How STAX pumps up the health + fitness jam with Saje natural wellness
Those who’ve spent enough time at STAX know that we are die-hard believers in flippin’ the bird to negative self-boundaries, having a wild ass fun time doing it and that big changes are made one pedal stroke at a time. Self-improvement is never an overnight transformation — except for when it comes to making a bowl of overnight oats for breakfast. Cause that’s some legit wack overnight magic deliciousness. But with 99% of other life changes, it’s the small details that build up into something bold and ballin’. From each tiny turn on the blue dial to a track’s bpm count, we take this philosophy pretty seriously and is a big part of why we’re such solid supporters of Saje Natural Wellness.
Saje is a Canadian company founded in 1992 by power couple Jean-Pierre LeBlanc and Kate Ross LeBlanc. Pulling knowledge from his background in chemistry, Jean-Pierre began formulating plant-based medicine to manage chronic pain from a car accident — that is some hard core resilience that we seriously admire. Kate Ross saw the transformative healing Jean- Pierre experienced and brought forward her creative strengths and genuine care for others to help create Saje Natural Wellness. Obviously, this collab was a cosmological force since Health Canada has assigned Natural Health Registration numbers to many Saje products. Saje The US Food and Drug Administration has also officially labeled Saje items as over-the-counter medications.
Fast forward almost thirty years after their origination, to the STAX front desk currently riced out with an essential oils diffuser. It’s that mystical looking object that those very boomerang-worthy curls of Saje oil mist out from. Whether you’ve seen the diffuser or not, those wisps of herb infused scents have affected you and your STAX experience.
One of our newest instructors and front desk all-star Chantelle Darowski is an absolute fireworks show on the bike but is also a modern day healer as store manager with Saje. Her expertise really comes in handy since she is full of tips on how to take care of our sore asses after kicking them to the high heavens. Chantelle recently gave us the low-down on how Saje’s natural remedies elevate our well-being and flare up our spin game to a hella hot level.
A beloved Saje oil that is a STAX staple is Peppermint Halo. Blended with eucalyptus, rosemary, Peppermint Halo has both a calming and stimulating effect. The notes of cajeput, lavender and vetiver instill a sense of comfort and emotional groundedness that also helps alleviate respiratory strain. Peppermint Halo is a near and dear one at the studio because, on such a teeny cellular level, it encourages us to enter a state where we can really bite it hard on the bikes.
Catching the scents from the diffuser is a sweet and spicy pick-me up but the boost is even
more rich when we apply essential oils directly to our skin. Those of us who’ve had our booties burned off by STAX co-founder and KO instructor Emily Paton have probably been guided through a Saje Breath at the start of class (pre-ass whooping). In a Saje Breath, the oil is either dropped or rolled on to the palm of our hands from a bottle. After rubbing our hands together, we cup them over our nose and mouth and take a big inhale followed by a three second hold.
The release is steady, slow and longer than the breath hold. A Saje Breath is one of the simplest ways to reset the central nervous system. It does this by engaging our olfactory sense in as short as 3-5 seconds. Our olfactory system is part of the limbic system, which is largely responsible for processing emotions, developing memories and regulating survival instincts.
... So, if you find a sweater at the bottom of your closet that belonged to your crappy ex and fight or flight kicks in, thats limbic's prob too legit too quit. Then after you burn the sweater, maybe take a safe breath or five after to, ya know, "chill". Same also recommends racing your hairline with Peppermint Halo, drawing a "halo" on your head, which we kinda need at STAX to balance out those devil horns popping' out.
Aside from letting the devil(s) on our shoulder take the handle bars time-to-time, one of our biggest goals at STAX is to help our team become as present with themselves as possible. And yes that includes during a juicy hover when our legs feel like they will fall to the bottom of the ocean. Emily uses the Saje Breaths to both draw us inward and become planted in the moment, which helps get that mind-body connection to Beyonce and Jay-Z level of tightness. And when that connection is deeply established, that inner Beyonce is beckoned forward to rip up the stage… Or saddle, in our case (Your inner Jay-Z is cool too but B is B so).
At STAX, we don’t like sitting and potatoing around in the comfort zone. But we get that in order to really throw ourselves outta there and ring hells bells, we need to feel supported and solid in doing so. The synchronized inhales and exhales heard around the room during a Saje Breath also creates a sense of unison among those of us riding. Coupled with the hormonal balancing and chemical reactions triggered by the essential oils, the harmonious breathing makes that brief moment all that much more empowering.
After sweating up a storm in the studio and turning it into a total jungle, you’ve probably seen one of our crew partying it up in there with a blue spray bottle. They’re spritzing the room with Saje’s Refresh Energizing mist to clean up after ya filthly animals — ha, not (but kind of). This blend is infused with lemon, spearmint and eucalyptus, creating a scent that’s both wintery smooth and summery crisp to keep the space brisk for the next class. It also gives the brain a friendly little zing and wake-up, helping us push the pedal to the medal with extra pizzazz (not to be confused with extra pizza, although that’s always needed here and there).
While Peppermint Halo and Refresh Energizing Mist are cherished favorites, Energy and Pain Release oils are other key pieces of ammo we recommend for your workout arsenal. The pops of lemon and rosemary in Energy function as a natural caffeine replacement, inspiring an alertness that spare the subsequent jitters and crash following those big ass cups of coffee that a lot of us love, crave and should probably cut back on… But don’t because, hey, they are often real nice decor for the insta feed. Pain Release is an amalgamation of the herb Marjoram, roman chamomile that soothes muscle tension and helps release all of those pings and dings that come with the pains and gains we get from ripping up and down the bikes.
Now, we get that there is both a lot of sensationalism and hard skepticism kicking around about natural remedies. The renaissance of wellness, self-care and holistic healing really freaks some people out while others think it’s totally bogus or go the opposite way and depend on it to fix all their shit. While nature’s ingredients aren’t a magic wand to cure all life’s bumps and bruises, there are tangible and legitimate benefits to using natural medicine. The National Cancer Institute explains that functional imaging of the human brain engaging in aromatherapy indicates that it directly impacts the limbic system and neuropathways linked to emotional activity. And let’s not forget that that some people used to think the world was flat and that Kylie Jenner’s lips were real (lol).
Over the over the last week, I wanted to test out for myself how these Saje’s remedies added some bad ass bippity boppity boo to my workouts and overall mood. Everyday that I came to STAX, I brought along what I call my “spin potion pouch” carefully put together for me by Chantelle. It’s a super aesthetically on-point white and gray marble zip-pouch that holds three rollers (which is formally called “My Farmacy” by Saje). Chantelle fitted mine with Energy, Peppermint Halo and Pain Release to cater to my highly active lifestyle as a spin addict and dancer. Ps. the super cute carrier is free when you build your own My Farmacy! Score! As a regular STAX 6am-er who is not inherently an early bird, I’m generally pretty disoriented in the morning and can’t seem to leave the house without dropping twelve things, hitting my head on something and making myself late (I say that about myself with self-acceptance and endearment. Promise). But using the Energy oil before class was quick, effective and easy to sneak in even if I was rushing.
The mornings I didn’t have time to do a full Saje Breath, I’d just take the roller cap off and run it under my nose to take in the scent. I found that the sharpness and potency really hit the senses nicely — my mouth would definitely water a bit because I love acidic citrusy flavours. My toungue was sweatin’ before the rest of my body was on the bikes! I also appreciated that it didn’t leave my hands all grubby and greasy, which is great because on the bike, I want to dip not flip, thank you. The oils are actually designed to mimic the natural oils produced by our bodies meaning they don’t stain or streak, unless you’re an extra-terrestrial or something. After class, I would roll Pain Release on my traps and quads which I tend to beat the hell out of most. STAX’s instructors constantly remind us to roll our shoulders back to prevent hunching and unnecessary tension build-up in the neck. However, spin is a really intense full-body work- out that can bake that ass into cake and turn our metabolisms into fire-breathing dragons. Meaning, our muscles will inevitably get sore and tight from it.
While stretching is absolutely necessary for athletic performance, I found Pain Release to be a great supplement to loosening up those areas. It left behind a pleasant tingly sensation that felt soothing and relaxing. It’s not like the scary tickly tinglies when a spider strolls along your shoulder. It’s more like sipping a nice ass hell glass of champagne that makes your mouth feel all sparkly (dirty jokes here are inevitable and welcome).
As someone annoyingly prone to headaches, I would also use Peppermint Halo along my hairline and pulse points for some good ol’ preventative medicine. Some people might label it as the placebo effect but it genuinely made a distinct difference in how I felt. The surface of my skin felt lighter and the fragrance is extremely refreshing. I don’t know about the whole halo thing because I strike a solid 7/7 of the seven deadly sins in different capacities of my life. But Peppermint Halo itself certainly is heavenly. With that minty goodness in the air, it’s no surprise STAX feels like church. Loud, bad-ass rave church.
I also used a Saje body butter called Muscle Melt to quite literally butter up those hard-working quads and traps. It comes in a dark brown, esoteric style jar and looks absolutely delicious — like buttercream icing off a cupcake blended up with rosemary, sweet birch and roman chamomile (cupcake recipe inspo!). It also has that lovely paradoxical warming-cooling effect. It reminded me of a much silkier version of Vick’s Vapo Rub.
I will always hold Vick’s near and dear to my heart — and to my nostrils because that is one fine nostalgic 90’s kid scent. But, gotta say, the Muscle Melt wiggled its way in there real fast. A little goes a long way and it absorbs really well. It also didn’t sting at all when I accidentally rubbed it over scratches from my friend’s kitten, which is a huge plus for me and for many athletes I know who are notoriously always dinged up.
Using the Muscle Melt right after time in the tub with Saje Après Sport balh salt soak made it’s effectiveness go from new Nicki Minaj album to a Nick Minaj x Cardi B mixtape. Après Sport is a blend of Epsom salts with eucalyptus, sweet birch and rosemary, which help slow down an overworked mind and evoke calmness all while relieving muscle strain. The aroma is very bright, earthy and grounding and the salts make bath water velvety smooth. It puts the bomb in bath bomb without it even being a bath bomb because it’s a salt. Ok now I am confusing myself.
Point is, the stuff is killer and it worked some straight-up miracles on me. After having an outrageously FIERCE time popping, dipping and death dropping for evaaaa with the STAX crew in the YYC Pride Parade last weekend, my legs felt like cement cinder blocks. The vibes down there were just so tight and right and STAX never gives anything less than 200%. So, a show was SERVED, hunnay, with extra hot sauce mixed in and on the side. I stretched like a total psycho the next day but I didn’t feel less like the pre-oiled tin man from the Wizard of Oz until I used the Après Sport soak. Like dropping out of a grueling mountain climber, the relief was instant, just minus the panting and sweat puddles.
Après Sport also offered relief from the endless cyclone of thoughts swirling my head. I know I’m not alone in this, but it takes a lot to combat the urge to constantly be productive and moving — doesn’t a rest day mean that I do the rest of the things that I could when I’m too busy with my normal routine? I definitely struggled with the urge to jump out of the bath right away and dart around the house to do laundry, answer texts, practice choreo for an upcoming dance show or whatever.
Actively experimenting with these Saje elixirs was revealing in how severely I procrastinate on self-care that doesn’t demand intense exertion. Slowing down and being with still with myself almost felt like a chore, which is really too bad. And also interesting because I remember being a little kid and very willingly sitting on my bedroom floor, smelling these Harry Potter themed scented markers for SO long. I mean, I was probably getting kind of high off of them but still, I could just be in the moment with my markers without 50 random things bombarding my mind. Taking a moment to set my intention and engage in a sensory experience as simple but impactful as a Saje Breath and having a salt bath was really humbling and needed. And probably a lot better for my brain than chemical Crayolas.
Using essential oils and bath salts is one of the most effective and efficient ways to throw a really cool party for your nervous system. The kinesthetic experience of applying them is extremely enjoyable and a valuable mindfulness practice for inner grounding. It’s one of the kindest ways to tell your anxiety to piss off for a bit without being a total jerk to it. Just like in spin, the degree of the results you see from this kind of practice depends on the purpose, power and commitment that you throw down. Cultivating a stronger sense of self, a less anxious mind, and a well-balanced “I really don’t give a f*ck but really do give a f*ck” attitude is rooted in the little choices we actively make on a daily basis. Those everyday decisions and intentions are where the big and bitchin’ stuff in our lives crystallize from. And my experiment this week reminded me that moments of stillness help us succeed the moments of sprinting — and spinning, of course. Those sweet potions from Saje in combination with an active lifestyle give me a high I’m totally down to keep riding — especially when it’s on the bikes with all you STAX studs.
Now, you better go show the MVP of plant-based medicine some love and check out Saje’s website by clicking here and get your fill of visual artistic glory by visiting their Instagram at: sajewellness. Thank you so much for reading. Now go and show yourself some love by treating yourself to a spell from Saje!!!