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]

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.

Don’t Look Back

“You’re not going that way.”

It’s all about being here now.  And, making plans for the future.  This new year is about forging a new path–a new way of being, because the old ways no longer work, or are dropping away.  “Normal,” as we knew it is illusionary and unsustainable–environmentally, economically, socially, morally, ethically.  

How do we move on to a better future?  By listening, creating, committing, doing, believing, and inspiring.  

“Do more than exist—live.
Do more than hear—listen…
Do more than grow—bloom.
Do more than spend—invest.
Do more than think—create…
Do more than decide—discern.
Do more than consider—commit…
Do more than dream—do.
Do more than see—perceive.
Do more than read—apply.
Do more than receive—reciprocate.
Do more than choose—focus.
Do more than wish—believe…
Do more than encourage—inspire…
Do more than reach—stretch.”
–John Mason

So! In the spirit of stretching, creating, and committing to something new, I am in the process of setting up monthly subscriptions and private sessions on the Moxie platform (https://moxie.xyz/claudiafountain).  My plan is to offer weekly yoga (and possibly fitness) sessions.  I hope to see you there soon!

In closing, the fourth installment in the My Morning Meditation series is up and waiting for you.  Let yourself be taken away to a warm, sunny beach as you rest in the flow of your breath. As always, these videos  are FREE.  

My Morning Meditation 4: Sound. This session continues to build on the foundational sessions of grounding and breath awareness. Here we will expand the focus of our attention to include sound. Noticing sounds, resting awareness on the flow of breath and the gentle susurration of waves rolling on and off shore. Imagine yourself resting on warm, white sand on a sunny beach. Nothing to do but breath–and listen.  
Find it here:  https://vimeo.com/497091923


May 2021 be filled with things both quietly and gloriously new! 🙏🙏🏼🙏🏽🙏🏾🙏🏿🙏🏻


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

Know Better. Do Better.

Let me begin by saying right now–this newsletter is heavy. It is a reflection of my heart, which at the moment is feeling very, very heavy. By nature, I am a very private and contained person. But, right here, right now, there are voices calling (shouting really) for me to open up, to listen deeply to friends and to strangers who are BIPOC. Their voices are utterly valid, and they are in pain. It’s past time for me to sit with that pain, theirs and mine. Because, yes, I am feeling discomfort, guilt, shame–many, many things. There can be no turning away from it. It’s real, and it’s lived. 

This is THE yoga.  The yoga of ahimsa–non-violence in thought, word, or deed against another human being, or myself.  The yoga of svadhyaya–self-study, in what ways are my actions, my perceptions, my belief systems both conscious and unconscious causing harm to others and myself. And, the yoga of tapas–self-discipline, to transform myself by sitting in the fiery discomfort of breaking habitual thought and behavioral patterns. It’s necessary, and absolutely essential work.

We are all human beings, but we are not all free. This is my yoga. I invite you to contemplate yours. And, as we sit with what is happening internally, and externally, be kind with yourselves, and with others. We have all walked different paths, and find ourselves in different places. As one of my teachers said, “model truth and compassion.” Let’s all be the change we wish to see in thought, word, and deed.

LOKAH SAMASTAH SUKHINO BHAVANTU

“May all beings everywhere be happy and free. And, may the thoughts, words, and actions of my life contribute in some way to that happiness and freedom.”
Find the prayer here:  https://vimeo.com/400370987

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!