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ROO #130: Krista Lester on How Bunnies and Buddhism Saved Her Life

Krista Lester Author Pic“I can tell you, unequivocally, if I did not have my yoga and my meditation practice, I would not have made it.” 

Krista Lester is the creator of Bunny Buddhism, writer, music teacher, suicide survivor, yogi, and meditator.

In this episode, Krista tells the story of how bunnies came into her life from her childhood fascination with them to owning her first bunny as an adult. Krista reflects discovering the healing powers of meditation during a long battle with depression and anxiety. She explains how the tenderness of bunnies and the wisdom from Buddhist philosophies intersected in her seated meditation practice to create the concept of Bunny Buddhism. Krista recounts the experience of tweeting one quote a day and its evolution into her book, “Bunny Buddhism.” She explores how yoga and meditation continue to provide solace in the grieving process from her husband’s suicide.

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Powerhouse Teff Pancakes

TeffpancakescloseAs many of you know, I had the privilege of working in Ethiopia in Fall 2014 and eating injera bread on a daily basis. Injera comes from the ancient grain teff, which is gluten-free and high in calcium, protein, and fiber. I have enjoyed experimenting with teff flour since returning to the US, including ROO’s Teff Nuttzo Cookie. Jenné Claiborne, creator of Sweet Potato Soul and ROO podcast interviewee #103 has a delicious teff pancake recipe that inspired me to start developing my own recipe. I encourage you to not only enjoy these pancakes for Sunday brunch, but make these powerhouse pancakes any day of the week!


Yield: 8, 1/4 cup pancakes

  • 3/4 cup teff flour from Bob’s Red Mill
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon Viva Vanilla Vega Protein Powder
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed


  1. Mix all of the dry ingredients (teff flour, cinnamon, ground ginger, baking powder, and viva vanilla vega protein powder) in a large bowl.
  2. In another bowl, combine the wet ingredients (almond milk, honey, vanilla extract, and banana).
  3. Preheat the skillet at medium/high heat.
  4. Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry, and mix thoroughly.
  5. Brush the skillet with a teaspoon of coconut oil, and reduce the heat to medium.
  6. Scoop ¼ cup of pancake batter onto the skillet (you can fit about 3 pancakes at a time).
  7. Carefully flip the pancakes when bubbles pop and cook on the flip side.
  8. Sprinkle hemp seeds, serve with raspberries, bananas, drizzle maple syrup on top, and enjoy!

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The Zone: Gratitude, Grit, and God

the conscious runner - edit 2 - 1x1pt5inLisa Hamilton, fellow yogi runner, writer, and ROO Podcast interviewee #66, asked me to contribute a few words on my understanding of “the zone” for her book, “The Conscious Runner.” Released less than a month ago, I have finally had the opportunity to read through her published piece and am blown away by her honesty, innovation, and thoughtfulness. “The Conscious Runner” is not only a guide that will teach you how to run mindfully, but also tells the powerful story of Lisa’s life, from overcoming Obsessive Compulsive Disorder to almost qualifying for the Olympic trials. I am honored to be apart of Lisa’s book and below you will find my reflections on the zone— an abridged passage is included in “The Conscious Runner,” which you can buy for only $0.99 on Amazon!

I had the honor of meeting Haile Gebrselassie, one of the greatest distance runners in history, during my time in Ethiopia in November 2014. Before meeting Haile, I spent hours pouring over his life story and race achievements in preparation for my podcast interview with him. I remember thinking before I met Haile, “this is a man that knows how to be in the zone in gratitude, grit, and God.” To accomplish setting the former 2008 world record in the marathon in a time of 2:03:59, with a pace of 4:43 per mile— Haile has the gift of dwelling deeply in the zone. Accessing the zone when racing, takes a combination of being thankful for the strength of your body, mental toughness to persevere through pain, and a connection to a higher force, which I call God. When I met Haile, we did not directly discuss being in the zone, but he did mention the role of his faith in his running and its impact on moving beyond “the impossible.” Haile’s running is a testament to the decades it takes to harness the zone in accomplishing feats of endurance.

The zone is not only something I experience when racing, but also during yoga, walking, biking, swimming, cooking, and singing— places where I connect my mind, body, and spirit in a timeless space. Right now in my life, running is the activity where I can access the zone most easily. When I am running on a trail, I forget about my to-do lists and worries, but instead feel an all-pervasive sense of thankfulness and connection to my surroundings. Like Haile, I believe that the zone can take us to places beyond our imagination and allow us to tap into a our deepest strength. The zone brings me to gratitude, grit, and God on a daily basis and because of that, I will continue to seek it with everyday to come.



ROO #129: Ask the Yogi Runners 5 on The Power of Yoga in Setting a Marathon PR

“Sometimes the mind during a marathon will start drifting to other competitors and external situations, when really, you need to be focusing on holding your form and a relaxed state.” 
– Susie Stephen

Ask the Yogi Runners is a series on Running On Om hosted by Julia Hanlon and Susie Stephen. In this episode, Susie and Julia discuss their recent marathon experiences. In part one, Julia recounts her journey guiding Lisa, a visually impaired runner, in the recent Boston Marathon. Susie explores how she incorporated yoga practices in her preparation and race plan for the Eugene Marathon, including reciting mantra, goal setting, and running without a Garmin watch. They also answer questions on how to use yoga to create hip and spinal mobility in runners. In part two, just hours after crossing the finish line, Susie recaps her experience running the Eugene Marathon and how her yoga practices were put to the test.

We would love to answer your yoga and running related questions— feel free to comment on the podcast post or send an email to with them!

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ROO #128: Johnny Gillespie on How to Become a Balanced Athlete

johnnybio2014_web“Great athletes have amazing mind-body connections that allow them to do these incredible feats and for most people, they don’t really realize that we can actually work on this capacity.” 

Johnny Gillespie is the creator of Balanced Athlete and yoga teacher.

In this episode, Johnny shares his athletic background from middle school track to competitive hockey. He discusses his journey into yoga from how yoga healed his injuries to the path to becoming a yoga teacher. Johnny offers advice for those interested in teaching yoga, including the importance of being a student and listener. He explains how he developed the revolutionary movement form of Balanced Athlete. Lastly, Johnny offers practices to become a balanced athlete in one’s everyday life.

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My Unexpected Boston Marathon: Guiding Lisa for 26.2

daybeforemeetI woke up on Monday morning with a plan to guide Lisa for the first half of the Boston Marathon.

Lisa Thompson is an accomplished, visually impaired, masters runner from Houston with a marathon PR of 3:16. The day before Boston, I had the privilege of meeting Lisa and the other members of Team With a Vision, a group of over 20 visually impaired athletes from around the world.

It always amazes me how tight knit the running community can be, and watching the Team With a Vision athletes reconnect, felt like being apart of a big family reunion. During our team meeting, Lisa shared that her main goal was to be able to finish Boston, as she had been battling an injury for the last five weeks that had made her unable to train for a time goal. Lisa also explained that some blind athletes choose to be attached to their guides with a tether, but she preferred for her guide to run closely on her left side. My experience guiding Lisa on April 20th, 2015 taught me numerous life lessons, two of which I wish to share:

1. Never Say Never

uphillThe first person that I called after finishing Boston was my dad. When I told him that I had run the entire marathon, he exclaimed, “never say never!” Before Monday, 15 miles was my longest run and if you had asked me that morning if I was capable of running 26.2 miles, I would have said no.

The original plan had been to meet Avi, Lisa’s boyfriend, at 12.5 miles at the guide transfer station. However, a communication mix-up occurred and he was not there when we arrived. Lisa and I continued together and took it mile by mile while waiting for Avi to meet us. I did not think about the possibility of continuing to run until the end, but instead focused on keeping Lisa’s spirits strong as she battled through Boston’s hilly terrain.

It was a unique experience to not think (or worry) about reaching a time goal during a race, but instead focus on helping a fellow runner finish. I spent a large part of the Boston Marathon, talking with Lisa, giving her environmental cues, such as “a pothole is coming up in 3-2-1” or offering words of encouragement. At Mile 11, we passed a runner with a “survivor” bib and her guide. I shared this with Lisa and we acknowledged feeling goosebumps and tremendous gratitude to be a part of Boston.

2. There’s No Place I’d Rather Be Than Here:

This statement has been my mantra for the past few months as I have held various jobs in different locations. It is as a reminder to stay present and thankful for my diverse experiences. While guiding Lisa, I felt proud to call Boston my home, as my mantra matched my footsteps. The Boston community was truly Boston Strong as thousands of spectators cheered on marathoners in the bitter cold, with pouring rain and gray skies. Words can not begin to describe the love and encouragement Lisa and I received on the course. As fellow runners passed us and took note of Lisa’s “blind runner” bib, people offered statements of affirmation. My mantra kept replaying in my head as the miles ticked by and I was surprised to finish without hitting the dreaded marathon “wall.” It was an honor to be a part of Lisa’s Boston Marathon experience and cross the line hand in hand. I look forward to returning to Boston to guide Lisa, if she decides to run next year!


Carrot Cake Power Protein Smoothie

As a young girl, I would always ask my mom for a carrot cake on my birthday. When I transitioned to a vegan diet ten years ago, I wondered how I could recreate a plant based carrot cake alternative. Around the same time, people began to ask me where I would source my protein from. This smoothie is like cake in a bottle and packed with protein.

carrotcakeigCarrots are high in beta-carotenes, potent anti-oxidants that have the immune supporting benefits of vitamin A. Nuttzo, hemp hearts, Viva Vanilla Vega Protein Powder, and almond milk, fuse into a rainbow of protein power, that gives the sweetness of the spices an earthy taste.

Enjoy it as post workout refresh, since it is both delicious and a nutritious way to start the recovery process!


  • 2 two medium carrots (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon Nuttzo
  • 1 tablespoon hemp hearts
  • 1 tablespoon Viva Vanilla Vega Protein Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 cup water
  • Shredded coconut flakes, to garnish
  • Raisins, to garnish


In the blender, add the smoothie ingredients, and blend until smooth. Garnish with shredded coconut flakes and raisins. Drink immediately and enjoy!


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