Changing Seasons

It’s my favorite time of the year, and it totally has me smiling!  Something about the shifting quality of light, the cooler temps and changing  leaves–it all makes me feel lighter, less weighed down.  This year has delivered some landslides that knocked me sideways for sure.  And, it was a good thing!  Sometimes what we need is to step sideways, get off the merry-go-round, and see life from a completely different perspective.   A little bit like doing a headstand.  Or, being forced to stop working because of an injury.  There are benefits there, if you choose to see them. These sidesteps, while at first may feel like a step in the wrong direction, are in the end the path forward.  We only needed to clear some clutter out of the way.  Just as trees shed their leaves, we can let go of outdated perspectives, un-necessary commitments, or hard line expectations.

I’ve had a couple of realizations hit me over the past month, that will impact my work-life in a positive way, allowing me to find joy again in what I do.  I’ve also re-found my creative inspiration that I will be pouring into writing, drawing, getting back to my mala projects, and even ultimately into this year’s Jack ‘O Lantern!

A quote I ran across this morning, “Life isn’t just what you’re focused on, but around you too.” [Jessica Thompson] My personal goal–reconnecting with the full spectrum of Life, just as it is, without heavy expectations or feeling that “my way” is the only way.  

To that end, over the next several weeks, we will focus on discovering our holding patterns, becoming comfortable with releasing expectations, noticing what it feels like in the physical and energetic bodies when we do, and finding contentment in being exactly where we are.  

See you on the mat!  

P.S.:  Over the summer while healing my foot injury, I put together a series of short sequences to help keep my body mobile.  Here is a time-lapsed series for opening the hips.  No props needed!  Since this is a time-lapse, remember to slow the movements down, use your breath as a guide (i.e., in the first pattern, exhale to externally rotate the hip, inhale to internally rotate the hip.)  Follow the link:  https://vimeo.com/physiquebyfountain

When was the last time you really just chilled?

Here I am in August, and I’m dreaming of a vacation!  There is no small irony in that statement.  I am just finishing my seventh week of being home bound as I heal a fracture in my left foot.  I can see the end goal right around the corner.  And, I know it will feel so wonderful to be able to move more normally again.  These past weeks have been a true lesson on learning to let go of  “doing.”  Healing became the priority, and no amount of frustration over the things I could not (temporarily) do was going to speed the healing process.   Simple things like showering, getting dressed, making something to eat, all have taken longer to do.  It quite often feels a bit like a moving meditation as I pay attention to the nuances of maneuvering my body and foot through space with care.  This entire experience has been like a (large) nudge (bonk over the head) by the Universe telling me to    s  l  o  w     d   o   w   n.

Which circles me back around to my opening question–when was the last time you really just chilled?  Pulled up the lounge chair, sprayed on sun screen, and read a good book?  Taken a stroll down to the end of the pier, sat on the edge, and just dangled your feet?  There is immense value to be found in slowing down, giving the body and mind space and time to rest.  Physiologically, rest gives the body time to repair and grow, and come back stronger.  Mentally, silence–which is rest for the brain–has been shown to lead to the development of new cells in the hippocampus, the key region in the brain associated with learning, memory, and emotion (for some of the research, see:  https://www.researchgate.net/publication/259110014_Is_silence_golden_Effects_of_auditory_stimuli_and_their_absence_on_adult_hippocampal_neurogenesis).

So, as we enter the final weeks of summer, consider how you might add more rest into your day (naps!), or week (an afternoon at the beach).  Next month, I will be off on a two week road trip with family from Europe, to introduce them to the wonders of our National Parks (Tetons, Yellowstone, and Glacier).  I will be giving my foot some hiking physical therapy, and my spirit some much needed communion with nature.

See you on the mat!

P.S., I am very happy to be returning to my regular teaching schedule, beginning this Sunday (8/11)!  We will be exploring conservation of energy, consistency, and stability.

Change is the One Constant

“Sometimes you don’t realize your own strength until you come face to face with your greatest weakness.”
–Susan Gale

It is said that change is the only constant.  June has certainly proven that for me!  An unfortunate slip on my stairs sent me to Urgent Care.  I am now in a boot for the next six weeks as I heal a bone fracture.   My asana practice has entirely changed in order to accommodate a foot that is non-weight bearing.  My regular cardio sessions are on hold.  So many aspects of my personal and professional life are now in stasis.  It has been frustrating, to say the least.

But!  This isn’t about what has gone wrong.  Rather, it is about shifts in circumstances.  How we deal with any one thing, is how we deal with all things.  One hand is now empty, but in my other hand is something else.  Time.  Time to write.  Time to read (I can finally make a dent on my stack of yoga-related books).  More time to meditate (this is pure GOLD).  More time with new kittens.  Yes, kittens!  Let me tell you, chasing down a tiny, wee kitten on crutches is challenging.

My personal goal for the next six weeks is adaptation.  There is always more than one way to approach something.  Before my injury, I had begun the annual summer Instagram challenge that my yoga studio (Breathe Together Yoga, Los Gatos) holds.  It is running for 84 days, and I was only a week into it.  Rather than not finishing (I am not a fan of “incomplete”), I decided to keep on playing, adapting the poses to fit my circumstances.  It has been fun and challenging.  If you would like to follow what my adaptations are, please follow the link: http://https://www.instagram.com/cmjfountain/
The hashtags are #BTY84 and #worksinprogress.  I would love to see you there!

I will be returning back to my regularly scheduled teaching program on 7/29.

Namaste!  And, carry on!

Tuning IN

“Yoga is an internal practice. The rest is just a circus.”
–Sri K. Pattabhi Jois

Breathe.  Invite.  Welcome.  Listen.  Feel.  Accept.  Open.  Sense.  Observe.

These are some of the essential practices at the heart of Yoga.    Whether we are sitting behind the wheel of our car, standing in line at the market, or upside down in headstand–connect with awareness and breath.  Anything that allows us to be more aware of ourselves, to feel a connection to ourselves and life, is Yoga.

This month I invite you to practice tuning into awareness, your “inner being-ness,” with a welcoming sense of acceptance for all your daily experiences either on the mat or off the mat.

“Practice becomes firmly grounded when continued for a long time with devotion and right action.”
–Yoga Sutra 1.14

Check the link below for a short (10 min) video designed to help mobilize your major joints and spine.  It is a “feel good” sequence, great for first thing in the morning, or before going to bed.

See you on the mat!

Loosen & Limber: https://vimeo.com/330133845

Potential (puh-ten-shuhl): capable of being or becoming

Every moment in time, every breath, every space in between thought and words contains potential.  Every felt emotion in the body–joy, anger, love, sorrow, fear–holds the seed of potential change.  

The past two weeks for me have been charged with so much emotion.  A tiny furred being that I have had the privilege to live with and take care of for 20 years, is in her twilight days.  The tears I have shed are like a trickling stream, that merges into a river, and eventually unites with the ocean, Source.  

Each experience holds the potential for merging with Source, for learning more about ourselves, for shifting the course of our lives, for GROWTH.  What are our attachments?  What are we avoiding?   What are we not seeing as it is?  

“Everyone has inside of him a piece of good news. The good news is that you don’t know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is!”  –Anne Frank

This month is about cleansing (think cleaning out your closets, freshening the house, or an Ayurveda Spring dietary cleanse), and uncovering your potential that is hidden behind patterns of thought and habitual movement.

See you on the mat!  

All Things Change

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”
― Lao Tzu

All things shift and change, including my teaching schedule. This coming Friday (3/1) I will be leading my last guided Breath & Meditation class at Breathe Together Yoga. We will be sending out a whole lot of loving kindness into the world.  Please do come and shine your light with us. 💛

3/1, 2:15-2:45pm, Breath & Meditation, Breathe Together Yoga, Los Gatos, CA

Faces of Love

“Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.”  

–Mary Oliver

February is the perfect month to consider the many faces of love. Historically, in old world traditions, the beginning of February was marked with festivals (such as Imbolc) that celebrated the first hints of Spring.  Daffodils and crocus begin to push fresh green fronds through the cold earth, trees start to produce buds, and birds search for nesting sites in anticipation of the age-old pursuit of fertility and new life.

Love has many faces–passion and compassion, kindness and loving, soft and fierce, fiery and sweet, unconditional (but never conditional), unlimited and full of boundless possibility.   What would it be like to immerse ourselves in this infinite flow of love?

“And consider, always, every day, the determination of the grass to grow despite the unending obstacles.”  –Mary Oliver

This is the path of yoga:  always turn toward the sun; examine all sensations, feelings, and thoughts; extend a hand to someone in need; be fierce but also kind.

This month we will be considering what it means “to do no harm,” to ourselves and others, and meditating on Loving-Kindness (Metta).

See you on the mat!