By Yasir El Mahdi
Questions by Alex McRobs
Meet Kristen! Our awesome team and community member from Canada. Kristen joined us first last year as part of our Dry January 30 Day Challenge. 2022 was a big year for Kristen. During 2022, she was a student in both the 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training with the MLPC (The Mindful Life Practice), and completed another YTT in Costa Rica. She's also completed the 30 Hour Sober Curious Yoga Teacher Training, and is now a student in the Yoga Sutra Studies. I love taking her classes. She usually has a deep theme that makes the class meaningful. A few months ago I interviewed Kristen as one of our members and this time I’m interviewing her as a yoga teacher and team member. Here’s what she said…
Tell us a little bit about you:
Each day that passes I’m learning more about who I am, which is just a beautiful experience. I am an empath, highly sensitive person, but I see this as a gift as I feel emotions deeply. I love yoga. I have a beautiful kitty, Jake, who is 15 years old. He’s been with me through all of my ups and downs. I’m also an April baby - Aries! I love meeting and learning about new people, and connecting on deeper levels. I love to read, am passionate about skincare, and love herbal teas…and coffee.
How long have you been alcohol free for?
My alcohol free journey started January 1, 2022, and although I have had a blip a long the way, it has been a beautiful and transformative journey. I love living an alcohol free life.
What was the point that made you want to quit drinking?
I was sober curious for about 6 months before I joined the 30 Day Challenge in January 2022. My mental health was suffering significantly, I was so disconnected from myself and life - it sort of felt like I was just going through the motions of each day but not actively participating in my life.
Who and what inspired your sober journey in the early days?
Honestly, definitely Alex. I started following her on Instagram after coming across her page and that is what started my sober curious movement prior to joining. Little did I know how much my life would change for the better in 2022 thanks to her and the Mindful Life Practice (The MLPC)!
When did your yoga practice come into your journey - was it before or after sobriety?
I had a yoga practice before sobriety, however it definitely deepened after removing alcohol from my life. I completed my YTT in 2022 and yoga philosophy is something that I am deeply passionate about and I would not have had the clarity or space to learn and absorb this into my life if I was drinking.
Who and what inspired your yoga journey in the early days?
I started yoga for mental health and have tried multiple different studios/teachers. It deepened as I started going to yoga retreats in Costa Rica with my teacher, Lola Rephann, and then as I joined MLPC, it has been an honour to learn from Alex.
"Little did I know how much my life would change for the better in 2022 thanks to her [Alex] and the MLPC!"
How has yoga enhanced your sober journey?
It allows me to drop into my body and mind within the safe space of the 4 corners of my mat, and truly check in with how I am feeling, what is needing to come to the surface and be released. I also practice daily now, whereas when I was drinking it was very inconsistent.
What differences have you seen in your yoga practice over the years?
Consistency, deepened mind, body and soul connection, how yoga philosophy now informs not only my day to day life, but also my physical asana practice.
What made you want to become a yoga teacher?
At first, I wanted to be a yoga teacher to deepen my own practice and understanding of yoga philosophy and history. It has evolved over time to wanting to share my knowledge and experiences with others in the hope that I can positively impact the lives of others and bring joy and peace to them.
What does yoga mean to you personally?
Yoga means connection - connection to the self, and connection to others. Another way I think of yoga is awakening of the true self.
Has anything changed about your perspective on yoga since becoming a yoga teacher?
Absolutely - I am forever a student of learning about yoga and as I learn and grow, I always incorporate it into my practice and my teachings.
Favourite yoga, spiritual or self-improvement book?
I really loved quite a few - Sober Diaries, Way of the Peaceful Warrior, Siddartha and Inner Engineering - a Yogi’s Guide to Joy.
Go-to health food or drink?
Eat the rainbow! Whole foods (fruits and veggies) are always my go to and I eat them daily.
Holistic remedy you swear by?
Herbal teas and peppermint oil for headaches!
Favourite/most inspiring quote?
“It was when I stopped searching for home within others and lifted the foundations of home within myself, I found there were no roots more intimate than those between a mind and body that have decided to be whole” - Rupi Kaur
If you could take a class as a student with any teacher from anywhere and from any period of time who would it be with and why?
I can’t choose just one - there are so many beautiful and inspiring teachers out there. I would say all my current - Alex and Lola. And then, Rolf Gates - I’ve been interested ever since Alex told me about him!
What are your hopes and dreams for your sober yoga journey in 2023?
2023 I picked the words transformative / heal. My hopes and dreams for 2023 are to continue to deepen my connection to myself, and my yoga practice, through living an alcohol free lifestyle, so I can heal and give extra love to the parts of me that need it. Being fully present with myself and those around me.
What impact do you want to have on the world with your work?
My goal in life is to always bring positivity and joy to those around me, and to be a safe space for anyone who needs it. I strive to share my journey, in the hopes that it may help even one person.
What do you love to do when you’re not doing yoga?
I love to read, I am currently working towards becoming a Certified Holistic Nutritionist which couples so beautifully with yoga and alcohol free lifestyle. I also love spending time with family, friends and my beautiful kitty, Jake. I meditate daily and love all things skincare.
What are some of your self care practices?
Bubble baths, reading, at-home facials, nourishing meals, rest, yoga, walks in nature, nurturing podcasts, massages, therapy.. I could go on :)
Kristen currently leads the 30, 60 and 108 Day Yoga Challenge Practice on Monday nights at 5pm PST/8pm PST. If you sign up for our February 30 Day Yoga Challenge, you get a chance to practice with her! The link to sign up is here.
What advice would you have for someone who is just sober curious and dipping their toes into sober curiosity?
If you’re sober curious, trust that instinct and explore! It is a beautiful journey, and you have absolutely nothing to lose, and everything to gain. Dive in, join a beautiful supportive community, make deep connections and friendships.
Anything else you want to share?
I just want to thank MLPC for a beautiful 2022, and I am ready for another beautiful transformative and healing 2023!