The Importance of the Breath

Written by Kristen, kids yoga, vinyasa yoga, hatha yoga, and yoga twist instructor at Hot Feet Fitness.

 

I often have my clients ask me why it is so important to practice breathing. Like because they do it all the time it has lost any value or intention and is just automatic and disconnected from everything else. However, the opposite is true. Breathing is the easiest way of understanding our underlying emotions and of our physical experience. It creates opportunity for transformation because it connects us so completely with all that we are capable. 

 

How are you breathing right now? 

When you take control of your breath, take control of body and mind. 

Direct the breath down into your tummy. Put your hands on your belly. Feel it move. It gets bigger as you inhale and smaller as you exhale. Inhale deeply and exhale completely just once and you can notice the mind is calmer and more peaceful. 

 

Direct the breathe into the ribs. Wrap your thumbs around the back of your waist and try to feel you breathe with your fingers. The ribs move like an umbrella, opening on an inhale and closing on an exhale. This wider breathing can support space between the middle and lower back, giving posture support where we need it most. Try it and notice that the core has to turn on and be more supportive, not to mention this requires focus and intention. So we drop into a different frequency of consciousness, no longer riding the waves of thought, but getting still and aware. 

Now direct your breath into your chest. Bring your fingertips under your collar bones and feel the breath down at your sternum. The shoulders become more relaxed, if they were not already, and the neck feels less burdened, because the head will naturally come back into better alignment when we breathe into the chest. 

 

Naturally the way we breathe supports good posture and even a good mood. These things are not disconnected. Feeling good comes from breathing good, just like observing how your breathing can be labored or shallow with stress. 

 

One of the easiest ways to support good posture is to breathe well. Not just breathing into the tummy, but to breathe into the sides and back of the ribs as well as the chest. This three-part breathing will enhance your proprioception, interception, and general self awareness. 

 

Please don't take my word for it. Don't just believe what I am saying. Challenge yourself. Transformation starts in the transition from inhale to exhale and exhale to inhale. Do you want to feel better? Start by breathing better.

Practices To Help Cope With Stress

Written by Diana, barre instructor at Hot Feet

 

Right now, many of us are experiencing a whole range of uncomfortable feelings – sometimes all of them in one day. It’s pretty much a roller coaster.

But if you know to anticipate the turbulence, learn how to ride the rough patches and have strategies ready for when you’re experiencing those feelings, you can take good care of yourself as you navigate this new territory.

First, remember to let yourself feel your feelings without judgment. Your responses are totally normal.

 

 



If you’re feeling fear:
- Put your hand on your heart & take several deep breaths.
- Check in with yourself: Do you need to connect? Do you need to cocoon?
- If you need support, reach out. Call a trusted friend.
- If you prefer to be alone, say to yourself out loud “I’m here for you. We will get through this.”

  - Ask for wisdom from your wisest self/higher power of choice. Grab a pen & write down what comes.  

If you’re feeling sad:
- Let yourself rest. This is important.
- As you’re able, look for moments of meaning. There’s a whole lot of kindness going around right now.
- When you’re ready, ask “What can I do to spread kindness? How can I offer meaning?”

If you're feeling irritable:
- Remember, many people are on edge right now.
- When your loved ones lash out, can you try to respond with gentleness?
- When you’re the one feeling irritable, can you try sharing how you’re feeling?

We really can’t avoid the experiences and feelings that we’re having. But we can take good care of ourselves -- and good care of each other -- as we navigate new territory together.

Kids Yoga Ideas for Home

Written by Kristen, kids yoga, vinyasa yoga, yoga twist, and hatha yoga teacher at Hot Feet

 

Here is an outline to bring yoga geared toward kids into your home. This is an outline of ideas with an outer space theme. You can do all of it or parts of it. Whatever works best for you!

 

Outer Space Theme - 

 

Well wishes: 

● May I be happy, may I be peaceful, May I be safe, may I be kind. 

● May you be happy, may you be peaceful, may you be safe, may you be kind. 

 

Review of expectations: We stay on our mats unless directed to do otherwise, we stay focused on ourselves and not each other. 

 

Sun Salutations 

● Start standing with feet together, hands at the heart in prayer. (Mountain) 

● Stretch up to the sky (Salute the sun) 

● Fold down to the toes (Forward fold) 

● Jump the feet back (Plank) 

● Lay on your belly and lift your heart (cobra or up dog) 

● Lift the hips up high making a triangle (down dog) 

● Jump or walk feet to hands (forward fold) 

● Reach up to the sky (Salute the sun) 

● Return hands to heart (Mountain) 

Repeat  2 or 3 times



Breathing - Star Visualization 

 

Imagine a bright star shining overhead. It is unique just like you. What color is it? How bright is it? How does the light move through space? Start to imagine this light shining down through the top of your head. This unique star is your star, it is special to you and its energy can go right down through the top of your head. See the light coming into your head and lighting up your face. You can feel the energy of this star down into your hands. It will continue to light up your heart. Your tummy. Down into your legs. It lights up your hands and feet. Take a moment and just feel that special light from your star in your hands and feet. How does it feel? Does it tickle or tingle or vibrate? Does it take on a new color? Are there places in your body that are brighter or duller? Stay sitting as long as needed. 



Space Story: 

 

Pax lived on planet Beserk. Pax was a peaceful Alien who loved the quiet stillness. 

 

● Alien pose (Make up an alien pose.) All of his friends loved to stay up late being loud playing music and dancing. 

● Telescope pose (cobra) One day he decided to take a rocket and leave his home planet to see if he could find a quiet place. 

● Rocket pose (chair pose and then jump) 

● Galaxy pose - hip circles 

● Shooting star pose - tip toes walking around mat. Opposite arm and leg lifts. 

● Comet pose flow (side angle to peaceful warrior - sweep hand forward, then back) 

 

● Child's pose - It seemed like most of the universe was big and loud and scary. 



● Reverse tabletop - Then he sees a black hole. At first it seemed quiet and calm, but as Pax got closer it turned out to be more than he had bargained for and he was sucked into the black hole. Then Pax arrived in our galaxy. 

 

● Sun pose (Mountain pose) 

 

Partner Planet poses 

● Dwarf plants - smallest circle holding hands 

● Neptune - lean into each other hands high 

● Saturn - warrior 3 

● Jupiter - biggest circle we can make holding hands or feet and hands 

● Orion's belt pose (tree) back to back 

● Asteroid (reclined over rock) 

● Boat feet together - Pax arrived on the most colorful planet and saw the yogis meditating and saw how they shared the practice with each other and it made them stronger. He decided he could learn from them and bring this knowledge back to his home planet. 

 

● Ease pose back to back breathing - Pax returns to his home planet and decides to teach meditation. He teaches his whole planet how they can enjoy music and dancing and also enjoy quiet and stillness. He teaches them how to calm down and they teach him to go with the flow because teaching and learning go hand in hand. 

● Crescent moon 

● Star gazing pose (Savasana) 

 

High Energy Game - 

● Stop and go yoga pose. "Rocket man" Elton John musical yoga mats. Play the music while you move like you are an astronaut in space. 

● Asteroid toss, scarves or pom poms, through hula hoop. 

 

Reading a poem and/Or Visualization - MISSION PEACE – Today is an important day and you feel excitement growing inside of you. Taking a deep breath through your nose you begin to feel calm and more focused. Today you will travel with your fellow astronauts into outer space. You slip one leg and then the other into a silver jumpsuit that has been selected as your official uniform for your travel. You fall in line with your team and find yourself walking through the exit door and down a ramp towards the shuttle. You climb the steps that have been placed in front of 

the shuttle and wave at the people that have gathered to watch the blast off. Inside the shuttle you see a circle of seats and you land in the nearest one. You slip one shoulder and then the other into the harness seat belt that will secure you in this powerful take off. You look in front of you and notice the floor is a window and you will be able to view the entire landscape around you during your travel. 

 

The intercom announces your departure and the four... three... two...one… launch has become a reality. You feel the power of the release as you are sent into the atmosphere and find yourself looking at the earth as if it were a pea. You see the light change as you move into outer space and take a deep breath to calm your ever- growing excitement. You now see particles of light, chards of meteor and a darker horizon. The atmosphere has shifted and you observe a hair comb float by you. Your team member laughs as he realizes he forgot to take his comb out of his pocket before entering the shuttle. 

 

You know your trip will be short as time is reduced when you travel this fast. You look forward to your mission. Stars are around you now and there are pieces of hazy matter you are not familiar with. The area is dark and you realize you have traveled far beyond the earth’s orbit. The intercom informs you that you will soon be landing on your destination and you take yet another breath to calm your building anticipation. You feel the landing and are instructed to release your harness, move into the outer chamber and suit up for your mission. It is only ten steps to the exit and you begin to move. 

 

As you place the outerwear over your jumpsuit you find that you are weightless and must move slowly in order to keep your balance. You place the helmet with oxygen over your head and as the inner chamber door locks you step through the opening outer exit. Out into a world that is unfamiliar and resembles a mystical version of your planet earth. You have been chosen to place the flag into the crust of this new planet and you begin to do so with the support of your team. You stand back and admire the design that has been developed for this mission and notice the colorful symbol and letters warm your heart. Each letter has been carefully designed to put the intention of your mission into the energy of this place. 

 

You smile, and know that the PEACE you have chosen to represent this mission will generate the intention of the entire planet earth. Peace, shanti, the message we all wish to place into our future. Feeling complete and content you move with the small team back through the shuttle door and decompress in the inner chamber. Removing your suits, you move back into the inner shuttle where you secure your seat belts and prepare for the return voyage. Taking a deep breath you now relax and know you have made a contribution to the world and can feel proud of your mission. The Peace shuttle lifts and propels from the new found planet to carry you home. 

 

Meditation - Peace (unity) begins with me 

 

● Well wishes 

 

● Closing OMs

 

 

 

 

Kids Yoga Ideas for Home

Written by Kristen, kids yoga, vinyasa yoga, hatha yoga, and yoga twist instructor at Hot Feet Fitness.

 

Here is an outline to bring yoga geared toward kids into your home. This is an outline of ideas with an outer space theme. You can do all of it or parts of it. Whatever works best for you!

 

Outer Space Theme - 

 

Well wishes: 

● May I be happy, may I be peaceful, May I be safe, may I be kind. 

● May you be happy, may you be peaceful, may you be safe, may you be kind. 

 

Review of expectations: We stay on our mats unless directed to do otherwise, we stay focused on ourselves and not each other. 

 

Sun Salutations 

● Start standing with feet together, hands at the heart in prayer. (Mountain) 

● Stretch up to the sky (Salute the sun) 

● Fold down to the toes (Forward fold) 

● Jump the feet back (Plank) 

● Lay on your belly and lift your heart (cobra or up dog) 

● Lift the hips up high making a triangle (down dog) 

● Jump or walk feet to hands (forward fold) 

● Reach up to the sky (Salute the sun) 

● Return hands to heart (Mountain) 

Repeat  2 or 3 times



Breathing - Star Visualization 

 

Imagine a bright star shining overhead. It is unique just like you. What color is it? How bright is it? How does the light move through space? Start to imagine this light shining down through the top of your head. This unique star is your star, it is special to you and its energy can go right down through the top of your head. See the light coming into your head and lighting up your face. You can feel the energy of this star down into your hands. It will continue to light up your heart. Your tummy. Down into your legs. It lights up your hands and feet. Take a moment and just feel that special light from your star in your hands and feet. How does it feel? Does it tickle or tingle or vibrate? Does it take on a new color? Are there places in your body that are brighter or duller? Stay sitting as long as needed. 



Space Story: 

 

Pax lived on planet Beserk. Pax was a peaceful Alien who loved the quiet stillness. 

 

● Alien pose (Make up an alien pose.) All of his friends loved to stay up late being loud playing music and dancing. 

● Telescope pose (cobra) One day he decided to take a rocket and leave his home planet to see if he could find a quiet place. 

● Rocket pose (chair pose and then jump) 

● Galaxy pose - hip circles 

● Shooting star pose - tip toes walking around mat. Opposite arm and leg lifts. 

● Comet pose flow (side angle to peaceful warrior - sweep hand forward, then back) 

 

● Child's pose - It seemed like most of the universe was big and loud and scary. 



● Reverse tabletop - Then he sees a black hole. At first it seemed quiet and calm, but as Pax got closer it turned out to be more than he had bargained for and he was sucked into the black hole. Then Pax arrived in our galaxy. 

 

● Sun pose (Mountain pose) 

 

Partner Planet poses 

● Dwarf plants - smallest circle holding hands 

● Neptune - lean into each other hands high 

● Saturn - warrior 3 

● Jupiter - biggest circle we can make holding hands or feet and hands 

● Orion's belt pose (tree) back to back 

● Asteroid (reclined over rock) 

● Boat feet together - Pax arrived on the most colorful planet and saw the yogis meditating and saw how they shared the practice with each other and it made them stronger. He decided he could learn from them and bring this knowledge back to his home planet. 

 

● Ease pose back to back breathing - Pax returns to his home planet and decides to teach meditation. He teaches his whole planet how they can enjoy music and dancing and also enjoy quiet and stillness. He teaches them how to calm down and they teach him to go with the flow because teaching and learning go hand in hand. 

● Crescent moon 

● Star gazing pose (Savasana) 

 

High Energy Game - 

● Stop and go yoga pose. "Rocket man" Elton John musical yoga mats. Play the music while you move like you are an astronaut in space. 

● Asteroid toss, scarves or pom poms, through hula hoop. 

 

Reading a poem and/Or Visualization - MISSION PEACE – Today is an important day and you feel excitement growing inside of you. Taking a deep breath through your nose you begin to feel calm and more focused. Today you will travel with your fellow astronauts into outer space. You slip one leg and then the other into a silver jumpsuit that has been selected as your official uniform for your travel. You fall in line with your team and find yourself walking through the exit door and down a ramp towards the shuttle. You climb the steps that have been placed in front of 

the shuttle and wave at the people that have gathered to watch the blast off. Inside the shuttle you see a circle of seats and you land in the nearest one. You slip one shoulder and then the other into the harness seat belt that will secure you in this powerful take off. You look in front of you and notice the floor is a window and you will be able to view the entire landscape around you during your travel. 

 

The intercom announces your departure and the four... three... two...one… launch has become a reality. You feel the power of the release as you are sent into the atmosphere and find yourself looking at the earth as if it were a pea. You see the light change as you move into outer space and take a deep breath to calm your ever- growing excitement. You now see particles of light, chards of meteor and a darker horizon. The atmosphere has shifted and you observe a hair comb float by you. Your team member laughs as he realizes he forgot to take his comb out of his pocket before entering the shuttle. 

 

You know your trip will be short as time is reduced when you travel this fast. You look forward to your mission. Stars are around you now and there are pieces of hazy matter you are not familiar with. The area is dark and you realize you have traveled far beyond the earth’s orbit. The intercom informs you that you will soon be landing on your destination and you take yet another breath to calm your building anticipation. You feel the landing and are instructed to release your harness, move into the outer chamber and suit up for your mission. It is only ten steps to the exit and you begin to move. 

 

As you place the outerwear over your jumpsuit you find that you are weightless and must move slowly in order to keep your balance. You place the helmet with oxygen over your head and as the inner chamber door locks you step through the opening outer exit. Out into a world that is unfamiliar and resembles a mystical version of your planet earth. You have been chosen to place the flag into the crust of this new planet and you begin to do so with the support of your team. You stand back and admire the design that has been developed for this mission and notice the colorful symbol and letters warm your heart. Each letter has been carefully designed to put the intention of your mission into the energy of this place. 

 

You smile, and know that the PEACE you have chosen to represent this mission will generate the intention of the entire planet earth. Peace, shanti, the message we all wish to place into our future. Feeling complete and content you move with the small team back through the shuttle door and decompress in the inner chamber. Removing your suits, you move back into the inner shuttle where you secure your seat belts and prepare for the return voyage. Taking a deep breath you now relax and know you have made a contribution to the world and can feel proud of your mission. The Peace shuttle lifts and propels from the new found planet to carry you home. 

 

Meditation - Peace (unity) begins with me 

 

● Well wishes 

● Closing OMs

 

Healthy Work-From-Home Habits

Millions are taking their work home this month in order to do their part in keeping families, friends, and community safe through social distancing. During this time, it’s more important than ever to be mindful of your work-life-balance. When bringing the office into the home space, home and work responsibilities can seem to blend into one long unending task. Working in isolation can also make you lonely, anxious, and affect your performance. 

 

 

 

To break the monotony and keep healthy work habits at home, here are a few tips to help bring balance and mindfulness into your routine:

 

1. Keep or create a morning ritual.

 

Just because your “office” may be in your home doesn’t mean you have to give up your morning routine. Make getting ready for the day a ritual, one where you can ease yourself out of rest and into the work you plan to do for the day. Maybe start your day with a little meditation, exercise, a nice shower and a cup of tea or coffee. Try to avoid checking the news or social media for the first few moments after waking, you’ll have the rest of the day to be bombarded by others. Let the morning be just for you.

 

2. Create a dedicated workspace and transform the space during work hours.

 

Our minds are always working, even when we are unaware. We subconsciously attribute our work space to our work. By transforming a dedicated area of our home into a workspace during work hours, we tell our subconscious mind that it is time to focus and put our energy into work. We can turn this off by changing the workspace once work hours are finished. This will allow our subconscious mind to rest and feel that work is over for the day. The space is no longer here to subconsciously trigger you to work and you can rest until tomorrow.

 

3. Move, stretch, check-in periodically.

 

Sitting for long periods of time can be one of the most detrimental things to our health, especially for those of us who work in office jobs. Try to make a habit of standing up every hour, moving, and checking-in with ourselves. Set a timer if you have to. 

 

4. Manage your work hours. Shut down when off-hours.

 

It is easy to blend work into your home life when working from home. This makes it challenging further down the line, to effectively relax and restore. The purpose of turning off is to rest so that we can be recharged and be ready to embrace the next day's challenges effectively. 

 

5. Stay connected!

Set some time to connect with your co-workers, families, and friends. Set up a time to call or check-in. Many people are scheduling online social hours during this time. Stay in community.

 

Remember, the only person responsible for your health and well-being is you. Let’s move toward a path of empowerment and not forget to work for ourselves when working from home.

 

Written by Diana, a Barre Teacher at Hot Feet

Notice the Thought, But Don’t Think It.

  
Notice the thought, but don’t think it. 

“What the heck?” my daughter scoffed, incredulous as she read that line over my shoulder, “That doesn’t even make any sense, that’s impossible.” I was as dismissive of it as she was initially, but alas, the sentiment has been rattling around in my head for the last few weeks and I’m awfully close to obsessing on it. 

How do you respond to it? Are you wondering how it could be possible to do such a thing? Does it sound like nonsense or perhaps it has a ring to it, a distillation of your need to get control over your own thoughts? 

I think it’s fair to say that when considering meditation many believe that it is a way to master our minds, to elicit some control over our thoughts. I also think that many immediately realize the futility of that pursuit and we give up on the idea altogether. 

So let's explore the veracity of the claim that we have any control at all over our thoughts. As an experiment, an inventory, grab a pen and paper and set a timer for five minutes then write down every thought you have. 

My bet? You wouldn’t even make it to three minutes. Our brains are whirring non-stop, unconsciously filling with thoughts in seemingly unconnected ways. That snub you suffered from that mean Jennifer on the playground in fifth grade to that new haircut you’ve been considering to that adorable pooch from the Westminster Dog Show and on. Indeed, controlling our thoughts is an impossible task. So if we don’t have a way to control them how can we change the way our minds are working if they’re not working for us? 

We can change how we feel about the thought, how we respond to the thought. 

That’s what I think “Notice the thought, don’t think it” really means, to consider how the thought makes you feel, why do you feel the way you feel about the thought and instead of being at the mercy of the emotions the thought might stir in you, rather you start making conscious, deliberate choices to feel those feelings or not. 

So, without thinking about them, what are your thoughts?
 
Written by Hot Feet yoga instructor Stacy

Clearing the Clutter

This fall I started to notice my low mood. A little seasonal affective disorder or SAD can impact even the most optimistic people, including myself. I was feeling sad and not sure how to deal with it. I did not feel like myself, so my usual moves didn't have their norm uplift: walking, yoga, bathing, Starbucks... I got frustrated and easily irritated with my family. I didn't like what I was doing, but that only made it worse; I would sink back into that depression. 

So I started to ask myself what would help? I imagined what could be weighing me down and I started to see a picture in my mind of all the books I had kept from college. Why did I feel the need to hold onto them? They certainly did not bring me Joy, in fact quite the opposite. I wanted to feel better and taking control of one book shelf felt doable even if taking control of my mind didn't feel so doable. It quickly turned into the whole living room getting decluttered. Finally I started to feel lighter, better. It felt good to take control of my living room to make it a space I could be grateful for again. 

 

Now I am onto the kitchen and hope for the same success. Sometimes the opportunities to create the life we want reside in empowering ourselves to remove the things that we realize we don't want. 

Written by: Kristen HFF Yoga Instructor