Work out with Kecia McCracken of SparkFit in Little Rock, Arkansas, and you’ll leave inspired. Have just a conversation with Kecia, and you’ll leave inspired. She’s that inspiring of a human being.
Kecia and her husband, Glenn, own and run SparkFit together. SparkFit is a downtown Little Rock movement studio where whole body health is built through classes designed to challenge and inspire.
Kecia is a 500-hour certified yoga teacher, a trained massage therapist and mom of a bright and energetic two-year-old daughter named Olive. Kecia’s own health journey began with an autoimmune disorder and almost debilitating anxiety. She then found yoga and has continued to evolve along this journey, now supporting others in their own journeys.
We picked the brain of this beautiful mama and teacher to find out more about how she’s discovered more peace and compassion for herself along the way, how that applies to what she teaches at SparkFit and how she stays present and finds the magic in all the ordinary moments of her life…
HOW HAS MOTHERHOOD CHANGED YOUR PERCEPTION OF LIVING A HEALTHY AND BALANCED LIFESTYLE?
For years before I became a mother, I was already engaging in a healthy lifestyle and developing healthy habits. I was active and adventurous, I worked out, I had a devoted yoga and meditation practice, I was committed to my internal growth and spiritual development. I also had the freedom to use my time however I needed and wanted to. My body, mind and energy level are vastly different since becoming a mom and I have to be more creative to carve out self-care time, I have to be more intentional with my energy output and I have to be more honest about what my daily capabilities are. I’m thankful I already have foundational habits and practices in place that can be adapted in realistic ways to my current life. I’m definitely in a synthesizing phase of being, I’m integrating information I’ve already learned and I’m using the tools of my spiritual practice more to stay grounded, present and balanced through all the gifts of motherhood.
IN YOUR BIO ON THE SPARKFIT WEBSITE, YOU MENTION THAT YOU NOW LIVE A LIFE THAT IS THRIVING. WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE #1 BIGGEST CHANGE YOU’VE MADE IN YOUR LIFE TO GET YOU TO THIS PLACE?
My external world is a reflection of the condition of my internal world. I am at peace and thriving when I’m connected to my heart and choosing to be in congruence with my highest values. I’ve suffered quite a bit in my life as a result of feeling disconnected, being driven by unquestioned thoughts, being motivated by fear and overall just participating in self-destructive and harmful behavior. It took many years for me to develop the self-awareness, willingness and maturity to shift the course of my life. My daily spiritual practice includes an honest and ongoing examination of the contents of my heart, my thoughts, my words and my actions in the world. This internal inquiry is humbling and keeps my heart open to experiencing grace, which makes all thriving possible.
WHERE DO YOU SEE PEOPLE GOING OFF THE PATH IN THEIR QUEST FOR BETTER HEALTH AND MORE BALANCE. WHERE DO YOU OFTEN SEE PEOPLE GETTING STUCK, OR LOSING FOCUS?
I often times see people first coming into SparkFit because they want to lose weight or change the appearance of their body. These are wonderful things to desire that need to be accompanied by a change in one’s relationship to food and eating and also an overall, sustainable lifestyle change. I see people getting off track when there is an obsession with counting every single calorie, weighing obsessively and using statements about how “bad” they were over the weekend because they ate things that “aren’t allowed.” This way of thinking just keeps people enslaved to a scarcity mentality of what they can’t do or have, instead of connecting to the joy and empowerment that come from making healthy choices. I think it’s hard for people to trust themselves and trust the ongoing process of change.
WHAT DOES THE CONCEPT OF BALANCE MEAN TO YOU? CAN WE FIND IT AND STAY THERE?
I’m going to pull from my yoga teaching to answer this question. In the Yoga Sutras written by Patanjali, Sutra 2.46 states that yoga postures should be practiced with a balance of effort and ease. In yoga practice, we develop sensitivity in using the necessary amount of effort to perform the actions being asked of us, but there is also the practice of remaining soft, open and willing to surrender what is unnecessary. This is a useful practice both on my yoga mat and also in my daily life. There are any life circumstances that I don’t get to control, many factors that swirl around me and can create external stresses, but I have the tools to practice remaining internally steadfast and connected to my joy and my love for life, even when it feels overwhelming. We don’t have to suffer internally, no matter how hard it all is externally!
HOW DO YOU HELP YOUR CLIENTS AT SPARKFIT STAY MOTIVATED AND ON THEIR PATH OF MAKING HEALTHIER CHOICES?
I acknowledge everyone’s effort and honor them exactly where they are, while also making a clear relationship between their current work and their longer term goals. I also celebrate all transformation, large and small. I like to remind people that it’s actually really fun and that our bodies are amazing! I think connecting to this is motivating.
WHAT DOES YOUR OWN DAILY ROUTINE LOOK LIKE? HOW DO YOU PRIORITIZE ALL THE IMPORTANT THINGS IN LIFE, LIKE FAMILY, BUSINESS AND YOUR OWN MOVEMENT AND SELF-CARE?
I begin every morning with my daughter. We both wake up slowly, so we definitely get our cuddles in! I make an effort to give her all my attention in the morning, even if my to-do list seems to stretch into eternity. I am accepting that there will never be a shortage of things to do. I can actually only do one thing at a time, so I try to just do the thing in front of me. I have learned to breathe into the intense feelings of urgency that arise as a result of having so many things to attend to. When I’m with her, I try to only be with her and not be divided in my mind and attention. When I leave for SparkFit, my busy brain kicks in and I try to be as productive as possible. I choose to move my body every day because I love it. I love to be creative in my movement, to work hard, and I anticipate that time every day. It also helps me be more clear-minded so that I return to my tasks with more energy.
WHAT ARE YOUR NON-NEGOTIABLES FOR EACH DAY, IS THERE ANYTHING IN PARTICULAR YOU HAVE TO DO TO FEEL YOUR BEST?
I feel the best when I connect with my husband first thing in the morning and we establish an intention of closeness for the day. If you didn’t know, owning a business with your spouse can be taxing! I also love to read my devotional and have contemplative, quiet time in the mornings. Moving my body every day and eating food that sustains my energy are also necessary for my personal optimization. Playing outside and exploring with my toddler makes my heart sing!
WHAT DO YOU DO AT NIGHT TO WIND DOWN AND TURN OFF FOR THE DAY?
We make a strong effort to not habitually talk about our business when we are at home. This helps me to turn off my busy brain and just be present with my family, in our home. We make dinner every night and have our nighttime routine. After our daughter goes to bed, I use my time to do something enjoyable and relaxing. Sometimes that’s self-care, reading, quality time with my husband or just having some quiet, meditative time.
WHAT ARE THE TOP THREE FOODS YOU COULDN’T LIVE WITHOUT?
Greens are a staple in my daily diet. They feel like medicine to my body. I balance it out with a hearty dose of potato cravings, though! And I absolutely LOVE Arkansas strawberries in the spring and wouldn’t want to ever miss out on that delight!
IF YOU DO GO OUT TO EAT, WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE LOCAL SPOT, AND WHAT DO YOU ORDER?
We usually keep it in our neighborhood, SoMa in Little Rock, when we eat out. The Root Cafe is my favorite lunch spot because the food is locally sourced and their menu items are consistently delicious. We typically go to South on Main for a date night. Their menu changes with the seasons but the dishes are creative, the service is friendly and the overall vibe is so cozy. We love our experiences there!
LASTLY, IS THERE A PARTICULAR MANTRA YOU’RE LIVING BY RIGHT NOW?
“Wake up, don’t miss it.” I don’t want to go through my life on auto-pilot. I want to really experience my life, all of the mundane moments and all of the glorious ones. I don’t want to numb out to discomfort or be distracted from how special the moment is because I’m obsessing about something else. My daughter is the greatest teacher on returning to the beauty and fullness of ordinary moments. She is so magical. I will wake up within a moment with her and say to myself…be here…don’t miss this…