Freedom in Structure

After teaching the Hatha26 class at Hot Feet this past month, one of my students and I had a yogi-geek-out conversation about the more subtle benefits of a yoga sequence that never changes. We concluded that knowing what to expect results in a freedom to explore limits and examine details within its structure. In the practice of Hatha26, because the sequence remains static, the variable is the individual.

 

The predictable nature of the Hatha26 enables the yogi to exercise their mind as well as their body. For example, after learning the sequence, a yogi can change the focus of their practice to careful listening, deliberately not anticipating or moving forward before it’s time. For others, remaining mentally present throughout a class is a challenge and thus, the focus of their practice can be to exercise and strengthen their ability to “be here now”.

 

Before class that very morning, while driving my daughter to school, I noticed I had entirely tuned out of the details of my regular route. Over time I had begun driving faster than a good neighbor should and I wasn’t noticing anything but the road in front of me. I had become inured to the beauty all around and I was rushing to hurry through what I had apparently begun to see as mundane. Beauty was everywhere but, for some reason, I had compartmentalized the practice of examining the details of my predictable sequence.

 

Enter yoga. After class that evening I realized that my approach to the Hatha26 should not be limited to the studio. While the exploration of new routes and new practices is surely worthwhile, there is also value in the routine. The routine, any routine, can be explored on many different levels, in many different ways. I arrived home that evening with a renewed purpose, intent on seeking other ways to appreciate the minutiae of life more purposefully; to “be here now” even if here is the familiar; to purposefully explore all of life’s redundant practices intentionally, with an appreciative attitude. Easier said than done, very much like yoga.

 

It’s a safe bet that you and I are the same. We both have routines that have become unexciting; monotony has set in and we would like to find a new route because we’ve got the itch to explore and we all relish the feeling of something new. Maybe that itch is more serious than a simple drive home; maybe it’s a relationship, or that sneaky negative self-talk, or perhaps you’re struggling with what you do to pay the bills. Whatever that something is, I challenge you to notice and appreciate the freedom of its predictability. Choose to see something beautiful in the small details of your routine. Spend some time today listening carefully. Explore your limits and even if you think you know what comes next, don’t anticipate.

Stacy Manning
Hot Feet Fitness Yoga Instructor

Hearty Vegan Sweet Potato & Vegetable Chili

Craving a hearty meal that satisfies the taste buds, but is easy on your insides too? Then try out this recipe from one of our instructors Elise! 

INGREDIENTS

1 tsp avocado oil

1 large red onion

2 cloves garlic

1 small sweet potato

1 red pepper

1 green pepper

3 cups veggie broth (check ingredients & make sure there's no added sugar)

1 cup frozen (or fresh) corn

1 can black beans (drained & rinsed)

1 can kidney beans (drained & rinsed)

1 can diced tomatoes no salt added liquid included

1 6oz can tomato paste

3 Tbsp chili powder

1 Tbsp nutritional yeast

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp white miso paste

1 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp rosemary

1/2 basil

1/2 tsp Himalayan salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

handful of fresh cilantro for garnish (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

1. In a large pot, heat avocado oil over medium heat.

2. Add onion and sweet potato and cook until onions are softened (about 5 minutes).

3. Add garlic, red pepper, and green pepper and let cook for 5 minutes.

4. Stir in chili powder, white miso paste, and tomato paste.

5. Add veggie broth, diced tomatoes, and the remaining spices and let everything simmer until

the sweet potatoes are completely cooked, about 10 minutes. (Make sure to check them

regularly so they don't get mushy.)

6. Stir in beans and corn. Let simmer for an additional 5 minutes.

 

7. Top with cilantro and enjoy!

Submitted by Elise Powers
Certified Yoga & X21 Trainer


Momentary Encounters with Balance

This past week, the Vernal Equinox came and went -- the first day of Spring, when we experience that half-and-half balance of daylight and darkness. The sense of equilibrium between the seasons on both the Spring and Autumn Equinox is a lovely invitation to explore balance in our day-to-day existence.

Striking a balance in a hectic life -- whether that’s a balance of effort and ease, of chaos and calm, of obligations and options -- can sometimes seem like an impossible task. Achieving a lasting state of perfect equilibrium sounds unachievable with the on-going pressures of family, career, bills, responsibilities, ad infinitum.

But perhaps that doesn’t need to be the goal. A beautiful reminder of this is the yin-yang symbol. It’s a familiar representation of balance, with light on one side and dark on the other, but my favorite part is the small bit of light that inhabits the darkness, and the small bit of darkness that occupies a patch of the light.



Let’s view the balance of effort and ease through the lens of the yin-yang symbol. Poses that may on the surface seem the very embodiment of ease (such as savasana or “corpse pose”) in fact require a fair bit of effort because it takes work and practice to quiet the busy mind and fully experience the restorative offerings of the posture. On the flip side, in poses that require more physical effort (for example, arm-balances like crow, or inversions such as headstand or handstand), one can find surprising pockets of ease. I find it is easier to let go of my to-do lists, worries, grudges, and other distracting thoughts when engaged in an asana that calls for greater effort from my physical body, and therefore it’s easier to be fully present in the moment.

It can be so helpful to remember that there is often effort within the ease, and ease within the effort. And once I open up to applying this yin-yang metaphor to more aspects of my life, the more achievable a sense of balance seems. Perhaps there will always be a little chaos in my calm (in the form of children’s toys strewn about or unfinished tasks on my to-do list when I pause to relax and read), and that’s okay. It encourages me to also seek (or create) rays of calm in the chaos.

Returning to the recent passing of the Equinox: its fleeting nature (only two days a year!) is also a much-needed reminder that a sense of balance isn’t necessarily a “destination” we can work toward and then settle down in permanently. Rather, it’s something that we may pass in and out of, periodically and momentarily, perhaps many times over the course of our lives.   

May you seek and find the interplay of yin and yang in your life, and may your momentary encounters with balance come more frequently than twice a year!


Kat Stein-Ross
Hot Feet Fitness Instructor 

A New Yoga has hit the Block!

Hatha26 is a stripped down practice of the moving meditation formally known as Bikram.  While, traditionally, these 26 postures are performed in a 105 degree room with 40% humidity, that will not be the case at Hot Feet. We will be practicing these postures in an 80 degree room with around 25 - 30% humidity. I am very excited to share this practice with you, especially with you yogi’s out there that have a desire to explore this style but have been understandably apprehensive regarding the extreme heat integral to a traditional Bikram studio.

 

If you’re wondering what makes this practice different than the many other classes Hot Feet currently offers it’s this: our other yoga styles are, to me, like a box of chocolates. Not only are they a treat, you also never know what's coming next. In contrast, Hatha26 is a set sequence of postures, each asana is intended to compliment the previous pose. The sequence, in my opinion, is where you find the yoga magic. In other words?  The predictability and familiarity of the sequence is where you discover the very different YOU that arrives on the mat each and every practice. The Hatha26 practitioner will eventually find that knowing what is to come reveals an entirely different aspect of their internal exploration because, when each practice involves the same asanas in the same sequence, the yogi is freed from thinking about what is coming next and, therefore, can escape their mind and spend some focused time in their body. It challenges the yogi to actively listen to the teachers instructions and to move, without anticipation, to the next posture. It is a practice of patience.

 

You’re invited to arrive and imbibe in 51 minutes of being in the moment, to leave your interpersonal baggage checked at the door and think only about the words spoken and your reflection in the mirror. 51 minutes to think about strength, balance and breath alone. 51 minutes to remind yourself that you are strong and capable of handling what’s coming next, without expectations.

Stacy Manning
Hot Feet Fitness Yoga Instructor



Picture Credit: Unsplash

Reason to Retreat: How Wellness Retreats can Benefit You!

As a society, we tend to praise hard work and workplace dedication...

 

So much so that it reflects our current health-care system and workplace vacation policies. Of all the countries in the world, America is one of the few that do not offer paid time off. Employers that do offer time off may provide 12 days on average for their employees. Compared to the 20 day average of European countries, we are a little far behind.

 

In the past decade, the rise of self-care and wellness practices has showered the general public with information and opportunities to treat ourselves. More and more people are realizing how pivotal self-care is in preventing us from burning out. We are starting to accept the idea that we cannot pour from an empty cup, that personal time to recharge is needed, and that in order to recharge, sometimes we need to get away.

While a strong self-care practice at home is beneficial, wellness retreats can offer the time, space, and distance we need to disconnect from the demands around us. Studies have shown that people who attend retreats receive longer-lasting benefits that those who simply practice at home (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5149565/).

 

The obstacles, concerns, anxieties, and habitual routines that are present in daily life are no longer there. While in a retreat, you can create your own world where you are allowed the chance to experience yourself differently while practicing self-connection. Whether its’ a weekend retreat nearby or a week-long experience abroad, retreats can leave you feeling recharged and rejuvenated, ready to take on life once again.

 

Retreats can be an intense, they can be an investment, but being able to experience self-connection without any of the distractions and being able to fully immerse yourself in your journey are what make retreats such a powerful experience.

 

If you are interested in experiencing a retreat for yourself, check out the few below being offered by your Hot Feet instructors below!

 

Discover Spain Cultural Immersion and Yoga Retreat

Host: Diana Ratsamee

May 11, 2019 - May 18, 2019

October 12, 2019 - October 19, 2019

 

Explore the intimate, authentic, and raw parts of yourself through travel. With travel and tourism on the rise, it has become easier than ever to get lost. And while getting lost may be part of the journey, eventually, we all yearn to find ourselves. Discover Spain goes beyond the tour by inviting you to dive into yourself through mindful practices and activities led by our team of experienced travelers, spiritual healers, and yoga teachers. We will stay with you as we traverse our inner selves through authentic connection with Andalusia.

 

Contact: info@dianaratana.com

Diana Ratana
Hot Feet Fitness Yoga & Barre Instructor 



Picture Credit: Unsplash 

Under Pressure!

“Perhaps I should just bury myself and become a diamond after thousands of years of intense pressure.” ~ Lemony Snicket, The Lump of Coal

 

I believe Mr. Snicket was onto something with regards to pressure and its purifying fire of change, albeit his time frame is a smidge off.

Let me explain.  

Intense pressure applied to simple carbon forces its atoms into orderly alignment in a way that, once revealed by a lapidary, produces a captivating, light-gathering diamond. Light is invited to move through it, reflect, refract and dazzle; the diamond’s sparkle demands your attention and its deep transparency is mesmerizing.
 
If you’re lucky, you have met people that possess the same facets. They are somehow different and utterly captivating in their deep transparency. They are the type of people you want to be near, to glean just what it is about them that makes them sparkle so.

It is my observation that people of such presence have known pressure intimately. They have not only faced pressure, but have leaned into and endured it. They are those among us who have learned and, most importantly accepted, that in order to realize a greater spiritual maturation they must remain in the heat; they have accepted the pressure for the transformational force that it is and have learned to see it as an opportunity to be blessed by the experience. In other words? They are the kind of person that has cultivated the ability to find comfort in the discomfort.

When a yogi chooses to apply pressure to oneself through the practice of asanas, this very type of transformation is underway, one meditation at a time. When a yogi show’s up for a class they are consciously and intentionally applying multi-faceted pressure to push themselves; pressure to breathe with movement and not simply gut it out, pressure to find their very edge and equal pressure to let it go, to counter their maximum effort with savasana, a conscious practice of relaxation.

On the mat, under pressure from both within and without, is where we find that we are capable of withstanding more pressure than we realized.This is where we can discover comfort in the discomfort and more stillness than we thought we could endure. Yoga asks that you show up, no matter the external pressures of your day and lean into your practice; yoga reveals your ability to do hard things and begs the question; “What other pressures are you capable of withstanding?”
 
My guess? More than you think.

Stacy Manning
Hot Feet Fitness Yoga Instructor
 
 

Picture Credit: Unsplash

Your Body is Built in the Kitchen!

OUR HEALTH & OUR BODIES ARE MADE IN THE KITCHEN!
 
Check out some of our favorite recipes for making your body feel super good. Even better, give them a try this month! 

Our Favorite Smoothie, Snack, and Morning Kick Off Smoothie
1 cup of almond or coconut milk
1 spoonful of almond/walnut/peanut butter
1 frozen banana
1 scoop of non dairy protein (pea, rice, or hemp protein are good ones)
4-5 ice cubes
 
Our Favorite Vegan Pumpkin Energy Balls 
3 cups dry, uncooked oatmeal (try gluten-free thick cut oats)
1 cup organic Pumpkin Puree
1 cup organic Peanut, Almond, Cashew, or Sunflower butter
2/3 cup pure maple syrup or raw honey
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract
4-6 Tbsp ground flax seeds (if ‘dough’ seems too wet, then add more ground flax, if it’s too dry, add less…start with a smaller quantity)
1 cup small chopped walnuts, chopped almonds, chopped peanuts, coconut flakes, or any combination of mix-ins that equal 1 cup total
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips 
1-2 scoops Vegan Protein 
 
Snack
One of our favorite snacks when we are on the go or need a little pick me up is to mix raisins, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and almonds together in a plastic snack size bag and grab a banana. Keep this in your car, or on the counter top when you are feeling a little hungry or craving some sugar. It will help satisfy the tastebuds! 
 
Morning Kick Off
Every morning when you wake up and before you eat anything, drink 12-20 ounces of luke warm water with half of a fresh squeezed lemon and a shot of apple cider vinegar. This is a great jumpstart for your system and helps cleanse the body out of toxins. Try it! 

"The path towards feeling good means gaining a deeper understanding of what is truly important to you, then taking tiny steps towards holding your needs in balance." ~Dr. Mark Hyman
 
Teanna G
Studio Manager
 
 

There's an APP for that!

 

"I just wanted to thank you and everyone at Hot Feet for providing the new class videos on the app... I have been so slammed at work lately, and really wanted to go to yoga yesterday to help myself unwind. Unfortunately, after battling traffic, walking the dog, and making dinner, it was already 7:20 and I wasn't going to be able to make the last class. I decided to try Serena's Power Vinyasa Flow video at home and it was so awesome! I got a great workout in on my own schedule, and it was exactly what I needed. 
 
I am really enjoying being a member of this community and everything you are providing. Just wanted to share my appreciation! Have a great weekend :)"
 
~Mallory R (Hot Feet Member) 

Join Mallory and Workout, Yoga, Barre, Stretch, and Meditate with us no matter where you are!

DOWNLOAD OUR APP TODAY! 

https://www.hotfeetfitness.com/app
 
 

How To Embrace Change and New Beginnings

Change is inevitable in our lives. Whether they be major life transitions such as starting a new role, moving to a new place, starting/ending a relationship, or minor changes like a shift in the seasons, we are ever-changing beings, constantly moving and constantly transforming.
 
These transitions can bring exciting and invigorating new elements to our lives. They can also be stressful and bring mixed emotions. Whatever transitional state we are in, it is key to remember that these times are pivotal moments for self-reflection and discovery. As we move forward along our journey, keep note of these points below to help you in embracing the changes around us and in ourselves.
 
Acknowledge that change is difficult
Change can shake your sense of identity, making you question your decisions and even yourself. It’s natural for us to define ourselves by our surroundings. When we take ourselves out of our normal elements, we’re left feeling lost, confused, and sometimes even afraid. It’s important to recognize that these feelings aren’t abnormal and that they are a part of this process. Without change, there cannot be growth. Let this be the catalyst in your transition when you start to feel challenged. This brings us to our next point:
 
Take change as an opportunity to challenge yourself
Often times, we become accustomed to our routines and daily schedules. This is one of the reasons why change can be so difficult. We fall into the comfort of monotony, the known, and the expected. Transitions are an opportunity for us to get out of our comfort zone and start practicing new habits. As you incorporate these new habits into your life, you’ll begin to adjust to this once new and scary situation. The fear and uncertainty will start to wear off and you will exude confidence. There is no better feeling than mastering a challenge, but in order to do that, you must first take the risk. 
 
Keep in mind that while staying the same is comfortable, veering off into the unknown can be exciting space for growth. 
 
Be mindful to the moment
It’s easy to get bogged down by all the negative feelings that can come with change. When you start to feel overwhelmed with uncertainty, take a mindful moment for yourself. This could mean taking time to dive back into your practice, turning inward with meditation, or taking part in an activity that can calm your angst. Remember that these feelings are temporary, but the growth that you will experience will stay with you indefinitely.
 
Reflect and document
Being in transition is a time for growth. It allows you to not only evaluate where you will be heading in this journey, but also where you’ve come from. Take this time as you make your transition to reflect on yourself, where you’ve been, and where you’ll be going. Look at the parts of yourself and your life now that you value most. Maybe you can ask yourself how you can bring those parts to this new phase of your life. Reflect on what changes you’d like to make. As you reflect on these questions, feel free to use the Indian Journals Paperback journal provided in your box to document your thoughts and internalize the lessons learned from your past experiences.

Diana Ratana
Yoga, Barre, & Meditation Teacher 
Hot Feet Fitness 
 
 

 

Finding Balance

I wrote this article over the summer for the Highline Times all about having a balanced summer. But, I think it applies to all seasons of the year. Check it out and let me know what you think! 

http://www.highlinetimes.com/2016/08/15/features/healthy-life-recipe-balanced-summer

In Health, 

Teanna Gentry
Director of Operations