Nap time

Hand picked flowers

Saturday I took a nap.

I know what you are thinking. Quarantine + two month old baby = lots of naps for Mama. Um, not really. Though my second son is proving to be a very good sleeper, I usually use his nap to be with my oldest son or to get outside to clear my head and get much needed exercise. Sometimes I’m able to eat a meal slowly and with two hands (which is not something to take for granted, people!) or I putter around the house picking up cast away socks, piles of books and little tiny cars that I inevitably trip on. But Saturday afternoon the only thing calling my name was a nap. And while I was sleeping, I had another dream.

This time a friend and I were going on a hike. She was to meet at my house and then we would drive to the trail head together. She arrived a bit early, and I was still getting ready. My husband greeted her at the door and welcomed her inside. He offered her some water and she accepted. My oldest son was delighted to see her and talked to her non stop for seven minutes about what his toy helicopter and crane were doing. I was finally ready and I warmly gave my friend a big hug when I saw her. We said our goodbyes to my family and we headed out in my car. It was a beautiful day in Southern California and we were excited to hit the trails.

I think dreams are little peeks into our subconscious. My dreams of late center around connecting with friends together in celebration or in the beauty of the outdoors. Things clearly that I am craving, but are not possible right now.

What is possible in the realm of connection these days? Virtual family to family living rooms chats with our friends. (Just like in person the adults are trying to catch up and the kids are clamoring in the background!) Reading lovely emails from clients past and present that have shared that it’s a treat to “take class from me again” when they stream the exercises at home. Hearing that some of you are doing these videos with your spouse or your kids, adding an element of connection that I hadn’t thought about initially.

And as for beauty? A small bouquet of flowers (pictured above) from our front yard that my son trimmed himself. The apricot tree in our backyard with hundreds of tiny green apricots. The moody sky and blustery winds that we have been soaking in during our afternoons walks. The countless photos I have of my two sons bonding as each day unfolds.

Sometimes you just have to look for it. You just have to find the ways to fill your heart, soul, and dreamy mind with the connection and beauty it’s craving.

I wonder where you are finding connection and beauty. Is it in a phone call to an old friend? A basket of fruit left on your porch from a neighbor? A walk with your spouse outdoors? I’d love to hear.

As Saturday was for napping, Sunday was for moving. We went for a walk and scooter adventure around the block. We cleaned house. Best of all, I got in some yoga and some filming. Another simple yoga flow that you can tag on to the previous one or do on its own. I hope you’ll try it and enjoy. 🙂 Till next time…

In connection, beauty, and occasional napping,

Yoga Flow 2 from Francine on Vimeo.

Go with the flow…a yoga flow

Me and my boys

This week I…

*went on lovely walks with my son
*cuddled my new baby
*missed my mom like crazy
*moved when I could, but sat quite a bit
*snacked often (maybe too often?)
*spent A LOT of time in my living room
*read from a real book (not just my phone)
*worried. cried a little.
*laughed, talked to friends, texted oh so many friends
*used Skype, WhatsApp and FaceTime more than I did when I traveled
*did some yoga

mmmmm yoga

And since the yoga felt so good, I thought I’d share a little.  A ten minute routine you can do anytime at home. I hope you try it and let me know how it feels. As always, listen to your body, try what feels good and stop if it doesn’t.  (But don’t worry…it’s a user friendly routine!)  Progress over perfection, folks!  Let’s get you moving.

Till next time,

Yoga Flow 1 from Francine on Vimeo.

I had a dream

Side plank on a hike

I few nights I awoke from a very vivid dream.  I was on my way to celebrate the birthday of a good friend.  It was to be just the three of us – the birthday boy, his wife who is a long time friend of mine, and myself.   We knew we could only get together in small groups. (Even in this dream there was some sort of pandemic going on but, as dreams go, the details were blurry.) I was excited to celebrate my friend, though I remember feeling reserved on my way to them.  I felt safe but at the same time very cautious.  Then, when I got to the location something glorious occurred.  We were all together.  Everyone was there.  You were there. I was there.  All my friends were there.  Coworkers, past clients, new clients. Neighbors. It was a huge party. I recall pulling my good friend aside, the wife of the birthday boy, to say…‘I had no idea it was so many people.  I wouldn’t have come had I known. But I am so glad I’m here!’  I danced, I ate, I caught up with friends I hadn’t seen in a while.  It was awesome.

I think many of us are having this dream even while we are awake.  We are thinking of a time when quarantine will be over, “safer at home” will be a thing of the past, and once again we can chink glasses with our friends and family at our favorite haunts. We can reschedule our birthday lunches, re-book our celebratory occasions, and catch up in person with our colleagues and coworkers.  I know, it sounds great doesn’t it?

But for now, each day I am finding the awesome in “safer at home.”  Like spending a lot of time in my yard with my son.  FaceTime with my mom to see her content, healthy and happy in her home.  Listening to Storytime with Mrs. Figs from the comfort my couch.  Writing more.  Dabbling in exercise videos.  Eating way too much dark chocolate.

Of course there are challenges.  1300 square foot of space with a husband who is working full time from home including conducting live classes, an energetic four year old, an infant and a small dog who is wondering why she gets less walks.  I always new I was a homebody but a stay at homebody is a whole different thing.  Still, I feel so strongly about doing my part to keep myself and my community safer by staying in that I am 100% up for the challenge.

Today, Monday, my little family will try to get into more of a routine. We will have triumphs and we will have fails. But we will persevere and try again Tuesday.  Then Wednesday, and so on.  And at times I will muse over that dream. That great big party.  But hopefully, much more often I will stay present to my life right now and my resources at hand.  Like the brilliance of the internet, my own computer on which to type these ramblings to you and my smartphone to record videos. We are wired for connection.  And if we can’t connect in person just yet, I am so glad we can do so here.

And on that note. Let’s do some exercise together.

From one stay at homebody to another,



The challenge of sharing prime real estate. Plus, exercises for your core.

Sharing space at home

It can be hard to find a ten minute spot of quiet time in a somewhat small, very busy space.  A space that is both a library and a construction site, an airport and a train station.  An area that is not only used for watching movies but also for putting out fires.  I am speaking of course, about my living room. A.k.a my son’s favorite place to play. When I was getting ready to film the video below, I asked Giove to be SUPER quiet if he wanted to stay with me in the room.

‘OK!‘ he said.  He was on board from the start.
Me: ‘That means no helicopter noises.’ 
‘Right!’  he said agreeably.
Me again: ‘And no jumping up and down.
Giove: ‘OK, Mama.’ 
Me: ‘OK, good. Then you can stay.’
Giove: ‘Mama…Is breathing ok?
Me, holding back both a smile and a tear: ‘Yes, sweetie, breathing is OK. In fact, it is encouraged.’

YES to us all – breathing is OK. With our lives changing by the minute, our jobs on hold and our families at a distance there is very little we have control over right now. So little.  But we do have our breath.  I am not going to naively suggest we are all able to take calming breaths every moment to get us through this.  No, our breath is so much more dynamic and powerful than that.  Yes, of course we have the ability to take a deep breath when we feel safe in the comfort of our own homes.  We also have the choice to hold our breath for an extra second or two as we digest the latest news.  Maybe we take a long exhale when we hear from someone we love via call, text or email.  Perhaps we permit ourselves to sit alone and inhale the aroma of our favorite coffee or tea in silence while we take a break from the latest updates.  In other words, our breath is not only life giving, it is a tool.  It can change with us and for us.

So today at some point remember you still have your breath. Play with it. Draw in an extra long inhale when you step outside.  Let yourself sigh audibly the next time you feel like just can’t hold in silence. Feel your breath in your belly – let it rise and fall – when you wake up in the morning. And lastly, because I am your voice of exercise encouragement, challenge your breath with movement.  Keep moving.  Even if it’s just ten minutes on your mat and a short walk outside.

Now back to the video.  After it was “quiet on the set”, I was able to film a nine minute sequence with a few exercises for your core.  These are a couple of my favorites including one that I feel is the most beneficial to any other core exercise you could do.  Intrigued? Check it out. 🙂 Oh, and in case you are curious, it was the second take.  The first take was interrupted by the aforementioned four year old mimicking police car noises giving me “ticket” for invading the play area past my allotted time…

Oh vey.

In breathing, sharing space and working your core,


Sitting a lot? Stretches to do at home.

Baby Eliano

I have to admit I am the person that hems and haws before she has to break down and buy new technology. It’s not exciting to me when new upgraded devices come out. I don’t crave the latest techie thing nor do I want to spend my money on new features of something I already have. I kinda prefer to run things into the ground. No, not from neglect! Instead, the conservative mindset of “well…mine still works.” Even if “working” is just barely and simultaneously giving me a royal headache. Case in point: my last phone. I loved my phone. An Android Nexus. It was great and I saw no reason to change even though it had been out shined by the new Pixels. I thought the camera was great and the phone never did me wrong. Then a few months ago it started loosing the battery charge in just a few hours, than an hour…then only worked when plugged in. Kinda of a pain when you are at the grocery store and you can’t access your grocery list because it’s stored on your phone. Or you want to text a client that you are running a few minutes late and your phone turns off. Yup. It was time. *heavy sigh* I bought a new phone. And you know, these days it is basically the price of a new computer.

Where am I going with this? I’ll cut to the chase. Turns out my new fancy Pixel 4 (you’ll be happy to know I got a great Black Friday deal!!) has awesome video capabilities.

I have always wanted to do a little filming (and actually have done some on YouTube and FB in the past) but now that we are all in and having to be a bit more creative with our movement experiences I want to reach out and help you all remember what you can do at home. And as one of my favorite authors, Brene Brown, suggests, “we are wired for connection.”

And as our community is in a state of crisis, heck our world, I want to keep connection, to help where I can, and to stay relevant in your lives.

I truly do.

So here you go….the first of *hopefully* more videos from my home. I’ll stop writing now so you can start watching and MOVING with this first simple video. Three stretches for your calves and hamstrings. Try it and let know what you think. 🙂

In health and connection


In spreading compassion, care and the common good…

Contact Page2

Like most of you, I have been receiving e-newsletters from various businesses – both big and small – in regards to the COVID-19.  Some of these emails have focused on how the business is supporting customers/clients during this time.  Other offer suggestions on how to maximize the time at home both for business and family.  Still others are simply giving information on closures and modified hours.  Many give information on hygiene.  But the most compelling e-blast I received today was from Richard Davidson, the founder of an organization called The Center for Healthy Minds. In the newsletter, Davidson reminded his readers that social distancing not only limits the exposure of the COVID-19 virus to ourselves, but is also an “act of generosity and compassion towards others.”  By limiting interactions, staying home, opting for online or virtual meet ups, we are thinking of the greater good and how these choices can help others stay healthy.  He sums up the letter by saying …”even with the stress and anxiety and unprecedented challenges that we are facing with this pandemic, we can be grateful for the many opportunities to recognize our basic good nature and to extend our self-care to the caring for so many others.”  His words gave me pause, enabled me to re-frame my thinking.  For this I am grateful.

In this same realm, the owners of Camarillo Pilates have chosen to close their doors this week even as other gyms are continuing to stay open. At their request, I have copied their email below.  I know it wasn’t an easy decision by any means, but I applaud Cori and Jimmy for doing their part to help stop the spread of this virus.  As you all know I am on maternity leave, but please keep in contact with your subs and with the studio as the days and weeks unfold. They will be the best ones to let you know of new developments and when the studio will reopen for privates and group classes.

For my part I continue to be home in my little cocoon with my boys.  Besides a mild cold that my 4 year old has, we are all healthy.  Thank you for the texts and emails, I enjoy hearing from you all!

As always – be well, breathe well and stay in touch,


Dear Camarillo Pilates Community,
After much thoughtful discussion and consideration we have decided to temporarily close the studio effective tomorrow, Monday March 16th through Sunday March 22nd. This includes all group classes and private sessions. With the recent closure of school districts and all park and recreation programs, in addition to other small businesses like our own, we feel the most responsible choice is to take pause and observe how the COVID-19 pandemic effects our community and surrounding communities. We would rather be one step ahead than one step behind.
Several of you have already reached out to let us know that you would like to take some time off. We whole-heartedly understand your concerns. We also know that many of you will be disappointed about this decision. While our group classes are indeed small, it is important to recognize that up to 35 people attend sessions and share pilates equipment each day. We feel an immense responsibility for keeping you safe and healthy within the walls of our studio. We want to have a better understanding of this situation before we move forward.
This is a hard time for our small family run business. We love our work, we love our staff and clients. We appreciate this amazing community of kind, friendly and down to earth individuals that enrich our daily lives. We hope to implement a safe and socially responsible plan to continue to serve you. If you need us to push your membership payment back 7 days to make up for lost time, we are happy to do so. If you can afford to give up a week, we appreciate your generosity and support. We understand that this time will have a financial impact on many of us. Please do not hesitate to contact us with questions or concerns.
We will assess the situation next weekend and update you on our plan for the week of Monday March 22nd. Until then, let’s take good care of ourselves, practice smart social distancing, enjoy time outside in the fresh air, eat healthy foods and drink lots of water. We hope to see you all again soon!
Cori & Jimmy Riggs