This week on That Girl, we are celebrating Leslie Jaffray, a devoted yogi from Canada who strives to maintain a balance between physical health and her busy days as a mom and a corporate professional. Yoga helps bring that balance into her life. She greets each day with sun salutations, and it’s something that reminds her to take care of her body and mind, she says. “Allowing myself the time to do something for me and not feeling guilty about it should be a goal for every busy mom.” Read more about Leslie’s story and inspiration:
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Fitness/health accomplishment you are most proud of:
Completed the Zoo Run 10km for the second time last fall. For me it is a challenge to fit consistent fitness of any kind into my busy full time work/motherhood schedule. I am proud of myself when I hit my target of four fitness activities per week. With yoga, I had to stick with it to find a class that suited me and the physical type of workout that I wanted, but I kept trying. I also try to incorporate some yoga into every day, starting the morning with a few sun salutations. Allowing myself the time to do something for me and not feeling guilty about it should be a goal for every busy mom.
What inspires you to get fit every day?
Standing in my closet, in front of a full length mirror, piles of discarded clothes around me and nothing that looks or feels good. I also want to be active and capable for my 4-year-old. I think being fit and active is a lifestyle choice, and one that I prefer. I like that my son sees his mommy doing things, he gets on the mat with me and can do a pretty good down dog for a 4-year-old boy. I want to accept new physical challenges as I age, if an opportunity for adventure pops into my life, it would be terrible to have to turn it down because my body was not up for it.
What do you do when you don’t feel like working out?
My cop out is reading while on an elliptical trainer. I will also try to think of a different kind of workout than the one I had scheduled. Sometimes you just get bored, so if I was planning a run, I will bike, or take the dog for a walk. If I was planning a tough yoga session, I will opt for something slower with more work on the mat. Or, I will look through a fitness magazine, which can often chase the blahs away. I think as women we need to be kind to ourselves, some days you don’t hit all the “To Do” targets. Reward yourself for the things you do get done rather than focusing on the didn’t do’s.
Favorite energizing meal:
Sushi is my favorite meal for pre- race day. In general, I have to keep it light.
What’s your favorite way to chill post-workout?
If I have been good and stuck to my schedule, I love to relax in the bath, with a chai. I find at this stage of my life that it is always a good thing to keep stretching in the hours after a tough workout, so I will do some leg and especially hip stretches to keep limber. If I work out and then sit, I tend to tighten up, which somewhat defeats the purpose.
What is your top kick-ass workout?
I am working on a self- led workout that is bike/run/yoga. 15 km bike, 2.5km run and then an asana set for ½ hour. This is after something I read about Jennifer Anniston’s yoga instructor who does a cardio workout with her before yoga. I also have a yoga routine that I have designed for myself–kind of enduro Yoga.
Where is your favorite/most unique place you’ve ever exercised?
I try to greet every day with sun salutations. I have done them from Victoria to Halifax, Mexico to Thunder Bay, but my favorite spot is a beach on a little island in Georgian Bay. The great thing about yoga is that you can do it anywhere–you don’t even need a mat. It is peaceful and quiet, so it allows you the space to take in your surroundings. Yoga is a great way to quiet your mind, when your thoughts are racing and anxiety is revving up. It forces you to focus on the poses and your breathing. It takes momentum away from the noise in your head and puts some of those run away thoughts in perspective.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned through sports?
Being active is a way of life. It creates a path for socializing, setting goals and feeling good that can last your whole life. You have good days, bad days and status quo days. It’s not about anyone but you. Just keep trying. Many people focus on retirement in terms of the money they will need to fund it, but what about the level of physical capability you need to enjoy it. Yoga is a practice that is very age resistant and complementary. I want to be down dogging at 75, because I know what it will do for my body and my mind.
Photo: courtesy of Leslie Jaffray