Today I sit down with Kristen Hutchinson, one of the newest members of the Mindful Life Practice / Sober Girls Yoga team! In this episode Kristen shares her journey with Sober Girls Yoga - from January 2022, when she joined her first 30 Day Challenge with us - to now being a yoga teacher and on the yoga teaching team. Kristen describes her experience with our community as life changing! If you'd like to join the next 30 Day Challenge Group, we begin on September 4th, 2022. The link to join is here: https://www.themindfullifepractice.com/30daychallenge
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Alex: Hi friend this is Alex McRobbs founder of the Mindful Life Practice and you're listening to the Sober Yoga Girl podcast. I'm a Canadian who moved across the world to the Middle East at age 23 and I never went back. I got sober in 2019 and I now live full-time in Bali, Indonesia. I've made it my mission to help other women around the world stop drinking, start yoga and change their lives through my online sober girls yoga Community. You're not alone and a sober life can be fun and fulfilling, let me show you how.
Alex: Okay, here we are, we're live.
Alex: Yay, and I'm just going to mute this um call. But I'll have it on in the corner so you can see if we have any questions coming up. So, good morning everyone in Sober Girls Yoga or good evening if you are in North America. I am sitting here, it is 7:30 in the morning in Bali. It's 7:30 p.m in Canada in Eastern Standard and I'm sitting here with Kristen who is one of the yoga teachers for Sober Girls Yoga and the Mindful Life Practice. And I'm really happy to have you here so how are you Kristen?
Kristen: I'm good, thank you so much. Thanks for having me. I'm so excited to chat today.
Alex: Yeah, I'm so excited to hear more about your journey. And so, you and I. I feel like we were connected on social media for like a while before you actually joined Sober Girls Yoga because your name was like kind of familiar to me. How long were you connected to like the Mind Life Practice and me before you jumped on and joined?
Kristen: It's funny you asked that, I was thinking about that today. Um, I think it was a good couple months or if not half a year. Um, I don't even remember how I found you. Um but yeah I started to follow you and then follow Mindful Life and it was I was always kind of that person in the background just like curious. Um, but uh just kind of watching from afar for a bit. Um, and then it really kind of took off from there.
Alex: Yeah, so tell me about, so you're watching from afar and then what was it about the January time period or the January challenge? Um, actually you know what before I even get into that, why don't we start by you telling me a little bit about yourself? Just so the community who's watching knows like where you're based and kind of a little bit about your yourself.
Kristen: Yeah, for sure. So, I am in uh Watertown, Ontario. So, just about 45 minutes out of Toronto. Um, I've lived here for a while now. I'm kind of born and raised in Barrie. Um, I have been kind of on this path of I'm gonna call it like a wellness healing spiritual journey for um a good while now. Probably five years um and uh it's absolutely night and day different from my day job but um it's kind of been the focus of mine and something that I'm super passionate about. So, in addition to kind of like yoga and that stuff I'm also doing um my course for Certified Holistic Nutritionist. Because I really am just into nutrition and kind of just the whole well-rounded scope of wellness. So, that's kind of me and my passions. Um, I've been doing yoga retreats um yearly for the last five years and that's just whenever I do that that's just a really beautiful kind of escape for me and then I'm always drawn towards that kind of that kind of realm.
Alex: Amazing, and those retreats have always been in Costa Rica, right? Is it the same? You're so similar to me in that place. Like I'll find one place that I like and I'm like, okay I'm like going back every single year. Creature of habit. I love that. Cool so, then in January you did the first um or your first 30 Day Sober Girls Yoga Challenge. So, tell us about that? Like, what made you want to join um the Challenge at that point?
Kristen: Yeah so, like I said I was kind of watching from afar for a while and um I think I was at a point where I was feeling like I couldn't keep living how I was living. Um, I lost my dad in 2018 to cancer. Um and I kind of just felt like stuck and lost after that and so I just started in this really bad um kind of pattern of just not coping or not dealing with my emotions, and not letting them come up. And so I started to get into this just pattern of self-neglect and drinking wine as a way of coping with stress or boredom or emotions that we're trying to arise and I just remember feeling so lost and so anxious and so depressed. And I was just like okay if I keep going this way, this is going to be my life like this is all that it's going to be. I'm never going to feel fulfilled or happy or anything or I can step out of my comfort zone and try something that, what do I have to lose? Like it's, it's a 30 Day Challenge like I can do 30 days and so I had been watching you. Had been posting about it for a while and I um was interested. And I can't recall if I messaged you or not or if I just joined. Um but yeah, best thing best decision I've made. That's for sure.
Alex: So amazing, and it's so amazing to think back like you know what month we're in? like the eighth month of the year, so like eight months ago we didn't even know each other and like the way that you know you do one thing and then it's just like a domino effect through your life. like all of a sudden you're doing this and that and you're in the YTT. And um, so now Kristen actually leads yoga classes as part of these 30 Day Challenges. So she's one of the like assistant facilitators basically with the challenge that's happening right now. Which is so amazing to think that like, you know, we started here and and now we're here. So tell us about like the journey from that 30 days onwards and like what kind of shifted in your life?
Kristen: For sure. So, the first 30 days um that I did in January was just, I think I think the word I use then and it's still the word I would use now is, is it was really life-changing. A, I met some amazing people um some that like i'm still super good friends with today and um it brought about a huge sense of community which I realized was something that was completely lacking in my life. Um, and honestly community does heal. Like just having that safe space to talk was game changing for me and just people who didn't know you but you formed connections with so quickly. Like even like you were saying you and I and everything that we now kind of traveled through. So um, I did the 30 days and then I and joined onto the 60 days um and then I um had already before even joining the challenge, I had already committed to the YTT in Costa Rica in um I think it was like the summer of the year before. Um but, I did as much of your YTT that I could possibly before I was gonna be away. So I think I was able to do the four modules and that was just so amazing and I, I actually feel very fortunate to see the two different styles of how a ytt runs. Like virtually, in your comfort of your own home and then um in Costa Rica. So I did the, I did that Challenge the 60 Day and then transitioned into your YTT and then I went to Costa Rica for three weeks in May um and then I came back home um and I think I found one thing I learned about myself was like transitions are very challenging for me. Um and I don't, I think you and I talked about this before. I even went to Costa Rica about how you know you're in this little bubble and then you're kind of just brought out of that bubble and then you put it back into real life and that was hard. Um, and I think you know, I kind of resorted to some old habits. Um of coping through that and um and not and like I think I've said this before, like I don't I don't regret that because there's, there's lessons and everything. And so, the lesson I learned is simply that, that transitions are challenging for me. And I need to prepare myself in other ways. So that when those things arise because transitions are everywhere in life, change is happening daily um having mechanisms in that I can do that are healthier and make me feel good. So then, you and I connected and I think you, you messaged just at this like insanely perfect time like the timing was honestly I think it was like from the universe for sure coming down. It was just the most beautiful timing because you reached out um for something else and then you know I had that vulnerable conversation with you to say like, hey like that sounds amazing but in I can't do that because I'm actually, this is where I'm at and I'm having a bit of a heart go and you know you said why don't you join the 30-day challenge? And now I'm doing that um this month and now just transitioning into the 60 and again a beautiful group of people. Like just the friendships and connections and like our whatsapp group is just hilarious and comforting and supportive. All in all at the same time, the girls are just amazing and it's again that sense of community that's just um almost like reignited my spark. I would say that kind of went out for a little bit. Um and then, it kind of unfolded beautifully. You ended up being in Dubai for I think longer than you planned and with the timing of the Challenge uh, or the asana class um that would have been like what four in the morning for you?
Alex: I think yep, yep.
Kristen: And so it had been Bali time, it would have worked out perfect for you but you were, you were there and. Um you know, asked me if I would teach that and that was just kind of like the beginning. I think of just this like path that really feels like I'm, I'm finally able to see the path that I'm supposed to be on. and
Kristen: Yeah go ahead sorry.
Alex: I was gonna say, there's just so many things that you can take away from what you just shared. Like first of all I, I feel like you're an amazing amazing person to be helping out by teaching the the yoga classes in the 30 Day Challenge because you're the perfect example of like what to do when you have a blip and you start drinking again. It's like okay, you just like get back on and you try again, right? And it doesn't mean that you're a failure or you're like out of the group and I just think it's like such a powerful example because most people don't get it the first time. They try sobriety like most people you know try sobriety, and have some blips and that's normal. And I think you're like a really amazing role model for, for the way, the attitude that you've taken it and the way you just like move forward. And I love the self-reflection that you shared which is like you know, transitions are hard for me and like that's what I learned from, from that transition. And it shows like you know you can have a blip and then you reflect on it and you're like okay, what was going on there that like led me to make that choice and um yeah and then it was just so it's so funny because you and I we actually had lunch when I was in Canada like a month maybe it was like two months ago or a month and a half ago and um I asked Kristen if she wanted to teach yoga? And um, she's like I don't know, I'm not sure like I don't know if I'm ready. And then it just kind of happened that she sort of got flung into the um teaching the 30 Day class. Like I was like, oh my gosh I can't teach this class anymore. I like need someone to sub and I knew Kristen was going to be there. So I was like can you teach it? And um and and, people have loved you know, her teaching style. It's been amazing and now she's gotten like so many people signed up for her for her classes in the fall so it's just incredible the way the universe kind of like um, Dan calls it like the universe almost puts down breadcrumbs and you have to like pick up the breadcrumbs and follow them and I just feel like that's what you're doing right now.
Kristen: Yeah, yeah absolutely. I, I it's funny like my my boyfriend has lovingly said a couple of times that I'm like this um, kind of lost soul of who didn't know what her path was or what her purpose was and I and I would say that was true. I was kind of you know, dabbling here dabbling there trying to find that way and like just feeling so defeated. I think for the longest time, and then since January it's just been like he's even said like you're a different person. Like all of how this you are and um I credit that so much to MLPC and like I so believe in the power of community. And I think that was something I underestimated for the longest time and even though it's a virtual community you don't feel like it's a virtual community. And you know yeah, meeting up in real life was like amazing and just you know, there are people around in you know cities like I think you know one of the girls in our 30 Day Challenge is in London. Which isn't far from me right now and you get to meet people all over. Um yeah, and then I'm so excited and fortunate to be teaching and you're right, I was like, kind of like doubting myself in that self-doubt phase. I think at that one point in the summer and now with this, it's just it's been it's been so much fun teaching and prepping the classes and engaging with everybody and now I'm so excited to be part of the Back to School Season in September.
Alex: Yeah. So, tell us about, um the class that you're going to be teaching then? What is uh called what are you offering?
Kristen: Yeah, so I'm doing um, it's is Eastern. 7 pm Eastern time. It's Mindful Flow and Let Go and it's really focusing on, um something that's near and dear to my heart since I feel like it's the journey I've been on. Which is journeying through the self and so all the different aspects of life the different challenges that we'll face and kind of doing a class dedicated to each each different theme of the aspects of life. So, grounding into ourselves, finding in that transformation our voices, tapping into self-care and self-love and it's really, I would say overall it's, it is journeying through the self and then really coming into that self-care. That self-love and just connecting, reconnecting with with ourselves.
Alex: That's amazing and so that starts on September what? What day, September 6th or 7th something like that?
Kristen: Is the 7th yep.
Alex: Okay, the 7th. And next week we're doing a free big super Curious Yoga Week. Um so, if you're watching this, if you're listening um we start next week and Kristen is going to be teaching a free class as well as part of that week so you can also come try out her class um next wednesday night. Um and then if you like it you can sign up for the whole eight week season.
Kristen: Yes, I would absolutely love to have everybody. Um, and if you have questions or want to connect I'm more than happy to always connect. You can find me on uh Facebook, Instagram. Wherever and I'd love to see everybody.
Alex: Amazing. Um okay, I have a question for you about zoom yoga. What do you like about doing zoom yoga? What's different from doing it in person? What are like some of the benefits of doing it at home?
Kristen: I would say one of the major benefits is just not having to travel anywhere. Like you you're in the comfort of your own home. Like, I'm literally you know cleaning up after dinner and then it's yoga time. You just go upstairs and roll out my, I'm upstairs for mine and you roll out your mat and you do that. You can have your camera on or off and so some people prefer it off when they're practicing and so there's that kind of like ability to make that decision for yourself, whereas if you're in a class you're obviously you're seen by everybody. So you kind of get a little bit more of that personal choice. Um I personally love it just love knowing that you can do it at any time and fit it into your schedule however you see fit. You don't have to take into account the travel time or um anything like that and with the fact that MLPC is worldwide there's literally classes at all times of the day. So really, you can almost make any time work.
Alex: Yeah, that's so true. I was thinking about it last night um as I got ready for my class it was like literally four minutes before my class and I was like moving from, I was like moving from the bedroom into the yoga room. And I was thinking about how when I taught yoga in person, I would get ready for class like an hour before class because you know I would have to commute. I wanted to be there early so I wasn't stressed about being late, set up the room and it's amazing how much teaching on Zoom has improved my quality of life and I never thought it was like what I needed um but it's just amazing.
Kristen: It's incredible. Yeah, because there was there's a lot of times I'd go to a class and then you're trying to rest in the final resting pose but you're thinking of you're the next place you need to get or rushing and then you're just it's kind of taking away from the purpose of you know the class and the self-care practice. So, exactly what you said and what I love too is you can fit it in if you're working from home for example. Like me um I can fit it in before work starts, lunch, right after work like I can, I can flex around that too. Um, which I wouldn't have that ability to do if it was somewhere I had to travel to.
Alex: Totally yeah, all right i have one more question for you. Is that if someone were listening to this who is curious about sobriety, they're curious about um taking the first step into it but they don't know where or how or they're a little bit nervous. What advice would you give them?
Kristen: The, for the very first thing that was what I told myself and what is what I will say is just dive in. Just reach out and just try it. You have absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain. You're supported and loved by a beautiful community that lifts you up. And um, it's really it's a life-changing experience and you gain so much and even if it's not for you at the end of the 30 days and you make a different choice you still the knowledge and um support system that you have during that time is beautiful. So I, I would say absolutely just, just dive in.
Alex: Amazing, oh Kristen. So, thank you so much. This has been an amazing chat. An amazing interview and um for anyone that is listening to this podcast interview which I'm going to be posting later today, we did this live in the Sober Girls Yoga Facebook group. So, if you want to get in the facebook group and watch some of these interviews live um I'm going to put the link in the episode, so make sure you join in. Our next 30 Day Challenge is starting on September 4th. We do have a limit of 15 people, we have a few people already signed up which is amazing. So, if you are curious about joining make sure that you um you jump in and join and I'll put the link in the episode as well and we'll hopefully see you at Sober Curious Yoga Week. Um, Kristen and I will both be around there so we will see you soon.
Alex: All right.
Kristen: soon, bye.
Alex: Hi friend, thank you so much for listening to this episode of Sober Yoga Girl podcast. This community wouldn't exist without you here. So thank you. It would be massively helpful if you could subscribe, leave a review and share this podcast so it can reach more people. If we haven't met yet in real life please come get your one week free trial of the Sober Girls Yoga membership and see what we're all about sending you love and light wherever you are in the world.