This fall’s Empowered Light Holistic Expo is just around the corner, running from 5 to 9 p.m., October 27, and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., October 28 and 29, at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center, 100 Station Avenue, in Oaks. Plenty of free parking is available.
The expo’s focus is on holistic lifestyles, spiritual classes and personal development. “Most people feel stressed and distracted, and are looking for more connection and answers,” says the expo’s founder, Sue Greenwald. “They need healthier ways to handle the increasing stress they’re facing. The expo offers connection with new friends, new ideas and, most of all, a community where people feel supported in a fun way.”
John Muraco, registered art therapist, registered yoga teacher and founder of HeartWell House Expressive Therapies, in Doylestown, will lead two yoga workshops designed for beginners this fall at Yoga Loka, in Frenchtown, New Jersey.
“Radiating Yoga & Deep Relaxation Soundscape” will be held from 1 to 3:30 p.m., October 14, and is Kundalini-inspired to recharge the body and spirit as attendees move freely to drumming and awakening sounds, learn simple breathing and stretching strategies and relax to the sounds of soothing bells, chimes, crystal alchemy singing bowls and the gong.
“Facing Adversity with Strength and Courage” will be held from 1 to 2:30 p.m., November 18, and includes simple stretches that soften areas of tension within the body, as well as the practice of a mantra and meditation, ending with a deeply relaxing sound meditation.
HeartWell House combines art therapy, holistic health and yoga and offers customized and individualized therapy programs that connect people to what inspires them, creating sustainable physical and emotional health. It recently opened a new boutique and therapy room in downtown Doylestown.
Cost: October 14, $45; November 18, $35. Location: 23 Race St., Frenchtown, NJ. For more information, call John Muraco at 267-733-7261 or visit HeartWellHouse.com. October 2017
KarmaFest, a holistic, psychic and yoga festival weekend of camping and fun, returns to Pottstown for the Labor Day weekend, September 1 through 4, at Fellowship Farm. The festival will feature enlightening lectures, meditation, live music, swimming, vegan and vegetarian food, 50 to 75 interesting vendors and a full weekend of yoga. Also available will be special workshops and a children’s program.
KarmaFest was founded by Patricia Hawse in 2005, after she experienced the effects of holistic health firsthand while serving for the Red Cross in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Witnessing the immediate effects of yoga and meditation to relieve tension and increase energy and balance, Hawse vowed to spread the word through a festival—KarmaFest.
There will be three days of peace and music taking place August 18 through 20, almost 48 years to the exact weekend of the original Woodstock Music & Art Fair in 1969. There will be yoga and meditation—maybe even a sighting of “Mud People”, depending on the weather. Just don’t expect any announcements warning about “brown acid” at the second annual Lovelight Yoga + Arts Festival, in Darlington, Maryland, the brainchild of original Woodstock producer Michael Lang. His goal, along with partners’ musician Wynne Paris and event producer Kim Maddox, is to channel the spirit and activism from the original Woodstock, minus the alcohol and drugs.
“We wanted to create an event based on the values of that generation but to make it appropriate for families,” Lang, now 72, said in a recent telephone interview. “This event isn’t just for millennials, it’s multigenerational—and we want everyone to feel comfortable and safe when they come, and for their peace of mind we decided to keep it alcohol-free.”
Throughout the month of September, area yoga studios and community partners will host “pop-up” festivals across the greater Philadelphia area as part of #Yoga Heals: A Festival of Gratitude, supporting the Transformation Yoga Project (TYP).
The festival culminates with Songs for Transformation: An Evening with David Newman, on September 29, at the Community Arts Center in Wallingford. This unique gathering will feature a trauma sensitive yoga practice, followed by a performance by Newman, who is a Philadelphia native and world-renowned kirtan and chant artist. Sponsorship levels range from $500 to $2,000.
Kathleen Tooley, owner of Anahata Yoga and Wellness Center, in Lederach, has a simple mission: to show that yoga is accessible to anyone.
Tooley, a teacher of Kripalu-style yoga for seven years, became a yoga teacher to do just that. “People who felt like they couldn’t do yoga inspired me to become a teacher so I could show them that they actually can,” she says. “When folks come into the studio apologizing for being inflexible, I say, ‘I know, that’s why you’re here!’”
Kripalu yoga, which originated at the Yoga Society of Pennsylvania in 1965 and was named after kundalini yoga master Swami Kripalvanandji, uses standard yoga poses and breathwork to encourage inner focus, meditation and relaxation. At Anahata Yoga and Wellness Center (“Anahata” is the Sanskrit word for the heart chakra), yoga is taught from a more therapeutic perspective rather than a fitness perspective.
How do yoga, yoga therapy and meditation work to address pain?
Through breath-centered meditation and movement meditation, or yoga “asana” postures, the vagus nerve can be toned and the parasympathetic relaxation response can be turned on. It’s commonly said that there’s a “smoothing out” that happens when breath is focused on the places where pain is experienced. The phrase “send your breath to your knee” refers to the act of sending the energy, expansiveness and calm that can create that smoothing effect. It’s all because of the power of the mind, which doesn’t necessarily take away the actual pain but gives the person a different relationship to the pain by putting some space between them and the sensation.
Celebrate the spirit of yoga and community—from the grassroots of the 60s counter-culture, to the modern yoga and transformational arts gatherings at the Lovelight Yoga and Arts Festival. The second annual festival will be held August 18 to 20, in Darlington, Maryland, just a few hours from BuxMont.
The festival draws some of the most beloved national teachers, kirtan, music and yoga headliners, including Krishna Das, Dharma Mittra, Trevor Hall, Dana Trixie Flynn, Tina Malia and MC Yogi, as well as many other well-known, regional teachers. Throughout the festival, attendees will have the opportunity to enjoy musical performances, yoga classes, flow arts, themed campsites, drum circles, vegan and vegetarian food vendors, art installations, live painting, interactive art projects, workshops, fire dancing, wholesome libations and high vibrational food.
PAIN has an element of blank; / It cannot recollect
When it began, or if there were / A day when it was not.
It has no future but itself, / Its infinite realms contain
Its past, enlightened to perceive / New periods of pain.
Pain is a chronic condition shared by 100 million Americans; it’s the leading reason people go to doctors in the U.S., costing the nation upwards of $635 billion a year—more than cancer, heart disease and diabetes combined, according to the American Academy of Pain Medicine.
WebMD explains how vast and amorphous the condition can be, saying, “Chronic pain can be mild or excruciating, episodic or continuous, merely inconvenient or totally incapacitating…the signals of pain remain active in the nervous system for months or even years.” Sometimes the cause is known, or eventually discovered; sometimes the source remains a mystery.
It’s early on a Sunday morning, but the lobby at Bryn Mawr Hospital’s Newtown Square facility is already abuzz. The space is teeming with women in stylish athleisure-wear; banquet tables are adorned with balloons and centerpieces. As guests make their way to their assigned seats, only the number of heads that remain fully covered by knit caps and scarves reveal that this is no ordinary Main Line brunch affair—this Wellness Day event is hosted by Unite for HER, a cutting-edge women’s health organization, and the attendees are Philadelphia-area women that have recently been diagnosed with breast cancer.
The “HER” stands for Healing to Empower and Restore, and Wellness Days are one of the organization’s signature programs. This interactive, one-day workshop will introduce these women to the range of services and education that will be provided to them over the next year through their fully-funded “wellness passports”.
Natassia Levine of Open Center Yoga will guide students in a week of daily yoga practice, guided meditation, gourmet vegetarian food and inward reflection at Sarinbuana Eco Lodge, in Bali, from May 15 through May 20. Rates include twice daily yoga, one workshop, a group temple tour and three gourmet, vegetarian meals per day, with organic tea, coffee and juice options.
A Yoga Alliance-certified Vinyasa Yoga Teacher, Levine describes the retreat as an opportunity to meet new faces, deepen one’s practice and recharge the soul. Students will begin each morning with yoga and meditation on the outdoor yoga deck. A relaxed itinerary will allow for spending the day freely, whether that entails swimming in a nearby waterfall, reflecting in a rice paddy or taking advantage of the Eco Lodge’s many options for self-care and personal enrichment, which are available for an additional cost.
Anahata Yoga and Wellness Center, in Harleysville, is hosting an open house on February 18 for prospective yoga teachers to learn more about their upcoming 200-hour yoga teacher training. The information session is free to attend and will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the studio. Participants are encouraged to meet the staff, learn about payment options and schedules, and ask any questions.
The spring Yoga Teacher Training, which runs from April through December, is held the first weekend of each month on both Saturday and Sunday. Trainees, who are required to have at least one year of yoga experience, also attend 18 Anahata Yoga classes and two chakra workshops (or a full-day chakra intensive) during that time. The curriculum includes teaching methodology, anatomy and physiology, yoga philosophy and ethics, and practicum. Electives, such as Teaching Beginner’s Yoga, Yin Yoga, Restorative Yoga, Trauma-Sensitive Yoga, Ayurveda and the Chakra system, are also offered.