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Embodying Practice: A New Year’s Resolution Retreat

By Mary Newell

If your hopes for the New Year include deep relaxation and increased mindfulness both in meditation and in movement, join us at the Garrison Institute on January 4-6, 2019 where five local practitioners will help you re-orient your life in positive ways. The practices blend well, as they share basic principles, and the instructors are experienced co-presenters. During this special weekend, immerse yourself in time-tested techniques for balancing body and psyche. Each of the techniques reinforces and enhances your learning from the others. You will leave Garrison Institute with a new skill set to practice and explore further. Start 2019 by treating yourself to a New Year’s Resolution that will have benefits throughout the year!

Ann Herington will teach Mindfulness Meditation

During our weekend together, we will support the building of a regular meditation practice for those who have never meditated before and reinforce the practice for those who have and would like to recommit to a daily practice.

Meditation is a training of mental attention that awakens us beyond the conditioned mind into a natural presence.  Presence is a mindful, clear recognition of what is happening, here and now, and the space that includes all experience.

There are many supportive strategies (also called skillful means) that create a conducive atmosphere for deepening presence, and we will explore them as we practice together.  Many of the most important skillful means involve the body and the senses, as the body is always in the here and now and always available for support.

By the end of our weekend, you will be able to return home and begin, or continue, your own daily mindfulness meditation practice.

Ron Hershey will teach Breath-Body-Mind

Designed for anyone looking to develop better coping skills for handling stress and anxiety, this workshop incorporates ancient and modern techniques to balance the nervous system. Based on the work of the eminent integrative psychiatrist and author, Dr. Richard Brown of Columbia University, this approach utilizes repeated rounds of gentle movement derived from Chinese Qi Gong, guided breathing, and meditation to address imbalances of our stress response system. Breath-Body-Mind (BBM) is appropriate for anyone regardless of their level of previous experience with breathwork or meditation. This approach has been used with great success with those who have been previously frustrated in their attempts to meditate. Long time meditators have reported an added dimension to their practices with the BBM approach. By the conclusion of our weekend, you will be able to incorporate BBM into a regular home practice.

Teresa Peppard will introduce Qigong and Tai Chi

This introduction to Qigong and Tai Chi offers ready tools for mindful movement in daily life. Qigong is a broad system of ancient Chinese energy cultivation practices that coordinate movement, posture, breath and mental focus. Rooted deeply in Chinese medicine and culture, the goals of these practices vary from improved health and well being to achieving meditative states and spiritual development, or as preparation for martial arts training. In this workshop, we will practice simple, gentle qigong methods that may be used by the beginner as a moving meditation practice or integrated into already existing practices of meditation, yoga or qigong.

Tai Chi, a martial art form of energy cultivation, has also become popular today for its beneficial health effects including stress reduction, balance improvement, flexibility and coordination. Tai Chi principles focus on the proper structure and function of the body for efficient energy flow. During our workshop practice, we will consider these principles as they apply to daily routines such as sitting, standing and simple chores.

Jennifer Llewellyn will teach all-level Yoga

Yoga is an ancient spiritual discipline practiced as a way to unify the self and soul while relaxing and strengthening the body and mind. 

You will be guided in a daily all-level yoga practice that helps fuse the mindful awareness that can be found within all the embodying practices in this retreat. This gentle experience is weaved with yogic philosophy, sound, and aromatherapy. These tools help initiate a state of calm abiding and compassion. Yoga is proven to be a great stress reliever, a form of gentle exercise, moving meditation, and happiness booster! Students at all levels of practice, including beginners, can benefit.

Mary Newell will introduce The Feldenkrais Method of Somatic Education™

Feldenkrais employs movement with awareness to improve the quality of our actions. By focusing attentively on sensations as you move through a coordinated sequence of movements, you learn to eliminate tensions and find greater ease and range of movement. With new movement strategies, you can improve your flexibility, coordination, and balance, reduce or eliminate chronic nagging aches and pains, enhance your athletic or creative skills, and rediscover your capacity for graceful, efficient movement. Becoming more aware of your whole body allows you to eliminate habits and tensions that interfere with your goals and to harness unknown capacities. In addition to providing relief from aches and tension, regular practice of the Feldenkrais Method provides strategies for preventing future problems. These improvements can generalize to enhance your participation in your favorite activities.

Group Exchanges

In addition to the individual presentations, the weekend will offer group time for discussion and exchange, and time for private reflection or journaling. As a former participant said, “We received exceptional instruction from five different masters, but we received much more…The openness, intimacy and support we shared were palpable and elevated the experience to another level.”

To learn more about or to register for Embodying Practice: A New Year’s Resolution Retreat on January 6-8, 2019, please click here

Mary Newell is a guild-certified practitioner of the Feldenkrais Method of Somatic Education and a writer. 

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