: what other studios in the city are kind enough to give free classes on birthdays?

Last year my birthday was on a Friday and I couldn’t do yoga all day on a work day. Well, I could have…

So, this was the year, my birthday fell on a Saturday and I was determined to squeeze four classes in one day: one at 889, Moksha Uptown, Moksha Danforth and I am Yoga. This was the tentitive plan. I wasn’t sure if Moksha Uptown or I am Yoga would comp my class but I really wanted to do Jock Yoga and Ballet Sculpt. I brought my Passport to Prana just in case, although I would have had a strong case for letting me take class (or, I think so anyway). This was until Erin’s friend Jen told me Kula gives free classes and she would join happily me for bithday yoga. I was totally in, considering Erin bailed on me for her monthly Pubruns. I needed someone to take a class with me!

Then sadly, my four classes became three when I discovered a George Brown friend was in town and wanted to treat me to birthday coffee. At first, this was perfect I would take the 8am at Moksha Danforth then meet her for coffee at 10am, then take the 12pm Hot Hour at Kula with Jen. But brithday coffees turned into birthday brunch when another friend joined us and I couldn’t skip out on meeting my George Brown buddies! My morning class would suffer, not my belly.

First class of the day was awesome, a much better Kula experience than my last. Thank you Jen!! I then hopped on the subway to catch the 2pm at Moksha Danforth because I knew a free class would be waiting for me there. But with all these different studios and times (and somewhat last minute planning, oops) I mixed up my schedule and class was at 3pm not 2pm. Oh man, I thought a yin class would have been a good choice at some point in the day, but that didn’t happen. Another bump in my challenge.

But not to fear Moksha Downtown would treat me to a free class, obviously, so I booked it to the 6pm music class. Which may have been birthday fate because who do I see that morning at brunch was none other than Peter Ward himself. I left Moksha Danforth feeling very sweaty and great I also saw another Moksha teacher Leah Von Zuben as I was leaving the studio. All this yogi love, I could have burst!

I couldn’t have asked for a better way to end this amazing day of birthday yoga when Peter Ward sang “Happy Birthday” to me in class! Hey, it was a music class atfer all and I did request a special birthday shout-out or birthday pose. I was not expecting a birthday chant with our “Oms”. After this class Erin treated me to birthday dinner and tickets to a Spice Girls tribute concert (totally made up for missing yoga with me). Then I had to pack for Costa Rica! Best birthday ever.

For anyone looking to do some yoga (or lots of yoga) on your next birthday Kula and Moksha Danforth will happily comp your class. I promise to discover more places next March 3rd. It will be a Sunday and I have a year to plan my schedule.

And for your pleasure, Wannaba, the Spice Girls tribute band. I know you’re jealous.


Where’s the Reiki?


What: Reiki Restorative, 90 minutes
When: Friday at 8:30pm
Where: Kula Toronto (304 Brunswick Avenue)
Who: Chrys


Last year I was introduced to the wonders of Reiki Restorative yoga at Kula. Living practically beside the studio you’d think I would be there all the time. But, for some reason I wasn’t sold on the place. Could it be my completely unbiased love for Moksha? Perhaps. That was until Jackie Szabo hypnotized me with the Reiki, and I didn’t even know what this meant. I love yin yoga, but I lovveee restorative too. It’s basically sleeping while you’re in a pose. And there are blankets, and cushions involved.

Let’s face it. I just love yoga. Period. But, I was a skeptic about this Reiki business. Figured it was just another sell-on-yoga-inspired nonsense. Seriously though, how does someone “play” with your energy? I don’t know. But, Jill (the Reiki teacher) can and does.


Source: via June on Pinterest



I took my good friend (and yin partner in crime Parul) because she too trusts everything Jackie says. I felt the teacher outlining my body without even touching me. It was a crazy feeling, but if you want an even crazier story, you’ll have to ask Parul for hers.

So another year later I march myself back over to Kula on a Friday evening just for Reiki. Knowing Erin and I were going to Joga the next morning, I figured a restorative class (with Reiki!) would be perfect.

To my surprise, and sheer disappointment, my second Kula experience did not live up to its expectations at all. Arriving to what looked like a group of distracted staff, I signed in for class and was left wondering where on earth I should go and what I should be doing. I followed the sound of ladies voices and luckily found the right change room. Okay, I know the studio isn’t all that big and next impossible to get lost in, but I like having people give me directions even if I already know know where I’m going, or just ask me if I’ve been here before. This makes me feel welcomed and not scared to be there taking the class.

So off I go into class not knowing anything or what props I needed. Again, I just followed crowd. Once in class Chrys announces there is no Reiki instructor for the evening. WHAT?! This was the reason why I came! If only I had of known this earlier I would have saved my class on my Passport to Prana for another Friday evening when Jill would have been there. Please, Kula, next time have this info on the website. Or at least let me know before I sign in.

The class was still nice to take, but I left feeling very sad on the inside.


Take (the actual Reiki) class if: You want a gental release from your practice and are open to the idea of energy. 


Monday Miles: Marathon Training Week #3


Oh week three, how rough you were. I felt like crap in a way only ladies know how to feel, the giant event my entire job revolves around inched ever so closer, and my left foot developed a dull ache in the arch. For much of the week, I battled with running. Running won that battle most days. But it lost on Friday. I took an extra rest day.

I’m so glad I did.

I’m becoming a believer in that my training plan is a guide. Nothing more. It doesn’t take in account work stress, physical pain or the weather. It can’t. Life happens and sometimes running, even though it’s on the schedule I spent hours researching and putting together, isn’t the best thing for me to be doing.

There is a difference between not running because you don’t want to and not running because your body is telling you it’s a bad idea. It’s subtle, but distinct. I’m starting to tell them apart.

With that in mind, here’s how week #3 went down:


Monday: Hot Hour @ Kula

This is where the week got shaky. Yup, right away. The yoga class I did on Sunday was more intense than I expected it to be. I should have switched gears and did a yin class on Monday. I didn’t. I enjoyed Jen Slade’s class, but it set a “you are going to work HARD!” tone for the rest of the week, and my body didn’t catch up.


Tuesday: 7.2km in 56 minutes

It was raining Tuesday night, so I bailed on the running-to-yoga plan I love. Doing yoga soaked is not my idea of fun. I ran in the rain instead. So much better. (Not.)



Wednesday: 5.8km in 40 minutes

This run was interesting, because I was exhausted. But I put on my running shoes and my body just did the work. Muscle memory is the best.

Thursday: rest

Despite the holy training plan, I’m finding Thursday rest days are better for me. I’m doing to keep it up. Except….


Friday: rest

I made Friday a rest day too! Oh no! This day was a low point for my body. Simply making it through work was a struggle. Instead, I bailed on all obligations, including running and a birthday party (sorry, Bronwyn!), and went to bed at 9:30. It worked because…


Saturday: 90 minutes Flow Yoga; 7.0km in 55 minutes

Saturday felt great! The yoga class was low on the intensity scale, the weather was lovely and I had the energy and enthusiasm to attack both workouts with zest and vigour. That’s right, zest and vigour. Be impressed. Extra rest days can be a good thing.


Sunday: 15.8km in 2:01

Sunday was another lovely winter day, so I decided to amp up the effort on the long run and tackle the Don Valley Trail, YakTrax style. The run was a solid, if slow, effort, and I’m feeling confident about conquering 30k at the end of March.



The week started low, but ended high. I’m looking forward to pushing past the 40k weekly mileage this week. I also hope to try out another new yoga class, a new soup recipe and finally tackle that hill work-out I’ve been avoiding.



Extensions and inversions on a Saturday morning

What: 90 minute Flow
When: Saturday at 10am
Where: Kula Toronto (304 Brunswick Avenue)
Who: Aaron Slade
Kula is a studio I like a lot and go to quite a bit. (I’d like to go more often, but unless I give up sleep, I don’t know how that’s going to happen.) This morning, I tackled an Aaron Slade flow class, because my pal JK has mentioned (on more than one occasion), it was a class that needed to be in my regular yoga rotation.

Now, I understand why.


We tried this pose today. I am confident my end result looked nothing like this.


This morning, yoga was all about the fundamentals: posture, aligning, muscle engagement, and understanding how this all comes together in each pose. It was a great re-affirmation of what yoga should be about and how your body should move in class.

It wasn’t easy. Thinking about the front of your shins, the backs of your thighs, your wrists, your heel, and balance and twist without falling over is a challenge. But it’s a different kind of challenge than most yoga classes. It really forces you to be in the here and now and think about why you are engaging this way with your body.

Aaron’s class was a learning experience, but it was also playful. We jumped up and down, tried hand-balance poses so far beyond anyone in the class that we were laughing at their mere mention. While the class as a whole wasn’t physically challenging, there were opportunities to push myself — sometimes to success (I held crow my longest ever!), others to disaster (I roll what where? Huh? Wait, falling down isn’t supposed to happen…)

After class, I wasn’t tired. Hell, I wasn’t even sweaty. But that’s okay. I left with a better understanding of my practice, and a greater appreciation for how different teachers offer me different things.

And isn’t that the whole point?

Take this class if: you want to get back to the basics. It will take your practice to the next level, I swear!



6.2km to Kula

I did minimal yoga last year as my racing geared up. I decided that this would not happen in 2012. I made dedicated space in my training program for yoga and spent much off my down time from training exploring different yoga studios in the city to find the right combinations of teacher, times and locations that worked for me as my kilometres creeped up.

Which lead to a genius idea. It’s so genius I bet no one has ever thought of it or attempted it before: running to yoga classes. It’s efficient and if I chose my classes correctly, yoga would provide the perfect counter to my run.


Look at my messy kitchen behind me. Look at how I ignore cleaniness in order to be fit. I am that kind of person.


So yesterday, I decided to run the 6.2km to Kula Toronto and take Linseed’s hot hour class — possibly my favourite yoga class this city has to offer.

It worked out great! Yay! Linseed’s class is all about winding down and relieving stress, which is exactly what I need after a long work day and what felt like an endless climb uphill. The first half of the run was tough, thanks to Monday’s morning yoga class and an evening filled with drinking more Crack Baby Cocktails than anyone should ever attempt. (We were celebrating Kate Middleton’s birthday. We are going to make this an annual tradition here at Two Fit Girls. Don’t judge.) Once my legs warmed up, the running got easier. I coasted into a breezy yoga class that had too many lunges for my liking (what was with the moving lunge segment, Linseed?!), but I will deal. I’m a big girl.

I plan to do it all again next week. If only to have my neck massaged with miracle lavender chamomile cream again.  That was the best part of yoga class.

The Route: