My body did not like living in Alaska. I loved the adventure of living in the Last Frontier state, but it was hard to adjust to the cold. Yes, it was the summer cold that got to me. I do realize that hardcore Alaskans would probably laugh out loud at my grumbling. I have serious respect for those who brave the dark and cold winters. I guess I’ll never really know what cold is, as long as I flee south for the winter.
The drastic change of climate from tropical to subarctic told my body one thing: EAT. More specifically, EAT MEAT. The multitude of rainy days did not offer the usual bursts of energy as my sunny home in Hawaii. I have taken my fast metabolism and abundant energy for granted in the past 28 years and the cold climate of Alaska was a wake up call. I live an active life style and try to get outside to do what I love; rock climbing while I lived in California and Washington and surfing in Kauai. My job working as a field researcher for Kenai Fjords National Park, although physically demanding with long hours, didn’t allow much time to recreate. And rain is not good for rock climbing. The surf is infrequently good but usually requires a boat for access, a thick wet suit and an endurance for cold like a beluga whale. In an attempt to up my endurance for the cold (and to perhaps mimic a beluga) my body craved a strict diet of burgers and beer.
I’m back on the road to healthy living since I began to travel down the coast. I’m happy to say I haven’t had a burger since I left Alaska, although I may have had enough beers to compensate for the lack of ground meat. I’ve focused on eating fresh organic produce and doing yoga daily.
The yoga classes I’ve attended ranged from cafés and Bookstores that transformed into open space studios after hours, to beautiful studios designed for yoga and yoga only. I’ve been lucky enough to take meditative yoga in Squamish, Community Yoga on Quadra, AcroYoga Workshop at 3 Oms Yoga in Bellingham, and have a free first class at the Yoga Loft in Olympia. The most challenging I’ve met so far were the classes I took with dear friend Guy at Inspire Studio. My dear friend, the talented human pretzel, Guy Ortiz, studies Forrest Yoga and has a unique approach to teaching, bringing humor and the details of alignment into the classroom. This Guy will turn your grimace into a smile.
In Olympia, I stayed with the Renée and Michael Kinnick who recently brought little Nile into the world. Nile is a baby that smiles often and cries rarely. I’m convinced that his calm disposition is directly linked to the fact that Renee has one of the most healthy diets of anyone I know.
Now I find myself in Portland, Oregon again surrounded by amazing people who choose healthy lifestyles. Everywhere you look there are people on bikes, the spandex clad running and those with enormous bags bursting with fresh produce from local farmer’s market. Maybe it’s the fresh air that fills your lungs and invigorates. Maybe it’s the surrounding mountains and beauty of the outdoors that inspires. Maybe it’s that everyone is over caffeinated by prolific coffee shops on every corner. Either way Portland is full of both the health conscious and hipsters who give this city its vibrant buzz.
I feel very grateful for this Northwest way of life to help me continue on this road to healthy living.