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.”

Summer is just around the corner….

Can you feel it?

As the possibilities for getting outside begin to truly open up, I hope you take the time to go out and wander. Take a day trip to the beach, a stroll under some ancient redwoods, or explore the shoreline of a lake (could be in hiking boots, or a kayak!). What speaks to you? What in nature plugs into your soul? Maybe it’s as simple as sitting in your backyard, or tending to a garden. For me, it’s equal parts walking on a beach, or hiking under a forest canopy. What’s most important is getting -o  u  t  s  i  d  e- for a good dose of sunshine vitamin D, fresh oxygen, and movement medicine (exercise!). Pack sunscreen, water, fresh fruit, and some energy fueling trail mix (find a yummy recipe below!).

This month I have some changes to my teaching schedule.  I am taking a hiatus from teaching live meditation classes.  As always, you can access my collection of guided meditation videos on Vimeo–I have a NEW one up! 

My Tuesday and Wednesday yoga classes continue. They can be found on the Moxie.xyz platform. Moxie is best accessed via your laptop/PC. If you are looking for a lower, slower, a bit more introspective class, try YIN YOGA. If you are interested in more creative, flowing vinyasa classes, try  GLOW FLOW VINYASA.

And, I am excited to be adding back into my teaching schedule two 30 Min Cardio Dance classes! These classes go back to my early roots of health and fitness. You can count on thirty minutes of low-impact, old-school, dance aerobics and jams guaranteed to bring on the sweat! No equipment needed. Just clear a little floor space. The Monday (9:00-9:30am PST) class is hosted on Moxie.  The Thursday (9:00-9:30am PST) class is hosted on Salut–this platform is for tablets/smartphones (iOS & android) only. Find me listed: Claudia Fountain.  

The best news–if you can’t make the LIVE classes, you can subscribe on Moxie, UNLIMITED VOD, and take the classes at a time that fits your schedule.  The subscription includes all video collections:  yoga, meditation, cardio dance, and bonus content.

Truly, my goal this month is to share my love of movement–whether it’s doing something out in nature, taking a yoga class, or getting my cardio on. It’s good for body, mind, and soul. One of the best ways I know of lifting a heavy mood (be it in mind, body, or emotions) is to MOVE it–literally. It’s all energy–and instead of letting it simmer and sink, I shift it through movement.

In closing, may June bring you much sunshine, many opportunities to connect with nature, and movement medicine.  🙏

Trail Mix Recipe

  • 3/4 cup raw pecans (Option: toast in the oven for 10 mins at 350 degrees F)
  • 3/4 cup raw cashews (Option: toast in the oven for 10 mins at 350 degrees F)
  • 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened, unsulfured cherries
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened, unsulfured raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped 82% dark chocolate
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Store in a ziploc bag or mason jar. Will keep for up to 1 month.  Yields: 4-5 cups

[Recipe by: Davida Lederle – The Healthy Maven]

MAY THE JOY OF SPRING INSPIRE YOU

“A little flower that blooms in May,
A lovely sunset at the end of the day,
Someone helping a stranger along the way,
That’s heaven to me.”
–Sam Cooke

Karma Yoga is the yoga of service, to act for others and to give back. My hope for this month’s post is that it is of service to you. I’ve put together a set of small offerings designed to provide you with resources that help you share joy and compassion, reduce stress, and engage/increase nourishment for body, mind and soul.

I would like to highlight one area in particular. India, the birth country of Yoga, is in crisis. As they suffer, so do we, so do I. India has given me more than I can repay in this lifetime. If you feel moved to help, I have a list of trusted organizations (find them HERE) you can donate directly to. During the month of May, I will also be donating 20% of all sales in my ETSY shop in support of India’s Covid-19 crisis. LINK: MADE WITH MANTRA SHOP

Please feel free to share any links!

In peace,
Claudia

QUICK CORE CHALLENGE

A short dynamic sequence that builds core strength, and explores dynamic hip rotation. Repeat each side 1-5 times. Great for warming up the body as a whole. Good plank mechanics are a must. Remember to keep the hips from sagging to the floor or pitching up to the ceiling. Find the video here: https://vimeo.com/545742757

MY MORNING MEDITATION SERIES

My Morning Meditation Series 7: Perceptional Borders. This 15 minute meditation links observation of the elemental qualities with finding our perceptual borders. Notice where one hand ends and the other begins; where your body ends and the chair or floor begins. If we look closely enough, we will notice that our perceptual borders begin to slowly dissolve and awareness rests in the elemental qualities (warm, cool, soft, hard, etc.). When we rest in the awareness of these qualities, there is no thought, no feeling of separation.

HEALTHY KITCHEN TIPS

A Healthy Kitchen Begins With Organization. From my colleagues at IDEAFit, here are some fantastic tips for a healthy kitchen clean out. It begins with a literal kitchen cleanse, and finishes with a lighter and healthier you. 

Karma Yoga

To give back, to act for others. The birth country of Yoga is suffering, and as they suffer so do we. We are all neighbors sharing this beautiful planet. If you were wondering how to be of service, here is a list of trusted organizations that some colleagues of mine have put together.

[From Anjali Rao:]

Milaap – an online crowdfunding platform that enables anyone across India to raise funds for healthcare, education, sports, disaster relief, and other personal causes. https://milaap.org/fundraisers/help-mumbai-dabbawala…+

The Akshaya Patra Foundation – an organization striving to eliminate classroom hunger. https://www.akshayapatra.org/+

Association for India’s Development – a volunteer movement promoting sustainable, equitable, and just development. https://aidindia.org/+

Asha for Education – a secular organization dedicated to change in India by focusing on basic education in the belief that education is a critical requisite for socio-economic change. https://ashanet.org/join-us/covid-19-relief-fundraiser/…+

Hemkunt Foundation – a non-government organization aiming to provide humanitarian aid to marginalized sections of society. https://hemkuntfoundation.com/

[From the folks at Moxie.xyz:]

American India Foundation

The American India Foundation (AIF) provides frontline health worker interventions, helping those who are at greater risk of getting infected. They also provide community screenings, personal protective equipment, nutrition needs, awareness on vaccinations, and more. Submit Your Donation. 

Association for India’s Development

Association for India’s Development is a volunteer movement promoting sustainable, equitable and just development. AID supports grassroots organizations in India and initiates efforts in various interconnected spheres such as education, livelihoods, natural resources including land, water and energy, agriculture, health, women’s empowerment and social justice. Submit Your Donation.

ActionAid India

ActionAid responds to emergencies as soon as it strikes. As a part of our first level of intervention, in coordination with local authorities, we focus on providing immediate support in the form of food, shelter, medical aid, hygiene and other non-food items for the survivors, such as sanitation kits for women. We also organize health camps, safe spaces for children and women, and provide psychosocial care to the survivors wherever required. Must select NRI & Foreign Citizen to submit your donation. Submit Your Donation.

PM Cares Fund

The ‘Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM CARES Fund) is a public charitable trust aimed at strengthening the fight against COVID-19. Its goal is to further the availability of quality treatment and encourage research on ways to beat Coronavirus. Submit Your Donation.

Let’s Get Fresh!

Springtime is all about renewal, growth, fertility, and …. blossoming!

This past weekend was spent getting ready for a new season in the backyard–emptying out the winter water from the pond, plugging the fountain pump back in, cleaning out dead ornamental grasses, pruning my blueberry bushes, and discovering the first push of new iris greens coming up. The air was so fresh, the sun warm on my shoulders. Spring this year feels so different from last year, the urge to go outside being stronger than ever.  And, after over 12 months of “sheltering”, I feel like a she-bear emerging from her den–ready to expand and move, explore and grow.

This month I’m excited to share some new things with you!

  • New class on Tuesdays – Yin Yoga, 8:00-9:00am PDST

“We don’t use our body to get into a pose, we use the pose to get into our body.” -Bernie Clark  Yin yoga is a quiet, slow, contemplative practice; its essence is yielding. Poses are held for longer periods of time so that you–the student–may go deeper. Props are highly suggested: mat, blanket(s), bolster, blocks, and strap.

Register at:  https://moxie.xyz/claudiafountain
Cost: $10 drop-in, or $54 for a 6-class package

  • New meditation offering: My Morning Meditation 6 – Four Elements

In this session we connect with and explore the Four Elements—earth, water, fire and air. These four elements can be experienced and observed within the living body, and are doorways into resting in the present moment. Earth is our foundational ground; water holds our fluid emotions, intuition, and is an essential element of life; fire is the creative life force; while air connects us to the universal life force.

Find it here:  https://vimeo.com/502383760
Cost:  FREE!

  • A quick 3-minute core conditioning sequence. Depending on the comfort of your wrists, this can be done with blocks (easier on the wrists) or without.

Find it here: https://vimeo.com/533736863
Cost:  FREE!

  • And, finally, I have added some fun NEW gemstone bracelets to my little shop on Etsy – Made With Mantra.  Colorful, fun, designed to stack and share.  Choose the gemstone who’s energy most resonates for you!  

In closing, I wish you many new adventures, time spent on self-care (…may I suggest yoga?) and sharing/spreading love, and good eats!

Finding Equilibrium

“Life is a balance of holding on and letting go.”
–Rumi

I suddenly realized yesterday morning as I was wrapping up a guided meditation class I had just taught, that it has been almost exactly a year since I taught my last live yoga, cycling, or meditation class.  The first week of SIP was a bit of a scramble–do I wait for it to end, do I jump into training and teaching virtually, how long can I sustain this, what equipment do I need? The questions were endless. Eventually of course, as it happens with all new things, a new pattern, a new rhythm was established.  I continued to work privately with clients, albeit in a new way. I was thrilled that they were still there, and willing to continue working with me in the new paradigm. What didn’t stay were the yoga, cycling, and meditation classes. What also fell away were my visits to the sport club for my own personal workouts.  Yikes!  Somewhere along the way I needed to find equilibrium again. 

Over the past year, through (some BIG) changes, I’ve slowly begun to find the sweet spot.  I think, in many ways, this process of managing balance in my life in all ways–mentally, emotionally, physically, creatively, spiritually–is actually fun.  Yes, I said fun!  I believe quite a few of us would agree that new things are fun (like traveling, new house, new job, new car, ……). The challenge is to find that sense of positivity, and fun, in those events or moments we would ordinarily not consider fun. It’s like a “Road Closed” sign.  Instead, go this way, or that way, or turn around, or go up, go down. There’s always another way to get where you are going.  Stop, pause, find center, and feel your way into the next step.

And so, circling back to the loss of group classes, I have finally stepped back into the teaching world.  (It can take me quite a while to make decisions some times!)  Last month, I started teaching my first series of yoga vinyasa classes on the Moxie.xyz platform.  It was a soft launch, and to my complete JOY it has been FUN for me to teach yoga again. Next, I added a guided meditation class (20 minutes, short and sweet).  This month, I am adding a Yin Yoga class to my schedule.  (If there is interest, I am thinking of adding a strength/core conditioning class also.  More to come on that.)

In short, I have missed connecting with my yoga peeps, and those who used to take my classes at the YMCA, and other locations.  I am inviting you to drop in and connect with me, either on your yoga mat or on your meditation seat, for FREE!  Click this link for a 1-Class Pass: https://moxie.xyz/claudiafountain/subscriptions?t=2712-19a9079f-3e9c-47e8-9829-246167418805
Use the link for access to my Wednesday Glow Flow class, or the Yin Yoga class when it begins (launching 3/16/21).  My Morning Meditation is a “Flex Pay” class–it’s FREE (skip the payment portion at end of class), or pay if you feel moved to!  If you have any questions about how the MOXIE platform works, please don’t hesitate to drop me an email:  claudia@physiquebyfountain.com

In closing, I would like to leave you with this poem by John O’Donohue:

For Equilibrium, a Blessing

Like the joy of the sea coming home to shore,
May the relief of laughter rinse through your soul.

As the wind loves to call things to dance,
May your gravity be lightened by grace.

Like the dignity of moonlight restoring the earth, 
May your thoughts incline with reverence and respect.

As water takes whatever shape it is in,
So free may you be about who you become.

As silence smiles on the other side of what’s said,
May your sense of irony bring perspective.

As time remains free of all that it frames,
May your mind stay clear of all it names.

May your prayer of listening deepen enough
To hear in the depths the laughter of God.