Present at the Ranch

Rancho La Puerta's blog about healthy and happy living.

Category Archives: Classes


Meditation Mudra“As you find your seat, relax, and completely be yourself,” says Susan Gwaltney. “Then delight in that feeling.” The key to a comfortable and happy meditation, she says, is to find a comfortable seated posture where you can breathe fully, and then use the breath to keep coming back to the present moment. Susan is leading a small group of us in a 45-minute meditation class and guiding us with gentle reminders to return to our breath, which is now our point of focus. We use it as an anchor to help us when our minds wander, to bring our minds and bodies back to this present moment.

To find our “seat,” she tells us to either sit in a supported chair, or on the floor on a cushion or blanket. I settle on a chair and support my spine by slightly drawing my navel in and dropping my shoulders. I’m trying to stay relaxed and not create tension. Susan is teaching us how to keep energy moving up our spines for support, and how the energy then draws down the back, like a circle of energy — all so that we can sit with a straight spine, and open lungs. This circle opens my heart center and I feel my breath ease. She reminds us to breathe slowly and fully. “Breathing in through the nose, suspend the breath and then exhale through the nose, relax.”

We then concentrate on our point of focus. With my eyes closed, I focus on my breathing, deep and full breaths. Focusing on a hand gesture, a mudra, or a word or sound, a mantra, is also a great way to practice. Similarly to the breath, mudras and mantras act as anchors that bring us to the present moment.  One mantra that Susan guides us in is from the Buddhist Monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, and it begins with:

Breathing in, I know I am breathing in.

Breathing out, I know I am breathing out.

Simple words to say, but as a beginner to meditation, I slowly follow my thoughts and distractions of the day before bringing myself back to the moment and mantra. “We meditate,” says Susan, “so that we are used to being calm and relaxed. We want to create a stable platform for the changes and impermanence of life. One that is stable and undisturbed.”


The meditation continues for about 15-20 minutes and then Susan finishes by ringing a chime and leading us:

Breathing in, I go back to the present moment.

Breathing out, I know this is a wonderful moment. It’s the place where life can be found, where I realize I am alive. I arrive at every moment.

She reminds us, “That this is our meditation practice. To come back home, to the here and now. It’s the practice of freedom.”

You can read more about out Mindful and Reflective classes at The Ranch here.



TRX Plank to Pike

TRX Plank to Pike

With TRX’s Plank to Pike you strengthen your arms, increase your core strength, and add flexibility in your hips and legs. Rancho La Puerta’s Fitness Instructor Ethan Carter demonstrates during a TRX class. 1. Put feet your feet into the straps and … Continue reading


BOSU Fit Lunge


I’m in Olmeca gym at a BOSU * Fit class with several Ranch guests, looking forward to 45 minutes of an energetic and balancing workout. Our fitness instructor Ethan hits play and turns up the volume to an upbeat danceable Motown soundtrack. … Continue reading



Pilates Tower Fundamentals

“The Pilates Method of Body Conditioning is complete coordination of body, mind and spirit.” –Joseph Pilates inventor of Pilates The Pilates Tower Fundamentals class was a deliberately paced workout that was a pleasant surprise. Instead of a fast circuit workout with … Continue reading


Azteca Gym at Rancho La Puerta

Weightlifting in Azteca Gym

The Ranch is known as a refuge for reflection, rejuvenation and fitness, providing opportunities and tools for self-betterment. Along with the myriad of hiking trails, wellness facilities and spas at Rancho La Puerta, is the Azteca Gym, which is the perfect environment to pump … Continue reading


Patricia Moreno

danceSati with Patricia Moreno

Patricia Moreno, a mind body coach and fitness expert with over 20 years of experience, recently taught her signature Sati Life workouts at The Ranch. Patricia is an incredible force; she has a vivacious and inspirational energy that lifts the … Continue reading


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