SUN SHIFT

The autumnal equinox arrives this month on Thursday, September 22. I have already become aware of the subtle shift in sunlight that heralds autumn. Something about the light, a certain flavor to the air, feels like a cozy sweater to me. Summer can often feel intense with its heat and sizzle. Transition seasons, like fall (and spring), offer a refreshing shift. The autumnal equinox is celebrated in many cultures as a harvest festival (think Oktoberfest and Mabon). May we celebrate the bounty of our growing season as it comes to a close.

This month I offer a small cornucopia of health and wellness: some of the latest research on the benefits of walking for knee osteoarthritis, a delicious poached chicken and apple chutney recipe, my latest exercise video (Down Dog Variations), everything you might want to know about September’s birthstone–sapphire–from my Etsy store (Made With Mantra Shop), and my current teaching schedule (I’m taking a break at the beginning of October!)

In Health & Wellness,
Claudia

“And the yellow sunflower by the brook, in autumn beauty stood.”
–William Cullen Bryant

Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine in Texas, analyzed a nested group of participant data, in a large community based multi-year study of 1,212 participants aged 50 and older who had osteoarthritis. Those who reported walking for exercise had a 40% lower chance of new or frequent pain, when compared with non-walkers. This supports the possibility that walking for exercise is beneficial in preventing the onset of knee pain. According to the researchers, it may also slow down the worsening of internal knee joint damage from osteoarthritis. Find this research in Arthritis & Rheumatology (2022; doi:10.1002/art.42241).

POACHED CHICKEN & APPLE CHUTNEY

Crispy fall apples are loaded with polyphenol antioxidants and soluble fiber pectin–both beneficial in reducing cardiovascular disease risk factors. Try this sweet and savory dish for both its flavor and heart healthy benefits.

  • 3 medium sized apples, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped dried figs or dried plums
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp brown mustard seeds (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 4, 6 oz chicken breasts, boneless & skinless
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Combine apples, figs or plums, shallot, honey, thyme, mustard seeds, cinnamon, cloves, and lemon zest in a medium-sized saucepan. Place over medium heat until apples begin to sizzle. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook covered, stirring occasionally for 15 minutes, or until apples have softened. To poach chicken, place breasts and salt in a pot large enough that they lie flat in one layer, then add enough water to completely cover the meat by about 1 inch. Bring water to a very slight simmer with just a few bubbles breaking the surface, reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover, and cook for 15 minutes, or until meat is cooked through. Slice chicken breasts, and server topped with the apple chutney. Makes 4 servings.

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.

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’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!

Yes! Dessert Can Be Healthy!

Berries are some of my all time favorite fruits to eat.  Mix in a little shaved dark chocolate, and you have one heavenly bowl of goodness.  Try this dessert out tonight!  http://www.ideafit.com/fitness-library/recipe-for-health-cherry-berry-fruit-salad-with-shaved-dark-chocolate?utm_source=FitnessConnect%20February%202016&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=February%20Client%20Newsletter%202016%20(8)

Brownie Valentine

Raw Brownies

Disclaimer: I whole-heartedly believe in the benefits of good dark chocolate. That being said, sometimes trying something new can be fun. Here is a recipe for Raw Brownies. Medjool dates are involved, another favorite food of mine. These are chocolaty and decadently moist. Follow the link: http://www.ideafit.com/fitness-library/recipe-for-health-raw-brownies?utm_source=FitnessConnect%20February%202015&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=February%20Client%20Newsletter%202015%20(6)