Favorite Snacks for Hiking the Camino de Santiago

We’ve all been there. You find yourself overreacting to something that normally wouldn’t bother you. Your hiking buddies suddenly become annoying. The day’s walk seems like it will never end. Your stomach is growling, and so are you.

You’ve reached the state of being both hungry and angry, or hangry.

Hangry Girl graphic

HANGRY (noun)
A state of anger caused by a lack of food. May evoke negative change in emotional state.

This unfortunate state can happen anytime, but having low blood sugar can make or break your Camino experience. Take control of the situation by always having snacks with you. Below are are my top favorites that I have found are both easy to eat and easy to procure along the Camino de Santiago routes in Spain. Continue reading

Yoga & Wellness Tribe Newsletter September 2018

I’m sharing my new wellness newsletter with my Camino tribe. Even though it features a lot of events in the SF Bay Area, I include a few freebies that people can enjoy anywhere in the world, such as the Happiness Calendar and online course. Even I can’t believe the SF Hostel is offering a free overnight stay and intercultural workshop with a world-renowned speaker and author.

Take a look: Yoga & Wellness Tribe Newsletter September 2018

Let me know what you think. If you dig it, subcribe now to receive the wellness newsletter each month.


Camino and Hiking Events in September 2018

Below is lineup of upcoming Camino-related events and hikes for September 2018 in the San Francisco Bay Area.  But first, I would like to announce my new Wellness Tribe Newsletter, launched in September.  See first issue here. There are so many amazing events and resources to share, so this newsletter will feature wellness-focused topics, including:

  • workshops and retreats led by my favorite yoga teachers
  • free online courses, summits, and meditations
  • mindful practices for stress relief
  • yoga stretches for pilgrims
  • interesting tidbits I learn about in my continuing education
  • books that I recommend
  • fun events in the Bay Area
  • my upcoming classes (also listed at thecaminoprovides.com/yoga/)

The newsletter frequency will be no more than once per month. I take your privacy seriously, and never sell or share email addresses. You can opt out at any time by following the link at the bottom of each newsletter email. Subscribe now. 

Okay, here’s the lineup for September!

Lake Merritt Walk
Saturday, September 1, 10:30 AM to 12 PM

Join us on this walk that takes place on the first Saturday of the month, rain or shine. We meet at the Pergola (aka “The Columns”) on the east side of Oakland’s Lake Merritt at 10:30 and start walking by 10:45. It’s a level, 3.3-mile walk around the lake that takes about an hour. Whether you’re a newbie or Camino veteran, everyone is welcome. Bring your questions, answers and pilgrim spirit! Below is a video of our last walk on August 4th.

Directions: Take BART to the Lake Merritt or 19th Street Oakland station and navigate your way to the Pergola.
Service Modification for Labor Day Weekend 9/1 – 9/3: For those coming from SF on BART, train service will stop at West Oakland with free AC Transit bus bridge to 19th Street. See the BART alert for details.

If you drive, make sure to give yourself enough time to find parking, as there are many activities on Saturday mornings in the Lake Merritt area. FYI: There is a small fee lot at the corner of Euclid and Grand Avenues that is close to the Pergola.

RSVP not required, but if you’re on the NorCal Facebook group, join event.

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What it means to be a UC Berkeley Wellness Ambassador

One of my intentions for 2017 is to serve as a wellness ambassador to help to create a culture of health within the workplace by promoting staff participation in UC Berkeley wellness programs, services, and events.  My colleague Veronica and I were recently featured on UC Berkeley’s Be Well at Work Newsletter and you can read our interview below. Yes, the Camino does come up in one of my responses. It seems that lately more things are a ripple effect of the Camino!

Be Well at Berkeley – March 2017

Veronica and I posting flyers in English and Spanish

Posting flyers in English and Spanish

Laurie and Veronica have always been advocates for fitness both at home and in the workplace, so it was no surprise when they decided to become Wellness Ambassadors for International House. Ever since Laurie started at I-House in 2005, she rallied co-workers to join lunchtime hikes on trails around campus. The camaraderie within this informal hiking club formed many friendships over the years. Last October, Laurie started teaching yoga to staff at lunchtime on Mondays. Veronica joined I-House in 2015 as a Human Resources Assistant. She is often the first person a new employee will encounter, and she makes everyone feel welcome with her positive attitude.

We recently chatted with them to learn how their advocacy for health and wellness have inspired and made a real difference in the lives of others within their department.

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Ideas for Lent that don’t include giving up chocolate

For the first time in my life, I plan to practice Lent. I decided to attend Ash Wednesday service at UC Berkeley’s Newman Hall tonight on my way home from work.  I figured I wouldn’t get weird stares all day about the smudge on my forehead. Why would I do this? To make a long story short, the Camino brought me closer to God, and I decided to be confirmed as a Catholic. I am going through all the ceremonial rites and attending the adult confirmation classes at my parish. You may recall from a previous post, that I was a bad Catholic through my first Communion and a skeptic thereafter. But events in the last year encouraged a change of heart. This has all been part of my “inner Camino” which I will write about in due time. For now, let’s get to some ideas to consider for the 40 days of Lent.

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Intentions for 2017

I might be a little delayed in this post as the talk of new year’s resolutions has mostly faded away by now. I do have a good reason: on January 5, I had a minor surgery which forced me to slow down and heal. All is well, and I have recovered rather quickly. However, I believe that it is never too late to set intentions. Each new year gives us the opportunity to set our intentions and reflect on the previous year. My intentions for 2016 included two of my passions: yoga and the Camino, both of which were transformative in different ways. Last year also threw some challenges and surprises my way: the unexpected illness; a change in travel plans; the presidential election results; a rekindling of my faith; and a renewed connection with a family member. I believe it is good to be flexible and not too attached to a particular goal because something better might come along! You can’t go wrong if you follow your heart and listen to your intuition. At the end of this post, I share a few tools that you might find helpful: a five-minute meditation; an article on setting intentions; a spiritual reading; and an intention template that you can download and customize.

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Immersing Myself in Yoga

Some of you may know that one of my intentions for 2016 was to start yoga teacher training. I had been meaning to take my yoga practice to the next level for a while, and I believe that teaching yoga could be good for when I’m a hospitalera (volunteer) on the Camino.image

Sometime last year, I watched the YOGAWOMAN documentary and was totally inspired. I was in awe of the women featured in the film who made a difference in communities all around the world. I was particularly impressed by a group that went to Kenya to teach young women how to teach yoga.

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108 Sun Salutations for Solstice

Happy summer solstice! In some yoga circles, it is traditional to celebrate the changes of seasons—the summer and winter solstice and the vernal and autumnal equinox—by doing 108 Sun Salutations. This practice is most often done in large groups and often as an offering, such as an offering of peace or unity (see The Global Mala Project, which facilitates collective yoga events typically including 108 Sun Salutations).i

What Are Sun Salutations?


Surya Namaskar (Sanskrit for Sun Salutation) is a series of yoga poses done in a continuous, flowing sequence, intended to improve the strength and flexibility of muscles. Sun Salutations are an excellent way for hikers to warm up and stretch their body. You can benefit with just a few rounds before any workout or hike. See below for the classic twelve steps of Surya Namaskar and a variation of the series that you can do without a mat. When on the Camino, I would start each day with a few rounds of half salutations, and I truly believe that they helped prevent injuries.

For a complete cardio workout, challenge yourself to do 108 of them upon the change of seasons.

Why 108?

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Ode to the Oak, and Tree Pose

This poem was read by a yoga teacher at class I attended recently. I enjoyed it. Maybe you will too.

The Oak Tree

by Johnny Ray Ryder Jr

A mighty wind blew night and day
It stole the oak tree’s leaves away
Then snapped its boughs and pulled its bark
Until the oak was tired and stark

But still the oak tree held its ground
While other trees fell all around
The weary wind gave up and spoke.
How can you still be standing Oak?

The oak tree said, I know that you
Can break each branch of mine in two
Carry every leaf away
Shake my limbs, and make me sway

But I have roots stretched in the earth
Growing stronger since my birth
You’ll never touch them, for you see
They are the deepest part of me

Until today, I wasn’t sure
Of just how much I could endure
But now I’ve found, with thanks to you
I’m stronger than I ever knew

After class, I asked the yoga instructor about it and she emailed it to me. Who knew you can get so much out of a free yoga class at REI!  I didn’t think about the poem again until a few days later when I was stopped in my tracks at the beauty of this oak tree.

Oak Tree

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Wanderlust 108 San Francisco

The World’s Only Mindful Triathlon

Yesterday I spent the day at Wanderlust 108 in Golden Gate Park, which is a spinoff of the Wanderlust festivals that take place in the world’s most beautiful mountain resorts. The Wanderlust 108 bills itself as “a field day for your mind, body and soul. . . vibrant community, self-awareness and inner peace. Community instead of competition? You can’t beat that.” There’s a 5K in the morning, followed by 75 minutes of yoga flow underscored by a DJ.  Then a 30-minute guided meditation to complete the mindful triathlon.

Wanderlust Festivals tour trucks

Wanderlust Festivals tour trucks

Speedway Meadows Stage with DJs, Yogis and Meditation gurus

Speedway Meadows with more than 1,000 people

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