DEEP SUMMER DIVING

I’ve been practicing with a new meditation teacher, which has been a lovely change from doing my own practice. Periodically learning from someone new is so useful, helpful, enlightening, and refreshing. It gets me out of my own way. One of the little nuggets–that I needed to re-visit, come at from a fresh perspective–is to let things be. My mind is always ON, but that doesn’t mean I need to listen to it ALL the time. Let it be like a radio on in the background. My body is always feeling something, but there is no need to respond to every itch, squeak, or sore spot. They. Just. Are. I’m slowly learning to increase the distance between phenomenon (thoughts, sensations, sound, etc.) and my sense of being the watcher. This in turn has given me what I like to think of as a gap, in which I can then turn my awareness towards itself. In other words, look at who is doing the watching. It’s been an interesting, and in many ways soothing, process.

This month I invite you to look for the gaps, find the space that isn’t filled with with thoughts, sensations, or stories. It’s there. We just need to turn away from all the noise, and dive into the deep end of spacious awareness.

Let July be July,
and let August be August.
And let yourself
just be
even in
the uncertainty.
You don’t have to fix everything.
You don’t have to solve everything.
And you can still find peace
and grow
in the wild
of changing things.
–MHN

See you on the mat!

MID-SUMMER TIDBITS

“I love how summer just wraps its arms around you like a warm blanket.”
— Kellie Elmore

I’m keeping it short and savory this July. I’ve just returned from an eight day trip to visit my best friend in my old home town. The road was long, the visit was relaxing, and the temps were just perfect for mid-summer. I think I will always find summer in the high-desert to be comforting. Summers for me, when I was growing up, were all about basking in the sunshine, jumping into sparkling swimming pools, and spending time in cool, cool libraries filled with amazing stories that I would get lost in.

But, I digress! The last half of July will be focused on slow and steady vinyasa flows, cooling breath practices, and a few of my go-to somatic releases for tension in the neck, shoulders, and upper back.

This month’s delicious recipe is a tasty spin on chicken tacos, that gets its inspiration from the heart and brain healthy Mediterranean Diet. And, finally, I’ve put together some fun facts about the birthstone for the month of July. Find them HERE. I had a lot of fun creating some ruby pieces for my little shop–MadeWithMantra!

If you ever have any questions about my classes, wellness coaching, private sessions, or anything gemstone or mala related 😃, drop me an email: claudia@physiquebyfountain.com.

MEDITERRANEAN CHICKEN TACOS

The Mediterranean diet has long been praised for its heart healthy benefits. Think of it as the gold-standard for all diets. This plant and whole-food based diet has been shown in a new batch of 2020 studies, to lower the risk of impaired cognitive function by 45-50%. The Mediterranean diet is big on fruit, veggies, whole grains, legumes, nuts and olive oil. Moderate amounts of dairy, poultry, eggs, and seafood are included. Enjoy a Mediterranean spin on chicken tacos!

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thigh
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup diced cucumber
1/2 cup diced red onion
1/3 cup sliced kalamata olives
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
2 tbs tahini
2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1 garlic clove, grated or minced
3/4 cup prepared hummus
8 tortillas, warmed
1/2 cup crumbled feta
1/3 cup chopped parsley

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Stir together Italian seasoning, salt and black pepper. Rub mixture onto chicken. Place chicken on a greased baking sheet and roast until meat reaches an internal temperature of 165 F, about 20 minutes. Let chicken rest for 5 minutes and then slice. In a bowl, toss together tomatoes, cucumber, onion, olives and jalapeno. Stir in balsamic vinegar. In a small bowl, whisk together tahini, olive oil, lemon juice and garlic. To serve, spread hummus on tortillas and top with chicken and tomato mixture. Drizzle on tahini sauce. Sprinkle on feta and parsley.

Change Is The One Constant

“There is nothing permanent except change.” -Heraclitus

Oh April! How challenging you were! 

Back at the beginning of April–just as I was beginning to put together my monthly newsletter–I received news that the streaming service I was using to teach my virtual classes and host my VOD library, was shutting down at the end of the month. To say that this came as an unfortunate surprise is an understatement to a large degree. 😱

The rest of the month was filled with decision making (deciding to switch to the new platform–they partnered with my old one and offered a full-service “white glove” transfer), learning all the ins and outs (several “on-boarding” virtual sessions) of the new platform, setting up my new account and dashboard, letting my clients know, answering their questions, and so much more.

The beginning of this month has included ironing out some kinks, leaning heavily on the “help advisors”, honing my ability to shift my outlook, and the continuous (it never stops 😅) practice of adapting to change.  

So! On to the big news this month… My virtual classes (using the ZOOM platform) and VOD library are now integrated and hosted by Arketa!   We haven’t figured out how to get my scheduled embedded on my website–yet.  But, I have a simple landing page that has all the basics:  schedule of classes, drop-in pricing, subscriptions for class packs and VOD. Find it HERE. I hope to “see” you virtually soon!

Also in this month’s newsletter, you will find my latest Exercise Video of the Month (my Favorite Restorative Pose); and a quick, heart-healthy, and delicious Mediterranean inspired recipe for a Strawberry Basil Vinaigrette. 😋

In closing, I will leave you with some words from one of my favorite poets – Tyler Knott Gregson:

Perhaps there is nothing more divine, nothing
more holy, than the love we carry for the life
we live. When you walk in constant wonder
through this world, every place becomes a 
cathedral, every breath, a prayer.

  • 1 C fresh or frozen (thawed) strawberries
  • 1/3 C fresh basil
  • 1/4 C olive oil
  • 2 T red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 t red chili flakes
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/4 t black pepper

Place all of the ingredients in a blender container and blend until smooth. Makes enough for 6 salads.

WAR & PEACE

“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.”
― Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

If I were to sum up the past 13 days in one word, it would be tumultuous. This morning I woke up in a warm, comfortable bed; with a pantry filled with food; and a solid, safe roof over my head. The same can’t be said for the people of Ukraine. My heart aches for friends who have family living the reality of war. One of my dearest hopes is that some day the human race will move beyond war. But until that day comes, I try to do the best I can, wherever I am.

If you would like to help the people of Ukraine, and aren’t sure where to start here are two solid, highly reputable organizations to begin with:

Even closer to home–when you are feeling overwhelmed, remember to treat yourself kindly. Give yourself time away from news sources, find opportunities to connect with nature, spend time loving on your furry companions if you have them, move your body, and feed yourself well.

The latest edition of Exercise of the Month Video is up. In it I share my top three shoulder stretches (bonus: these also release stored tension in the chest and upper back).

My teaching schedule remains steady at two offerings per week. As always, the classes are hosted on Moxie, and you are welcome to check out a class for FREE. Please find my teaching schedule and links here.

In closing, I offer you, the people of Ukraine, the whole of the human race PEACE.

OM SHANTI SHANTI SHANTI

Love Actually

“How you love yourself, is how you teach others to love you.” –RUPI KAUR

So treat yourself well in word, thought, and deed–especially in thought. This is where I fail to love on myself the most. Critical, judgmental thoughts I would never say to anyone else! Why is it that we are sometimes our own harshest critics? It’s a complex issue that includes playing the comparison game, thinking that failure in any way dooms us, and believing every thought our mind churns out as real and true–especially those thoughts that keep us up at 2:00am (hint: thoughts are just thoughts–noise, like the TV on in the background).

Here are some ways to be more kind–and loving–to yourself:

  • Acknowledge negative or critical thoughts, and realize that their source is from early painful experiences. Turn the ‘inner critic’ into a villain, someone that makes you smile and shake your head.
  • Allow yourself to make mistakes. It’s okay to make mistakes, which are opportunities for learning in disguise.
  • Stop comparing comparing yourself to others. It’s natural and part of being human Now, shift that energy, make it productive by focusing on yourself and your journey.
  • Learn to face your fears. Instead of pushing them away, try to understand them. Tame the roaring lion into a kitten.
  • See beauty in the simple, every day, experiences and things around you. Try to notice one each day, and feel grateful for it. 🙏🏼

Make every day a love note to yourself by fueling your body well, moving it daily, and treating yourself as though you are worthy of love–because you are!

LOKAH SAMASTAH SUKHINO BHAVANTU

What’s new this month:  

FINAL NOTE: IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN SUBSCRIBING TO MY LIBRARY OF YOGA CLASSES (90+) AT THE INTRODUCTORY RATE OF $18/MO — PLEASE DROP ME AN EMAIL FOR THE PRIVATE LINK!

Let the leaves fall…

Let’s imagine…”What if”….you sat down one day–effortlessly, comfortably–as though you were in a magical time bubble. You sat and simply watched nature in all Her mystery do what She does best? Seasons shifting, birth, growth, life, death. Sunsets and sunrises. Full moon to new moon. What might you learn or discover?

As we move through Autumn in all its glorious colors and crisp temps, we may notice the subtle shifts from within to start letting things go. Trees cloak themselves in a riot of reds, golds, and oranges, and then let the leaves fall. Instead of trying to hold onto them, they know that after a period of rest something new will appear.

It’s like keeping your closet filled with only those things you wear on a regular basis. If you never get rid of old clothes, you will run out of space for new clothes.

“Be like a tree, and let the dead leaves drop.” ~Rumi

Consider some of the following ways to lighten the load:

  • Let go of one, two, or more of your insecurities. Replace them with affirmations.
  • Let go of grudges. 
  • Forgive someone. 
  • Forgive yourself.
  • Simplify your schedule. Re-prioritize, and prune to the essentials.
  • Stop trying to people-please.
  • Clean out one drawer a week.
  • Pranayama practice:  Exhale for at least 2 counts longer than the inhale. Practice for 10 rounds.

This month in class, we are focusing on releasing 🤲🏼 in order to manifest, grounding 🌍 so that we feel safe to let go, and soothing pranayama 🫁 breath work.  If you haven’t tried one of my classes on MOXIE yet, I’m dropping you a FREE CLASS PASS

The newest exercise video is out! Opposite arm/leg raise–sometimes called ‘bird dog’–a simple and very effective core strengthening exercise. Please find it HERE.

In closing, may you find satisfaction in letting go of something, enjoy some good walks in the fresh crisp air of fall, and some some delicious pumpkin spice!

In peace,
Claudia

MAY THE JOY OF SPRING INSPIRE YOU

“A little flower that blooms in May,
A lovely sunset at the end of the day,
Someone helping a stranger along the way,
That’s heaven to me.”
–Sam Cooke

Karma Yoga is the yoga of service, to act for others and to give back. My hope for this month’s post is that it is of service to you. I’ve put together a set of small offerings designed to provide you with resources that help you share joy and compassion, reduce stress, and engage/increase nourishment for body, mind and soul.

I would like to highlight one area in particular. India, the birth country of Yoga, is in crisis. As they suffer, so do we, so do I. India has given me more than I can repay in this lifetime. If you feel moved to help, I have a list of trusted organizations (find them HERE) you can donate directly to. During the month of May, I will also be donating 20% of all sales in my ETSY shop in support of India’s Covid-19 crisis. LINK: MADE WITH MANTRA SHOP

Please feel free to share any links!

In peace,
Claudia

QUICK CORE CHALLENGE

A short dynamic sequence that builds core strength, and explores dynamic hip rotation. Repeat each side 1-5 times. Great for warming up the body as a whole. Good plank mechanics are a must. Remember to keep the hips from sagging to the floor or pitching up to the ceiling. Find the video here: https://vimeo.com/545742757

MY MORNING MEDITATION SERIES

My Morning Meditation Series 7: Perceptional Borders. This 15 minute meditation links observation of the elemental qualities with finding our perceptual borders. Notice where one hand ends and the other begins; where your body ends and the chair or floor begins. If we look closely enough, we will notice that our perceptual borders begin to slowly dissolve and awareness rests in the elemental qualities (warm, cool, soft, hard, etc.). When we rest in the awareness of these qualities, there is no thought, no feeling of separation.

HEALTHY KITCHEN TIPS

A Healthy Kitchen Begins With Organization. From my colleagues at IDEAFit, here are some fantastic tips for a healthy kitchen clean out. It begins with a literal kitchen cleanse, and finishes with a lighter and healthier you. 

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?