“When the storms of life come, if they come to me personally, to my family, or to the world, I want to be strong enough to stand and be a strength to somebody else, be shelter for somebody else.”
–Anne Graham Lotz
Self-care in these turbulent times are essential, not just for ourselves, but also for our loved-ones, our neighbors, our fellow human beings sharing this beautiful planet we call Earth.
I have had many moments over the last three weeks where thoughts, fears, and feelings have overcome me. I know I am not alone in this. If you are feeling overwhelmed by emotions, reach out and talk to someone, write it out, dance it out, get some sunshine, pet your beloved dog or cat, do yoga, do any positive activity that helps to balance/level out the intensity of the energy you are feeling.
Some of my self-care go to’s are:
- Limiting my daily news exposure to once, maybe twice, a day–like a status check-in.
- Keeping a daily routine of showering and dressing like I would if it were a normal day (e.g., no pajamas, wearing my AppleWatch–the activity tracker is a great motivator, putting on mascara–yep!).
- Making a healthy, yummy smoothie every morning.
- Getting out for a walk, or a bicycle ride, in the neighborhood every single day.
- Meditation. Every morning, first thing when I wake up.
And finally, I have been slowly (and quietly) creating a Vimeo video channel for a while now. There you will find my past videos, and new ones. Some are guided meditations that are useful for reducing stress (Yoga Nidra, Leaf Meditation, and 4-7-8 Breath). The newest videos are active sequences designed to get the body open and moving. Find the videos here: Claudia on Vimeo
Stay well my friends. Stay well.
As we continue to navigate the waters of these strange times we are in, I am slowly working on adding more online video offerings. Some are guided meditations that help you to ground and find peace. Others are short sessions on improving active ROM. My newest one is 20 minutes of standing leg strengthening and stretching. My hope is that they are useful and helpful!
Please find the videos here: Claudia Fountain on Vimeo
Stay well my friends!
I feel grateful that my schools had robust physical education programs. I’ve never stopped moving since. Exercise—essential for the brain and the body.
Follow the link for a recap on some new research on the benefits of exercise for children:
“Some of us think holding on makes us strong; but sometimes it is letting go…”
Last month, we reflected on the achievements of the year–which goals were met, and which ones were not. As we move fully into the Fall season, we shift our attention now to the process of letting go. What outworn, or old patterns, of behavior are holding you back? Are there habits that keep you stuck circling in these old patterns? What are the physical things associated with these patterns? And, what can you do differently?
Fear. Fear of the future. Fear of failure. Fear of the discomfort that often accompanies change. This four letter word quite often keeps us stuck in our old patterns! It shuts us down and keeps us from seeing possibilities. This month, to counter some of our natural (and very normal) fear responses we will play! We will play with the edges of our comfort zones, and strengthen our willingness to break patterns of habit. Then, we will rest, and let go.
See you on the mat!
P.S. Here is a short clip of a plank variation (using a “yoga wheel” prop) that is excellent for strengthening the abdominals (a.k.a., your “power” center). Make sure to place your hands shoulder-width apart; stabilize your shoulder joints by drawing the scapula (your shoulder blades) down onto the back ribs; and, engage your abdominals by drawing your navel in and up towards your spine. Keep your legs long and lifted, moving the thigh bones away from the floor by contracting your quads (top thigh muscles). Working with your breath, exhale as you roll the wheel in, inhale as you roll back out. Repeat 1-8X, as you build strength and coordination.
Stretching the chest is essential for most of us! These five are great variations. I also would add a sixth restorative variation: Supine over a yoga bolster or a rolled blanket. Place the bolster behind you on the floor, with your hips on the floor and touching the end of the bolster. Lay back along the length of the bolster. Your head should be supported on the bolster, or with an additional pillow or folded blanket. Your legs can be straight on the floor, or bent with the bottoms of your feet together and knees apart on the floor. Rest your arms on the floor at about shoulder high, or slightly lower, palms up. Stay for 2-3 minutes, breathing comfortably.