Free Yoga Teacher Training?????

Have you been thinking about yoga teacher training and the costs have got you down? Yoga Garden San Francisco is offering one lucky person a scholarship for a FREE 200-hour teacher training. FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE. I sort of want to apply.

To qualify for the scholarship, you must be available for their 12-week program starting in April OR their month long immersion in May, 2016. To apply, click here. All entries must be submitted by March 14.

Good luck!

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Going Even More Broke on Purpose and Hopefully Finding Happiness Along the Way

Sorry, but this is not my normal blog post. I don’t have any resources to share at the moment. I am however, choosing to share a very real and up until recently, private struggle in my life, where letting the realities and fear of being even more broke prevent me from being happy and thriving. But when there is a will to change (and a super strong support system combined with a hell of a lot of hustle), there is a way.

It’s been almost two years since I’ve been unhappy with my day job. Yeah, a f*cking long time. I’ve been looking for well over a year now trying to hold out for the right job and I just wasn’t finding it. Choosing to work in the nonprofit world is, at the end of the day, just another job and as with any job, I believe you should be compensated well for your talents. But since that is less likely to be the case in this world, passion is usually the other motivating factor. I definitely am not passionate about my job and I was feeling trapped, stagnant, and losing focus and momentum. My systems of support at work (former colleagues and now friends) slowly moved on and it was just me that was left last May. I stopped caring. I became depressed, breaking down into tears at work, on many BART rides home, and many times crying myself to sleep at night. I was a miserable and an unpleasant person to be around and I hated that person I had become, which made me more depressed. Last month, I decided I couldn’t take it anymore. This week, I’ll be giving my two weeks notice and quitting. This decision did not come lightly nor did it happen overnight as some financial preparation was required. I had to discuss this with my husband since it greatly affects us both and even though we are nervous about it, he supported my decision to be happy.

A part of what will be cushioning me for a couple of months is teaching yoga. I love teaching and when I had so many of those bad days and didn’t feel like teaching, I ALWAYS walked away feeling better. But I knew the few classes I had a week wouldn’t make a huge difference. I never ever thought I would create a website about my teaching – it somehow didn’t feel right as a part-time teacher, felt vain for advertising myself, and also felt incredibly vulnerable to put yourself out there and open yourself up to judgement. But I love the practice, am good at teaching, and wanted to use this time to share more of the practice through more classes and hopefully some private sessions. I started to work on the content and on the day I created my email for my site, I went to teach and for the first time, a student came up to me inquiring about private sessions. Really?? This has never happened before and it happened the night I set up my email, which I was able to give out. That was a sign to me that this was the right decision. I went home and quickly finished my website and openly shared it with some friends and family for feedback (not even something I do with this blog) before openly sharing it on social media.

I am fully aware of my blog audience, BUT if you happen to be in a better financial position or know people or companies that would be interested in private yoga in the Bay Area, please check out www.serenangoyoga.com and help a broke girl out.

As for my day job, as soon as I made the decision and put the word out to close colleagues and friends, things started to look up on the opportunity front. Nothing concrete yet but it’s felt a lot more promising and optimistic than it has in a long time. It was also a nice reminder that I have an amazing and incredible network of people and I’m so lucky and grateful to have them in my life.

Why am I sharing this?? When you are broke, you are so much more dependent on your sources of income and you can’t just make changes to your life without any consequences. I couldn’t just quit without some preparation – life realities such as rent and the need to eat don’t just go away. Compromises need to be made. But at the end of the day, how much is your happiness worth? Ever since I made this decision, there have been signs and indicators that what I’m doing is the right decision for me. My overall mood is starting to improve and the fire inside of me is starting to light up again.

rumiI came across this quote on my instagram feed a couple of days ago and it was just one more thing that was telling me that if I follow what I love (in addition to a lot of freaking hard work and dedication, cuz let’s be real, shit rarely falls into your lap), it will hopefully be the right path. And hopefully me sharing is somehow helpful for you. Maybe you are not in a job you hate but you are feeling stuck and uninspired. Are you holding on to something that no longer serves you? Are you letting fear, even if it is a very rational fear, get in the way of you becoming your best self? Okay, I’m starting to get cheesy here but you get the point. You can make change happen. There is almost always a way. So why not now? Sometimes it’s super, super, SUPER scary. But it’s way scarier to never know what could have been.

Cross your fingers for me.

Getting Discounts on Race Fees

Sure, any of us could go out for a run at whatever distance without spending a dime. But it’s so much more fun when roads are closed off to cars, a ton of people cheering you on, music and aid stations along your route, and of course, the glorious bling as you cross the finish line. Yes, all of this costs money (here’s an idea of the costs associated with a race) but some of these race fees are becoming outrageous – the New York City Marathon costs $266 with processing fees! Unless you live outside of the United States, you can expect to pay nearly another $100.

I definitely plan to add to my bling collection this year but I definitely can’t afford to do a ton of these, especially when travel is involved. Here are some of my tips to cutting costs on race fees:

  1. Google the race name with words like coupon, promo, or discount. I do this every time, even if the race fee is reasonable, because who wouldn’t want to save a few bucks? RetailMeNot or similar sites typically will pop up with various codes – try them all out. For one race, I went through about 10 codes and wanted to give up, but then the second to last discount code saved me $20!
  2. Go to the expos of other races. They usually have vendor booths for upcoming races and offer discounts if you sign up at the expo.
  3. Sign up for the race the day after it’s over. Sure, it’s a year away but signing up early guarantees the cheapest prices.
  4. If you run enough races a year, consider getting a membership with Active Advantage. It’s $70 for the yearly membership but they usually waive processing fees and the fifth race is free, up to $70, so paying for itself.
  5. Smaller races are sometimes cheaper. AND depending on your speed, it can be easier to place at smaller races!
  6. If you are looking for a race in SoCal, here’s a website, RaceSched, with a compilation of race discounts and coupons.
  7. If you are a member of a larger running group, check with them to see if they already have or can get a discount to an upcoming local race.

Hope this is helpful. If anyone has any other websites or tips, please feel free to share in the comments. Happy running!

Cold Weather Got You Dreaming of Yoga Retreats?

You’re not the only one. Sun salutes on some secluded mountain top with a pristine lake in front of you or maybe a sunny white sand beach where you can spend your days in a bikini. Sounds divine. Well, if you are like me, we might have to keep dreaming. Unless you won that crazy powerball jackpot. In which case, you should share the love and take me with you.

I was giving a friend, who is new to yoga, some resources on navigating the yoga world with a limited budget. When I listed my blog, I felt slightly embarrassed giving him something that I neglected. I didn’t forget about it – I have been compiling the topics in my head. I was just lazy.

Anyhow, if some dreamy yoga retreat isn’t in the cards for you this year, you can take classes from the Wanderlust events…online. They have about 30 FULL-LENGTH classes filmed live at the Wanderlust festivals from top instructors. I watched one of the videos but to be honest, it was awhile back and I don’t recall the experience. But just add this to your list of resources in case you want to switch things up with all those other online resources. Here’s the link to their YouTube channel to get you directly to the classes but they have a ton of other videos such as lectures, interviews, and some shorter classes.

Yes, another online resource. You do miss out on the community of people around you (unless it’s such a packed class and the person’s mat is touching yours – no thank you). But technology has made this practice a lot more accessible for someone like myself who can’t afford to pay for yoga classes every day. Also, using public transportation in SF adds a lot of time to everything you do. A 1.5 hour class usually means 2.5 hours out of my day so a home practice means I’m more likely to get a class into my day. And whenever you can get your yoga in, it’s a good thing.

Black Friday/Cyber Monday Deals for Runners and Yogis

Gratitude turns what we have into enough.

I’ve always liked this quote and actually wrote it down twice in my journal today. But let’s be honest, I love new fitness related gear and accessories. I actually just took advantage of an REI member discount last week and got a much needed (well, much wanted) GPS running watch.

So once again this year, here’s a list of running and yoga related deals that I compiled from my search on the internet for Black Friday/Cyber Monday/general holiday deals so you don’t have to! Just don’t take advantage of these deals at the expense of trampling over people or being in front of the computer all day.

Happy Thanksgiving all!

Runner’s World has compiled a pretty awesome list of deals from a ton of retailers including Beats by Dr. Dre, Garmin, Apple Watch, Athleta, New Balance, Saucony, Oiselle, and CamelBak.

ALO yoga – 30% off full-priced items; promo code AYB30

Athleta – 20% off sitewide from Black Friday until December 1

Beyond Yoga – 30% off regular priced items, extra 15% off sale; promo code: EXCLUSIVE

Gaiam – 20% off sitewide on Black Friday plus free shipping with a minimum $25 purchase

Gap – 50% off sitewide and in-store, including Gapfit; promo code BLKFRIDAY

Lucy Activewear – 30% off this entire weekend

Mala Collective – 20% off sitewide through Monday November 30

Manduka – 25% off sitewide from November 24-30

Picky Bars – 30% off sitewide through Monday November 30

Sweaty Betty – 30% off; promo code: BLACK30 (IMO, this company’s stuff is RIDICULOUSLY expensive to begin with)

Zensah – 50% off selected items; promo code ZensahBF50

Zobha – 20% off Black Friday and Saturday; promo code: THANKS

2XU Compression – 30-40% off depending on how much you spend; deals go through November 29

CorePower Yoga – $80 for a $100 gift card in studio

Yoga Tree (for those in the Bay Area) – 5-class pack for $64 from November 26 – 29

UPDATE: Amazon has Cyber Monday deals with 30% off certain items including shoes. I just got another pair of running shoes with the discount! Promo code: cybermon

Feel free to share other deals in the comments section.

Ridiculous Deal on Coffee

I don’t know about all of you but coffee is responsible for my AM runs and yoga sessions. Even if I’m not doing any of these things, without it, I can’t really function and am pretty much a miserable person. And if you’re like me and coffee fuels your life, this deal will perk you up.

Whole Foods is selling a cup of coffee for 25 cents. That’s right, a quarter. Might as well be free. Actually, I take that back. Quarters are super valuable to me (coin-op laundry anyone??).

The deal lasts through the end of September and there is no limit to how many cups you can get. So go get your coffee on but beware of getting sucked into the rest of the store…

National Yoga Month

It’s September, which means it’s National Yoga Month!

If you are a reader of this blog, chances are, you know the amazing benefits of yoga. If you are newer to yoga, National Yoga Month was designed to raise awareness and educate people about the health benefits of yoga – you can read more about those benefits here at the Yoga Health Foundation website.

You can also get yourself a Yoga Month card, which is good for ONE FREE WEEK OF YOGA at participating studios nationwide. This is good only if you are new student at the studio. So if you are newer to yoga or if you have been practicing for 10 years, sign up for a Yoga Month card and check out some new studios/teachers in your neighborhood.

To Join or Not to Join a Running Group? Or Strava-Stalk??

Hi friends, can you believe it’s already August? August?!

This was the year where I decided to start racing again. Not just running races, which I had done from time to time with friends during my running break. I wanted that competitive spark back and wanted to train and challenge myself to see how I could improve. Or at least I thought I wanted to train. My first race this year was in February. I had fully intended on training, more so to get back in the groove of running and not for time. By race day, I had gone on about 4 short runs. Luckily, I was running with a friend and we had each other for company and for motivation. Muscle memory kicked in and I finished the race without getting too beat up.

My next race, Windsor Half Marathon, fell in May. I definitely got more than 4 runs in, but the training was nothing close to what I used to do. My times for my shorter runs were getting faster but I didn’t really do any long distances. I went on two 10-milers right before the race, and it was only because my friend (same one from the February race) was on her training plan and I had someone to run with. SHOCKINGLY, I got a PR here! 1:42:51 (1:42:21 per my Strava app, but who’s counting the seconds)! Despite the rolling hills, I think adrenaline was just coursing through me and the beautiful scenery and cool weather helped.

Still on a high after the race in May, I signed up for one of my favorite races, the SF Marathon (second, more sleep-friendly half) in July. My training didn’t look too different from the one for May, except I got no long runs in, but my times were still getting faster. However on race day, the adrenaline I usually benefit from at the start of the race did not kick in. At all. I felt like it was another day, getting up early and dragging my feet to go for a run. By mile 2, my mind kept trying to tell me that it was okay to slow down and that I should. I ignored it and when I had my Gu at mile 5, I felt a little better for a couple of miles. Then the mental bonk started to creep back in. Then my calf started cramping the last two miles. I finished with a course PR but felt like crap. Literally. Let’s just say I had to take Imodium, which I’ve never needed to do before. That’s how shitty I felt.

My brother has been wanting to do a race with me and we signed up for the Berkeley Half Marathon in November. Plenty of time to train. But what I’ve realized is that I don’t have the motivation to train. I have an idea of what the cause might be but with this being a public space, I’m not ready to air my thoughts on that. Plus, it’s irrelevant to the blog. Anyhow, I started looking into running groups near me since at this moment, I need other people to be accountable to in order to show up for a run. One of the larger running clubs looked interesting, their run schedule fit with my availability, but their membership dues are $150 for a year. A bit steep for me. Another club is cheaper, with membership at $50 per year but their scheduled runs don’t work with my schedule. I’ve looked at some meetups but they tend to be for specific groups of runners or locations and none appealed to me. I mentioned this to two people and they both suggested I “Strava-stalk” runners on the app (term used by my brother-in-law). This method had worked successfully for both of them, finding more than just running friends in the process. They suggested I look at the segments I like to run, find people who are around my pace and maybe live nearby or run similar routes, and like their runs and suggest a run together. That sounds so WEIRD to me! But is it weird??? Has anyone else done this or had it happen to them. Would save me a ton of money. Not sure how I would feel if a stranger approached me on the app and suggested meeting up for a run. If I happen to muster up the courage to message a few people, I’ll be sure to share how it goes.