Meet Kristen Antunes! From teaching spin classes to working as a pharmacist, she is one busy gal. I actually met her at one of the meditation class, when one of my close friends asked if I would like to go. I’ll be honest, I didn’t know if I would come back, but after the class I was excited for them.
Learning a little bit more about her, I learned how incredible Kristen was and how she has been influencing the Saskatoon community with her perspective and knew I wanted to hear more! So without rambling on everything she is doing (which is A LOT) here is a little more about Kristen.
Can you tell us a little bit about of yourself?
From a young age, I was someone who was interested in many different things including dance, music and writing. I grew up appreciating the arts while focusing on academics. When the time came to decide on a career, my lover for chemistry took me to the Pharmacy program at the University of Saskatchewan. After completing my Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy in 2014, I was excited to get started with my work life.
I soon found out that work stress was vastly different from school stress and I fell into a slump. My life consisted of work, then working out, then Netflix, then sleep. I wasn't feeling fulfilled. I knew that I was missing something - my whole life I was someone who had many interests, and I wasn't fuelling my creativity any more.
Thats when I turned to spin, and decided to take the instructor training through Lifecycle. It was something I was passionate about and I wanted to help motivate others. In that same time frame, I went to the Bloom Festival in Edmonton and met my teacher Mandy Trapp (Lifestyle Meditation). During that weekend at the Bloom Festival I learned more about meditation it sparked my desire to share it with others. Within a couple months, I took my spin (25 hour) and meditation (225 hour) teacher training.
My life finally felt exciting again. I had my career as a pharmacist, but I also had the ability to teach, motivate and inspire others creatively through spin and meditation. That same year, I decided to take singing lessons to try something new, challenging and aligned with my love for music. I
am extremely passionate about school life/stress vs work life/stress and I have spoken on a couple panels at the University of Saskatchewan about this topic. In addition, I will be presenting to students about meditation and the transition from school to work life on April 2nd at the Louis' Loft for their Backpack to Briefcase event.
You do a little thing on your Instagram called Mindful Monday, can you tell us a little bit about that and what inspired you to start it?
So my Mindful Mondays on Instagram were actually inspired by my cousin, Sarah, who is like a sister to me. When she became a mother two years ago, she started utilizing her Instagram stories as a way to communicate the realities of being a new mother. This inspired me to apply this my journey through meditation and mindfulness. I am constantly learning and growing and I thought that if I can share some of my new perspectives with others, it could hopefully resonate with at least one person. And through this, I can encourage others to be more mindful in their daily lives. So I added it into my calendar and every Monday I sit down, reflect on my past week and share something that came up for me. I have received overwhelming feedback on this little weekly ritual and I am now in the process of creating a podcast, inspired by my Mindful Mondays - so stay tuned!
You're an extremely busy gal from teaching spin classes at Life Cycle Studio to meditation at The Movement. I think a lot of people can relate to having to juggle so many responsibilities. What is some advice you would give them to get by?
Between my three jobs, I am incredibly busy. Not to mention I am in the process of planning meditation workshops, sessions for private and corporate clients, and a podcast. Finding balance in my personal and professional life is incredibly difficult and I am still learning how to manage my time. Having a daily meditation practice has kept me grounded in the every day chaos of life. Knowing that I can carve out any amount of time to find my breath and stillness is truly what anchors me in any stressful situation. Another crucial lesson in finding balance has been learning that "no" is a complete sentence. I am someone who will reflexively say "yes" to the point where my plate is overflowing and my self care comes last. Over the last couple years I have exercised my right to say "no" when I know I need to set boundaries for myself, so I don't take on too much. And in that same breath, I also make sure that my self care is a priority - whether that means I get a massage or acupuncture treatment, or maybe it’s a night in watching a movie - I make sure that I find time to re-charge.
Stillness in today's society is hard to find. Especially, when being busy is glorified. Meditation is a great example of how to escape it. I've personally loved that aspect when attending your classes. For those who have never had a class, what can they expect when they come? Is there anything they should know before coming?
Meditation was something that intimidated me before I learned more extensively about it. When I trained with Lifestyle Meditation in Edmonton, I learned how simplify meditation and mindfulness so anyone can enjoy it. The classic idea of "thinking and feeling nothing while being silent" is an intimidating idea for anyone. I often get the question "I can't turn my brain off - how can I possibly meditate?" This is a common misconception, especially for beginners.
Mindfulness is about being present in each moment and accepting what comes up - whether thats a distracting thought, sound or feeling. When these things do come up in meditation, I encourage my clients to become aware that they are thinking or feeling something by acknowledging it, then gently bringing their attention back to your breath or mantra.
It is so important to be gentle with yourself, especially when you are learning a new practice. Each week in my classes at the Movement, I choose a type of meditation, a theme, and I guide everyone through a meditation related to that theme. I will briefly discuss some information regarding the theme that week (sometimes they are related to my Mindful Mondays), what to expect from our session that evening then I guide everyone through a relaxing practice, which lasts about 30 minutes.
The Movement has everything you need - mats, pillows. blankets - and of course you are welcome to bring anything you need to find comfort. I love seeing new faces in class, and whenever I do, I make sure to give a mini introduction to meditation so you can feel comfortable in the practice without feeling lost.