Move with Mindfulness returns April 25 & 26!

The path was clear to the Welcoming House, and its meditation room.

The path was clear to the Welcoming House, and its meditation room.

January snow sparkled beautiful and peaceful, the days and evenings glowed, and we wrote. Downy woodpeckers, chickadees and white breasted nuthatches nibbled at the feeders; other small creatures burrowed into the white. We stretched, we wrote.

White breasted nuthatches reminded us to eat when we needed.

White breasted nuthatches doing their work.

We woke our bodies gently on yoga mats, we wrote, we ate and laughed and took a hike, churned our minds, churned our muscles, loosened both, and wrote.

Time expanded and we got work done. (A personal meditation on how that process went for me, entitled “Essay Tangles and Snarls,” can be found at my writing blog, here .)

Busy, busy little critters burrowed through the snow, before our boot prints even got there.

Busy, busy little critters burrowed through the snow, before our boot prints even got there.

Now I invite you to an affordable spring weekend, one day or both, opportunities to stay overnight if you’d like. End of April, there should be wildflowers in the woods, warmer air in the sun, the pond defrosted, the labyrinth uncovered. And writing to be done!

Details below.

April wildflowers: remember them?

April wildflowers: remember them?

 

Move with Mindfulness, Write with Ease

Saturday & Sunday April 25 & 26, 2015

One Day or Two Day options available.

10 am to 4 pm each day

Come and experience how movement can assist your writing and self awareness in a relaxed environment, with periods to write built into the day.

This workshop-retreat offers an excellent opportunity for work on a new or ongoing project (e.g. fiction, memoir, poetry, personal journaling), or just give you quiet time away, as we experience spring! in gorgeous upstate New York. You can attend Saturday, Sunday, or both days.

Where is it being held? Still Point Retreat Center is a small-scale, homey/comfy retreat center with a spiritual emphasis, in Stillwater NY, very close to the Saratoga Historical Park, 30 miles north of Albany.

You can commute to the workshop or stay at Still Point.

How much will it cost? $59/1 day, $118/2 days, including options to experience a yoga class, learn stretches and self-care for writers, do a labyrinth walk and/or hike (weather permitting) along with other moving meditation, while supplied with noshes throughout the day. Limited income participant $29/ 1 day, $58/ 2 days.

Included each day in your workshop fee: healthy & tasty breakfast foods in the morning, tea and coffee over the day, home made soup for lunch. If you are staying over, dinner will be shared potluck and the evening will be free time (ideas: write, visit with others, rest, walk on the grounds or read).

Overnight accommodations are a separate charge and should be arranged directly with Still Point. Visit the Still Point website here for pictures and information about the cabins & rooms and to sign up for housing. In conjunction with this retreat, you can opt to stay over Friday, Saturday and/or Sunday nights, depending on what rooms are available at the time you book your accommodation with Still Point.

How do I sign up for the workshop? We keep this workshop deliberately small so it is advised to sign up as soon as you know you’d like to come. First, let us know you are attending and which days, through the Contact Us page on this website, and second, mail a check to Of-the-Essence Holistic Wellness, P.O. Box 1344, Troy NY 12181 or contact us for cash payment options.

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Winter Writing Workshop days: January 24 and 25, 2015

Meditative walking, part of the wonderful November weekend at Still Point.

Meditative walking, part of the wonderful November weekend.

On November 1 and 2, folks came together at Still Point and discovered an autumn cornucopia of “still points”–including the smell of a wood stove and simmering soup while we wrote, body and breath awareness in the labyrinth, quiet and bird calls and internal music that fed all the senses.

I managed to finally finish the essay for my tab above: What Is Of-the-Essence? (I hope you take a gander at it, when you get a chance.)

Participants clamored for more, so I’ll be offering Move with Mindfulness, Write with Ease once again the weekend of January 24 and 25, 2015.

This time away could even be a holiday gift for yourself or a loved one. Description below; same offering as before, one day or both, same pricing.

Evidence of filling meals for local critters: oak acorn caps and pine cone pieces. Come be filled yourself!

Evidence of filling meals for local critters: oak acorn caps and pine cone seed scales. Come to Still Point and be filled yourself!

Move with Mindfulness, Write with Ease

Saturday & Sunday January 24 & 25, 2015

One Day or Two Day options available.

10 am to 4 pm each day

Come and experience how movement can assist your writing and self awareness in a relaxed environment, with periods to write built into the day.

This workshop-retreat offers an excellent opportunity for work on a new or ongoing project (e.g. fiction, memoir, poetry, personal journaling), or just give you quiet time away, as we experience the middle of deep winter in gorgeous upstate New York. You can attend Saturday, Sunday, or both days.

Where is it being held? Still Point Retreat Center is a small-scale, homey/comfy retreat center with a spiritual emphasis, in Stillwater NY, very close to the Saratoga Historical Park, 30 miles north of Albany.

You can commute to the workshop or stay at Still Point.

How much will it cost? $59/1 day, $118/2 days, including options to experience a yoga class, labyrinth walk, snowshoe or walk (weather permitting) and other moving meditation, while supplied with noshes throughout the day. Limited income participant $29/ 1 day, $58/ 2 days.

Accommodations are a separate charge and should be arranged directly with Still Point. Visit the Still Point website at http://stillpointretreatcenter.com for pictures and information about the cabins & rooms and to sign up for housing. In conjunction with this retreat, you can opt to stay over Friday, Saturday and/or Sunday nights, depending on what rooms are available at the time you book your accommodation with Still Point.

Included each day in your workshop fee: healthy & tasty breakfast foods in the morning, tea and coffee over the day, home made soup for lunch. If you are staying over, dinner will be shared potluck and the evening will be free time (ideas: write, visit with others, rest, walk on the grounds or read).

How do I sign up for the workshop? We keep this workshop deliberately small so it is advised to sign up as soon as you know you’d like to come. First, let us know you are attending and which days, through the Contact Us page on this website, and second, mail a check to Of-the-Essence Holistic Wellness, P.O. Box 1344, Troy NY 12181 or contact us for cash payment options.

Midnight blue pales to day: dawn through the Welcoming House meditation room window.

Midnight blue pales to day: dawn through the Welcoming House meditation room window.

Winter is finally over! Summer yoga-with-hiking to come…

Still Point labyrinth next to the snow covered pond.

Still Point labyrinth next to the snow covered pond.

…though you would not be able to tell from in this photo from our wonderful February 22 Move with Mindfulness, Write with Ease workshop at Still Point. There were hints of spring, however, in the rain that dripped from windows and sunshine that melted the labyrinth path just in time for a meditative walk after lunch, between writing sessions.

Friday evening rain...

Friday evening rain…

...turns into morning sunshine!

…turns into Saturday morning sunshine, just in time!

Due to some health issues which are now resolved–our bodies DO like to surprise us!–March through June have been physical recovery time for me. But now the summer beckons, and a new program will begin at Dyken Pond Environmental Education Center.

Out of the Gym & Into the Woods: Yoga and Hiking at Dyken Pond. 

Did you promise yourself you’d get out into nature more this summer, exercise more regularly? Maybe do some yoga, because you’ve heard it’s so good for you, or you haven’t practiced as often you would like?Want to pay closer attention to your body and breath and deepen your experience in the woods?

You will be guided through at least six to nine yoga stretches and postures (no experience needed!) to warm the body, check in as we hike, and cool off afterwards, bringing awareness and a meditative approach to the gift of hiking various trails at Dyken Pond Environmental Center.

5 to 7 pm on Wednesdays in July and August (except 7/23). Classes are estimated to be $10 apiece with a discount for attending four or more. Yoga experience: Beginner and up. Fitness Level: Able to hike (not just saunter) easy to moderate woods trails for at least an hour. I promise rocks in the paths, tree roots, some up and down walking–and beauty.

Please register through the Education Center:   dykenpond@fairpoint.net or by phone 518-658-2055, and find out more at dykenpond.org or on their Facebook page.

 

Uncurl, stretch and lengthen like this spring fern at Dyken Pond

Uncurl, stretch and lengthen like this spring fern at Dyken Pond

What? Changes Already? Following the Dharma

In re: what is “of-the-essence” lately, I’ve been wrestling with how I feel about leading weekly studio classes.

They’ve been very lightly attended, and in addition, I live in a town with multiple yoga studios already offering a delightful variety of daily classes. I’ve also been reading Stephen Cope’s The Great Work of Your Life, about dharma (simply put, life purpose).

I prepared for each of my scheduled classes, warmed the space with candles and yoga mats, sat in the beautiful silence–and listened.  I watched dawn arrive in downtown Troy, and the hustle-bustle that burst open around 8 a.m. I observed the sun shift through the fall leaves on Monday afternoons.

Because only a small part of yoga is about postures and breathing–yoga also encompasses creating comfort within dis-ease–I asked in the quiet:  What is the meaning of this lack-of-energy, on my part and the part of potential students? And what I am really on fire about?

That’s what I want my life to be:  on fire, lit up, clear on the essence of who I am, what my gifts are, and what I’d like to bring to the world.

In my answers, I kept going to the presuppositions people have about yoga; they think they have to be strong and powerful first, or understand complicated concepts, or be able to wear a bikini or tight-fitting workout clothes to “qualify.”  People WANT to try yoga, but are afraid of injury or embarrassment, being rushed to know something before they are ready, or just not being good enough.

And here I am:  I love listening to people’s individual stories and experiences, having paid attention to the human body and spirit throughout my previous massage career; I know about anatomy and pain patterns, AND how to respond to stress with movement, stretch, aromatherapy, self-care–and now, yoga’s rich variety of tools.  I have used yoga to rehabilitate from surgery and devastating losses; yoga has used me to communicate great and simple truths, to myself.

So I’ve decided–I’ll be guiding people, through a variety of easy-to-attend mini-workshops, to bring themselves as they are and grow from there.  To increase self-compassion, attempt some new experiences (maybe even yoga postures), gently, and then digest them. To pay attention to where their bodies are at this moment,  To slow down. Laugh at the foibles of our busy minds, and humanity.  Feel more deeply. Be a little more present. Learn ways to deal with what life brings, painful or joyous–tools including writing, hiking & walking, breath and meditation practices, and healthful eating.

This is so enthralling! I hope you find something in my on-fire offerings that speaks to you, and I invite suggestions, ideas, dreams, through the Contact Us page here on the website, or in person.

Many of my mini-workshops will continue to be held at my colleague Lesley Kavanaugh’s Troy Healing Arts, where as a studio and healing sanctuary, she is also moving more toward introductory, anatomy- and spirit-based wellness within the approaches of yoga and bodywork.  I am thrilled to be collaborating with her. Look for us at Troy Night Out (Friday, October 25, 5-9 pm) and at Victorian Stroll (Sunday, December 8), at the 270 River Street lobby.