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Sober Yoga Girl: The Power of Community in Sobriety with Kristen



Alex is so excited to welcome back Kristen to the podcast! If you are part of the Mindful Life Practice, you'll know Kristen. Kristen participated in the Sober Girls Yoga 30 Day Challenge in January 2022, and has now completely transformed her life - becoming a registered yoga teacher, participating in every program with The Mindful Life Practice - and now becoming a leader of the 30 day challenges! Our next online Sober Girls Yoga Challenge starts June 3 and Kristen will be leading it. Tune in to learn more about her journey, and you can sign up here. https://www.themindfullifepractice.com/30daychallenge


Transcript


Hi, friend. This is Alex Mcrobs, 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.

We're live on Facebook. That's so sweet. So I'm just going to slide this to the side. We have two people watching. Hi, everyone. When you tune in, please let us know where you are in the world. When you tune in, let us know and what community has done for you in your sober journey. I'm just writing this in the comments so that if anyone jumps on, they can see that and let us know who's watching. So we have three people on now. That's amazing. And I'm sitting here with Kristen. How are you, Kristen?

I'm so good. I'm so excited to be here and be having this chat today.

Happy to have you here. For those of you that don't know in the group, Kristen has been super involved in Mindful Health Practice for a really long time. She actually did the Sober Girls Yoga 30-Day challenge, I think a year and a half ago maybe, like January of 2022? Twenty-two? Twenty-two. Yeah. And since she did that program with us, she has been alcohol-free and done several of our other programs: yoga teacher trainings, yoga sutra study. And Kristen has also developed into an amazing leader within the community and has led a lot of our group programs. I'm super grateful for her because she's really stepped in and helped as I've been all over the place with other things going on. I was wondering, maybe, Kristen, if you want to just introduce yourself and share a bit about who you are so people can get to know you.

Yeah, thank you. So I am based of Waterdown, Ontario, which is just outside of Toronto. I've lived here my entire life. I found yoga, I want to say about 10 years ago, roughly, and started to slowly enter my life. And I started to experience some of the benefits from it, just mentally, physically, all of those pieces. I think I joined your Facebook group, actually, and then followed you on Instagram. I was just one of those people who lurked in the background for a little while just watching. Then your January 2022 30-day challenge came up. I thought to myself, I have absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain by joining this. I did that. The way that it complements yoga and just your journey in general was so amazing. Now I am hooked and I am in almost all of your programs and it's been really life-changing for me. I look back to who I was in 2022 to who I am now. It's interesting when you do that. I was doing that last night because you may not see the big changes and the big shifts, but when you actually look back and see the journey, it's mind-blowing.

And it's just so beautiful to watch and see how I've grown as a person and even stepped way out of my comfort zone. You were just mentioning subbing some of this stuff for you and the YTT classes and all of that. It's just been so much growth for me, and I wouldn't have that if I didn't join in 2022. So thank you.

It's incredible. It's so amazing to hear. And it's so wild for me to think back. You and I only met a year and a half ago and just to watch that journey. And we've become such good friends. And when Kristen was saying she's in Waterdown, I actually went and visited her at Christmas and had a sleepover. And that's one of the beautiful things about this community is that once you connect on Zoom and make these friendships, it's like you have friends all over the world.

Yeah, absolutely. And it's funny you say that because I was thinking about that today. I'm planning a trip soon to the States to visit one of our friends, Sarah. Then we have an upcoming Toronto retreat, but then our upcoming hang out with another member, Jenny. It's just really beautiful to see all the friendships that span worldwide. Totally.

Yeah, it's amazing. I'm wondering, before we jump more into, we're going to be talking about friendships and community more in this call. But I'm wondering, you said something earlier about how much you've changed in the past year and a half. I was wondering, what have been those specific changes that you've seen in yourself?

Yeah, for sure. I usually don't step out of my comfort zone very well, and I will just keep myself small and in the background. Through the Silver Challenges, sorry, and the YTTs and all of those things where you have more of a voice, I find that I've been able to more confidently step into my authentic self and be able to speak about what is on my heart, what is on my mind, and share. Because a lot of this community is even about exposing some of your vulnerabilities, talking about some of, whether it's past griefs or current griefs or life-changing situations, and it draws so much light and awareness to those things that maybe have hidden the background and not allowed that growth to come out. So by being able to tap into that vulnerable part of me through this community, I have been able to effectively step into my more authentic self, and I feel so much more connected on the inside to who I actually am. And so when I look back, I think about how for many years, and I think a lot of us might do this even unconsciously, but essentially we're a mask where I would only let people see so much of who I was and not that deeper part of myself.

Through this community and through all of the different programs that you offer, I've really been able to step out of that and just show all the different unique sides of myself, whether it's the goofy and the funny or the sad, whatever it is, and just have that. And so I don't think that would have been possible without going, A, alcohol free, and then having the community and the connections that are present in the MLPC.

It's so amazing. So tell me a bit about what role did community play for you in your sober journey?

Yeah. It's funny because I think especially with the pandemic, we don't actually realize how huge community is. So even though it's an online community, it feels like you're having a conversation face to face. It doesn't feel like you're talking through online platform. And what I found is there's so much collective wisdom and community. We can't do this alone. No one has all of the answers. And so when you can lean on each other for support, it opens up so many more doors and you just feel so seen, heard, and held even in an online space. Wow. It's been beautiful.

That was beautiful. That little segment, I'm like, I need to chop.

That up, save it, make it into a reel. It was just so...

Yeah, I love that collective wisdom. And it's so true because I was saying, Actually, this is random and not that related to sobriety, but I was talking to Madison earlier today. She was suggesting that I have a macha latte. And I was telling her I got angry after I drink macha. And I was saying, The only reason I figured that out is because we do these sober circles so much. And someone noticed this pattern in me, or I think it was me sharing it a couple of times with Perry, who's another woman in the group, and we're talking about food and macha and how it makes me have these angry reactions. And I wouldn't have been able to make that reflection about my life to then realize I can't drink macha. That doesn't work for my system if I didn't have this opportunity to share. And that's really what it is. It's collective wisdom where you share stories and then you bounce off each other and you learn things about yourself through that sharing.

Yeah, absolutely. And it also helps us to push our limits. So sometimes we see things through the lens that we grew up in, and everyone has that lens. And I think you've talked a lot about that. And so when we have someone to mirror that back to us in the community, it allows us to push past those limits and step out into our comfort zones and getting comfortable being surrounded with others working towards the same goal. Ultimately, the goal is to grow, expand alcohol-free, whatever it is, and you have each other to support, motivate, and challenge as well. I think it's a beautiful way to be challenged because it's such a safe space to be able to take that and grow. Because if I didn't have that with some of the conversations and some of the sharings, It probably wouldn't have had all the experience I did, but it's such another way I love about the community.

Yeah.

That's.

So true. I think back on my life or my sober journey, and when I first got sober, I was part of an online platform and our main thing was the sober Facebook group, which worked well. It was really nice to connect me to other people. But there's this difference when you get into it 3D on Zoom or 2D or whatever it is, and actually having these face-to-face conversations. And I think back to, yeah, these circles have now become such an important part of my life. And when you join 30-Day challenge, you get to do a weekly circle with your little group. But then there's also a bigger, widespread community. So Kristen and I just got off a call with all these sober women around the world. We're all doing yoga together. And people in the States, the Caribbean Islands, Canada, us here in the UAE. And so you not only have your little sober challenge group, but you also have the wider community as well. And it's just like consistent people to lean on. We also have our Slack group where we can connect, and it's really made a difference for me and my journey.

Absolutely. Everyone is so willing to talk at any time. If you're having a rough day and you just need someone to chat to, there's always somebody who is there and available and just very present. The amount, and I think you talked about this on your recent YTT, just the amount of ability that being sober allows you to be deep. It's such a different connection than just that surface level conversation that you might find.

This is what my friend Jen said. So on my most recent yoga teacher training in Bali, I needed a last minute support because I was trying to do it all on my own, which was crazy. And so I said to my friend, Jen, can you support me in this? But she's not sober. She's not a big drinker, but she hasn't had a sober journey. And she said, Is there anything that I should be aware of? And I said, Just be authentically you and share your story and don't hide bits of it. And the I love you because you can tap into that authenticity, the vulnerabilities, the struggles, the triumphs. And at the end of the month, she remarked like she was like, I just can't believe how amazing, sober people are because they just know the depth of... A lot of people who have gone through the alcohol-free journey know the depth of sadness and struggle. And because of that, we have this heightened sense of empathy, also this heightened authenticity. When you sit down with sober or sober, curious women, it's often like everything drops and they just like, Well, literally, I have the great privilege to run so many of these programs and these retreats, and I witness this all the time.

But you'll sit down at breakfast and someone will be like, Yeah, I'm going through a divorce to a guy I married six months ago. And you don't really get that level of authenticity in the regular world. And so it really is quite special.

Absolutely. And one other thing that's really helped me with the community is sometimes when you see, even if you're not actively talking in the group and you're slow to get there because you want to get comfortable, that's totally fine because I find you can borrow motivation from other people that you're seeing on their journeys. And so that was me who is in the group and I was watching you as the leader. And then as I joined, I think it took me a little bit to open up, and I think that everyone's different on that journey, but you get to see different people's shares, and some of them just resonate so much with you that you build the motivation off other people, and you can use that as another jump point. You also just have that by showing up for yourself, but also having each other to hold each other accountable and just in a loving and supportive way.

That's so true. I love what you said there about having each other for accountability and motivation. And I actually recently did a post about this, which I think I posted it in the space of groups that people might have seen of like, when I end yoga retreat or yoga teacher training, I actually am really tempted to drink alcohol. And I think it's the really extreme shift in me. And the funny thing is that I actually one of my retreat guests, I was like, you don't have a drink in the Maldives. And then one of my retreat guests actually had to end up coming along with me to the Maldives this past week. And it's probably the reason I stayed sober was having that accountability and that support and that friend that's there for you. And we're both there on the same goal of she had her five months sober this week and just relying on each other and bouncing off each other. And we have that virtually in the Sober Girls Yoga group, in the Slack group, in the Facebook group, and all the Zoom calls we have each other to bounce off of and build support.

Yeah, absolutely. And it's interesting you say that. I think I told you I had a very similar experience after I came home from my Costa Rica YTT. And I think you're in this... Well, in my case, I was in this bubble of love, yoga, connection for three weeks straight with the same people theyand day in, day out. And then you're plunked back into reality. And sometimes it's like, What do I do at this? And so it's natural that I think those triggers come up. And for me, I've realized transitions are something that trigger me. So I was transitioning out of that space back into another space, and.

It.

Judges up whatever you have going on. It could be grief that the last three weeks is finished. It could be grief of not knowing when you're going to see the next. It could be excitement, even for the next day of your journey, but it's a transition nonetheless. But I think if we honor those feelings and sit with them, and I love that you had your friend with you for that, that's such a beautiful way to have that support and accountability.

That's such a good point. And I think that's an important thing about the Mindful Life Practice, which I always try to remind people and encourage them is you could be on this retreat or you could be on this 60 day challenge program, but it might feel like it ends right then, but it doesn't end. If you become a member of the Mindful Life Practice, you are in this for life. You're in our group for life. You have meetings for life. It might not be the exact same container of what it looked like before, but you have that consistency. And I think that's really important. And that's where we differ from a lot of these programs because you get out of your YTT and then you're just done. But for me, I'm here. And so, Deb, for example, who was on the YTT, she's gone back to Australia and she jumped on a yoga class the other day because she was just like, I'm missing you guys. I want to connect with you. And that's the beauty of what we do is that we're always here for each other.

Absolutely. That's beautiful. It's so fun to watch the different time zones and some people who are way across the world, but they make it work. We show up for each other no matter what time it is. There are some people that, much better than me. I'm not the greatest with early morning wakeups, but some people that will get on at 4:00 AM in their time zone to join on. It's just really beautiful to see the level of commitment and connection to the community. Yeah, it's so true.

I'm really excited to share. Kristen has been supporting me throughout these 30 and 60-day challenges. And we have a new challenge group starting on June third, and we actually already have three people signed up for it, which we're really excited about. So it starts next week. Kristen is going to be leading this for the most part. I'm going to be there when I can, but it's starting. The program starts when I have a retreat in the United Remaritz with many people from our community actually, which is amazing. And then I do have a retreat later on in the same time span. So Kristen will be this constant with you throughout the whole journey, and then I'll be there in and out when I can. But I'm really excited for the next group to begin because it's just such a powerful, transformative container to be part of.

Yeah, I'm so excited to lead this group. I led a few now, and it's just always so beautiful for the connections, the growth and just to be able to witness that and hold that space. I'm so excited to have anyone join us and I can't wait to kick it off next week.

And we start these groups or these groups have a maximum of 10 people, so we don't take any more than 10. And the reason why we keep it small is just so that everyone can deeply connect in their little container, their little group, connect with Kristen, connect with me. And because we find as it gets bigger, there's just more happening, more people in and out. Make sure if you're thinking about signing up, we do have that limit of 10, and I am sure it's going to fill up because these programs typically do fill up really quickly. And so if you do want to get a spot, make sure you jump in and join, and we'll be starting next week.

I'm so excited.

And if anyone has any questions for us, Kristen and I are going to be live again. I think it's... Are we going to be live tomorrow? Is that what we plan? Tomorrow, yeah. So tomorrow we're going to be live in this group. And I think I'm going to use this as well for a podcast episode, which I'm going to put out. So if you're listening on the podcast, these lives are happening in the Facebook group, you can interact with us, ask questions. And if you have any questions for us about how the 30 or 60-day challenge works, please let us know, come tomorrow, and we'd be happy to answer any of.

Your questions. Yes, I'm so excited. Thanks so much for having me today.

Right.

This is awesome.

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.

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