Kathleen Russell, RPh
When her son left home to attend an out-of-state college, Kathleen decided she needed a change, too. She adjusted the way she ate and discovered a passion for hot yoga. Her new lifestyle has resulted in a 40-pound weight loss and a pastime that she enjoys. Now, a self-declared yogi, she finds yoga classes to attend even while visiting her son at college.
What prompted you to make changes in your health and lifestyle?
As a working mom, I’ve always been extremely busy supporting my son’s activities. Once he was on his own, I realized I needed to take charge of my health for my later years.
What types of changes did you make?
I transitioned to a healthy lifestyle. I started eating mainly raw fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. In addition, during this journey of self-discovery, I found a new passion for hot yoga.
How did you get into hot yoga?
I had been interested in yoga for a while. I’d done it a little bit, on and off, over the years. I used to practice yoga by watching a video. I had never joined a yoga studio and gone in person … but that is what I did. I was able to incorporate it into my daily routine around my busy work schedule. I also practice Yin and Forest yoga. Yin is a meditative type of yoga, and Forest is a healing type of yoga… and it has inversions where you turn upside down!
How often do you go to the yoga studio?
I go to hot yoga four times a week, usually after work and on Saturdays. My yoga practice keeps me grounded and focused throughout my day. I love it – it’s amazing. You have to stay hydrated because the room gets up to 104 degrees. The heat loosens your muscles, and you can stretch further than you may have imagined you could. I have even considered teaching yoga, and to do so I’d need to take a 200-hour training course. I haven’t gotten the chance to do that yet.
What is your guilty pleasure?
I will have the occasional treat… and my guilty pleasure is cake! Whole Foods has a Chantilly cake – it’s white with buttercream icing. It’s filled and topped with fresh fruit. It’s my favorite ever!
What is your go-to meal?
Oatmeal with fresh apples, cinnamon, and sprinkled with walnuts. I also like rice cakes with almond or cashew nut butter, bananas, and sprinkled with toasted nuts. On my salads, I mix spinach, kale, orange bell pepper, shredded purple cabbage, blueberries, peaches, mangos, almonds, chia, and flax seed – then I sprinkle it with granola and finally add a splash of olive oil.
What do you do in your free time?
I love to travel. My son is a senior in college in Indiana and he is studying performing arts – so my favorite thing is to go visit him and watch him perform. However, even when I go on vacation, I look up a yoga studio and go take a class as a drop-in. I like it that much!
What hurdles did you have to overcome during your journey of self-discovery?
I was actually scared to go to the yoga studio. I was intimidated because I didn’t know if I could do it. Just going to a studio and trying to get through a class was difficult. But I made it through the first one, and I said to myself, “I CAN do this!” Now I am a yogi! I started with Yin yoga, then Forrest, saving the hot class for the last once I had built up my stamina. I schedule my days off around yoga classes.