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



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 

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 
 
 

 

Just Show Up!

CHEERS. Have you seen the show?
It was a constant in my house growing up and I remember singing the theme song. "You wanna go where everybody knows your name!" every time the show was on the screen. It got me thinking about where we all go every day and how we can experience the polar opposites of being "welcomed in" or feel "isolated" because we just don't seem to fit the mold. Have you experienced this? Maybe at school on your first day, starting that brand new job, moving to a new city, walking into a church, etc. Everyday we are experiencing these comings & goings into communities. What if you never open the door though? What if you never give yourself the chance to experience something because you are too scared, overwhelmed, self-conscious, busy, and so on?

This is where I want to share a story about "Crystal." She's someone that I met a couple months ago while working at the studio. Here's how my interaction went with her.
 She walked into the studio right after I was done with taking X21 (our cardio high intensity interval training class) with trainer Elise and I happened to be behind the front desk. She was new to the studio and I could tell a little overwhelmed by what she walked into. I asked her how I could help & she said she wanted to know about what we offered for classes and when. She was a Veteran, so we talked about her discounted membership, which made her really excited.
Then we started talking more about what classes she should try and she started getting anxious. She told me, “Maybe I should go move my car before we talk because everyone seems like they are in a hurry to get in & out of class & I don’t want to take up someone’s space,” and even said when I suggested X21, she said “I’m too fat for that class.” I was taken aback and sad that this is how she felt, so I literally just said, “Stop that right now. Don’t do that to yourself. It’s ok. You would be fine in that class or any other. Just come.” And immediately I saw her relax.
This got me thinking back to the show Cheers and how there are probably so many other people like her (maybe you?) who may feel like this when you go somewhere for the first time. You just want or don’t know that you need a safe place or a kind word to encourage you to make the step forward. By just showing up, and coming in the front door.
We have all been “someone new" in the various stages and places in our lives, and we all could use a word of encouragement or a “hello & welcome" when we embark on a new journey. At Hot Feet we take the time to do just that. We get to know your name. We connect. Because we all need each other.
Teanna G

Studio Manager and Operations Director