K├Ârper Stretch Teacher Training First Take

I recently attended the Körper Stretch teacher training and give it five out of five stars. As a yoga instructor, I haven’t been to a teacher training since my yoga teacher training. The Körper Stretch teacher training was just what I needed and wanted.

 

The instructors, Shea and Spring, were very welcoming and professional. They handed out the curriculum booklet when we arrived, gave us a schedule for each day of the training, and made the environment warm and comfortable. We went through the background of what Körper (meaning ‘body’ in German) Stretch is all about: a class focused on full body stretching for all fitness levels, body types, and ages. We learned that it isn’t a yoga class, but a class focused on stretching. 

 

We learned the benefits of stretching: increased flexibility and range of motion, injury prevention, improved posture, improved sports performance, and stress relief.

 

We were then led through a master class taught by Shea, which was a great way to think and feel the class a little differently after having learned the background of Körper Stretch. Then we spent some time going through potential stretches to use in class and wrote our own 5-minute sequence. Each of the participants then taught a 5-minute class segment and we got feedback afterwards.

 

I left feeling stretched (physically and mentally), got a good night’s sleep, and returned the next day. On the second day, Spring led us through a master class. This was a nice way to start the day and to see a different version of the same type of class. We learned that every teacher will teach the class differently, while at the same time providing an environment of stretching. 

 

Then the participants each led a 25-minute class. This was the real test of how we understood the material and concept of Körper Stretch. Then we each got feedback and wrapped up the training.

 

I would recommend this training to anyone who wants to learn more about stretching and anyone who wants to take their exercise or practice to the next level by teaching. The Körper Stretch Teacher Training is an inspiring way to learn, to grow, to stretch, and to be part of the community!

Alli Shircliff
Hot Feet Fitness Yoga & Stretch Teacher

 

 

Kind Words

"I am not a social media type and do not want to join Yelp. However, I do want to give Kudos to Hot Feet Fitness in Burien, WA. I am in town for a 6 week training seminar for work and Hot Feet Fitness has been a life saver. I attended class 10:30 yoga flow class Sunday Sept, 1, 2019. The instructor music and quality of class went well above and beyond my expectations. However, what was even more impressive was how squeaky clean the studio is. I would definitely recommend this studio to anyone looking for a quality yoga studio with experienced and high quality instructors."

 
All the best,
 
Jeanette Muzio
Alaska Airlines 

Opportunity abounds!

For many years in my BC (before children) era I toiled in the restaurant industry and, because I enjoy suffering, my jam was waiting tables in fine-dining houses. It’s a very self-explanatory position. As a waiter, I waited. I waited for the kitchen to prepare the food, I waited for the bartenders to pour liquor and I waited for the diners to dine. 

 

If you were savvy enough to avoid restaurant work you might not know the three universal rules that govern all dining establishments with regard to the waitstaff. Because these rules have proven to have great value out here in the Real World, I thought I would share them with you. They are as follows: 

 

Wash your hands. 

 

You’ve got time to lean? You’ve got time to clean. 

 

Never leave your section empty handed. 

 

The first two are pretty straightforward. Nobody needs a lecture on the merits of keeping sickness at bay with clean hands, nor has anyone I know ever completed their to-do list. In other words? Get to work.

 

However, the third rule is a bit more than it seems. While you can interpret “never leave your section empty handed” to mean the obvious and entirely useful, “Never head up or down the stairs without a laundry basket”, it also has a deeper meaning to me. It pushes me to consider what my “section” is in this world and for how much of it I am responsible. When considered in that light, NLYSEH can be interpreted as, “Never walk by garbage on the ground in public, pick it up”. Or perhaps, “Never walk by a grandma-type loading her groceries into her trunk without offering to help”. Further, and more challenging for me, it can mean “Never be afraid to apologize to a stranger for causing them inconvenience, even if they are the one being difficult”.

 

Our community is our section and we shant wait for the opportunity to be of service in little ways; we all have the capability, the responsibility, to clean things up a bit. Never leave your section empty handed, even if its a simple handshake, a kind word, a generous smile or simply filling a bag of trash on your way to the studio. 

 

Opportunity abounds. Don’t be a waiter. 

Stacy Manning
Hot Feet Fitness Teacher
 
 

Why You Should Consider Yoga During Pregnancy

 

 

As yoga’s popularity increases, its benefits are becoming more and more well known. Many people around the world will attest to the stress relief, core strengthening and flexibility that yoga provides. One group that can especially benefit from yoga is expecting mothers. 

 

Prenatal yoga will ease the burden of childbearing by supporting key muscles, making it easier to sleep and preparing pregnant women for childbirth. In addition to the physical benefits, yoga will increase confidence leading up to labor and calm the minds of expecting mothers. Still wondering if prenatal yoga is the right choice? Read about some of the proven benefits below. 

 

Strengthens Key Muscle Groups

Regular prenatal yoga will strengthen and tone important muscles like the abdominals and pelvic floor. The pelvic floor supports the baby as well as the digestive organs during pregnancy. Carrying a child places an extremely large burden on this important muscle group so strengthening it through yoga is a great idea. 

 

Promotes Good Posture

Carrying a child can place a great strain on the lower back, which changes the mothers’ center of gravity and can lead to bad posture before and after childbirth. There are many yoga poses designed to help alleviate pain and tension in the lower back, which improves posture and makes daily life easier. 

 

When the center of gravity changes, the feet may also be affected with problems like over pronation. This can lead to heel pain, feet and leg cramps that make standing and walking extremely unpleasant. Yoga allows the feet and legs to be elevated and stretched to reduce soreness.

 

Preparing for Childbirth

By doing yoga, you can become more in tune with your body which may increase confidence leading up to and during childbirth. The deep breathing techniques often practiced in yoga are useful during labor to make the body relax. Studies have shown that the confidence boosts associated with yoga lead to smoother deliveries. 

 

Aside from the physical benefits of prenatal yoga, joining a yoga class can provide a support system during pregnancy. Exercising and socializing with other women will help ease tension and anxiety about childbirth. 

 

Quality Sleep

Getting a good night of sleep can be challenging during pregnancy and will only get harder after childbirth. Cramps, heartburn, and stress are all common reasons why falling and staying asleep can be such a pain. Luckily, bedtime yoga has important benefits that will make sleeping easier than ever.

 

Practicing yoga before bed will help establish a bedtime routine which is a great way to wind down at night and tell your body it is time to rest. Additionally, yoga provides relief from some of the pregnancy related aches and pains that may keep women awake. Yoga encourages steady breathing which helps calm the mind and prevent anxiety and stress from getting in the way of rest. 

 

Make sure to consult a physician before practicing yoga if you are expecting and avoid hot yoga classes as well as poses that place a burden on the abdominals. Soon, you will be experiencing the wonderful benefits yoga can provide.

Stephanie James
Freelance Content Writer 

Make Your Habits Stick!

“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” the saying goes. Often times, this is used to justify the belief that some people can be too old to change, that once a person has made a particular action or thought process a habit, they are doomed to repeat this for life. 

And while it is human nature to stick to our habits, we don’t necessarily have to be the victim of unhealthy ones we build.

When it comes to our habits and the brain, our biology can tell us a lot about why we tend to autonomously perform an action. Every time we think in a certain way, perform a task, or feel a particular emotion, we continue to strengthen the neural pathways in our brain in carving these processes as habits. This is called Neuroplasticity.

When we think about something differently, learn a new task, or choose a different emotion, our brain creates a new pathway. Using this pathway enough eventually replaces the old one. It just takes time to carve that new mental pathway in order to do so.

Of course, this is an ultra-condensed and simplified version of what actually goes on in the mind when we move through our habits. In real-time, we move through our habitual actions in the blink of an eye, often times not realizing what we’ve done until far after it’s finished. When it comes to ending old habits and creating new ones: 

-Awareness is key: Become aware of events leading to a particular negative thought or
emotion. Understand its root.

-Avoid Avoiding: Allow the experience to penetrate itself. Fully.

-Experience, Without Acting: It is possible to experience pain/pleasure without being driven to act upon it

-Recognize that the moment is temporary and that this too, shall pass

When it comes to teaching an old dog new tricks, it turns out you can! You are never too old to change, but it does get harder to change the older you get. Anyone who is willing to do the work is able to change if they want to.

Diane Ratana
Hot Feet Fitness Barre, Meditation, and Yoga Instructor

Sing your heart out: Do we sing because we are happy or are we happy because we sing?

Yoga aims to connect us with ourselves, with each other, with the universe. Yoga means union. Singing or chanting is a means of coming together. It is done at birthdays, celebrations, and to share common emotions. At times it can be used in a religious context, but beyond that it brings people together with a common intention. Whether that intention is to celebrate God or celebrate life, health, overcoming obstacles, or love, singing is a means of connecting to each other and to ourselves. 

Something I have noticed in my 12 years of teaching yoga is that singing is a powerful tool. It can bring up feelings of vulnerability disguised as anger or resistance. But let me reassure you, that singing in the shower or on your yoga mat does not need to be Grammy worthy to have a powerful impact. The voice is as unique as each individual, no one sound is exactly the same. It is freeing to face fears and be completely comfortable with who you are, what you look like, what you sound like. So embrace your uniqueness, your beauty and the healing power of your sound.


Kristen O'Connor
Hot Feet Fitness Yoga & Meditation Instructor 

 

Back To Nature: How The Outdoors Can Enhance Your Yoga Practice

Yoga is a powerful tool we can use to help us connect. After all, the literal translation of yoga is “union”. In a world full of noise and distraction, the ability to connect with yourself is key to thriving. This is why when we practice yoga, we practice being present. We practice stillness, self-awareness, and finally self-acceptance. When we are able to connect deeply with ourselves on this level, we find that the connections we share with our family, friends, partners, colleagues, acquaintances, and all living things around us become much more authentic and meaningful.

Practicing yoga offers us a way to incorporate seemingly simple ideas into a world which has complicated itself. While yoga is one of the tools we can use to help us connect, connection with nature can offer many similar effects. Studies have shown that being out in nature can offer one of the most reliable boosts to your mental and physical well-being. Here are some ways incorporating nature can enhance your yoga practice.


Practicing outside can challenge you.

Within the confines of a studio, the aromas, soft lights, pleasant sounds and even the floor your lay your mat on, is controlled to set the ambience for your practice. When you take your practice outside, however, you become vulnerable to what nature has to offer you. Whether it’s the slight breeze of wind, the heat from the sun, the sounds from the animals around you, or the uneven earth beneath you, taking your practice outside means allowing yourself to embrace all that is happening in your surroundings while still remaining true to your practice. It challenges your focus, balance, and ability to stay present. Instead of battling the elements, let the elements of nature deepen your practice. Allow the breeze from the wind to remind you to deepen your breath, the sounds of the animals around help you practice stillness, and the uneven surface of the earth at your feet challenge your balance. 


You can take your practice anywhere

When you learn to embrace nature in your practice, you are learning how to embrace all external conditions that may affect your practice. Whether you are practicing in a studio, on a beach, on top of a mountain, or in a bustling city, learning to embrace all conditions means being able to practice anywhere. Being able to accept and embrace the conditions around you as you practice can help you build a solid internal practice. Having a solid internal practice will allow you to find peace even in the most chaotic scenarios and situations. 


You become more aligned with nature

Nature drives many of the poses we practice in yoga already. Whether its finding balance in tree pose, embracing the sun in sun salutations, connecting with the core in moon pose, or walking in downward dog, nature naturally inspires our practice. Connecting with nature is ultimately having a greater connection to everything beyond yourself.

“When we embrace nature in your practice, you can evoke a sense of harmony, connection, and timelessness with the universe.” 

By learning to embrace our inherent oneness with nature, we can start our connection to the greater things around us.

Diana Ratana
Hot Feet Fitness Yoga & Barre Instructor



Back To Nature: How The Outdoors Can Enhance Your Yoga Practice

Yoga is a powerful tool we can use to help us connect. After all, the literal translation of yoga is “union”. In a world full of noise and distraction, the ability to connect with yourself is key to thriving. This is why when we practice yoga, we practice being present. We practice stillness, self-awareness, and finally self-acceptance. When we are able to connect deeply with ourselves on this level, we find that the connections we share with our family, friends, partners, colleagues, acquaintances, and all living things around us become much more authentic and meaningful.

Practicing yoga offers us a way to incorporate seemingly simple ideas into a world which has complicated itself. While yoga is one of the tools we can use to help us connect, connection with nature can offer many similar effects. Studies have shown that being out in nature can offer one of the most reliable boosts to your mental and physical well-being. Here are some ways incorporating nature can enhance your yoga practice.


Practicing outside can challenge you.

Within the confines of a studio, the aromas, soft lights, pleasant sounds and even the floor your lay your mat on, is controlled to set the ambience for your practice. When you take your practice outside, however, you become vulnerable to what nature has to offer you. Whether it’s the slight breeze of wind, the heat from the sun, the sounds from the animals around you, or the uneven earth beneath you, taking your practice outside means allowing yourself to embrace all that is happening in your surroundings while still remaining true to your practice. It challenges your focus, balance, and ability to stay present. Instead of battling the elements, let the elements of nature deepen your practice. Allow the breeze from the wind to remind you to deepen your breath, the sounds of the animals around help you practice stillness, and the uneven surface of the earth at your feet challenge your balance. 


You can take your practice anywhere

When you learn to embrace nature in your practice, you are learning how to embrace all external conditions that may affect your practice. Whether you are practicing in a studio, on a beach, on top of a mountain, or in a bustling city, learning to embrace all conditions means being able to practice anywhere. Being able to accept and embrace the conditions around you as you practice can help you build a solid internal practice. Having a solid internal practice will allow you to find peace even in the most chaotic scenarios and situations. 


You become more aligned with nature

Nature drives many of the poses we practice in yoga already. Whether its finding balance in tree pose, embracing the sun in sun salutations, connecting with the core in moon pose, or walking in downward dog, nature naturally inspires our practice. Connecting with nature is ultimately having a greater connection to everything beyond yourself.

“When we embrace nature in your practice, you can evoke a sense of harmony, connection, and timelessness with the universe.” 

By learning to embrace our inherent oneness with nature, we can start our connection to the greater things around us.

Diana Ratana
Hot Feet Fitness Yoga & Barre Instructor

 

VARIETY YIELDS VITALITY

When was the last time you took a different route to work? Home? Or to pick up the kids? It is very easy become conditioned to doing things one way, because of time management or any number of reasons, including just habit. Over time the grooves of a daily routine become more entrenched and often unconscious. It is not until forced or pulled by life to do things differently that changes might occur. Why? It is uncomfortable to do new things, try new things, or be open to an unpredictable outcome, especially the deeper entrenched habits.

I tried it this week. I took a different path to work. I was nervous the whole time about whether it would take me longer and questioning why I did this to myself. It was shocking how stressful it was to just do something so simple as take a left instead of the usual right. This experiment reminded me that doing yoga is much more effective if we try to be open to the constant changes that are occurring in daily in life. A regular practice can be very humbling, the paths keep changing, not everything is predictable, so vulnerability sets in and the opportunity presents itself to become an even clearer witness to all that is. I often share with students the most brave thing you can do is show up for class.

Meditative practices, like chanting, can push boundaries and be effective tools for training the mind to break from the normal routes.

Heal the deepening grooves of repetitive, unconscious living and dare to experience the variety that is the true nectar of life.

Kristen O'Conner
Hot Feet Fitness Instructor 


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