Q&A: Kaley Klasson

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I got the chance to catch up with my first yoga instructor. I stepped into her class during my Junior year of college about 5 years ago and she has sincerely changed my view on life and how I approach my practice. Her classes and knowledge had always hit home and were not only challenging but eye-opening.

What got you into the practice?

My father. He invited me to my first Bikram class when I was sixteen after a dance injury. I loved the heat and physicality of Bikram, but didn’t leave the studio feeling inspired. Then four days later he took me to a vinyasa studio that I would later teach at, I left feeling connected, inspired and rinsed out! I’ve practiced nearly every day since that flow class.

What is your philosophy about your yoga practice?

I can summarize my yoga practice in five words: Breath. Movement. Intention. Delight. Exploration.

What is a tool in order to remember your intention in class?

Create a pre-class ritual. As student and teacher I have a prayer + affirmation + intention that I repeat everyday before I step into the studio. The structure of this practice stays similar from day to day but I make minor adjustments to my ritual as it feels like a natural and good fit for me. This art of proclamation helps me set the intentional pace for my practice and/or teachings.

What drew you to teaching?

My love for the transformational blessings & benefits of yoga and thus my exceptional hunger to share this ancient practice with the world.

What is your proudest moment as a teacher?

Co-facilitating a yoga teacher training in Africa for under-privileged youth. It was life changing.

What is your most impactful memory when it comes to your yoga practice?

My most cherished memory as a yoga student is meeting two of my best friends at my first training in upstate New York seven years ago. I still talk to Victoria and David nearly every week. On the last day the three of us held hands in svasana and for however silly it sounds, I knew in that moment that we would be soulfully and intrinsically connected forever.

Share something about you that your past students may not know?

Hmm. This is a really broad strokes question.
My biggest vices are: coffee, talk shows and reading the last sentence of a book before I start the first chapter.

What are your three favorite songs and one song you have to have in a playlist?

There are two songs I include on almost every yoga playlist.

  1. Bowspirit by Balmorhea
  2. Hari Om (Tiruvannalalai) by Janet Stone

My three favorite songs right now are:

  1. I’ll Let You Know by David Hazeltine
  2. Para Que Sufrir by Natalia Lafourcade
  3. Anything on the Lemonade album by Beyonce

If you had one day and zero responsibilities and could travel anywhere what would you do?

Spend a day in Paris with my man. Yoga and coffee would be a must. Other than that I would delight in simply exploring the city at our leisure.

Sidenote: After sharing this with my boyfriend he disagreed. He thought my perfect day would be spent playing with baby elephants in one of our most favorite places–South Africa. But I still think elephants would come in a close second to France and all of her artistic, culinary and romantic charm.

What do you find you are dreaming about the most?

Anything and everything. I’m a dreamer, but I’m also very much a doer; so I like to think they balance each other out quite well.

If you could give only 1 piece of advice to someone practicing yoga what would it be?

Let yourself be led.

Q&A: James Dodds

James Dodds

I was able to catch up with my first coach ever and possibly the most influential person in my running career and on a huge portion of my life, James Dodds. Some of my favorite runs are the long runs we’d have where we’d talk about anything and everything so I was definitely excited to get a few questions to him for this section of the blog. I can only wish that one day everyone gets to share at least 1 mile with him as I’m sure he wishes to share with all of y’all.

What got you into running?

A few things culminated at the age 24 that got me into running. First, I was gaining weight after college and I knew I needed to do something about that. Most runners are skinny so I thought I might as well try running. Next, I was engaged to be married and a number of people said we were a little young to got married. What made us think we would defy the odds, so to speak, and last a lifetime? So we ran a marathon as a symbol for long term commitment and pushing through hard times. Lastly, I stuck with the sport because it gave me a tangible sense of improvement. I think in our twenties we really aren’t sure what success should/does look like. In college we had grades that let us know where we stood against the pack. In adulthood it is more like – Hey, go live a good life. Well what does that mean? How do you know if you are improving? How do you know if you measure up against something/anything? Running provides relief from that head space. It gives you a distance and then you measure yourself against it by trying to improve upon your times and personal records. Running means something entirely different to me now but for the first five years I got into running because I wanted to lose weight, learn long term commitment, and to have a tangible sense of improvement in life.

Were you doing anything active wise before you got into running?

Yes. I have always been active but not exceptional at any one sport. I loved basketball and football as a kid but wasn’t even good enough to get playing time on my high school teams. So I played a ton of golf and become a decent golfer. I also got into powerlifting because I am from South Texas and that was our way of convincing ourselves we were tough men. RAH! POWER! In college, I was still trying to prove to myself I was a tough man so I joined the rugby team. Again, I wasn’t exceptional but I actually got starting time. I was the #9 scrum-half so lots of running was involved. You could say that was foreshadowing to me getting into marathons 3 years later.

If you could give one piece of advice about running to anyone, what would it be?

Consistency trumps intensity!! This is true for the amateur to the professional. You cannot maximize your potential in distance running without committing to consistent mileage for a long time. If you build the habit of running every morning, even if not all runs are fast or long, you will become a better runner. You will impress yourself in ways you didn’t think was possible.

What has been your favorite race?

Personal Race? That would be Cap 10K in 2012. When I first go into running I just wanted to break 1 hr in the 10K. At 5’10” and 180 lbs in March of 2012 I actually ran the 10K in 39:37. I was so proud. That course is hilly – so I have much pride knowing I broke that 40 minute barrier on a beast of a course. For the record, four years later I would puke if I had to run one mile at the average pace of that race. But I did it then and I am proud, thus, it is my favorite.

Professional? That has to go to Mr. David Rudisha setting the olympic and world record in the last olympic games. Gosh, it was the most graceful display of power and speed. He went out fast and got faster.

 

What was your hardest race?

The hardest race I have ever run is the Dallas Marathon in December of 2011. It was 44 degrees and raining. My personal record at the time was 3hrs & 48 minutes. My buddies Todd Jones & Trey Axe joined me that day and planned to pace me to a 3:30:00. I ran my heart out and bonked at mile 22. I ran 11 minute miles for #23 & #24 and then Todd got be back on race pace to finish with a 3hr 36 minute marathon. That was a 12 minute PR and is still my PR to this day. I think a PR in the marathon will always be the answer to this question. While a PR in 26.2 miles is always self assuring and mentally rewarding it will never feel good physically on that day. Pain and suffering are not potential obstacles in that race. They are the very essence of that damn race!

What is your philosophy on life?

Wow. I could write a book on this one. I would like to give you the long version but for your readers’ sake I will leave it as a one liner: “It is meant to be enjoyed” Now, I believe enjoyment involves hard work, humility, love, self improvement, acceptance of both yourself and others, and lots of other contradictory and complimentary concepts but for now let’s just leave it at: “It was meant to be enjoyed.”

What would you do if you knew you could not fail?

That is a tough one. Mostly because fear isn’t really my biggest limiter. Lack of skill & talent are but not necessarily fear. For example, I will participate in most any challenge even if I know I will lose. I guess I could say I would quit my job and try to be a professional golfer if I knew I could not fail. Could you imagine how awesome it would be to be paid to play golf?

Your food always look so delicious and healthy. What is your favorite recent self prepared meal?

Can I give two answers? I can? Thanks!
#1: Breakfast: This is my favorite meal of the day. Honestly three eggs cooked in olive oil, avocado, coffee, and a small bowl of strawberries is the best. I want to do breakfast over and over again. I am a total morning guy.
I am giving two answers because most people will picture a dinner style meal when they read this question …
#2: Dinner: Salmon baked in the oven with salt & pepper, asparagus gilled in a skillet with coconut oil, salt & pepper, & mashed sweet potatoes with a little coconut milk & walnuts for crunchy texture. BOOM! Whole30 approved, super-colorful on the plate, and unbelievably tasty without any fattening or sugar-ridden sauces, etc.

Favorite quote?

“Only a sense of humor can help each of us face those great unanswerable questions: Why was I born? Why am I here? Why must I die? What must I do to make my life a triumph?” ― George Sheehan

Q&A: Julia Hanlon

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© Ian MacLellan

I was able to catch up with the one and only Julia Hanlon. She runs an amazing podcast that you HAVE to check out called Running On Om (ROO). All of her podcasts are unique, inspiring, informative, fun, raw, eye opening… the list can go on. She is also a sister through the Oiselle team. I had a chance to send over a few questions shortly after her 200th podcast where she allowed her listeners to switch roles with her and ask about her story.

Which podcast touched you the most spiritually you’ve made.

Every single podcast touches my spirit in a different way. Two women who have been interviewed on ROO and have had a significant impact on my spiritual path everyday are Nikki Myers and Julie Piatt.

What is the funniest podcast you’ve made.

Hands down, Brogan Graham, ROO Podcast #143.

In your latest podcast you mentioned that people have their own version of spirituality or their own philosophy on life. Can you go into what your’s is? 

My spiritual philosophy is rooted in the belief that God is love. Our journey is to reconnect back to this eternal love inside of us and see this love in all beings.

There are always low points when it comes to running or your yoga practice. Can you share a low moment that you’ve encountered and how you overcame it.

There have been numerous instances in my running journey where I have been sidelined from injury. Each one of these injuries has been a low point, but also a teacher and opportunity to celebrate what I can do. For example, this past winter I was unable to run and used this time as an opportunity to learn how to cross-country ski. Skiing was a joyful and exciting new challenge that allowed me to experience the trails in a new light!

What have you been day dreaming about the most lately?

Fresh Pond at sunrise in my hometown of Cambridge, MA

If you could only use 9 words to describe your life right now, what would they be?

  1. Grateful
  2. Sunshine
  3. Full
  4. Patience
  5. Independent
  6. Compassion
  7. Forgiveness
  8. Growth
  9. Intentional

What is your favorite trail in Bend so far?

Canal Trail

If you can give one piece of advice to someone that pertains to yoga what would it be?

If you want yoga to change your life, show up on your mat everyday, even if it is just for a 2-minute legs-up-the-wall pose.

If you can give one piece of advice to someone that pertains to running what would it be?

Running is hard. Most days it doesn’t feel easy, but when it does, savor them.

Q&A: Liz “Pink Feathers”

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I was able to catch up with Liz a.k.a. Pink Feathers after her 3rd place run at the Corvallis Half Marathon and ask her a few questions about running and her music. It has been 2 months since she has become my coach and I don’t think I could have asked for anyone better in my corner.

What got you into running?

My Dad. I was never good at sports but ran a decent mile in PE class in eighth grade. Since I was starting at a new school the next year my dad suggested that I try running cross country. I would never have considered doing anything athletic otherwise. He ran with me over the summer to help me get in shape. Best decision ever.

Describe your pre race ritual.

I’ll wake up about three hours before the race and have a homemade Pre-Workout Blueberry Muffin with peanut butter (I love these because I can whip up a batch before leaving town and have a dependable breakfast wherever the race is) and a cup of coffee. Depending on the length of the race, I’ll warm up 30-45 minutes before the start with 1-2 miles of running plus drills and strides. I try to wait until the last second to peel off any layers and I absolutely have to be wearing sunscreen and chapstick. I got burned pretty badly in the 2014 Boston Marathon and was in pain for days afterward- never again!

Describe your favorite place to run or train.

I’m pretty nostalgic for my old running routes in Greenville, Illinois where I went to college. I loved the wide open fields and old dirt roads. I kind of miss the extreme heat of summer and the cold dead of winter compared to Portland, where I live now. Our assistant coach in college would have us play “guess the temperature” for our morning runs in the winter and it would always be something like two degrees out. My favorite place to run now is Forest Park.

What is your most memorable race.

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My first cross country race at age 14. Five kilometers was a long way to go and I don’t think I’d ever hurt like that before, but I loved the feeling of accomplishment and relief after crossing the finish line. Who knew working hard could make you feel so good? The 2014 Philadelphia Marathon was also a big one for me because it was my first (and hopefully not the last) time dipping under the three hour mark in the marathon.

If you could give 1 piece of advice to any runner what would it be.

Never underestimate yourself.

What got you into music?

My parents. My mom teaches piano lessons at home so music was always in the background throughout the day. My Dad is a high school choral and musical director and my sister and I would play in the theater while he rehearsed. Music has been a part of my life from the very beginning. I think my parents wanted to make sure I was interested in music by choice, so it was only when I asked at age seven that they signed me up for piano lessons.

What is your most memorable music event?

imagePC: Timothy Norris

Playing Coachella last year with RAC. It was the most massive audience I’ve ever performed in front of and totally surreal just to be there. The Pink Feathers live tour this past fall was also really special because it was my first time taking my original music on the road.

Describe your childhood dream?

To be a Broadway star. My Dad took me up to NYC to see Grease! When I was 10 and that was pretty much it for me.

Describe your guilty pleasure?

Watching the Bachelor and all its spinoffs. And birthday cake ice cream.

If you had a day off from everyday responsibilities how would you spend it?

I’d get up early, hop in the car, and go on an adventure! Maybe a run around Timothy Lake in Mt. Hood National Forest followed by a big breakfast at Timberline Lodge.