Cap City Kick Off // Will run for food & drinks!

The most popular length of a half marathon training schedule is 12 weeks…. which means it is time to get started on that Cap City Half Marathon training! We’ve got a couple fun things we are attending and/or planning for the upcoming weekend involving running and then of course, some treats after.  Hope to see you!

Saturday, February 3

  • Hilliard/Galloway Sole Sisters (subgroup of MRTT Columbus) Ice Cream Run // Did you know the first Saturday in February is often referred to as “National Eat Ice Cream For Breakfast Day?!” Well, let’s burn some calories, then celebrate!  Meet at Cookie Dough Creamery in Worthington at 6AM,  head out to the OT for 6ish miles, then meet back around 7AM when they open for ice cream! One of our friends and regular runners, Amanda, is helping lead the way on this, let us know if you have questions & we can direct them to her. This is a free social run, all are welcome. Pictured below, their Run+Ice Cream from last year!

Ice Cream Run

Sunday, February 4

  • M3S Sports 5th Line 5K // 10AM  – not many spots left, sign up soon! Email or IG message us for a $10 discount code if you haven’t already registered!


  • Living Fit Columbus & Rocky Fork Running Club Cap City Kick Off! // Meet up with peeps from both of these run crews to celebrate the twelve week count down to the Cap City races!  Meet at Land Grant Brewing Co (official beer of Cap City!) at 2PM, head out around the Scioto Mile for 6ish miles, then meet back for drinks, photos and social time.  This is a free social run, all are welcome.

No automatic alt text available.




Yoga brings people together // Upcoming donation class & guest blogger

Guest blogger //Addy Passaro

My yoga journey began when I started working for lululemon in November of 2016. I didn’t do yoga at the time, but loved wearing yoga pants! I only liked to do workouts that included lifting weights or running on the treadmill. It wasn’t until a month after I worked there that I did my first hot yoga class. I had no clue what to expect. I was the person who showed up in long sleeves and long leggings. Halfway through the class, all I wanted to do was rip my shirt off and run outside! That’s when I realized that working out wasn’t just running or lifting weights. That was also the day I became addicted to yoga.

Over the next couple months, I was trying to get my yoga fix not just once, but twice a day. I not only felt physically great, but my days started and ended on a more positive note. Looking back, I never thought my yoga journey would come to where it is now. I am currently completing my RYT-200 hour at V Power Yoga of Columbus with Erin Lombardo. As part of yoga teacher training, we get to share the gift of yoga through a donation-based yoga class to support a cause we are passionate about.

This Sunday I will be teaching a yoga class to benefit Marysville teacher and coach, Aaron Peitsmeyer and his fight with cancer. Aaron was diagnosed with Fibrolamellar Hepatocellular Carcinoma. It affects about 20,000 to 25,000 in the United States per year. His fight with cancer has required him to step away from teaching and coaching to go through treatment. His treatment also requires travel to New York for doctors appointments, which all add up. All of the money raised Sunday will go to helping Aaron pay his medical expenses. The class is $20 at the door. Join me to pack the field house for Poses for Peits to support Aaron in his fight with cancer!


YTT Donation Class Details​:

  • Date: Sunday, January 28​
  • Time: 2:30PM-3:30PM, doors open at 2:00PM​
  • Location: Marysville High School Field House – 800 Amrine Mill Road, Marysville, OH 43040​
  • Cost: $20 donation to offset Aaron’s medical bills​

I cannot believe just over a year since the beginning of my yoga journey, I have the opportunity to teach this class!  Supporting Aaron and his fight with cancer combines so many of my passions. One day I hope to bring a yoga studio and community space to my hometown of Bellefontaine. Yoga isn’t just a physical practice, it brings people together. This is why I’ve grown to love yoga so much.

I look forward to sharing my love of yoga to support Aaron, and hope to see you on Sunday!



Author Bio // Addy Passaro is a yoga lover with a Masters in Exercise Science. She work as an Athletic Trainer, as well as a lululemon educator. Aside from yoga and work, she loves dogs, quilting and spending time with her boyfriend, Quincy, family and friends.

Rise & Run // Why I am TRYING to become a morning person

I am soooo not a morning person.  Like on a scale of 1 to 10, I give early morning wake ups a ZERO. When I was younger, I got my mom a shirt that said I don’t do mornings… or maybe it was a coffee mug? Either way, I lived by that motto most of my life. I’d rather stay in bed & have the sun naturally wake me, unless my little ones wake me first, which is common these days. I’m usually up too late the night before trying to “get it all done,” which is the main reason I hit snooze about half the time that 5AM GO RUN alarm goes off. Then the cycle repeats itself the next day.

—> BUT <—

I am trying hard to become more of a morning person.

Like really hard.

I’ve started with a goal of one 5AM wake-up-and-workout session per week. I’ve been doing this since October with the help of a friend (thanks Jen!) and have been *mostly* successful. Soon, I’ll move onto two days per week. Who knows, maybe someday it will become the new me?!

Why on earth would a night owl of 30some years try to convert?

Three reasons why I’m trying to become a morning person

1. Family first. // My family’s schedule has gotten a little crazier as our littles have started activities (soccer, swimming, gymnastics… you know the drill), so some times fitting in a sweat session after work just isn’t possible. My mom-friends who had kids before me all said I’d have to become a morning person someday if I wanted to “fit it all in” and I hate to say it, but they were right! I also work full time as a high school teacher so since I’m gone all day, I get a little mom guilt if I leave several nights a week to go run, yoga, etc.  If I get it done in the morning before they wake, they don’t even know the difference! And then the evening is free to hang with them. 🙂

Screen Shot 2018-01-22 at 9.54.26 PM

Winter family fitness nights include playing “chase” & doing Cosmic Kid’s Yoga!

2. Military mindset. // “Start your day with a task completed.” This principle of success comes from the book, Make Your Bed – little things that can change your life… and maybe the world, by Admiral McRaven, U.S. Navy retired. My principal, or as you’d call him in the business world, “BOSS,” let me borrow this quick read and the first chapter is one of my favorites. A simple morning task like making my bed – or getting in a workout – gives me a feeling of accomplishment and helps get my head in the right place for the day.


3. Runner’s high. That rush of energy. A blast of endorphins. Whatever you want to call it, starting the day off on a healthy note often energizes me & wakes me up better than a venti latte. It also helps me think more mindfully about my nutrition and water intake that day. And the #afterburn that OTF always talks about is a nice little added bonus.

So now that I’ve stated the WHY, what about the HOW?

One of our runners and friends, Jen B, previously guest blogged about “how to fit it all in” by getting in those early AM sessions. Her tips are all spot-on and the ones that are helping me the most are scheduling/planning out my week, going to bed early & setting a fancy alarm. I also asked for some visibility gear for Christmas for those dark winter mornings & usually enlist the help of friends – Jen especially! – to meet up for early workouts as accountability partners. Got a minute? Read her full post, Five Ways to Conquer That Early Morning Workout.  She speaks from experience – she got in FIVE workouts at 5AM last week. My hero. 🙂


Five miles at 5AM in my spiffy light up vest! 

For our Living Fit Columbus Winter Challenge, one of the bonus options this week is to get in three workouts before the sun comes up. So 5AM, I’m hoping to see you three times before Sunday! Okay, its almost 10PM… off to bed!

What are your reasons for rising early?  How do you make yourself do it? We want to know! 

Screen Shot 2017-11-15 at 5.06.09 PM

Tour of Columbus // RISE Fitness Community

Tour of Columbus – RISE Fitness Community, Upper Arlington, Ohio 

[by t gellenbeck]

We have toured a LOT of fitness places around Columbus. Some are “okay” and we are glad we made the visit to check it out. Some are so good we blog about them and include on our Tour of Columbus recaps and visit now and then.

And rarely, we fall in LOVE and will continue going back time and time again.

This has only happened with a handful of places in Cbus since the onset of this blog four years ago. You probably already know that we are obsessed with VPower Yoga, Harbor Yoga and Orange Theory Fitness. Well, add another studio to that short list!

I started attending RISE Fitness Community for their December challenge last month and absolutely fell in love! This is a runner’s dream and the perfect combination of running, speed work, cross training (variety of options including HIIT classes and runner specific strength training in run club classes) and knowledgable coaches that are all runners themselves.


Although there are a wide variety of run classes and HIIT classes, my work and family schedule has only allowed me to try two different types so far, Rise Run Club (RRC) Power and RRC Precision. As a distance runner, I’m (typically) good about getting in the mileage & the long runs with friends… but I’m always looking to add strength training and speed work to my routine. RISE offers the perfect combination!

RRC Precision is an hour long class where you rotate in 10 minute intervals between the treadmill and your yoga mat, doing runner-specific strength training and floor exercise intervals. RRC Power is very similar, but you do the 30 minute treadmill portion first, then hit the yoga mat for the second 20-30 minutes.  Both classes include a warm up and cool down. Get there a tad early and you can likely get in some additional time on the treadmill as you warm up!  I can almost always count on getting in 3.5 – 4 miles or more.

All of the RRC classes have the option to utilize heart-rate based training. Strap that bad boy on and push yourself into the four different zones throughout your workout! Your trainer will guide you through the session and like any good run coach, will also motivate you, believe in you… and PUSH you! I seriously feel like I could go conquer a marathon after I’ve finished a workout here.  Although I don’t plan to any time in the future. 🙂

I’m excited to check out other classes, especially RISE & RENEW – you start on the treadmill, and then end with a yoga session. Seriously?  My two favorite things! This is the best combination since peanut butter and jelly!!

There are also HIIT classes that take place in the front studio and do not include treadmill running. I haven’t taken this class, but we did a few workouts in the front area…


When I told the owners, Michelle Flemming & Jessica Kopp, that I wanted to rave about RISE in a blog post, they were willing to answer a few questions for me. I love including things from the owner’s perspective!  Here are a few tidbits from co-owner, Michelle…

Why did you start RISE?

“We started RISE to help more people find health. We believe that each person is on Earth for a purpose and if they are healthy, they can do it with zeal. The world is a better place when people are doing what they are meant to do. Thomas Jefferson said, “Exercise and recreation are as necessary as reading. I will rather say more necessary, because health is worth more than learning.” The root of everything is having a healthy body, mind and soul. RISE is working towards that every day.

From a business perspective, we wanted to be the first to open a running studio in Columbus so that we could expand our love of running to our programming. Running studios are popping up around the country just like cycling did ten years ago. We love being a part of this action-packed opportunity.”


Me with co-owner, Michelle Flemming

What is your experience as a runner and how does that help make RISE specifically beneficial for runners?

“Both Jess and myself have been runners for a long time. We were athletes growing up in sports that required at least 5 miles per game. After our sport specific days came to an end, we both desired a physical challenge, to feel strong again and of course a little competition (even if it just with ourselves). We ran for exercise and for mental health, but when RISE Run Club came about, we discovered another level of training. We are healthier and stronger athletes than we were ever before, and the best part is that our RISE athletes are actually in better shape than us! Although it is a pride check to get out run by one of our athletes, it is the exact reason that we do what we do: to bring out the best in people.”

Can you give us a quick rundown of the classes and programs you offer to benefit runners?

“We offer RISE Run Club and HIIT IT classes all day, every day of the week and our athletes reach their goals using any combination of the two. In addition to these large group exercise programs, twice annually we offer a half & full marathon training program (July & February). We love helping our athletes set a lofty goal, overcome obstacles, and cross that start line. The finish line is just some extra icing, and it is only after our runners do it that they realize the journey was just as sweet as the glorious finish.”


Both owners and all the instructors we’ve met so far are kind, genuine and super motivational. They want you to work hard towards your goals, whether its getting into running, training for your first 5K or trying to qualify for Boston. That last one’s not on my personal bucket list, but I’m only half crazy!!

If you want to check it out, they offer first class free and have ongoing specials, challenges & more.  Tomorrow is FRIEND FRIDAY so bring a new training buddy to sweat it out with you and you’ll both receive a free class added to your account!

I really can’t say enough good things about this studio, the workout(s) and the people. I will be a long-term athlete here and can’t wait to have them help me cross many finish lines over the coming years… starting with th



Left to right // Jen (new member!), Jessica (co-owner), & me in the obnoxious neon 🙂

Choosing a half marathon training plan

So you’ve decided to run a half marathon.  Maybe it’s your first, maybe it’s your 100th. Perhaps you want to just finish (without crawling up the hills, my husband’s goal for Knoxville) or maybe you want to PR. Regardless of your level and ability, we all have one goal in common… to cross that finish line! And over the next however-many-months, you will want to build mileage, consider cross & strength training, stretching, hydrating, sleep, rest, recovery… and on and on.  Enter TRAINING PLAN!

Choosing the right training plan is important and although many have commonalities, others have specific focuses. I think the most important thing is to find one that fits YOUR LIFE. If you LOVE to run and have time for high mileage plans, find one that will get you into those peak weeks of 30 miles (we’re talking intermediate half training over here, these mileage goals will vary too!) If you’d rather just do three “quality” runs per week to have time for yoga and cross training, do that (then weekly mileage may be closer to 20-25 at peak weeks). Find something that balances your interests, goals and overall life balance.


Here are five favorite half marathon intermediate training plans…

  • Capital City Intermediate Plan
    • This one has four runs per week with a peak long run of 13 miles prior to race day. It also has an active recovery day (great for yoga!) and two rest days.  It is 17 weeks, but could be modified down if you are already running.
  • Columbus Running Company
    • This one is similar, with four runs per week and a long run of 12 miles prior to race day.  I like that this one has you taper a bit earlier… I like to feel well rested on race day! One cross train day and two rest days. This one is over 18 weeks (I think?!), but again, can be modified if you are already running. CRC also has weekly group runs & virtual coaching – contact them today!
  • Hal Higdon
    • Higdon is a popularly utilized training option found on the internet. He has a wide variety of intermediate plans ranging from five runs per week to his HM3 plan, with three key runs per week.  Most of Higdon’s plans are 12 weeks. You can find some that are based on mileage (my preference) and others that are based on total run time.
  • Sage Rountree
    • We met Sage at a run+yoga workshop at Go Yoga a couple years ago. She pairs our love of running and yoga, combining the two in her training plans. I’ve not done her half plan, but did follow it for a 10K and was pleased with my finish time! Her plan combines five days of running with one day of yoga and one day of rest. It is a 12 week plan.
  • Coach Jenny Hadfield 
    • I’ve not done this plan, but have heard great things about Coach Hadfield and have listened to some of her podcasts. Jenny’s intermediate plan is 14 weeks and includes four runs per week.

Moral of the story – every runner is different.  Find a plan that works for YOU and tweak as needed.  I’ve personally run 17 half marathons as of this post… so I’ve created my own training plan over time that combines my love of running+yoga, as well as my need for a day of rest here and there. Some races I’ve run for “fun” and I add in more rest, while others have been a PR chase and I added in more mileage and/or speed work. I try for a minimum of three quality runs per week (speed or hills, tempo and long run), but like to add in a 4th day of running when I can.  My peak weeks are around 25 miles, but I make time for 1-2 hours of yoga (sometimes at home, sometimes at a fav local studio), and try for an additional hour of runner specific strength training (LOVE places like Orange Theory Fitness and RISE Fitness Community, combining running+strength). 


More to come on “using” that training plan in another post! I like to track my workouts in a training log & then tweak training as needed.  Remember to be flexible and “listen to your body” as you plug along through the next 12-17 weeks! 

Disclaimer – these intermediate plans are geared towards runners that have been running for a while and are a bit “seasoned.”  Coach Hadfield states on her site, “The Intermediate Half Marathon Program is best suited for those who have been running at least 3-5 times per week for 45-60 minutes for at least one year and have completed a half marathon in the past year.” If you are running a half for the first time, find a plan that is geared more towards beginners.

So…. what plan do you like? What have you used in the past? We want to know! And good luck this season, we hope to see you out on the trail!

Christmas gifts I’m loving…

As I sit here and watch my kids play with their new toys ~ most popular were the trampoline-turned-ball-pit, plethora of baby doll stuff and the Razor scooters ~ I thought I’d share a few of my favorites that were under our tree this Christmas! Time with family, a week off work and celebrating baby Jesus are the real gifts (of course)… but a few running & fitness related items are always fun to head into the new year! Many thanks to Santa, my hubs and our parents for helping me prepare for another 365 days of merry miles & time on the mat. 🙂

My Top Five Fitness Gifts of 2017

1. lululemon “The Towel” – I seem to be one of the few at Harbor Yoga without one of these! With their 103 degree temps, having an extra layer to absorb the sweat seems like a great idea.


2. Training Journal – I’m big on journaling and recording my miles and workouts.  To me, its super motivational, and can help with goal setting & planning out your week. This could be a blog post on its own!  I’ve used several different types over the years ~ BELIEVE training journal, plain lined journal ~ and this year asked for an Erin Condren planner to try something new.  It has spots for writing goals, motivational quotes (which I’m a sucker for), weekly planning and more!


3. Gift cards and a shopping trip with my mom – I’ll be heading to Dick’s & lululemon to start, searching for a new running coat. I am NOT a cold weather runner, so once it hits 20s or lower, I’m definitely in a jacket. I’ve been eyeing the luluemon Down for a Run and the Northface Thermoball Active Jacket.  I currently have the lululemon Fleecy Keen run jacket that I’ve had for a few years… LOVE it and want a white or more reflective option as well. Let me know if you have any insight!

4. Destination trip details!! –  Eeeek!  One of my absolute favorite things is to travel! Isn’t it fun to explore new places, especially while running?! Stocking stuffers included…

  • Registration to the Knoxville Half Marathon in March – this will be my 10th state and we are excited to spend a few days in the mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina for our spring break this year.
  • Denver Running Tour – we are headed to Denver in July for our anniversary (my first time!) and we are scheduling a City Running Tour! I originally was hoping to do the half marathon while we were there, but since its a short trip, this is a good compromise. I’m hoping to run stairs or do yoga at Red Rocks as well, it’s come highly recommended!

5. Hubby running Cap City – so this one wasn’t wrapped up under the tree, but within the last few days he’s committed to running the Cap City half marathon! This has become one of my top five gifts this week. 🙂 He will train with me over the next few months and will start at least the first half of the race with me in the two hour pace group… then he may pull ahead and finish strong. This will be his second half marathon and compared to the Flying Pig, will be flat & fast.  I look forward to the time we’ll spend during training miles, the race and the after-party!!

Other gifts this year included a NoxGear visibility vest, Honey Stinger fuel, some new water bottles, Nike running gloves, Nike running vest, oodles of running socks (which my husband will likely steal, even though they are pink), a renewed subscription to Runner’s World and a new book, Run Less, Run Faster.  Runners are easy to shop for, in my opinion.  Anything that helps us stay warm, stay focused or just look “put together” while we sweat gets an A+ from me!


Completely unrelated to running – my mom wrapped up a coupon for our first Disney Cruise on spring break of 2019! This will be our first and I’m super excited! More on this in the future.  Can you turn a cruise into a running blog post?! Hee hee.

Hope your Christmas or holiday was a fun one! What great running, yoga or fitness gifts did you get (or give)?

Now time to put all this stuff to good use and start focusing on those 2018 fit goals!

Cap City Half Marathon… Who is coming with us!?

I’m excited to be signed up for the Capital City Half Marathon again this year!  I’ve done the half a few times and last year, squeaked by the bad weather and big storm by PR-ing in the quarter (whoop whoop – gotta love a PR!)


And even more exciting… I was asked to be an official “Voice of Columbus” for this year’s event! I’ve lived in Columbus my entire life (well, other than that random semester I moved to the University of Wisconsin) and my love of all things Cbus runs deep.  The Cap City event is having its 15th anniversary and I’m SO very excited to be a part of it! I’ve always loved M3S events, especially the after parties, so much so that we’ve dedicated a page just to them HERE!


Hope you’ll join us this year! As of now, we plan to stick with the two hour pace group and see that 1:59 on the finish line clock. Sign up before Dec 31st (or put it on your list – last minute gift idea without the hassle of long lines!) and save $10.  Use code 18VOCLIVINGFIT to save an additional $10 off registration.

Okay, heading to bed. Only two shopping days until Christmas and only 126 days until the starting line… gotta rest up! 🙂  Stay tuned for discount codes, training tips, and little doses of inspiration over the next few months!





“Last mile, best mile” // Why I love negative splits

Screen Shot 2017-11-30 at 11.41.37 PM

Why save the best mile for last?

Well, because it will make you feel empowered.  To finish strong.  To see what you have left in the tank those last few minutes. To push yourself, body and mind, even when you are exhausted.

Do what you need to do – tighten your ponytail, turn on your power music, tell yourself, “you got this” – and then pick up the pace for that final push.

For whatever reason, I have always liked the concept of negative splits.  Allowing your body to warm up, then progressively get faster with a strong finish. Maybe it’s early in the morning and you’re not quite awake. Perhaps you’re just not feeling a run today, but you make yourself get out there and decide to “start slow.” Just getting started is half the battle and once your body warms up, you’ll often find that the running magic – whether it be motivation, ambition, adrenaline, competitiveness – will kick in and a strong finish is only a mind-set away.


Tank by Sarah Marie Designs – one of my recent favorites! 

During my last half marathon, I started out on my own (miles 1-2), then decided to catch the two hour group, hung with them for a while (miles 4-10) and then decided to kick it in the last three miles. Love seeing those negative splits at the end!


Eric Fruth, owner of  Columbus Running Co (Dublin) offers us this advice on negative splits… “In order to be at your most efficient on race day, and to run negative splits in your own race, you’ll want to practice. Start with one of your easy recovery runs. Run the second half just a little quicker than the first, teaching your body to accelerate as you get warmed up, loosening up as you go. For a track workout, that means running slightly quicker on each interval of your workout. You’ll find that this approach really pays off, allowing you to finish workouts on a high note and with your best effort. By training like this, you’ll prepare yourself for a strong second half on race day, regardless of the distance you’re chasing.”

Two of my favorite negative split workouts…

  • Descending ladder run – there aren’t any set rules here, do what works for you!  I typically do a 2xmile, 2×800, 2×400 with a 30 second recovery in between each rep, getting faster with each ladder.  Add in a 1/2 mile cool down and you’ve got a great 4 mile run.
  • Progression runs – the options are endless!  Sometimes I’ll start out slow for a warm up mile, then pick up the pace by 20 seconds each mile thereafter. If I’m just doing a quick three, I’ll split it in thirds; first mile easy, second mile “push” and third mile “all out.” This is also a good 5K race day strategy (so they say)!

Finishing faster and stronger than you started is an art.  Practice makes you better.  So work it into your training and perhaps even at your next race… we dare you!

Do you like negative splits?  What is your favorite speed strategy?  Let us know! 

Sources and more info…


Tour of Columbus // StudioTorch

We visited StudioTorch last week for a kick-a*s work out and I was sore for days! As a distance runner, I’m usually good about getting in those miles and an occasional yoga session, but strength training and HIIT workouts? Not so much! This was a great workout that should definitely be incorporated for cross training into any runner’s routine.


Different days of the week mean different workouts, helping keep your workout fresh & provide a complete training routine.  We got lucky – or maybe unlucky – and ended up doing Total Body. That explains why my total body was tight for a couple days! I’m a cardio junkie so I’d personally be drawn towards Fridays, but my body probably needs me to go on a total body or arms/abs day.


We split into four groups and after a warm up, we rotated between four stations, completing a variety of HIIT circuits including treadmill sprints, 200 meter rows, squats, lunges, TRX exercises, core work… and probably a lot of other things that I’ve blocked out of my memory. My joke never gets old (to me), “I can run forever, but my legs start shaking after 20+ squats!” It was a 55 minute, heart-pounding workout that pushed me to my physical limits.

The head trainer was great and thankfully there were a few coaches in my group who I may-or-may-not-have watched several times during that first rotation. Everyone was super helpful, energetic and the class was just what I needed.


Being that this was their “soft opening” before their big GRAND opening, most of the coaches, staff and of course, owners were there. After class, we snapped a couple group photos and got to chat with founders, Tom & Jon. Then we headed out to the lobby for their launch party refreshments including lots of goodies from local vendors. This was the royal treatment!  IMG_5029IMG_5036IMG_5038

All in all, this was a FANTASTIC experience.  A good calorie burn, great people, nice & clean facility (it actually still had that ‘new car’ smell!)… all the essentials for a great place to visit if you’re looking for a new place to check out. I *think* I’ve officially committed to attempting a PR in the spring… meaning I’ll need to up my game and start including more strength training & getting that heart rate up.  StudioTorch would be the perfect workout to mix into my spring training – I will be back!

Fit Spotlight // Ten facts about Holly

Columbus fitness enthusiast, Holly Robbertz

I work with Holly at Olentangy Orange HS and admire her commitment to her yoga practice. After chatting with her a few times and realizing how involved she is in the Columbus yoga community, I jumped at the chance to interview her for Living Fit Columbus!  She has so much passion and wisdom to share, hope you enjoy the read!

Why do you love yoga & what is your motivation for LIVING FIT?

I am physically, emotionally and spiritually very drawn to Ashtanga yoga. From the age of 7 to 20 years, I was a competitive gymnast and dancer (ballet and modern). When I was little, one of my favorite things to do was to play a favorite song (on a record-lol!) and to freely create a dance that interpreted how my emotions and body responded to the music. Dance enabled me to use my body as a way to physically express my emotions.

My freshman year of  college, I was a dance major wanting to become a dance therapist (The following year I switched majors to become an Early Childhood Intervention Specialist). My dance teacher introduced me to Bikram’s yoga in 1979. I started a daily Bikram’s yoga practice and loved it (it wasn’t hot yoga back then). I taught my father Bikram’s and occasionally we would practice together. In his mid 50s, 5’9 and with an endearing Buddha belly, it was very touching that my father would do yoga with me! Even headstands! These are such special memories.

I was fortunate to grow up in a very loving and supportive family. In my early 20’s my brother, a mountain climber was killed in an avalanche in British Columbia. The loss of my brother was heartbreaking. It took many years to work through my grief. My parents faced this loss with remarkable love and bravery. Three years ago, my mother sister and I traveled back to British Columbia to face our pain, to experience the great love we had for my brother and to look up at the grandeur and majesty of Mt. Robson (the mountain that took my brother’s life). We learned that the Native Americans called this mountain the “Spiraling Road to the Afterlife.” It was an extraordinary trip of healing. Throughout our travels, I maintained my daily Ashtanga practice.  My mother at age 85 works in Hospice supporting others who have  endured similar losses. As devastating as a loss like this can be, it also teaches you that love for your family and fellow human is all that matters.  I feel that it is very important that I share this gift of love and support to my family members, friends, community members, colleagues and students.

Yoga not only is a good fit for the way my body likes to move, but also in the supportive, caring community that it attracts. Yoga provides healing and growth for the body, mind and soul. Getting onto your mat enables you to face and work through a range of emotions, establish a consistent breathing practice and to challenge yourself to take new risks. Yoga is a metaphor for life. If you can face a new asana (pose) challenge, work through it and see gradual progress, you can apply this approach to facing any obstacle that may come your way. I like Ashtanga because it challenges me. I love to try strenuous poses and find ways to gradually work through them.

I have learned many lessons on the mat. I have a tendency to rush, as a means to  accomplish all the tasks life requires. My life is beautiful and complicated. I have three children ages 25, 22 and 18. Our oldest daughter has complex medical and developmental needs. She is 25 but her care requires the coordination of ongoing medical appointments with numerous experts and early morning/afternoon home health care, so that I am able to work full-time. On the weekends, I also have a private tutoring practice where I work with students diagnosed with Dyslexia. It is important that I am healthy so that I may care for our daughter’s needs, while also being attentive to my spouse, our other two children, my students and their families.

Yoga enables me to build reserves of strength and resiliency for my family. I am far from perfect. This is an ongoing restorative journey that requires daily vigilance on my mat.  I pray that I am able to practice Ashtanga yoga for the rest of my life. Getting on my mat enables me to push a “reset” button. Yoga provides a sanctuary in which I can face and also let go of the stressors of the day.

What is your favorite FITness memory or accomplishment?

I am fortunate to have many favorite yoga memories. It has been a privilege to meet Ashtanga yogi Kino Mac Gregor as she annually comes to lead classes and workshops at Yoga on High.

Holly and Kino Mac Gregor.10.2017

However, my favorite experience is seeing my 22 year old daughter Abby practice at Ashtanga Yoga of Columbus. To give her a hug before or after our sweaty practice is an extraordinary gift. Our 18 year old son also practices yoga. He is a freshman at Savannah College of Art and Design. (SCAD). When we dropped him at college, my husband and I ended up taking a yoga class with Gabe. During shavasana (ending nap), I realized we would be saying good-bye after class. Tears were streaming onto my map as I acknowledged the good-bye. After class we hugged and cried on the sidewalk outside the yoga studio and Gabe longboarded off into the sunset. Doesn’t get better than that!

FullSizeRender (1)

What does your typical weekly workout routine look like?

I practice Ashtanga yoga for an hour to an hour and a half daily.  I try to run a mile 3X a week (to maintain cardiac health). Even when I am providing a full day of Orton-Gillingham teacher trainings at Central office (and I am unable to practice at the Shala) I bring my mat and practice during lunch.

What are some of your favorite things?!

Favorite way to sweat: Ashtanga yoga. It is very challenging physically. I love the challenge and the subsequent growth of body, mind and soul that comes from it. Every day it is a mountain to climb with amazing rewards.  It is a  joy to step onto my mat!

Favorite FIT place around Columbus: My favorite place to practice is at the Shala for Ashtanga Yoga of Columbus (AYC). The Shala is dedicated solely to Ashtanga yoga. It is run by Taylor Hunt who wrote the book, “A Way From Darkness.” Taylor’s book tells the story of how Ashtanga yoga saved his life from addiction. He has created the Trini Foundation which raises money to create yoga scholarships for individuals recovering from addiction. Taylor is a phenomenal teacher. He is very observant and sensitive to the needs of each of his students. All of the teachers at AYC are wonderful and bring different strengths and knowledge to our practice.  I love the mission and spirit of the Shala, to reach out to others and to provide yoga as a mode of healing. It is a wonderful and diverse community. We are all humans with vulnerabilities and strengths that come together side by side, to practice on our mats.

FullSizeRender (3)

Favorite food: I try to eat a balanced diet, heavily loaded fruits and veggies. My favorite healthy foods are salads with a variety of fruits, veggies, and nuts etc. My son is Vegan and I have considered becoming a vegetarian, but I have not made the leap yet. My “treats” include freshly baked bread with butter & Graeter’s Coconut Chip Ice Cream.

Favorite workout gear/apparel: lululemon “align pant” and “free to be me sports bra”-anything lulu! Also, Kino’s yoga clothing line “OM stars.”

What’s on your personal “fitness” bucket list? To complete the “second series” of Ashtanga yoga, to become proficient at hand stands, to travel to Mysore India to practice with Sharath (grandson of K. Pattabhi Jois).

Do you have any words of wisdom, favorite quote or other inspiration for others to lead a fit/healthy lifestyle? “Heart Rules Mind” by D.A.H

Lastly, we drink a lot of coffee… are you a coffee lover?  Yes!  I love coffee!

Thanks for sharing your “inner light” with us Holly! Namaste!