A Meditation Practice for Improving Memory & More!

There are many things that we cannot change as we get older, good thing memory loss does not have to be one. A growing body of research suggests that a mind-body exercise could improve memory and cognitive function in older adults: specifically Kirtan Kriya meditation.

Studies conducted by the Alzheimer's Research and Prevention Foundation have shown that this particular meditation can be particularly helpful for the aging adult. The practice boosts cognition and help reverse perceived memory loss in older adults with subjective cognitive decline (SCD).

Kirtan Kriya, a type of meditation from the Kundalini yoga tradition, has been practiced for thousands of years to help bring the body, mind and emotions into balance to enable healing. This non religious form for meditation combines mudra (hand gesture), mantra (vocalization), visualization, and regulated breathing. The combination is a powerful stimulus for the brain.

It is a very detailed meditation that can most easily be practiced with a qualified Kundalini instructor. However, here is a link to a description of the practice to get you started at home.

Resource: http://alzheimersprevention.org/research/kirtan-kriya-yoga-exercise/

How do you practice Kirtan Kriya?    

  1. Repeat the Saa Taa Naa Maa sounds (or mantra) while sitting with your spine straight. Your focus of concentration is the L form (see illustration), while your eyes are closed. With each syllable, imagine the sound flowing in through the top of your head and out the middle of your forehead (your third eye point).
  2. For two minutes, sing in your normal voice.
  3. For the next two minutes, sing in a whisper.
  4. For the next four minutes, say the sound silently to yourself.
  5. Then reverse the order, whispering for two minutes, and then out loud for two minutes, for a total of twelve minutes.
  6. To come out of the exercise, inhale very deeply, stretch your hands above your head, and then bring them down slowly in a sweeping motion as you exhale.

The mudras, or finger positions, are very important in this kriya (see illustration below).

Kirtan Kriya finger positions (mudras)

  • On Saa, touch the index fingers of each hand to your thumbs.
  • On Taa, touch your middle fingers to your thumbs.
  • On Naa, touch your ring fingers to your thumbs.
  • On Maa, touch your little fingers to your thumbs.

Kristen O'Connor
Hot Feet Fitness Yoga Instructor 

Family Yoga!

When I had my first daughter 3 plus year ago I had no idea how to take everything I had been learning during my years of yoga practicing and teaching and apply it to how to be a compassionate, patient, and loving mother. I did have a great example to follow and I am thankful for a mom who was all those things.

It is one thing to embody compassion in the quiet morning hours when I choose to meditate, but it is another to try to live up to that expectation every hour of the day and in the middle of the night.

As I am encouraging her to think of something happy, we sing a quiet song together. We hug.  My daughter and I take a deep breath, and we both feel better. We are learning it together how to approach each new moment as mother and daughter. She taught me a mantra to go with a hand gesture meditation I wanted to share with her. "I feel much better".

The beauty and simplicity of those words stunned me and made me feel better. We try it together.

Touching the thumb to the tip of each finger repeat out loud.

Index finger: I

Middle finger: Feel

Ring finger: Much

Pinky finger: Better

I wish that there was never a time when I felt anger or frustration, but I have these feelings. I am aware of them.

When I do yoga with my 3 year old I do not teach her, I share it with her and try not to get in her way, but keep her coming back. I try to remember just how lucky I am to be joining in that moment with her whatever it looks like.

Today I have another daughter and I feel like it is yet again a whole new experience in being present. However, this time I am able to take a step back and see so much more clearly. Of course hindsight is always 20/20, but in this case the gift of presence is truly 20/20.

Make life an effortless and enjoyable game, why not? It doesn't mean that there are no times for serious, but to live in a state of stress is not good for anyone in the family, so why not make it fun for everyone.

Kristen O'Connor
Hot Feet Fitness Yoga Instructor

GET OFF YOUR BUTT RIGHT NOW! Your future self will thank you.

"I don't have time"

"I have to go to a fancy gym, buy expensive equipment"

"I have no motivation"

"I have no energy"

"It's boring"

Sound familiar?

My excuse is I don't have time. I am a busy businessman and I just can't spare the time. As I thought about this, I came up with a plan. Could I workout for just 5 minutes a day to start? We all have 5 minutes a day to workout. But starting a workout regimen is harder after a long period of inactivity. With this in mind, I created the 5-minute workout. It only takes 5 minutes a day that's it. EVERYONE has 5 minutes they can spare. 

I want to give the 5-minute workout book for free so you can continue to live healthy.

Download your 5-minute workout here.

Exercise Adds Years to Your Life

One study found that the average 65-year-old can expect an additional 12.7 years of healthy life meaning he will live disability-free until age 77.7. Highly active 65-years-olds, however, have an additional 5.7 years of healthy life expectancy — they will remain disability-free until age 83.4.

Without exercise, you increase your risk of a wide assortment of chronic illnesses. Here is a list of conditions and how many people have them:

  • Coronary heart disease (12.6 million)
  • Heart attack (1.1 million)
  • Diabetes (17 million)
  • Hip fracture (300,000)
  • High blood pressure (50 million)
  • Obesity (50 million)
  • Overweight (108 million)

Sitting around or lying around all day makes you weak. Do you want to live your life like this? 


ASK YOURSELF: How do you want to live your life? 
Do you want to add years to your life?


Your time is running out! You will not live forever. Get off your butt right now. Your future self will thank you! 


Jerrod Sessler
Owner & Founder Hot Feet Fitness 

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

The Wonderful World of Indoor Plants

 

“All I want is to plant some trees, save the bees and protect the seas”

Why plants…..

 

Uh they are amazing! No really though - they have so many benefits! They make your space look cozy and beautiful, they are air purifiers, they have feelings, they absorb noise and stress, concentration and production is improved, the list goes on.  Sooooo many people are afraid to get plants because the curse of the ‘brown thumb’ so I decided to make it super easy. Trying to research what kind of plant does well in a west facing window can be tiresome and super overwhelming. Here are my favorite indoor plants and where I keep them in my house and how much I actually remember to water them……

Boston ferns…..literally one in each room. They look cool - low maintenance and every room of my house gets a different amount of sunlight. The Pacific North West is literally the greatest place ever - you can pull off the side of any road and find a fern. This plant is one of the greatest air purifiers in the green family - it’s specialty is formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is all over your house - glues, plywood, insulation, and everyday use home items (that’s an entire other blog!).  These little guys like indirect sunlight - so a corner of a room that isn’t in the window. Ferns like humidity so you can even leave it in your bathroom! Make sure the soil is moist and not to drown it, not only will it make a mess but it will stress the roots out.

Yesssssss - my next favorite is the snake plant! This plant comes from West Africa and has some really cool nicknames - ‘the mother-in-laws tongue,’ and ‘ the vipers bowstring hemp.’ This plant I keep in my bedroom, my office, and my sons room. This plant is extra special for a few reasons - it can survive a drought so you don’t have to remember to water it very often AND it has a very rare way of exchanging gases. The pores on the plant only open at night to prevent water from evaporating in the sun. Basically the plant will give you an extra boost of oxygen at night! NASA did a study on it and it can remove 4 out of the 5 main toxins in a home and you can give a cutting to a friend and they can grow their own!

Lastly, the reed palm. I have four in my kitchen, two in my living room and one in my bathroom. Another great air purifier! This plant’s filters out all the chemicals that can be found in furniture, cleaners, and almost every other household item. These green friends like a little bit of sunlight and a more drainable soil. I use soil with rocks in it…or if you don’t want to buy any of that make your own. I have a bunch of little rocks in my outdoor garden that I collect and mix it in my potting soil. These are a little more high maintenance because you have to remove dead leaves so that it encourages the rest of the plant to grow! They are slow growing but they take up corner spaces nicely and the leaves are beautiful!

 

Of course these aren’t the only indoor plants - there are so many!!!! My house is like a living jungle - sometime when I move plants around they start to look sad so I move them around to see where they are most happy. Just make sure you keep them out of drafty areas/heaters and make sure to tell them how pretty they are! Plants are living beings, they absorb stress; enjoy Mozart and help you breathe better!

Lauren Bragg, Hot Feet Fitness Live Healthy Program Coach, Yoga & Barre 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


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