Teacher Spotlight: Devon Riesenbeck

Devon-trainer Where are you from originally? I'm from Cincinnati, OH! True midwest girl. What brought you to Los Angeles? Dancing and just in general being done with the snow and ice brought me to LA! How did you get into yoga? I originally started yoga to help with my dance technique, but ended up getting so much more. Not only did I get stronger, but I was sleeping better, and a got a new "yogi" way of thinking. Where did you train to teach Yoga Barre? I trained to teach here at Hot8! What's your favorite thing about teaching at Hot 8 Yoga? My favorite part of teaching is at the very end of class. When everyone is exhausted and sweaty, but feeling so accomplished and strong. It's the greatest feeling to be surrounded by. What is something most people don't know about you? That I have true nerd love for Harry Potter, LOTR, and just about any other book series you can think of! Any mottos you live by? If there is a path it is someone else's path and you are not on the adventure

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Yoga is deep, life-changing and absolutely can be fun!

Dev RiceAfter what seems like a lifetime of on-and-off practice, I made a commitment to go deeper and signed up for my first 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training. I chose Hot/Power Fusion with Deanna Ainsworth in the Spring of 2103, as I had been taking the class regularly and really loved the set sequence. I believe there is power in a set-sequence class. It allows the mind to move away from "what's coming next" to a true focus on listening to the teacher and proper alignment. It also challenges us to examine what is going on in our daily lives and to pay attention to any actions that may be causing a difference within our set practice. For instance, for three weeks a student may be balancing like a pro but then, one day, they can't stick Standing Bow to save their lives. I love when this happens to me as it serves as a reminder that just when we think that we have it all together or that we are the "best" at something, an unexpected potential challenge will present itself. The lesson for me in these types of situations is that we can always get better, that we can always cultivate awareness through a strong set-sequence that allows us to measure the subtle energy shifts and changes that occur in our daily lives. Challenges will always present themselves and they should. They make us stronger, smarter and more compassionate. The good news is that as long as we continue to show up on the mat, we'll be able to observe them, contemplate them and understand them as they show up in our practice, before sending them away. A strong set-sequence practice serves as a barometer to these challenges while allowing us to deepen our practice in so many ways. It's something I share when teaching Hot Power Fusion at Hot 8 Yoga. Yoga is deep, life-changing and absolutely can be fun! - Dev Rice, Hot Power Fusion Teacher Training Graduate

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Intensive Abdominal Workshop

The Intensive Abdominal Workshop is my all time favorite workshop to teach. Most people have a hard time connecting with the muscles located below the belly button. In this workshop I like to think of myself as a tour guide introducing people to an area in their body that is much overlooked. Communication is the key element in making an abdominal connection. One needs to believe in strength that has not yet been perceived. A big deterrent to this connection is a tight back. We draw strength from our backs instead of our stomach muscles. The shoulders and neck over work and clench throughout our daily routine of life yet our stomach muscles lay dormant and our backs pay the price. I consider myself to be an Abs evangelist! Have faith in the potential of the most powerful muscle group in your body. The rectus, the internal and external obliques and the transverse abdominal muscles want to be your friends. Establish a relationship with these powerhouse muscles and your life will change. Your back will be freed up and you will walk a way from back pain and stress and walk into the wonderful world of middle body strength. Your abs will become your best friends and you will experience a new found power and feel invincible like a super hero! It is my personal quest for each and every person to develop the full potential of this inner strength. So join me in this adventure. Give me 90 minutes of your time and you will walk away with a connection to these much overlooked muscles.

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Destined for the Heat; An Unlikely Yogi

If you would have told me just three years ago that I would be a yoga teacher, in the HEAT, in Los Angeles and love every minute of it I most certainly would have laughed at you. Never in my wildest imagination sitting in my office in Time Square did I ever think that moving to LA would lead to this particular destiny. I was a self proclaimed hater of exercise and nothing could have persuaded that past self to do anything physical once the thermostat hit 88 degrees but lay in the sun like an overfed cat—never mind intentionally stepping foot into an 108 degree room and exercising?! Forget about it. It wasn’t me… or so I thought. Moving back to the West coast was quite a shock to the system in more ways than one; the biggest being just how tough it was to find a job. Not to blow my own horn but I've got a pretty solid resume in multiple areas and it was my silly assumption that I’d find a restaurant job at least in two, three weeks tops. To this day I think the universe was conspiring to get me through the doors at Hot 8 Yoga because not only could I not find a job, I couldn’t even get an interview. I remember feeling absolutely lost and frustrated sitting in my boat in the marina (yes, I lived on a boat), and then seeing an open call for a posh Hot Yoga studio in Santa Monica. “Why not?” I thought, “What’s the worst that could happen?” The worst that could happen proved to be the best and before I knew it I found myself in my very first hot yoga class a week before my first day of working behind the front desk wondering just what I had gotten myself into this time. Surely, this was death and I was dying. That first class felt like one and a half days, not one and a half hours but Deanna’s warmth and calm confident presence throughout kept drawing me out of my mind to a state of presence in my discomfort—truly the beginning of my transformation. After class, after a long sit in the cool lobby, a few knowing smiles and encouraging words from my new peers and an extra long shower I knew that this was something special. That me landing in California and falling into Hot 8 was more than just chance. The very cells in my body were singing, my heart was open and on fire and I had never felt so tall, never been so absolutely clear. And that was just the first class. Working the front desk at the Santa Monica studio meant full immersion into the world of yoga. Every day I would hear the stories of healing, strength and balance of both mind and soul from the students coming and going... more importantly I began to experience these same things myself while participating in my first 30 day challenge. I found that the heat served many purposes; most importantly it taught me to be ok with my limitations, proved that I could truly overcome any obstacle. It gave me my will back and it wasn't long before I channeled that will into purpose; Teach. And now, thanks to the influence of some of the most radiant and beautiful souls to walk the earth here I am. Teaching. My trainings with Bianca Fearon filled me with more knowledge than I thought possible. I found passion in my life again, a feeling I wasn't sure would ever come back during my darker days. I used to tell people I loathed exercise and you still won't find me in a gym but yoga is so much more than fitness, it is transformation. Take it from me, a one time hunched-back pack a day smoker who had no will, little passion and the muscles of a jelly fish. Today when I look in the mirror I'm greeted by a strong, confident, passionate and ever more joyful individual, a life transformed through practice. And to think it all started with a longshot and an ad on craigslist. - By Greg Palmerino

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Finally, the Right Studio for Me

When Hot 8 Yoga opened in Santa Monica I finally found the right yoga studio for me. The amazing teachers combined with the beautiful space really gave me a place where I felt comfortable to explore my yoga practice and myself. Now, after almost two and a half years of avidly cultivating my practice, I have reached a point where I want to take it to the next level and take part in one of their teacher training programs. I am not necessarily sure that I want to teach, but, I am open and excited to see where the journey takes me. - Danielle Lowy

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