Harry Potter Yoga is a Success!

When my sister and I decided to do a Harry Potter Yoga class, we never imaged there would be so many other people who would share our love for Harry, yoga and beer. I’m humbled by how people have responded to my desire to share my practice in a different (and magical) way.

Our next class on Sunday, November 20 is officially Sold Out! Thank you so much my yoga wizard friends.  If you weren’t able to get tickets please know that you are still welcome to hang out in the taproom after class.  And know that is magical yoga is that beginning of something bigger.  Myself or the powers that be will do what we can to bring more magical flow classes to you in the near future! In the meantime, feel free to scroll down  below and recapture some amazing press and pics on what Harry Potter Yoga at Circle Brewing Company looks like.

Harry Potter Yoga Featured in Cosmo

Sunday’s Harry Potter class was such a blast. It was a treat getting to share my magical practice with some real wizards and witches. If you’d like to see what Harry Potter Yoga looks like, Alexa Gonzalez Wagner did an amazing job capturing all the details of the day and I was lucky enough to see the pics run in Cosmo. Click the link to see them all (I handmade all the decorations with the exception of those delicious cookies. Those came from Quack’s Bakery).

Great American Beer Fest 2016!

I was in Denver last week celebrating The Great American Beer Fest (GABF) with Circle Brewing Co. Thanks to Ben and the special brew crew, I was lucky enough to attend a second time in a row. And WOW. It’s still as overwhelming as it was last year! The festival has been going strong for 35 years now.

GABF-Great American Beer Fest 2016-Craft-Beer

I can’t even imagine what it must have looked like back when it started in 1982 with just 20 breweries…Now that it has grown to more than 780 breweries and about 3,800 beers!

Last day of GABF and your last chance to catch Circle beers in Colorado for the year! #MyGABF #🍻

A photo posted by Circle Brewing Co. (@circlebrew) on

Here were some memorable ones I tried:

BREWERY: BEER NAME: RATING+NOTES: LOCATION:
Great Divide Brewing Co. Strawberry Rhubarb Sour Ale Good Denver, CO
Rock Bottom Brewery Horchata Porter My favorite! Broomfield, CO
Revolution Brewing Oktoberfest Toasty and malty Chicago, IL
New Belgium Brewing Co. Cabernet Dark Sour tasty Fort Collins, CO
Odell Brewing Co. Piña Agria muy sour Fort Collins, CO
Bell’s Brewery, Inc. Oatsmobile Ale okay Cornstock, MI
4 Noses Brewing Co. Pump Action Imperial Pumpkin Ale fave GABF pumpkin beer! Broomfield, CO
Stone Brewing Co. Stone Encore: 10th Anniversary IPA great IPA Escondido, CA
Independence Brewing Co. Redbud with Cucumber awesome! Austin, TX
Mockery Brewing Redcoats are coming! Good Denver, CO
Prost Brewing Albier Malty brown amber Denver, CO
300 Suns Salted Toffee Imperial Brown Ale sweet, salty+strong! Longmont, CO

 

Great American Beer Fest 2016-Denver-Beer Fest-Craft Beer

That was about it for me. Yes, I am fully aware that it was a bit weak sauce. Considering there were more than 3,800 beers to try! I would have liked to have tried more. But honestly, I only ended up going to two out of the three days (Thursday and Friday–my insides would not have been happy with me otherwise).GABF-Beer Fest-Pretzel Necklace

Saturday morning, winners were announced. I attended the awards ceremony. Was really happy for everyone who won their categories. Congrats to ya’ll! Special shout out to Charlie Papazian (founder of the Association of Brewers+ GABF) for finally getting the brewing recognition you deserve! I am happy for you and all the winners.

I have to admit though… that I was a bit disheartened when I didn’t hear Circle’s-Archetype get called to join the stage winners during the “Historical Beer” Category. Especially, since they had just won the Gold in the World Beer Cup back in May (sorry boo, sometimes you can’t win them all). I am hopeful for next year though!
You can find the complete list here.

Until next time GABF!

Cheers,

Isabel

FREE and Budget Friendly Yoga Classes in Austin, TX

In honor of Yoga awareness month, I wanted to share with you a list of places around Austin, TX that offer affordable and even-FREE yoga classes. People often tell me that they don’t practice yoga because 1) they’re not flexible enough to touch their toes 2) because studios can be intimidating, plus memberships are too costly 3) they’re too busy [all the more reason to do it!]
Well, I’m here to tell you that if you can move + breathe, YOU. CAN. Do Yoga. In regards to the second excuse–you don’t have to practice in a traditional studio to do yoga. You can do it anywhere! And there are affordable places that offer great classes too! Below are some awesome options. Check them out!

Monday through Friday:

Cherrywood Coffeehouse
Donation yoga Mondays-Fridays @ 8-9am
1400 E. 38 ½ St.

Jerry Balderas at The Pit
Donation yoga Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays @ 9:30-11am
4327 S 1st St

Modo Yoga
Donation yoga ($5 suggested) Wednesdays @ 8-9pm
7010 Easy Wind Dr., Suite 130

Fitness on the Plaza 
Free yoga Mondays-Thursdays @7-8pm
Whole Foods on Lamar

Seton McCarthy Community Health Center
Free yoga Thursdays @ 12-1p
2811 E. 2nd St.

Treehouse Yoga
All classes donation-based ($10-$15 suggested)
2525 Wallingwood, Building 1, Suite 300 (3rd Floor)

Yoga Meditation Group
Free yoga and meditation classes (various)
11200 Powder Mill Trail

Wells Branch Community Library
Free yoga every other Thursday @ 10:30-11:45am
15001 Wells Port Dr.

Shipe Park
Free yoga Wednesdays (Sept. – Oct.) @ 12-1pm
4400 Avenue G

St. John Branch, Austin Public Library
Free yoga Mondays @ 6:30-7:30pm
7500 Blessing Ave.

Practice Yoga
All classes donation-based ($10-$15 suggested)
1103 East 6th Street

Saturday+Sunday:

AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine
Free “union of three hearts” meditation Sundays @ 5:00 pm
4701 West Gate Blvd.

Balcones District Park
Free yoga Saturdays (Oct. only) @ 9am
12017 Amherst Dr.

Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center
Donation-based ($10-$15 suggested) bilingual yoga Thursdays @ 6-7p, and Saturdays @ 10-11am
*I know a great of a great teacher there 😉 BTW..just saying
600 River St.

Circle Brewing Co. 
Pints + Poses in the taproom and $10 gets you a pint of beer! Sundays @11-12pm
2340 W. Braker Ln.
*I know LOTS of great teachers and brewers here too.  Just saying.

One Posture at a Time
Donation yoga (heated) Saturdays @ 5:30-7pm
507 Pressler St., Suite 100

Am I missing any? Feel free to add any other ones you know!

Love+Light,

Isabel

 

6 Qualities in a GREAT teacher + Yoga Awareness Month in September

Did you September is National Yoga Awareness Month?

Personally…as a yoga teacher I like to think every month as Yoga Awareness Month, but hey—maybe I am just a little bit biased.

In light of National Yoga Awareness Month, BlueSky Fitness and myself, have teamed up to offer onsite Yoga classes to K-12 teachers and staff members of the Austin Independent School District. Kicking off the new school year off right!

Yoga teacher-teachers-Fitness-AISD-stress relief-child's posture

This wonderful gift to teach yoga to teachers has brought me so much joy.  I can finally share the gift of knowledge and pay it forward. I’ve always admired my teachers growing up–shout out to my mama who is a Spanish + English teacher in Chicago! (cheerin’ some manzanilla tea to you).  Not going to lie though, I had my favorite teachers growing up (Mr. K in Algebra*cough***cough* not so much).   A lot of them have inspired and helped shaped my way of thinking.

Now, as a yoga teacher myself I appreciate them now more than ever!  Recently, with the opportunity to teach at the AISD, this experience has made me look at my own teaching style and reflect on what qualities make for a great teacher.

A lot of this may resonate with you whether you’re a teacher, yoga instructor, VP, coach, trainer, CEO, or leader in your workplace, so please read on and take what rings true for you!  I’ve asked around and this is what I’ve gathered from my students (teachers).

The top six qualities that make for a great teacher: 

1) Engaging personality. In a room full of students, it’s necessary to grab the attention of the students and keep them fully engaged throughout the length of class. I read in a recent study that the digital age has caused our attention span to average out at about eight seconds, down from 12, which is shorter than the attention span of a goldfish (theirs is nine).  I can’t even fathom what that is for kids, four, two, .01?!? As teachers, you really have to step up your game to offer learning material that is fun, new, and engaging enough to hold the students’ attention.

2) Passion. Teachers are passionate about their students and teaching their subject matter. They get psyched about influencing their students and know the impact they have on their lives.

3) Patience.  A teacher may have to repeat, repeat, repeat, content many times over. Or explain a subject a 100 different ways before a student finally “gets it” which requires a lot of patience (aka: meditation +pranayama breathing, but I’ll get to that at another post).

4) Organization. Personally, this is my weak spot. As I write this, I have books, yoga magazines, mail, and papers scattered all over the dining room table like confetti.  But I understand it’s an important trait for teachers to have.  I am always amazed at teachers who have everything organized.  It’s truly magical. They seem to know all their students names.  Class starts and ends on-time. Their teaching flow seems to sync up so perfectly with their words. And the students know what to expect…and yet somehow they still manage to make class fun and spontaneous.  I can only wonder how much better of an instructor I’d be if the structure of everything I did was just a tad bit more organized.

5) Humility. They check their ego at the door. They essentially know that it’s not about them. It’s about their students and understand that the purpose of the class is NOT to demonstrate ALL the knowledge they know and prove how smart they are. It’s to lead and support their students through a learning experience that is suitable for everyone; therefore, so that as many students can understand. Humble teachers share what they know openly and will even laugh at themselves when they mess up.

6)  Approachable. Often a student may not get a lesson right away. Or may be too timid to raise their hand in class (this was pretty much me from pre-K, right up until my senior year in college). When students feel comfortable approaching a teacher, they are more likely to go up to them later and ask for clarification.  Inclusive teachers are friendly, open and approachable to students who may need support in understanding what is required of them.  Teachers who are available, open, and friendly create a safe and trusting learning environment.

What qualities do you think make for a great teacher? How do you share and spread what you learn on the regular? Would love to hear from you. Please share with comments!

Love and light,

Isabel

Keeping Austin Hot! 26th Annual Hot Sauce Festival

This past Sunday, I had the pleasure of attending The Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival. It’s my 3rd time attending since I moved here from Chicago. And I look forward to going every single year. Drawing in hundreds of restaurant chefs, commercial bottlers, and home-style cooks to compete for hot sauce victory. The hot sauce festival brought together local residents and visitors alike, who are local and hot sauce product aficionados. There was even a panel of some serious judging going for the Top 10 sauce categories. The panel included top chefs, local celebs and food writers like Anastacia Uriegas, writer for Thrillist and Time Out, Tameca Jones, R&B singer and Brandon Watson, food editor for the Austin Chronicle.

In the past, I’ve gone solo to these events. I figured most of my friends didn’t like hot sauce as much as I do and would’ve thought I was loco for even mentioning going to a festival in 100+ heat that is summer in south Texas (much less being for a hot sauce event).

However, over the years I’ve made some great friends that have allowed me to revel in my own way of keeping Austin Weird. Thus by allowing me and perhaps, maybe even encouraging my chile addiction. They even came out to show their support this year. Before I get all sentimental… first, let me explain the factual reasons why I love–not just hot sauce, but spicy food and chiles so much:

1) It tastes great with everything. Pizza, pasta, soup, eggs, beer, popcorn, salads, ice cream, lollipops–Everything.

2) I am Mexican. Back in my Pamper days, we grew up eating chili’s before we learned how to walk. But regardless if you’re Mexican or not, you know tacos and tamales just don’t taste as good without that salsa roja o verde.

3) Breathing better. It clears up stuffiness and/or sinus issues. Especially, during cold season 

4) Health reasons; medical studies have proven that a steady diet of hot peppers of salsa can aid digestion, fight heart disease, boost metabolism, and lower cholesterol.

5) Endorphins. I’ve learned that eating spicy food tricks the body into releasing endorphins to relieve pain. Kind of what we experience during exercise, the so-called “runner’s high” endorphins, that make you feel good. This may explain why I competed in the Fort Worth, TX Jalapeño Half Marathon eating contest, last month in July—after running 13 miles (half marathon). Crazy? Maybe. But I got double the endorphins! First from the race and then after eating five jalapeños. I ended up winning the contest too, so maybe it counted as triple endorphins?! You can check out the jalapeño video here

This year, I convinced several of my good friends to go, including my boyfriend, Ben (pictured in the center).

circle-brewery-austin-texas-austin-chronicle-hot-sauce-festival

hot-sauce-festival-austin-texas-2016-chronicle-isabel-beltran

Ben even shared my beloved event with our Circle Brewing crew.

hot-sauce-festival-austin-texas-2016-chronicle-isabel-beltran-1

Mickey V's in the House
Mickey V’s in the House

My uncle, who is visiting from Mexico City this week, even made a guest appearance too!

hot-sauce-festival-austin-texas-2016-chronicle-isabel-beltran-2
I am so happy that my friends and family were all able to share in this experience. Not only did they brave the rain, but the heat on their taste buds too!

hot-sauce-festival-austin-texas-2016-chronicle-isabel-beltran-3

Some of our favorites this year:

hot-sauce-festival-austin-texas-2016-chronicle-isabel-beltran-spicy
Hot Sauce: Yellowbird Blue Agave Sriracha
The heat balanced out nicely with the agave finish to calm down the heat.

 hot-sauce-festival-austin-texas-2016-chronicle-isabel-beltran-jamaica

Hot Sauce: Winston’s Kitchen Coming in HOT!
Jamaican Hot sauce with spicy habanero and bell peppers. Very hot and savory with a touch of tamarind sauce, reminiscent of chutney.

2016 winners can be found here.

The event has helped raise more than 50,000 meals for the Central Texas Food Bank. The money goes to help hungry families in need all over Central Texas.

Do you have a favorite hot saue? Would love to hear your suggestions. Feel free to comment below. Stay HOT, mis amigos.

Tortoise Power! The secret to living a long and healthy life.

My very first pet, growing up in Mexico City, was a tortoise. I think I asked my parents for something softer and furrier like a puppy or a rabbit. At the tender age of three, I was totally ready to upgrade Toto (my stuffed; rainbow dragon) to something more lively and cuddly. However, my parents didn’t think I was emotionally ready for a live, cuddly, pet at that time. So they got me a tortoise instead–the complete opposite of soft, furry, and cuddly. I named him Julio. He lived in my grandma’s jardín, mostly hanging out near the raised garden beds. I would visit Julio in the mornings, feed him veggies, and try my best to enjoy petting his hard, scaly, shell. Julio, lasted about a week under my watch. One morning he was in the garden sunbathing, the next day he was gone. I was sad he left me so abruptly. Where could he have gone? …
A few days ago, I was sitting on the back porch of Mozart’s Cafe, drinking an iced tea. I was sitting there with my friend Mandy, trying to figure out my next writing topic. The Wi-Fi was taking forever to connect, so I decided to take a breather to look away from my screen and glance over the beautiful backdrop that is Lake Austin. Sitting there contemplating, I noticed two turtles swimming in the lake

Turtles swimming
Turtles swimming
How peaceful they looked just gliding in the water. Most people, should take the time to slow down go with the flow, and enjoy life like turtles (plus, I heard they live like a 100 years, they must be doing something right?). And then I had that AHA Moment-I’m going to write about turtles and tortoises on my next post!
A little lowdown on turtles and tortoises (just learned there is a difference between the two creatures). They are all reptiles and they all have shells; however, the main difference between them is turtles live in water, tortoises live on land. Turtles typically have a life span of 20-40 years (not 100 like I originally thought, my bad) whereas tortoises live 80-150 years. The oldest one living today is a tortoise named Jonathan, going strong at 183 years of age! Also, tortoises are mostly herbivores and turtles tend to be omnivores. Interesting.
So WHY do tortoises live such a long time? And what does it have anything to do with you and me? Let me explain first by declaring…
I love Bikram yoga! Today marked my #444th class today since 2011; (I like nerding out on data by logging numbers, if you can’t already tell) when I started going to the Pure Bikram studios in Austin, TX. The 20th posture of the 26 posture sequence series involves a yoga pose, aptly named , Half Tortoise Pose (Ardha-Kurmasana).
Half-tortoise pose  PC: Ron Natal
Half-tortoise pose
PC: Ron Natal

“By training us to slow our breathing and relax, Half Tortoise Pose can actually help us to live longer—in fact, longevity is Tortoise’s number one benefit. Think about it: The tortoise is the longest living animal on Earth…Why? Because it’s the slowest-breathing creature on Earth. Each inhale and each exhale is 2 minutes long; it’s like a meditation in itself. We do ourselves good when we imitate the Tortoise; 30 seconds in this posture can provide the same benefits to the body as sleeping for a full eight hours. You can get this restorative, relaxing effect by practicing Tortoise at any time, even in bed”
–Bikram Choudry, p.187 Bikram Yoga: The Guru Behind Hot Yoga Shows the Way to Radiant Health and Personal Fulfillment.
Basically, you too can start adding years to your life-expectancy by slowing down, practicing yoga, deepening your inhales and lengthening your exhales. How amazing is that?!!
I will never know if Julio ever made his great escape by digging himself into a deep, underground burrow in my grandma’s garden, becoming recluse by pulling a Bobby Fischer on me somewhere down in Mexico. Or if he skipped town in search of a better flower bed? Wherever he is, I hope he is happy, breathing…taking a moment to slow down and enjoy life.

15 Rules Fit Women Always Follow

My first post! So excited to share my first post with you. Yesterday, I woke up to some amazing news. I found out that Brit + Co featured me in their article, “15 Rules Fit Women Always Follow” written by Krista Gray.

Krista interviewed incredibly healthy, strong, inspirational women to publish. The list included Jillian Michaels of NBC’s The Biggest Loser, ToneITUP.com founders Karena and Katrina, and Jilian Lorenze, co-founder of The Barre Code. I was (lucky) #7 tip.

I loved all of the tips given. Especially, tip number five from dance instructor, Allie Gavin. I highly recommend you go through the list and find those that resonate with you. Check out the post here.

My tip was to save time for stretching. I know this might sound glaringly obvious coming from a yoga teacher. But it is very important for everyone to do it regularly!

Back when I first started training for my first marathon in 2004, I was so focused on logging training miles (into an already busy schedule) that I often skipped stretching at the end. This was a BIG MISTAKE! I did cross the finish line, however, not without knee injuries, back problems, and tight hamstrings as a result of not stretching.

Don’t make the same mistake I did. Make sure you include stretching daily. Even if it’s just a few seated twists at your desk, shoulder rolls, or side bends. Do it. Your body will thank you. And if you add mindful breathing to it, inhaling deeply while holding the stretch, you are stretching smartly. Which essentially, is one of the secrets to true yoga-connecting with your breath.

Pints & Poses – July 24

Yoga & beer: the perfect combination for a Sunday afternoon! Cost: $10 for an hour of yoga in the brewery and a pint in the Circle Brewery taproom.

I’m one of the certified yoga instructors guiding yogis and amateurs alike in a hour of detoxifying hatha yoga. Following the class, the Tasting Room will open where you can grab a refreshing pint of Circle brew and complete this zen-like experience. Space is limited, so get your tickets online now!

Don’t forget to bring your own mat!

Sunday, July 24
1-3 p.m.
Circle Brewing Company
2340 W Braker Ln, Ste B.
Austin, Texas 78758