Earth-Air-Water-Fire-Space

Last week was spent wandering amid ferns and ancient redwoods, bathing in foggy mist and salty sea air, and meditating on the dancing flames of a campfire (mindfully and responsibly cared for). There was no cell reception, electronic distraction, or 24/7 news for the vast majority of the trip (thank goddess). For me, there is no better way to restore and replenish body, mind, and spirit than being in nature.

Walking as close to the earth as possible (bare feet, oh yes) is utterly grounding. Breathing the fresh air under a redwood canopy–deeply refreshing. Burbling water, crashing waves and salt spray–so cleansing (those fabulous negative ions, yes please). The deep, radiant warmth of a fire felt, sinking into bones and soothing the soul. Spending time watching the flames dance, and letting all else fall away–a recipe for clearing the mind and creating space to simply BE.

I believe, deep in my soul, this is how we were designed to live. Connected with all other beings, and to this beautiful blue planet that sustains us and supports us. During times of chaos it is imperative that we remember life is more than just our small selves. We are made of stardust, and to stardust we shall return.

“The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.”― Nelson Henderson

I am in the midst of creating a meditation series that reflects what my meditation practice looks like. The first one is up and ready for you! (Find it here: https://vimeo.com/468731804) This first meditation is about learning to ground ourselves in the present moment through somatic body awareness. It is an invitation to rest, breath, and connect. Carve out 15 minutes in your day, find a space where you can be uninterrupted, plug in your ear phones, and drop in.

In closing, I wish you many, many opportunities for connection, grounding, and replenishment.

Made With Mantra Malas

One day my favorite much-used mala broke. I set about re-making it, and haven’t stopped knotting since! During my early teens I had a passion for making macrame jewelry. It was tiny, intricate work that I loved very much. Making malas has reconnected me with that early creative drive.

Japamala (mantra recitation) is a significant part of my yoga practice, and I use my malas to recite mantra during meditation. There are 108 beads (not counting seed beads, extra decorative elements, or the guru bead) on a full mala. Each round of 108 recitations is like sending out 108 prayers to the universe.

My little labor of love is now LIVE on ETSY! I design and hand-knot unique one-of-a-kind japa malas. I also offer custom made-to-order malas, along with repair or restring of an existing mala. Each mala I create is imbued with mantra as I knot. My intention is for these small offerings to bring peace to each wearer/user. It would bring me great joy if you checked my little shop out. Please share and/or favorite! 🙏🙏🙏

Look for the NEW! CUSTOM MALA JEWELRY link in the menu. Or, click the link below.

Made With Mantra Shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/MadeWithMantraShop?ref=seller-platform-mcnav

Self-Care Tools

“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.

Other resources:

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.

Online Offerings

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!

Strange Times…..

“are these in which we live, forsooth.”  — George Francis Train

If you are missing your regular health and wellness routines, I have some video content up and available for free.  Two are guided meditations, useful for relieving stress (we all could use some of that!).  The others are simple short sequences for keeping major joints loose and comfortable, plus one balance challenge.  Find the videos here:  https://vimeo.com/physiquebyfountain

My hope is to be able to create a few more in the coming weeks.

Stay well my friends!

 

Love In All Directions

“Recognize that the very molecules that make up your body, the atoms that construct the molecules, are traceable to the crucibles that were once the centers of high mass stars that exploded their chemically rich guts into the galaxy, enriching pristine gas clouds with the chemistry of life.  So that we are all connected to each other biologically, to the earth chemically and to the rest of the universe atomically.”
–Neil deGrasse Tyson

We are in the Universe and the Universe is in us, literally in every way.  Chaos and order, in everything.  With one element to bind it all together, to balance it out–love.

“The most important aspect of love is not in giving or the receiving: it’s in the being. When I need love from others, or need to give love to others, I’m caught in an unstable situation. Being in love, rather than giving or taking love, is the only thing that provides stability. Being in love means seeing the Beloved all around me.”
–Ram Dass

While we all may not be able to create change in the world on a global scale, we can work within our personal sphere of influence.   Being the change begins with ourselves.  Being in love, existing in the flow of love, manifests as compassion, kindness, responding (rather than reacting), speaking and acting from our hearts.  I believe the doorway to being in love begins with ourselves–be good to yourself first, then others.  It’s like putting on your own oxygen mask.  Until you do that, you are no help to others.  Self-care may take the form of exercising, eating well, getting enough sleep.  But, it also means taking time to manage your stress, practicing mindfulness, and self-compassion.   Sometimes the best self-care is to step away from everything, and go for a walk; or, simply sit and watch your breath for a few minutes.

Personally, my two most essential “go-to’s” for managing stress are dedicated time on my meditation cushion, and a good solid cardio session either at the gym or outdoors.   Exercise literally moves energy, burns it up, moves it out with each exhale, with each step taken.  Think of stress as energy that is stuck, needing to be transformed.  I take that stuck energy, and give it back to the universe in the form of carbon dioxide, oxygen, nitrogen, argon, and water vapor.

What form does self-care take for you?  How is love manifesting in your life both for yourself, and for others?  Can it be found in the form of a child’s laughter, or the purring of a cat?  Perhaps it is in the form of a hug, or listening to a friend as they talk about their sorrow.  If we look with open hearts, it can be found in everything, and everyone.

See you on the mat!

Are you ready for change?

A new year signals new choices.  New choices mean we get to discover new versions of ourselves–if we are open to being curious, brave, and adventurous.  Are you ready to dive deep into your roots, your ground, and be transformed?


“Here in this body are the sacred rivers, here are the sun and moon, as well as all the pilgrimage places. I have not encountered another temple as blissful as my own body.”
–Saraha Doha


The body can be thought of as a container, even a storage battery, for subtle energy (prana).  All life experiences are recorded at a cellular and energetic level.  Love, compassion, empathy, and deep bliss are available to all of us, if we are willing to dive deep into our sacred rivers and explore.

This month we will delve into what it feels like to be grounded and stable.  From a place of abiding steadiness we can then dive into opening, changing, and shifting with a sense of adventure and curiosity.  Another way to think of change is to simply realize that it is motion.  Change is momentum and progress.  Feeling stable, safe, helps us move into change with a sense of ease, equity, and a certain degree of courage–like having all four wheels of your car on the ground as you negotiate a winding road.

Grounding through our feet is one of the primary ways we stabilize ourselves, pressing downward through all four ‘corners’ (big toe, little toe, inside/outside corners of heels).  A second pathway is working with the first bandha in the body–the Mula Bandha (root lock)–located at the base of the spine, the “root.”  Working with the Mula Bhanda is a way to help ground the energetic body, or more specifically the central channel nadis (Sushumna, Ida, Pingala).  To find and engage the Mula Bandha, feel for the space between the pubic bone and tailbone, and the space between the sit bones.  Imagine drawing those four points together into the center and lifting upwards just a bit (about a 2-3 on a scale of 10).

So, the next time you feel anxious or fearful, or resisting change, ground yourself by dropping into the sensing body–slow down, watch your breath, press down through the corners of your feet, and practice engaging Mula Bandha.

We will be practicing all this, and more, in class.  See you on the mat!


Beginning this month!
On the LAST Wednesday of each month, I will be LIVE streaming a 15-minute, guided meditation, at 8:00am. The first session will be Wednesday, 1/31!  Like and/or follow my FB page for notification:  https://www.facebook.com/physiquebyfountain/

Change Your Thinking, Change Your World

“The world as we have created it, is a process of our thinking.  It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”
― Albert Einstein

Summer is sliding to a close, bringing the shift into Autumn.    I love witnessing the beautiful bloom of fall colors in the trees, the slow drift of leaves, and the hint of crispness in the air.  It truly is my favorite time of the year.  Fall always helps me reconnect with the practice of working with change, and the art of letting go.  

“Change has long been a fearful thing for human beings…and at the same time, it is our most Divine opportunity.  Clinging to the banks of the river may seem safe and more secure, but life’s possibilities are truly engaged only when we trust, release, and become part of the Flow of the Universe.”  –Chelle Thompson

There exists a radical release of suffering when we free ourselves of attachment and the need to control all that we have, or think we need.  Expectations are like leaves.  Let them drop.  Live as though this moment is exactly enough. 

This month brings us an asana practice rooted in prana, the flow of breath.  We are moved by breath–flowing, pausing, letting go, resting our awareness in the rhythmic inflow and outflow of prana.  Aware that this breath, this moment, this shape, this sensation is perfect, and exactly enough, just as it is.

See you on the mat!

P.S.  A simple 6-minute Falling Leaf Meditation to help with practicing non-attachment to thoughts:  https://vimeo.com/288997646

It’s a new dawn, a new day, a new year!

Here in the heart of winter, bitter dry winds, cold rainy days, or a sense of heaviness and stagnation are often the hallmarks of this dark time of the year.   This is a prime time to focus on wellness for body, mind, and spirit; and, to deepen our relationship with self, spending time in meditation and self-exploration.

This month we will practice Bhastrika pranayam, stoking the fire residing in our solar plexus–the Manipura Chakra.  This fire warms us, and lends steadiness and flow to our vinyasa practice as we release stuck energy and patterns.  Ultimately, the vinyasa practice prepares us to simply sit.

In the Modern Western Yoga practice, we have come to associate the flow of poses practiced as ‘asana.’  The direct translation of ‘asana’ is to ‘take a seat.’  If we can achieve a sense of steadiness and ease in each pose, then it could be said we have achieved ‘asana.’  But…….

“By tradition, the conditioning asanas of hatha yoga were practiced in the service of the meditation postures:  they provided enough suppleness and strength for the yogin to remain in a meditative posture–usually the lotus posture–with steadiness and ease for a long time.”  [Elliot Goldberg, ‘The Path of Modern Yoga’]

Once we have released the disturbances that arise from the physical body, our contemplative practice begins.  A still body allows us to move our attention inward and witness the flow of phenomenon–thoughts, feelings, sensations, sound, breath.  As the mind begins to settle we experience the pauses and quiet spaces in between thoughts, sensations, and breath. The pauses, gaps, are where we ultimately connect with the awareness that resides behind it all. Those are the golden moments we seek!

Let’s breathe, and flow, and sit together, shall we?!

See you on the mat!