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

“We don’t use our body to get into a pose, we use the pose to get into our body.” -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—earth, 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!

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.

‘TIS THE SEASON FOR…..

Gratitude. 
        Connection.
                    Sharing.
                              Reaching out.
                                          Giving. (Look for my gifts to you below!) 
            
As I close out this extraordinary year, I made a pact with myself to remind myself daily to look for at least one thing for which I am grateful.  I use the word ‘extraordinary’ very deliberately to describe 2020.  Weird, bizarre, and unimaginable could also be inserted, but those would be limiting.  Extraordinary covers it all–the good, the bad, and the ugly.

I am so grateful for the opportunity to c r e a t e this year–from recording guided meditation videos, to making hand-knotted malas. 

I am completely grateful for the time to l e a r n new things–Zoom snafu management, remote fitness training, bluetooth microphones, and working with wire, crimp beads, and the plethora of adhesives for sealing knots and attaching stones to settings.  So much fun!

I am utterly grateful to my private clients who have continued to work with me remotely, sharing fitness, laughs, and my parade of cats wandering through our sessions.  

And, I have no adequate words for how grateful I am for my family and friends, staying safe and healthy.  

No doubt, it has been a trying year.  The key is to remind ourselves continuously of how much we DO have.  

May your holidays include love and cheer and connection.  See you in 2021!

SHANTI SHANTI SHANTI OM


P.S. My little gift for you–the third video in the “My Morning Meditation” series is up and waiting for you.  

My Morning Meditation 3: Breath Practice. Weaving body scan grounding, breath awareness, and a breath count practice (pranayam) into a seamless whole. In this session you will be guided into a 4-6-ct breath technique, including a brief pause at the top of the inhale and bottom of the exhale. This practice is designed to deepen your awareness of breath and body, and leave you feeling centered and calm.

All my videos are FREE to view and enjoy.  FIND THE MEDITATION HERE: https://vimeo.com/487036589 

P.S.S. My labor of love, “Made With Mantra Shop,” also holds a gift of 20% off on select malas and bracelets.  FIND MY SHOP HERE: https://www.etsy.com/shop/MadeWithMantraShop?

CHANGES

“Let’s plant a new tree, make a change
Need it for you and me, brighter days
Will come and you’ll see, make the change
Necessary for ordinary people”
–Ziggy Marley


I am in the mood to keep it simple and sweet. If there’s one take-away for me so far this year, it’s in the art of surrender and letting go. Has it been challenging? You bet. Surrendering is a continuous practice, and just like Mother Nature we shed, we grow, we shed, we grow. 

One of the best ways I know of to help in the process of surrendering is to meditate. The simple act of witnessing all that is happening inside, without judgement, is like seeing each leaf on a tree and watching it drop. Thoughts are simply thoughts. Feelings are just that. See them, feel them, witness them falling away.  

“An untroubled mind, no longer seeking
to consider what is right and what is wrong,
a mind beyond judgements,
watches and understands.”
–Buddha


The second session in My Morning Meditation Series is up and ready for you.  Find the link here: https://vimeo.com/477811884.  And, then join me on the meditation cushion!

OM SHANTI SHANTI SHANTI

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.

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!

Yule Time

“We are approaching the threshold of winter.

Life is being drawn into the earth, painlessly descending down into the very heart of herself. 

And we as natural human animals are being called to do the same, the pull to descend into our bodies, into sleep, darkness and the depths of our own inner caves continually tugging at our marrow.”
–Brigit Anna McNeill

There is often an intuitive pull to turn inward at this time of the year.  Honoring the natural cycles of light and darkness is innate in most of us.  The Winter Solstice was celebrated by many ancient cultures as the rebirth of light.  For while the light grows shorter now, it will return.  Within this cycle, now is the opportunity to work with some of the heavier aspects of our inner worlds. Acknowledge and honor the sadness, or the heartache, the anger, or resentments.  To do this write about them in a journal, or place them on slips of paper to burn in your Yule fire.  To bring more light into the darkness, light candles, build fires, put up twinkling lights, take a walk in the sunshine, eat a flavorful, warm meal with loved ones.  Spend time in contemplation.  What is the spark inside you that lights your fire?  How can you grow that light, and share it with others?

See you on the mat!

For my December teaching schedule, there are some additions, some cancellations, and some subs!  Please see here:  https://physiquebyfountain.com/yoga/

December Meditation:  Inner Drishti (gaze)

Find a comfortable, supported seated position and close your eyes.  Take three easy, full breaths, releasing tension held in the body on the exhale.  Allow the breath to fall into its own natural rhythm.  As you continue to breath softly and comfortably, bring your awareness to the shape of your body sitting–noting heaviness, softness, the breath filling all the space within–for three minutes.

Then, gently bring your awareness to your heart, center of your chest–noting sensations such as warmth, expansion/contraction, perhaps even feeling your heartbeat, whatever comes up for you–for three minutes.

Next, gently move your awareness to your third-eye center, middle of the forehead, between the eyebrows–breathing as though through this spot, noting sensations, perhaps the sense of air moving inward to the center of your skull on the inhale, and back out on the exhale–for three minutes.

Next, gently move your awareness to the roof of the skull–again noticing any sensations you may become aware of, using the rhythm of your breath as an anchor–for three minutes.

Finally, simply rest in an open field of awareness, noting all passing phenomenon from the movement of breath, to the flicker of thoughts or images, and sounds reaching your ears.  All is allowed, all passes through, nothing lingers, as you remain still and at ease.  Rest here for as long as you like.   It can be useful to use an app such as “Insight Timer” that allows you set interval chimes.

Enjoy!

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!

The Heart of the Matter

Namaste my fellow yogi/yoginis!

“Love was born first, the gods cannot reach it, or the spirits, or men…Far as heaven and earth extend, far as the waters go, high as the fire burns, you are greater, love!  The wind cannot reach you, nor the fire, nor the sun, nor the moon:  You are greater than them all, love!”
–Atharva Veda 9.2.19

This month we focus on our center of peace, the still center point of our energetic body–the Anahata (Heart) Chakra.  This peaceful, loving, compassionate energy is reflected by the Golden Rule:  Treat others as you would wish to be treated.  Love yourself, as well as your neighbors.  What you wish upon others, you wish upon yourself.   Where in your life are you being less than any of this towards either yourself, or others?

The element associated with the Anahata Chakra is air.  Air is most commonly associated with expansive knowledge, openness and spaciousness, freedom to breath and a sense of lightness.  This love is empathic, compassionate, and is experienced within us as a state of being which is not based on need or desire.  We will work with prana (breath), back bends, and chest openers to help us connect with some of these elements.

For your meditation practice, I offer you the seed (bija) sound for the Anahata (Heart) Chakra:  Lam.  Repeat this seed sound silently to yourself as you gently follow the rise and fall of your breath with your attention.  You might also envision a green, glowing light centered in your chest.  Feel this essence of compassion, drawing it in on the inhale, and radiating it out on the exhale.  

An interesting side note:  The translation of Anahata from Sanskrit is “sound that is made without any two things striking.

A couple updates to my teaching schedule:

1)  I have stepped out of the Saturday morning Vinyasa class rotation at the Palo Alto Family YMCA.  The class will continue to be taught by the remaining teachers on a rotational basis.  Check the online schedule at: http://www.ymcasv.org/paloalto/html/downloads.html

2) The Friday Breath & Meditation class at Breathe Together Yoga is at a new time:  2:30-3:00pm beginning Feb. 17th.

See you on the  mat!