Sunday, August 24, 2014

Mountain yogis unite - 5 ways to take your yoga practice outdoors

For my outdoor friends and new visitors to this blog, you may enjoy this article. Some people just can't relate to yoga - I know, it's not easy. It can be confusing and difficult to get into, and to keep up with. It's diverse, challenging, and hopefully rewarding. Sometimes, I question myself. "Why are you doing this? Why do you keep doing this?' Yoga!

The answer is simple: It can be good for you.

I am a member of the mindset of people who believe they can shop around and integrate a yoga practice into their lifestyle. One that suits you. Mine is very flexible. I can take it anywhere. And I do.

My ears often perk up when I listen to the reasons why some people don't like yoga. They tried it once or twice. The things they didn't like are the same things I didn't like. But, I changed my perspective. I decided to explore different forms of yoga, and a variety of teachers and studios. I kept going because, even with the things I didn't like, I was seeing good results. And when I kept going, I kept finding more things I liked or that intrigued me. Along with more and more good results.

Some people just don't like indoor yoga studios.

Indoor yoga studios make some outdoor people cringe and feel uncomfortable and confined.

The good news is, many of us get out of the indoor yoga studios and do yoga in the outdoors year round. Yes, even in winter! It's called Snowga.

You can really take it to the next level, literally! when you trek up a mountain trail. It's a great cardio workout to warm up the body and open up the lungs, then do a little, or a lot of yoga in the great outdoors with beautiful views.

Inspiring outdoor views naturally touch the heart chakra. You can feel it, even if you don't know what that is. It feels good. A warm, happy feeling. So sweet! And hey, the heart chakra, the fourth chakra, is associated with the colour green and the element air.

I have found doing yoga, or even just striking or holding a few of my favourite yoga poses in the outdoors incredibly powerful. Always much more powerful and meaningful than what I ever find inside a yoga studio.

The cool thing is, more and more people are doing yoga and finding creative ways to make it interesting, engaging and fun. It's a great way to connect with all things. I love both indoor yoga studios and all those outdoor yoga spaces we find along our path. Outdoor spaces for practice are infinite and roomy!

My next story is up on the Wanderlust Journal inspired by awesome experiences during the Wanderlust Tremblant yoga festival in Quebec, Canada from August 21-24. If you'd like to have a look, here's the link.

5 ways to take your yoga practice outdoors

Happy trails!
The BaffinPaddler

Friday, August 22, 2014

What's in the Wanderlust Tremblant Mandala

Oh cool. I'm a guest blogger at the Wanderlust Tremblant yoga festival that runs from August 21-24 (Quebec, Canada.)

You're probably wondering what the heck this is in the photo above. I didn't have a clue either. So I found out and wrote a story about it with some much appreciated help from the Wanderlust editor. I'm still just a baby in the yoga world.

My first story is up on the Wanderlust Journal if you'd like to have a look. Here's the link:

Let Art Be Your Guide

Better yet, come join us in Tremblant for a fantastic yoga festival with indoor and outdoor classes, treks and runs on mountain trails, SUP yoga on Lake Tremblant, music, food, and yoga gear for sale! The weather is perfect and so are the vibes:) I'm not sure if there are any classes still available though. You'll have to check the Wanderlust Tremblant website schedule.
Everyone loves the Tremblant resort village and surroundings. They keep telling me so.

I'll be up late again tonight working on another festival story. Yogi by day. Writer by night.

I miss my kayaks! I'll catch up with them in the fall.

Happy trails.
The BaffinPaddler

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The calm before the storm - 2014 IRONMAN North American Championship Mont-Tremblant

The 2014 IRONMAN North American Championship Mont-Tremblant (Quebec, Canada) starts early tomorrow morning at 6:36 a.m. from the beach on Lake Tremblant with the 2.4 mile swim.
It's a full Ironman.
  • 2.4 mile swim (3.86 km), athletes have 2 hours, 20 minutes to complete it
  • 112 mile cycle (180.25 km), athletes have 8 hours to complete it
  • 26.2 mile marathon run (42.2 km), athletes have 6 hours, 30 minutes to complete it.
The beauty and peace at the depart for the swim the day before the competition defies the cold front, rain, and fog that rolled in this week.
This week the nights have gone down to 9 degrees Celsius 9 (48 F). The days sometimes warmed up to 15 degrees Celsius (59 F). All this, and just last week some of us were bemoaning temperatures around 32 C (90 F), with a little humidity. 

The cold, rain and fog offers an ominous calm the day before the triathlon. The lake is quiet.
Today I felt very lucky to enjoy a few quiet moments at the Ironman swim departure site after the meeting of volunteer kayakers for swim support.
Tomorrow morning, the swim depart site will be quite the opposite when the beach and water is filled with action, athletes, and tremendous energy. 

Each swim buoy marker is 130 metres (426.5 feet) apart along the 2.4 mile swim. The 2.4 mile swim distance may not look like much on a small map that you see in a local newspaper. But, when you see the Zodiac boats hauling out, and quietly placing each numbered marker, the scale of the swim, and the distance the athletes will cover, suddenly starts to come into stark perspective. Wow! I'm happy I'll be in a kayak.
There are 13 numbered yellow buoys heading out from the swim depart at the Tremblant Beach and Tennis Club - they disappear quickly in the fog - there's a turning point - the swim is a loop - and 13 orange numbered buoys on the return stretch to Parc Plage. The distance between the yellow and orange buoys in the middle of the loop is about 400 metres (.2 miles). Swim support is inside and outside the swim loop and there are some resting platforms along the way at specified buoys.

There are many more details and lots of professional support for the athletes, but let's rest before the event and enjoy the peaceful foggy views.
It is my first experience as a volunteer for an Ironman competition. The dedication, organization, and the volunteer and professional support for the athletes at the event is incredible. Of course, the dedication and training the athletes go through, and the support from their families is another story. Why they do it is their story.

During the event, of course, we volunteer kayakers are on duty and working. No photos. The media and event photogs are onsite for that.
Best wishes to the athletes, their families, and their support teams at the 2014 Subaru IRONMAN North American Championship Mont-Tremblant on August 17.  

Happy and safe trails.
The BaffinPaddler   

Monday, August 11, 2014

Does my Ironman Tremblant T-shirt make me look fat?

Yes it does. Let's blame it on a bulky belt on the jean shorts. What the hell. This is no time for vanity. I couldn't help striking a yoga pose in from of the big red M in the Tremblant Ironman village today.

I call it the Ironman village, because the massive white tents and stages for the event are already set up at the base of the Tremblant resort village. You can already feel the Ironman mania and high energy building in town. Parking further and further away, and taking longer and longer to find a parking lot with space is your first clue! August is a busy month up here!

The full Ironman Triathlon in Tremblant, Quebec, Canada on August 17 is fast approaching. It's what I call the totally insane Ironman. The full Ironman - not the half. How this is humanly possible in one day is beyond comprehension. Yet some 2600 athletes from over 50 countries, including Quebec's elite racers, will give it a go. Preparing for a full Ironman takes several years of hard training and burns a lot of calories.

Full Ironman
  •  2.4 mile swim (3.86 km), athletes have 2 hours, 20 minutes to complete it
  • 112 mile cycle (180.25 km), athletes have 8 hours to complete it
  • 26.2 mile marathon run (42.2 km), athletes have 6 hours, 30 minutes to complete it.
Everything is raced in that order with no breaks. Athletes need a lot of support along the way to accomplish this and help insure their safety.

Tremblant is stunningly beautiful, but it is no picnic for distance cycling and running. We have mountain grades here! The swim in Lake Tremblant is the best deal unless the wind is up. The water is cool and refreshing, not cold in August and the views are awesome year round.

I'm one of the many volunteers that will help support the event and the athletes.

Today I was on one of the volunteer teams to sort and organize the T-shirts for the captains of the volunteer teams for swim, bike, run, and other athlete services. That's a lot of red T-shirts!  Close to 2500 volunteers are required to make the event a success and ensure security at the 2014 Subaru IRONMAN North American Championship Mont-Tremblant on August 17.     

On event day, I'll be on the water (beautiful Lake Tremblant) as a swim support volunteer with my 17-foot long, bright yellow Baffin sea kayak.
We have to be there at 5:00 a.m.! The Baffin is always ready to go. I'm going to need coffee and a rooster crowing to get me out of bed way earlier than that.

The first wave of athletes run to the water at 6:36 a.m. An oddly precise time. I'll peek at the exact time on my white, waterproof Ironman watch when the first feet hit the water. The watch was a Mother's Day gift many years ago, and is the only watch I've ever had that has survived all my outdoor activities and has never gotten lost or destroyed.

We have to be on the water during the event for 4-hours without a break. Now I'm really kicking myself for not bothering to learn how to roll (again this year I ignored all training camps). It would be a great way to cool off, keep myself awake, and stretch out some muscles that are sure to get cramped after sitting around for so long.

This Ironman event will be a first for me and my Baffin sea kayak. It will be an amazing experience.What an awesome thing to share with your kayak. The list can always grow. Your kayak is always there for you.

I'll try to grab a few stunning shots of the Ironman experience and the Ironman village at Trembant as the event descends and takes over the resort and the surrounding area for miles!

Many roads along the path of the event or in the path of the event will be closed or will be blocked off at 6:00 a.m. on event day and won't reopen until well after the event.

I'll have to spend the day in the Ironman village at the Tremblant resort, and will probably be found on a bench somewhere later in the afternoon sound asleep with my camera in hand, unless the sheer adrenalin of the event keeps me going all day.

My red volunteer T-shirt may be very weary and wet by day's end. I may jump into the lake or practice a Cowboy Scramble or two after my shift is over.

So far, the weather report for this Sunday looks perfect. Let's hope it stays that way.

Happy trails!
The BaffinPaddler