Change Is The One Constant

“There is nothing permanent except change.” -Heraclitus

Oh April! How challenging you were! 

Back at the beginning of April–just as I was beginning to put together my monthly newsletter–I received news that the streaming service I was using to teach my virtual classes and host my VOD library, was shutting down at the end of the month. To say that this came as an unfortunate surprise is an understatement to a large degree. 😱

The rest of the month was filled with decision making (deciding to switch to the new platform–they partnered with my old one and offered a full-service “white glove” transfer), learning all the ins and outs (several “on-boarding” virtual sessions) of the new platform, setting up my new account and dashboard, letting my clients know, answering their questions, and so much more.

The beginning of this month has included ironing out some kinks, leaning heavily on the “help advisors”, honing my ability to shift my outlook, and the continuous (it never stops 😅) practice of adapting to change.  

So! On to the big news this month… My virtual classes (using the ZOOM platform) and VOD library are now integrated and hosted by Arketa!   We haven’t figured out how to get my scheduled embedded on my website–yet.  But, I have a simple landing page that has all the basics:  schedule of classes, drop-in pricing, subscriptions for class packs and VOD. Find it HERE. I hope to “see” you virtually soon!

Also in this month’s newsletter, you will find my latest Exercise Video of the Month (my Favorite Restorative Pose); and a quick, heart-healthy, and delicious Mediterranean inspired recipe for a Strawberry Basil Vinaigrette. 😋

In closing, I will leave you with some words from one of my favorite poets – Tyler Knott Gregson:

Perhaps there is nothing more divine, nothing
more holy, than the love we carry for the life
we live. When you walk in constant wonder
through this world, every place becomes a 
cathedral, every breath, a prayer.

  • 1 C fresh or frozen (thawed) strawberries
  • 1/3 C fresh basil
  • 1/4 C olive oil
  • 2 T red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 t red chili flakes
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/4 t black pepper

Place all of the ingredients in a blender container and blend until smooth. Makes enough for 6 salads.

WAR & PEACE

“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.”
― Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

If I were to sum up the past 13 days in one word, it would be tumultuous. This morning I woke up in a warm, comfortable bed; with a pantry filled with food; and a solid, safe roof over my head. The same can’t be said for the people of Ukraine. My heart aches for friends who have family living the reality of war. One of my dearest hopes is that some day the human race will move beyond war. But until that day comes, I try to do the best I can, wherever I am.

If you would like to help the people of Ukraine, and aren’t sure where to start here are two solid, highly reputable organizations to begin with:

Even closer to home–when you are feeling overwhelmed, remember to treat yourself kindly. Give yourself time away from news sources, find opportunities to connect with nature, spend time loving on your furry companions if you have them, move your body, and feed yourself well.

The latest edition of Exercise of the Month Video is up. In it I share my top three shoulder stretches (bonus: these also release stored tension in the chest and upper back).

My teaching schedule remains steady at two offerings per week. As always, the classes are hosted on Moxie, and you are welcome to check out a class for FREE. Please find my teaching schedule and links here.

In closing, I offer you, the people of Ukraine, the whole of the human race PEACE.

OM SHANTI SHANTI SHANTI

Love Actually

“How you love yourself, is how you teach others to love you.” –RUPI KAUR

So treat yourself well in word, thought, and deed–especially in thought. This is where I fail to love on myself the most. Critical, judgmental thoughts I would never say to anyone else! Why is it that we are sometimes our own harshest critics? It’s a complex issue that includes playing the comparison game, thinking that failure in any way dooms us, and believing every thought our mind churns out as real and true–especially those thoughts that keep us up at 2:00am (hint: thoughts are just thoughts–noise, like the TV on in the background).

Here are some ways to be more kind–and loving–to yourself:

  • Acknowledge negative or critical thoughts, and realize that their source is from early painful experiences. Turn the ‘inner critic’ into a villain, someone that makes you smile and shake your head.
  • Allow yourself to make mistakes. It’s okay to make mistakes, which are opportunities for learning in disguise.
  • Stop comparing comparing yourself to others. It’s natural and part of being human Now, shift that energy, make it productive by focusing on yourself and your journey.
  • Learn to face your fears. Instead of pushing them away, try to understand them. Tame the roaring lion into a kitten.
  • See beauty in the simple, every day, experiences and things around you. Try to notice one each day, and feel grateful for it. 🙏🏼

Make every day a love note to yourself by fueling your body well, moving it daily, and treating yourself as though you are worthy of love–because you are!

LOKAH SAMASTAH SUKHINO BHAVANTU

What’s new this month:  

FINAL NOTE: IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN SUBSCRIBING TO MY LIBRARY OF YOGA CLASSES (90+) AT THE INTRODUCTORY RATE OF $18/MO — PLEASE DROP ME AN EMAIL FOR THE PRIVATE LINK!

HEADING INTO 2022 LIKE…

we have everything to gain–more peace, equanimity, strength, flexibility, adaptability, and increased wellness!  

I’ve put together a set of tools this month to help move us along these goals, beginning with a 10 DAY YOGA CHALLENGE. If you’ve been waiting for the right opportunity to begin a regular yoga routine, this might be it!  You will have 12 days to sample a variety of yogic practices from meditation and mindfulness, to guided breath practices and yin yoga. [FIND MORE INFO AND THE LINK HERE.] January also delivers a new exercise video that focuses on hip mobility, specifically targeting the hip adductors (inner thigh). [FIND THE VIDEO HERE.] And finally, if you have not tried Yoga Nidra yet, set aside 30 minutes for some deep rest. Find the guided Yoga Nidra For Deep Rest HERE. 🙏🏼

Please also find my teaching schedule HERE.  I continue to teach weekly Livestream Yin and Vinyasa classes. My VOD library of 90+ classes will be moving to a PRIVATE LINK very shortly. The price will remain the same ($18), and I add videos weekly.  If you are interested in subscribing, please drop me an email request!

In closing, I leave you with the mantra to GANESH. May he remove obstacles on your spiritual path, and ensure success in any new endeavors. 

OM GUM GANAPATAYEI NAMAHA!

P.S. This month’s healthy recipe:

BRUSSELS SPROUTS HAZELNUT SLAW

Cruciferous vegetables (think Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, broccoli, bok choy) contain consistently high amounts of vitamin K.  Vitamin K may be involved in inhibiting narrowing (calcification process) of blood vessels.  A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition discovered that higher intakes of cruciferous vegetables (at least 45 grams daily) can decrease buildup of deposits on artery walls in older women. 

3/4 lb Brussels sprouts, shredded
2 medium carrots, shredded
1 pear, thinly sliced
2 scallions (green onion), thinly sliced
3 oz prosciutto, chopped
1/2 C pomegranate seeds or 1/3 C dried cherries
3 T extra-virgin olive oil
juice of 1/2 orange
2 T maple syrup
1/4 C hazelnuts
2 t Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced

In a large bowl, toss together Brussels sprouts, carrot, pear, scallion, prosciutto, and pomegranate seeds or dried cherries. Place olive oil, orange juice, maple syrup, hazelnuts, mustard, garlic, and a couple of pinches each of salt and pepper in a blender container and blend until slightly chunky. Toss dressing with slaw. Makes six servings.
**Source: IdeaFit.com**

When giving is all we have

–Albert Ríos

    One river gives
                                              Its journey to the next.

We give because someone gave to us.
We give because nobody gave to us.

We give because giving has changed us.
We give because giving could have changed us.

We have been better for it,
We have been wounded by it—

Giving has many faces: It is loud and quiet,
Big, though small, diamond in wood-nails.

Its story is old, the plot worn and the pages too,
But we read this book, anyway, over and again:

Giving is, first and every time, hand to hand,
Mine to yours, yours to mine.

You gave me blue and I gave you yellow.
Together we are simple green. You gave me

What you did not have, and I gave you
What I had to give—together, we made

Something greater from the difference.

This season can be about how much money we spend, loneliness, the stress of travel or being with family members that know how to push our buttons.  

Or, it can be about the simple gift of our presence, calm energy, and service to others. 

As we close out the year, my wish for you is simple:  May you find moments of peace, quiet, and serenity in the midst of chaos.

And, may I be in service to that.  To close out 2021:

  • I have a new exercise video that helps release tension in the body: Moving Twist.
  • The link to my Insight Meditation page with guided meditations for grounding, breathing, and Yoga Nidra (yogic sleep for deep rest and relaxation).
  • Check out this article from IDEA Health & Fitness Association on healthy holiday food swaps (think roasted vegetables instead of cream and butter loaded potatoes au gratin).
  • And, my final class offerings for 2021.

“For it is in giving, that we receive.” –St. Francis of Assisi

In Peace,
Claudia

thanks-giving

Ah, November. The month that doesn’t contain Halloween, or Christmas/New Years.  November can often feel like it’s just an extension of the holiday season, kind of run over by the semi-truck that is Christmas!  But for me, November is about appreciating all the small and big things in my life like the love of family and friends, a warm home, and purring cats. It’s a reminder to me to give thanks, to express gratitude, to gather around a bountiful table, and share what I have with others. 


SMALL ACTS OF THANKS-GIVING
🤲🏼 Tell someone you’re thankful for them. 
📦 Give a care package.
🙌🏼 Offer a compliment.
🦃 Give a turkey to a family in need.
🛒 Help someone with their groceries.
🍪 Bake cookies for someone.


This month is also a smart time to make sure that you have a good handle on your stress levels, or have a plan for good self-care and managing your mental health (this includes stress, depression, and problems with emotion)–before the holidays take their toll.

The really good news is that there are very accessible things we can do to that help.  Getting good rest, having a regular meditation practice (as little as 10 minutes a day is very impactful), and exercising 3-5x per week.  In a large 2018 study**, an analysis of 852,068 adults (out of 1.2 million surveyed) associated exercisers with 43.2% fewer self-reported mental health burdens per month than non-exercisers. All types of exercise were impactful. Mindful exercises such as yoga were associated with a 22.9% reduction in mental health issues.  The optimal amount of sessions per week were 3-5x, and vigorous exercise was more favorable than light or moderate.

In closing, I invite you to try a yoga session with me (virtual yoga classes – HERE). If you haven’t tried the Insight Timer platform  (it’s free and filled with thousands of short to long guided meditations).  I have two offerings available, with more to come.  Find them HERE. This month’s EXERCISE VIDEO OF THE MONTH: ‘SWIMMING’ is up and ready for you try.  And, last but not least, The Giving Sale is now live in my shop–25% off (almost) storewide!). 

In Peace,
Claudia

**(Chekroud, S.R., et al. 2018. Association between physical exercise and mental health in 1.2 million individuals in the USA between 2011 and 2015: A cross-sectional study. Lancet Psychiatry, 5 (9), 739–46.)  

Let the leaves fall…

Let’s imagine…”What if”….you sat down one day–effortlessly, comfortably–as though you were in a magical time bubble. You sat and simply watched nature in all Her mystery do what She does best? Seasons shifting, birth, growth, life, death. Sunsets and sunrises. Full moon to new moon. What might you learn or discover?

As we move through Autumn in all its glorious colors and crisp temps, we may notice the subtle shifts from within to start letting things go. Trees cloak themselves in a riot of reds, golds, and oranges, and then let the leaves fall. Instead of trying to hold onto them, they know that after a period of rest something new will appear.

It’s like keeping your closet filled with only those things you wear on a regular basis. If you never get rid of old clothes, you will run out of space for new clothes.

“Be like a tree, and let the dead leaves drop.” ~Rumi

Consider some of the following ways to lighten the load:

  • Let go of one, two, or more of your insecurities. Replace them with affirmations.
  • Let go of grudges. 
  • Forgive someone. 
  • Forgive yourself.
  • Simplify your schedule. Re-prioritize, and prune to the essentials.
  • Stop trying to people-please.
  • Clean out one drawer a week.
  • Pranayama practice:  Exhale for at least 2 counts longer than the inhale. Practice for 10 rounds.

This month in class, we are focusing on releasing 🤲🏼 in order to manifest, grounding 🌍 so that we feel safe to let go, and soothing pranayama 🫁 breath work.  If you haven’t tried one of my classes on MOXIE yet, I’m dropping you a FREE CLASS PASS

The newest exercise video is out! Opposite arm/leg raise–sometimes called ‘bird dog’–a simple and very effective core strengthening exercise. Please find it HERE.

In closing, may you find satisfaction in letting go of something, enjoy some good walks in the fresh crisp air of fall, and some some delicious pumpkin spice!

In peace,
Claudia

End Of Summer Shift

“To say it was a beautiful day would not begin to explain it. It was that day when the end of summer intersects perfectly with the start of fall.”
–Ann Patchett

Here in the Pacific Northwest, nights have begun a slow descent into the cooler, crisp temps of fall. Soon, very soon, I’ll need to pull the lily and hyacinth plants from the pond, and set them up to over-winter in the laundry room (there are grow 🌱☀️lights!). This shift to cooler, drier air signals that we are entering the vata season. Think of vata energy as cold, dry, light, windy, and rough energy. It’s the type of energy that makes us want to try new things, or to make changes in our lives. In contrast, it can also show up as depression and anxiety. So, as we transition into the new season, it’s beneficial and necessary to keep this energy balanced.

Here are a few tips for balancing vata energy:

  • Eat warm, moist, cooked meals such as curries, soups, steamed greens, spiced vegetables, cooked fruit, hot cereals, quinoa, or baked sweet potatoes. Spices to try: cumin, turmeric, coriander, and ginger.
  • Sleep more. Getting enough rest helps the body repair and replenish. Limit the amount of personal energy draw from your devices by turning them off a half hour before going to bed.
  • Hydrate and soothe dry, irritated nasal passages with a few drops of nasya oil before going to bed. Tip: tilt your head back slightly when applying the drops.
  • Try drinking hot water with cinnamon, or hot water with ginger and lemon juice, first thing in the morning. Warm liquids stimulate your agni (digestive fire) by increasing blood circulation in your gastrointestinal system.
  • A yoga practice that is slow and steady. Move through Sun Salutations very slowly, focus on grounding in standing/balancing poses, and spend extra time in deep asanas.
  • Pranayama (breath) practice: Nadi shodhana (alternate nostril breathing) – inhale right nostril/exhale left nostril in the morning for warmth and energy; inhale left nostril/exhale right nostril in the evening for calming and to promote sleep.

SEPTEMBER EXERCISE VIDEO DROP! Find it here: Glutes + Hamstrings: Strength + Stability. Perform this exercise slowly, steadily, with focus and control!

SUMMER POTPOURRI

How is your summer coming along? Mine has been full of learning, creating, cheering, and occasionally stumbling.

While this year’s annual fitness conference was once again on the virtual platform, I still received vast amounts of new ideas and inspiration. I am so thankful for all the presenters who continue to share their knowledge, experience and expertise, under continuously shifting circumstances. And, I truly look forward to sharing new concepts and exercises in my classes, videos, and client sessions!

Going through my mom’s collection of raw semi-precious gemstones, agates, and petrified wood has stoked my creative passions, and I have had fun hammering silver and gold wire, and polishing stones in my new rock tumbler. It’s good to have a hobby that inspires questions like, “what if” and “what happens if I do this”. Do you have a hobby, and does it make you smile?


  • Word of the Day:  lapidary [lap-i-der-ee] 1. A lap-i-dist: one who cuts, polishes, and engraves precious stones.

The Olympians who came together to challenge themselves and each other on the world stage inspired me through their collective effort and courage just to get there. I cheered for each and every one of them! Is there someone in your life that could use a little cheering? (It could even be you. Hint: High five yourself for something you accomplished today!)

I’ve also found myself stumbling into moments of frustration, anger, and despair over the ongoing global pandemic (there was hope for a vacation out of the country, once I had my vaccine—not so now), and dire reports on global warming. These are the moments I lean heavily on my personal fitness program (a good, sweaty cardio session does wonders for moving negative energy), and my daily meditation sessions (absolutely essential for finding balance).

If you find yourself in similar states of emotional quandary, I highly recommend my two above 👆 ‘go-tos’ (cardio and meditation).  But, I also came across this wonderful piece on how to have difficult conversations.  As a society, “If we’re to make any progress, we need to actively foster a culture of good faith and honesty, based on the knowledge that we all have the same fundamental desires.” In essence, “We will sink or sail together, and we ignore this fact at our own peril.”  The article is about how to “Star-man”, and argue from a position of compassion. Find it HERE.

This month I am SO excited to announce my new meditation ‘channel’ on 👉 Insight Timer! 👈 I have two sessions available currently: ‘Finding Ground’, and ‘Breath Practice’.  They are the first two in the “My Morning Meditation” series. You may be familiar with ‘Finding Ground’, but the second one–‘Breath Practice’– is brand new created exclusively for the Insight Timer platform. I will be adding to the series every few weeks. I hope you take the opportunity to check them out. 😊 

Beginning this month, I am also adding short (FREE) exercise videos of the month to my VIMEO video library. This month’s video is a set of hand and wrist therapeutic exercises, designed to improve mobility and strengthen the wrist joints. Find the link below. 👇

In closing, I would like to leave you with an excerpt from Thich Nhat Hanh’s poem, entitled “Breathing”:

Breathing in,
I have become space
without boundaries.
I have no plans left.
I have no luggage.
Breathing out, I am the moon
that is sailing through the sky of utmost emptiness.
I am freedom.

VIDEO OF THE MONTH: Hand & Wrist Therapeutic Exercises

P.S. Exclusively for YOU my readers, 20% off ($25 minimum purchase) in my shop: MADE WITH MANTRA SHOP

Fluidity

As a child, my summer days were spent playing at the pool, or swimming in lakes and rivers. It was that perfect blend of energy (fire) and fluidity (water). Being in or near water balanced out the hot, dry desert heat of my childhood home. Something about the sparkle of sunlight on water, both above water and below water, appealed to my soul–still does to this day.

The summer solstice marked the longest day of the year, and ushered in the joys of summer: fruits and flowers in the garden, the warm sun on our shoulders, vacations and road trips–just to name a few. Summer is the season of growth, its energy causes action and outward movement. My hope is that we are inspired to be out in nature–gardening, hiking, bicycling, swimming, or any other outdoor sports and recreation.

Now is the perfect time to get out and “recharge” your battery. Your body is like a car. It needs to be taken out of the garage, washed, polished, and driven. It can be a leisurely drive, a fast one, or something in between. But, it needs to move, otherwise it rusts. Loosen it up, fuel it with fresh fruits and vegetables, big salads and whole grains, and lots of water–balance the fire with water, inside and out.

This month, in my classes, we will be immersing ourselves in the rhythms of breath (both HEATING and COOLING) and the moving body (think FLUIDITY). Find my virtual teaching schedule here: YOGA and FITNESS.

Session 9: Loving Kindness – Self & Loved One, in the “My Morning Meditation” series is now available. This session is about cultivating (GROWTH) metta, loving kindness for ourselves, and a loved one. A loving kindness practice helps us plug into compassion and our innate connection to all beings. A regular practice provides many benefits that begin with increasing our own peace and well-being. As our own well-being is intrinsically connected with the well-being of others, practicing for ourselves also benefits others. According to the Buddha, benefits to a regular practice include:

1. You will sleep easily.

2. You will wake easily.

3. You will have pleasant dreams.

4. People will love you.

5. Devas (gods and angels) and animals will love you.

6. Devas will protect you.

7. External dangers will not harm you.

8. Your face will be radiant.

9. Your mind will be serene.

10. You will die unconfused.

11. You will be re-born in happy realms.

In closing, I will leave you with these words from Tyler Knott Gregson:

“Point me at the living,
the soaked green life
pulsing for the sun.
Point me forwards,
into growth,
into that slow advance
into more.
Bury me in life.”