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. ¬†ūüôŹ

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]

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 ‚Äď 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 ‚Äď an organization striving to eliminate classroom hunger. https://www.akshayapatra.org/+

Association for India‚Äôs Development ‚Äď a volunteer movement promoting sustainable, equitable, and just development. https://aidindia.org/+

Asha for Education ‚Äď 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 ‚Äď 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‚Äôs 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‚Äôs 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 ‚ÄėPrime 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

‚ÄúWe don‚Äôt use our body to get into a pose, we use the pose to get into our body.‚ÄĚ -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‚ÄĒearth, 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.

Lay a little loving on yourself…

There is a community of the spirit.
Join it, and feel the delight
of walking in the noisy street,
and being the noise.

Drink all your passion,
and be a disgrace.

Close both eyes
to see with the other eye.

Open your hands,
if you want to be held.

Sit down in this circle.
–Rumi


I can only speak for myself, but I feel… lighter, hopeful, as though there is room to breath again. As Emily Dickinson said it, “Hope” is the thing with feathers – that perches in the soul – and sings the tune without the words – and never stops – at all.” 

I have a row of seedling pots ensconced in the warmest/sunniest place in the house (the bathroom!). They are just starting to sprout–the first seedlings are Bristlecone Pine, a very long, lived and hardy species of pine. The goal is to eventually shape them as Bonsai, a Japanese art form that takes patience, and daily mindful care.

My goals this month are two-fold. Just as I nurture and care for these seedlings, my first goal is to lovingly cultivate my creative pursuits.  Whether it is designing and making hand-knotted malas and jewelry, recording and creating new meditation videos, or launching my live-streaming class platform–I am creating and tending to my online presence in a slow and patient way.

My second goal this month is to acknowledge and hold my anxieties and doubts about this growth period with loving kindness and awareness. Success or failure–it’s the effort and presence that truly matter.  

My hope for you is that you lay a little loving on yourself. Spend time moving your body. Eat nourishing foods. Give yourself a little gift–just for you–whether it’s time with a good book, yoga, a piece of really good chocolate, or anything else that speaks to you.

The next installment in the series, “My Morning Meditation”,¬†is up on Vimeo. This one is all about sound and mantra. Think of it as a 20 minute immersion in the sound of the¬†Universe. If you have never used mantra, it is a nice introduction. As always, these are FREE. Find the meditation here: https://vimeo.com/504972237

In closing, I do hope to SEE you on the mat! My first virtual class offering on Moxie is Vinyasa Glow Flow, Wednesdays @ 12:00pm.  You can drop-in LIVE, which is a wonderful way to connect with other human souls.  Or, subscribe for monthly access to my VOD library. Live classes are recorded, and can be watched OD when it best suits your schedule. Right now, the monthly price is only $18. Register here: https://moxie.xyz/claudiafountain

LOKAH SAMASTAH SUKHINO BHAVANTU
May all beings have freedom and happiness; and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my life contribute in some way to that freedom and happiness.

VIRTUAL CLASSES BEGIN 2/3/20!

My first yoga class series is here!

vinyasa glow flow

  • What: Flowing vinyasa yoga class, grounded in breath and alignment. Be ready to breathe, build some heat (tapas), and move. Each week the focus shifts, but the essential elements of breath, heat, and movement will remain. Finish with a soothing and relaxing savasana.
  • Where:¬†https://moxie.xyz/claudiafountain
  • When: Begins 2/3/20, Wednesdays, 12:00-1:00pm, for eight weeks
  • Cost: $10 drop in
  • Monthly VOD subscription: $18 (includes recorded live classes + bonus sessions)

Musings on wash tubs, chaos, and change…

I have a very early memory of my grandmother’s basement.  She still had one of those old-school wash tubs with a manual hand-cranked ringer on it.  The world of modern appliances had moved on considerably, but for some reason my grandmother still had a manual wash tub in her basement. What I remember is the darkness of the basement, and the strange wonder I was feeling as I watched the wet clothes being squished, flattened, and pulled into unrecognizable shapes.  

This year feels a little bit (make that a lot) like being put through that ringer.  Here we are in September, and many changes have happened in my life.  Landslide shifts in what my work-life looks like, my mom needing personal assistance as she navigates another health scare, and an out-of-state move (goodbye California, hello Oregon!)–all while living with a global pandemic, political and social upheaval, and wildly insane climate-change driven wildfires and heatwaves (can we call it apocalyptic yet?).  These are huge, stress inducing changes.  I keep trying to clean, straighten, find some order, some normality, anything to keep the chaos at bay.  But, maybe what is needed is to lean into that chaos.  What if rather than turning away from all of the feelings of worry, frustration, anger, or fear, I really sat down with them and had a conversation?  Not in a let me wallow in them kind of way, but in a curious, interested, and compassionate kind of way.

While I can’t control the world, or the politics that run it, or the fear generated by it all–what I can control is how I respond.  I am sure that most of us have heard the Chaos Theory concerning the wings of a butterfly.  What it’s really trying to say is that tiny changes in a big system can affect everything.  How does this work for me?  I work on the one thing I can change–myself.  What are the roots of my triggers?  Why do I think/feel/react certain ways when x, y, or z happen?  Once I know, I have the power to choose a different, and better, response.  It can be very interesting, very revealing work.  This is radical self-care. 

“In chaos, there is fertility.” –Anais Nin

Some of 2020 has been undeniably bad, but some has been outstandingly good also–like purchasing a home. Another gift has been re-connecting with creative source.  For a while during my teens, I nurtured a macrame jewelry making passion.  It was tiny, intricate work that I loved very much.  A broken mala that I wanted to continue to use, put me back on the path of jewelry and mala making.  It’s both a meditation and a creative hobby that brings peace and joy.  

My new office/video/zoom/yoga space is a blank canvas that I am in the process of envisioning–from choosing a new desk and shelf set, to what color to paint the walls, to how to organize it all (the Virgo me LOVES this).  In this space, I will be creating programs, meditations, and videos–some live, some pre-recorded.  I can truly say I am excited for what is yet to come.  Please do stay tuned!

In closing, I invite you to connect with what brings you peace and joy.  It’s there, waiting to be discovered.  And, like a bee that harvests nectar from a sunflower to make golden honey, you too will create peace, joy, and be part of the tapestry of change that will spread throughout the world.

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

Live Like It’s Spring

“Despite the forecast, live like it’s Spring.”
–Lily Pulitzer

I have been having recurring dreams about emerging from a cave, holding up a shielding hand as I squint against the ultra-bright light and warmth of the sun.  My steps tentative.  My head tilting back subtly, as I take slow, deep breaths.  I feel my lungs expanding, my spine lengthening, as I release my arm beside me and simply stand. Time seems to slow down, as I feel the ground beneath the soles of my feet, the heat of the sun, and the caress of a soft breeze against my skin. This is, perhaps, what it feels like to be free.  Aware of the earth that supports me, the sun that warms and strengthens me, and the air that sustains me.  

 ‚ÄúYou and I possess within ourselves at every moment of our lives, under all circumstances, the power to transform the quality of our lives.‚ÄĚ
–Werner Erhard

These past weeks–months, really–have been an incredible shift in how we all live.  What will we find when we eventually and slowly begin to re-enter the group life stream?  What have we uncovered–discovered–about ourselves during this very special time?  What have we let go of, and what do we take with us?

Now is the perfect time, if you haven’t already, to let things drop away that no longer support you.  Keep only that which is fulfilling and produces joy for you.  Modern life has a way of inserting extraneous and energy draining activities (think about how much time is spent on, say, social media).  These current times of SIP offer rich opportunities to observe “tapas.”  Tapas has been traditionally defined as practicing a “fiery discipline” (the root word ‘tap’ means ‘to burn’).  I like the definition given by one of my teachers: “It is a necessary, fiercely focused, constant, intense commitment to burn off the impediments that prevent us from being fully present.” [Jennifer Prugh]

For the past seven weeks, my tapas practice has been to sit with how I feel about LIVE virtual streaming.  So much about virtual streaming makes me very uncomfortable.  Part of me is amused by this.  Teaching live group fitness classes used to be a large element of my business.  The energy of that was very fulfilling for me.  Doing it in front of a camera (and seeing myself)–not so much.  But, I am committed to finding my voice in this new world.  And, so it goes.  I sit with the discomfort, I do different camera/lighting set-ups, I observe the reactions it brings up, and I practice some more.  

In the meantime, I have added a couple more videos to my Vimeo platform.  Find the videos here:

  • 20 Minute Standing Mobility Flow:  Elevate the mobility, flexibility, and strength of your neck, shoulders, hips, and legs. No equipment needed.  Bring your curiosity and willingness to explore moving in spirals and circles, up, down, side to side, and all around. https://vimeo.com/401159397
  • Warming & Balancing Flow: This session is designed to link your breath to movement, finding energetic balance between not too much and not too little. Flow from one shape to the next, connected to your in breath and out breath like water from one shape to the next shape. Open your hips, invite mobility in your spine, and create some length in your hamstrings and hip flexors.  Finally, you will have an opportunity to check-in with your breath and feeling self as we finish with a short meditation.  https://vimeo.com/403516615

In closing, I also want to offer you links to a few things that have been very supportive for me, creatively and energetically:

Stay well my friends!  Stay well.

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.