Archive - June 2014

1
Yoga camps and unique summer camps
2
Photography Camp: Spend a week enjoying and capturing the magic of the outdoors
3
One step at a time: reflections from a holistic health coach (+ giveaway)
4
Love Your Body, especially during Virginia Yoga Week!
5
Green Festival recap

Yoga camps and unique summer camps

While many of the biggest and most well-established camps in the DC area filled when there was still snow on the ground, there are a number of camps with a more specifically mindful or outdoors focus that still have room.

Here are some smaller and off-the-grid camps to check out this year. (Or use this as a starting point for future planning!)

Note: Arcadia Farm Camp is full for 2014 and has full waitlists.

Creative Camps and Classes

New addition 7/7/14: iSchool for the Future has spaces in two-week camps:
July 14-25 Innovation Lab Camp
 that combine STEM with creative Arts to inspire children to use their imaginations and Empathy to create inventions that make life easier. 
July 28-August 8 Amazing Race Around the World Camp where young explorers – with some language and navigation skills – will learn about people, science, cultures, and geography while experiencing music, cuisines, and arts from around the world. They will even build a country along the way! Camps are offered in 2 locations – in Reston and at Wakefield School in The Plains, VA. View slide show.

    • Ages 7-12
    • 9am-3pm
  • $595 for the two week sessions
  • Scholarships for young scholars are available
  • Classes are taught by passionate scientists and educators

Camp Create Music in Alexandria (Fairfax)

Children ages 1-3 may attend with a loving grown-up, and children aged 4-8 may be dropped off at this camp led by Cheryl Anderson Sabo of Music Together Vivo.

My son, several times a Music Together alum, and my daughter, who’d only attended one session, had a blast at this camp last year, and so did their mom! We danced, sang, heard stories told magically by Miss Cheryl, ate healthy snacks, listened to and made live music and so much more. It was the perfect thing to do as a family when my kids were three and seven. Cheryl’s description says: “Campers will enjoy instrument exploration, yoga, stories, and a fun-filled Music Together class each day!  Each family will receive the ‘Family Favorites’ CD and activity guide.”

Morning camp meets Monday–Thursday, 9:00–11:45 a.m. Register online through Music Together Vivo and ignore the fact that the registration says the class is only 45 minutes long). Weeks available are  July 28-31, August 4-7, and August 11-14. Location is Nativity Lutheran Church, 1300 Collingwood Rd, Alexandria, VA. $152 /$120 siblings per week. mtvivo.yourvirtuoso.com

Music Together Vivo 2013 summer camp Cheryl Sabo - music notes 1

Music Together Vivo 2013 summer camp Cheryl Sabo - James and the Giant Peach storytelling - group

 

Color Catchers Art & Yoga Class in Sterling

Jean McTigue is a homeschooling mother and certified yoga teacher. She’s offering six weeks of Thursday afternoon classes: “Observation and Feeling/ Yoga and Art at the Cascades Library in Sterling starting 7/10 and going through 8/14. Children ages 8 or 9 and up will meet 2:00-3:00; class for younger children is full. Cost is $50/child.

Jean says: “We will do a short yoga sort of stretching relaxing and game playing and then I will lead them either outside in front of the library or just to the general area inside the library so they can observe certain things and do a drawing exercise! ” Contact colorcatchers (at) gmail (dot) com to register.

 

Eastern Ridge School in Vienna

This Reggio-inspired school on a meadow with a large garden and pigs near Wolf Trap has several summer offerings including a Toddler Program for ages 2 and 3 and an early childhood program for ages 3.5 to 6 running through the summer, 8:30-3:00 (with before care and after care available). Toddlers (ages 2 to 3.5): $435 for full week, $305 for Monday to Wednesday, $205 for Thursday and Friday. (Requires four-week commitment if child is not enrolled in ERS for spring or fall). Early childhood (ages 3.5 to 6): $395, full week only.

Description: “Children work in the gardens, visit and care for our pot bellied pigs, tell stories,  sing songs, splash and play in our galvanized farm tubs or mud pit, and work with inspirational and messy art materials. In the midst of all of that old-fashioned fun, we work with them to develop projects they are passionate about.”

Also offered are three weeks of themed elementary camps with visiting experts as lead teachers for children rising into grades two through five: June 30-July 3: Creative and Technical Drawing; July 7-11: Elementary Photography (see article and giveaway); August 4-8: Dramatic Arts; and August: 18-22 Native Americans. Cost is $415/week. easternridgeschool.org

 

Home-based Reggio-Inspired Camp in Arlington

Christy Przystawik is a trained chef and holistic health coach who works as a school garden coordinator for DC’s FoodPrints program and for private schools in the area and as a nutrition educator at The Breastfeeding Center of Greater Washington. Christy is running three weeks of a Reggio Emilia-inspired camp from her home and garden in Arlington with co-teacher Amrita Love.

Description: “With Amrita, children will have the opportunity to make these discoveries through a variety of media like: paper making, vegetable prints, clay, mosaic, mod podge decoupage, different paints, cray pas, sculpture and good old paper and pencil. Christy will be working with the children on gardening, harvesting, cooking, composting, and plant preparations. Music will be included every day at camp to inspire learning, movement, and relaxation.”

Camp will be offered July 21-25, July 28-August 1, and August 4-8. $300/week (includes a healthy snack). Hours 9-1. More information on Christy’s blog, feedingfamilieswell.com/

 

Nature Camp at Tauxemont in Alexandria (Fairfax)

Children “can enjoy a traditional camp experience with nature hikes, camp songs, opening and closing ceremonies” in Tauxemont Cooperative Preschools’ wooded setting. Morning sessions are for children ages 3 1/2 (by June) through completion of kindergarten (rising first graders). Afternoon camp sessions are for children 4 1/2 years old through completion of 2nd grade (rising third graders). Space is available June 23-27 and June 30-July 3 for both morning and afternoon sessions. The final week of camp is full. www.tauxemont.org/nature-camp

 

Peace Camp in Arlington

Little Friends for Peace offers three sessions of Peace Camp at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington for children ages 5-14. Weeks are June 23-27, June 30-July 3, and July 7-11. Hours are 8:45 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Full weeks: $295; July 4 week: $260. Price includes lunch. When my son attended, the staff was very accommodating of his gluten-free diet and included gluten-free options for him and other campers.

Peace Camp offers children “an opportunity to explore the issues and feelings associated with peace and conflict. Campers and staff represent a diversity of religious faith, ethnicity and culture.” For more information, see this brochurewww.uucava.org/group/peacecamp

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Potomac Crescent Waldorf School in Arlington

A half-Day Camp for children aged 4 through rising 1st graders the weeks of June 23-27, July 7-11, July 14-18, and July 21-25. Description says: “Each day begins outdoors, enjoying sand and water play, bubbles, wet felting and more. Indoors, we have time for imaginative play, cooking, camp crafts, circle and story time.” Price is $325 per week and includes a healthy snack. www.potomaccrescentschool.org

 

Zayla’s Studio in the Woods in Alexandria (Fairfax)

“Summer Immersions: For kids of all ages (check for age appropriateness). Nature oriented. Outdoor classroom. Inspired teaching. Small groups.”

“Free To Be in 3-D” Nature-Art-Yoga Immersion, July 14-25, M-F 10:30am-2pm. $400
Description: “Sculpture, assemblage, nature installation, collaborative large scale work and yoga that takes on new dimensions. Journaling, discussion and documentation of work and process incorporated.” 

Art & Geography immersion, August 11-15, M-F 10am-12:30pm,  $200 
Description: “Exploring our sense of Place in this global environment, we will begin with artist map-making. Creating maps of our literal place, our imagined place even our symbolic place. We will move into an inquiry and exchange with a person/place somewhere else in the world creating a postcard-sized work of art that signifies our home.”

www.studiointhewoods.co

Yoga Camps

New addition 7/8/14: 532 Yoga in Old Town Alexandria is offering a Kids Corner camp the week of July 14 and also the week of August 4 in the afternoons, 1:30-4:00 p.m., for children age 3-7(ish). It’s $50/day for a drop-in or $215 for the full week for one child. And if you enroll two children, the studio is running a special get a $65 discount for a total of $365 for both kids combined. For more information, visit the 532 Yoga Facebook page or go to the main schedule page at http://www.532yoga.com/SCHEDULE.html  and from there go to the Online Scheduler and choose the Workshops tab.

Description says: “This camp will promote strength, flexibility, coordination, balance, peacefulness and body awareness, as well as improve concentration and focus, stimulate imagination, and help promote a good nights sleep.
The 532Kids Camp program will improve focus and concentration through posture work, improve self-esteem as they are encouraged to work to the best of their ability, and improve social skills through games focusing on teamwork, listening and cooperation, and teach breathing and relaxation techniques to help teach how to stay calm through anxious moments. 532Kids Camp will include asana, art, music and movement. There will also be a small snack provided.”

Beloved Yoga in Reston, VA

Half-day yoga camps, 1-4 p.m. Ages 3-6 the week of July 14-18 and July 28-August 1. Ages 7-11 the week of July 7-11 and July 21-25. $170 first child. 15% sibling discount.

Description says: “Kids will explore yoga poses, games, art, breath-work and relaxation through different themes each day throughout the week: Countries of the world, Trust, Environmental actions, Body system and Chakras. These classes will help the kids to improve their physical and mental health and teach them the importance of “care of oneself”. Every child will thrive in this noncompetitive atmosphere where they get a chance for self-expression, cooperation through fun yoga activities.” www.belovedyoga.com

 

Breathing Space Yoga on Capitol Hill

Full-day camps for children ages 4-12 years (rising PreK-5th grade). $345 per week or $660 for two weeks or two children. 8:30-3:15 pm with optional after-camp care until 5:30 pm. Most camp weeks are already full but click here for registration . Limited space remains in ASL Week, June 23-27, and for 1st-3rd graders only the week of August 11 and August 25.

Description says: “Our summer camp provides children with a fun, creative, educational and enriching experience through yoga movement classes, mindfulness activities, relaxation, games, crafts and outdoor time.” breathingspacedc.com

 

Circle Yoga in NW DC

Half-day camp for ages 4-7 for $250, 9am-12pm, $250 per week, July 7-11 and July 14-18.

Ages 6-12 can do a full day (9-3) for $365 the following weeks: June 23-27, July 21-25, July 28-August 1, August 4-8, August 11-15, August 18-22 (and for $219 the short week of June 30-July 2)

The description says: “Budding Yogis camp is FUN and full of movements and creativity. Campers get to play outside and be the active kids they are, and they have time to wind down with mindful yoga, journaling, and relaxation. Because we are completely non-competitive and spend time in small groups, our campers develop friendships and connections that are truly special.” circleyoga.com

 

Sun & Moon Yoga in Arlington and Fairfax

Afternoon four-day camps for children ages 5-12 the week of July 14-17 in both the Arlington location and the Fairfax location. 1:00-4:00 p.m., $180. The description says: “We will introduce poses to increase flexibility and strength, develop coordination and posture, and learn to relax and release energy in a safe way. The curriculum will include yoga asanas, mindful walking to a neighboring park, crafts, snacks, karma yoga (acts of selfless service) and creative expression. We will emphasize the non-competitive nature of yoga and have time for reflection and gratitude, all in fun. The intention is for children to learn skills which will carry over into their daily lives.  “

There is also a Teens Camp July 21-24 in Arlington, 1:00-4:00 p.m., $180. The description reads: “Daily yoga practice with postures, breathing techniques, group activities, and deep relaxation. Goals include identifying stress triggers, releasing tension, increasing focus, developing strength and flexibility for life both on and off the mat. We’ll have a chow break each day (snacks provided). Annie and Hope will create a relaxed atmosphere with space for creativity, frank discussion, and, most importantly, fun.” Register at www.sunandmoonstudio.com/Workshop.shtml

Please share any additional ideas in the comments, email to jessica (at) mindfulhealthylife (dot) com or post on our Facebook page.

For more summer ideas in and around DC, check out the resources at these other great websites:

 

Photography Camp: Spend a week enjoying and capturing the magic of the outdoors

When I learned that Jessica Wallach of Portrait Playtime was going to teach a photography-themed camp at the nature-loving Eastern Ridge School in Vienna, Virginia, I had to share this unique opportunity! My son just completed a wonderful photography enrichment program at his school, and I couldn’t be more excited for him to explore his creativity through a lens.

For seven years, Jessica Wallach has been capturing the natural beauty of families as part of her business. She loves engaging people, especially young people, to show their passions and explore who they are. Read on to get the scoop on her photography-themed camp being offered July 7-11 for children entering grades 2 through 5. Hours of the camp are 8:30 to 3:00 with before and after care available for an additional fee. Lunch and morning snack come from home; a healthy, gluten-free afternoon snack is provided by ERS.

ERS is offering a special deal to one lucky winner of our promotion: one $75 discount for the camp, normally priced at $415. Additionally, any entrant to this promotion who wishes to register will be sent a code for $15 off. The promotion campaign will start tomorrow and expire Wednesday, June 18 at 11:59 p.m.

Background on Photography Camp teacher Jessica Wallach

Jessica loves to teach and to encourage people to share their voice and vision. Since 2012, she has been running an art camp for Fairfax County Parks and Rec in which she gives children a bigger sense of themselves and their ability to tell their stories using a wide variety of art media. She is thrilled to lead a photography camp at ERS. “There is such a wide variety of things to capture with our lenses, we will never do the exact same thing twice, but always build on what came before and take it three steps further,” she says. She loves the “magical” meadow of ERS as a prime location for exploring photography.

Mud!!!

 

Q&A with Jessica Wallach

Mindful Healthy Life: What do you like about working with children?

Jessica Wallach: I love working with young people, putting out an idea and seeing where their minds run with it or taking their idea and weaving something about photography into it.  In my last few children’s photography classes, it’s great that we get to that point where they start coming up with ideas about what to do next.  I also love incorporating play into whatever I do, and kids’ first language is play, so we are a natural fit.

Also I think young people of this generation are going to use cameras and photos to both learn and express what they know in a way that has never been seen before.  A camera will become as common as using a pencil and paper was in my elementary school.  I have a passion for exploring this with young people.

Just the other day, I asked the children in my class to tell me things they know and then we talked about how we would show that through pictures. …I said I knew that mass cannot be destroyed, it just changes form and I could take a photo of an ice cube in a frying pan as it melts and then evaporates. One student said she could show how the sky changes color as the sun goes down and that she could take a photo of the sky and a clock at different times of the afternoon and early evening.

MHL: How did you come to be involved with Eastern Ridge School?

JW: My daughter went to the predecessor, Discovery Woods Learning Community, for years and I worked as a photographer there on and off.  I spent a ton of time behind the camera there, from capturing students at work and play to doing photo fundraisers to documenting family gatherings and workdays to teaching the teachers how to use their camera’s better.  I tell you it is a magical place that just begs you to pick up your camera. Early on I assisted with ERS’s marketing and they use some of my photos on their website.

Child with camera - Jessica Wallach

MHL: How is ERS different from other schools and camps? 

JW: My favorite thing about ERS is the central theme that children are smart, capable and need scaffolding to get to do the next big thing.  As teachers, we facilitate their learning, never forcing, always remembering they are capable and that we work from their strengths and build on them.

Another way ERS is different is that art, nature and scientific inquiry are the basis for learning.  We are outside all the time. It is just the way things are.

MHL: How will you structure the camp? 

The camp is structured to keep the kids interested in photography by balancing structured activities and unstructured play time.  The hope is that the unstructured time will inform and inspire our photography.  If kids love running in the meadow, how do we capture that? If they make a city in the sand box, can we do a stop action video made up of tons of photos showing life in that city?  If they get bored with the photography, we will go play. The schedule will change according to what the young people need to do that day.

Here is the basic schedule:Eastern Ridge School meadow by Jessica Wallach

  • Free Play: slideshow going and books filled with photos on the table for kids to look at if interested
  • Sit spots or nature walk in meadow with cameras
  • Morning meeting: discuss what we did the day before & what we could observe that could change that day; decide on day’s activities
  • Observational photography
  • Activity Block 1
  • Snack
  • Free play: encourage running a lap, rolling stumps, climbing trees…activities where the children can physically go all out.
  • Activity Block II
  • Lunch
  • Look at photos, editing, creating mini movies
  • Snack

MHL: What will children walk away with?

Children will walk away with a sharpened set of skills, a large number of gorgeous images, and some videos of their work.  We will set up an online gallery just for this camp which we will upload to every afternoon.  From there, we will make videos using our stills and video clips and Pro Show Web/Producer.  At the end of the week, we would love parents to join us for a showcase.

Through the camp we will be practicing the following skills and they will walk away with a slew of photos that helped them practice these skills:

  • How to work a camera
  • Telling a story
  • Creating art for art’s sake
  • Using a camera in the investigation/scientific process
  • Using camera to take notes

MHL: What kind of device do children need? Will there be a lot of screen time?

JW: Children can use a point and shoot, smart phone, iPad or DSLR.  All of them will capture photos and offer many options that will provide many learning opportunities.

Viewing and editing photos is a critical part of this camp experience. We will be looking at screens to do both of those activities. We will be looking at our photos and others to figure out what we like and don’t like and be inspired. Most likely much of our editing will be done communally on one computer and/or in small groups.

MHL: Will there be any collaborative projects or will everything be individual per student?

JW: There will be both collaborative and individual projects and how much of each will depend on group interest.  Campers will be presented with these choices during morning meeting and we will figure out together when we will do what. Some projects we will most likely do include:

  • Storytelling, stop action video, hybrid photography…children design a little life or big life story, capture it on camera, put it together as a movie.
  • Being inspired by others photography and then creating photographs in a similar fashion
  • Photo scavenger hunts
  • Photos of water, dripping, moving fast, still
  • Photos of people and things in motion
  • Macro photography in the garden
  • Bug hunt
  • Something that changes
  • Shade garden: The way things work
  • In the dark with flash light
  • Other campers
  • Create a how to set of photos or video
  • Reading a book and taking photos that represent what we read
  • Field guide photos
  • Photos that show what you know
  • Photos that say something about yourself
  • Photos that show how you feel
  • Photos that ask a question
  • Capturing things they do
  • Free choice camera work

MHL: Anything else you’d like to add?

JW: I am so excited about this camp.  It will be amazing to spend a week immersed in photography and play at ERS.

***

For those unfamiliar with ERS, the camp coordinator, an ERS parent, shared this additional information:

– At arrival time and then again later in the afternoon, elementary students will have time for exploration and free play in our outdoor spaces. The elementary and early education children will all be together at this time. This focus on child-led play with mixed ages is central to the ERS philosophy – it postively impacts social and emotional development and allows for some down-time with friends or siblings in different classes.
– During the morning and afternoon project blocks, children will be working with Jessica on photography. Eastern Ridge is largely influenced by the Reggio Emilia approach that values the role of the child in defining their own questions and interests. The teacher often acts as a facilitator, providing provocations and access to resources, then often learning and exploring along side the children. In this way, instruction and exploration are often intertwined.
– ERS is a unique school and camp. We are located just outside of Tyson’s corner on 5 acres. We have a large garden, pigs and undeveloped woodland, as well as large open outdoor spaces to run, build and play. Much of our learning happens using nature and art as the vehicle. We have children aged two to nine during the school year and go through 5th grade for some of our camps. Our camps are unique in that much time is spent outdoors and all camps are taught by our own very experienced teachers or visiting specialty teachers. Teachers also post daily journals and photos of their days with the children and families are encouraged to comment. These journals allow for reflection and community building.
Eastern Ridge School art by Jessica Wallach
– An afternoon snack is provided daily. A variety of fresh fruit is the staple, with (gluten-free) rice crackers, organic sunbutter or organic cheese added in. Children should bring a healthy morning snack (raw veggies are ideal) and lunch from home.
– Jessica will be assisted by one of the experienced ERS assistant teachers.
***
If your child (entering grades 2-5) would like to join Jessica Wallach’s photography camp the week of July 7-11, come back tomorrow to enter the giveaway by 11:59 Wednesday, June 18 for a chance to get $75 off the $415 registration fee. All non-winning entrants are eligible for a promo code for $15 off any early childhood (age 3-6) camp or elementary camp during summer 2014. Discount not eligible for the toddler program.

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One step at a time: reflections from a holistic health coach (+ giveaway)

“It’s June, Mommy!” my 3-year-old daughter announced to me last week. “It was May, and now it’s June!” I’m not sure if she learned this from preschool or from her brother, but it was a delight to see her excitement about something new, even if it had no real meaning to her. It’s hard to believe we’re already almost halfway through the month and just over a week away from the longest day of the year.

June means something special for the author of today’s guest post, mom and holistic health coach Marybeth Walsh of My Whole Self. Marybeth is graciously offering a giveaway of a either a one-hour holistic health coaching session (in person in Alexandria or by phone) or participation in her next two-week seasonal detox program like this one she did in April. (Date TBD: probably in the fall). Each is valued at $125; the winner will be able to choose coaching or the detox program. Enter below!

One Step at a Time in the Path of Life” by Marybeth Walsh

I love the month of June and feel such joy when it arrives. There is an abundance of beauty this month and a feast for the senses. I love the feeling of freedom; the slower pace and promise of more; the colors and scents of flowers, trees, and freshly cut grass; the abundance of ripe, juicy produce; fresh herbs from the garden, and the sounds of kids laughing, free at last.

This year I approach the month of June with mixed feelings. I hit a milestone last June and this year am on the other side, yet life this past year has been full of new challenges. I felt, earlier in my life that by this time, I would have achieved some great measure of wisdom and success. A feeling akin to climbing a steep but beautiful mountain, and finally reaching the top, only to look down from this great height and survey where I’ve been, take a deep breath of accomplishment, and feel peace.

Instead, I was diagnosed with leukemia several years ago and as a result, my life has taken twists and turns I could never have anticipated. Rather than gazing down from the top of the mountain, I feel in many ways I’m starting my climb all over. It reminds me of the game Candy Land, when you hit a slide and get sent back 10 paces.

But I have to say, I’m grateful for all of it: the people who have been in and come into my life, the experiences I’ve had, the knowledge I’ve gained, and the realization that we can always pick ourselves up and start again. I have to say, for every 5 or 10 steps back I take, there has always been new knowledge, friends, inspiration and blessings.

Life is truly a journey, not always straight up, but in a series of peaks and valleys. I think it’s the obstacles and challenges that help us grow and appreciate the goodness in life. What I now know and can share is that we always have a choice, not always with the external situations that hit us, but how we choose to accept them. That being in the present moment, whatever it is, is life. It’s the little things we do each day, our practices, our relationships, and our mindset, that help us navigate the way, guiding us one step at a time.

***

Here are some of Marybeth’s favorite sites and books for healthy inspiration. Share your favorites in the comments — click the button with the dialogue bubble at right — and get another entry into her giveaway!

Marybeth’s Favorite Websites:

Marbybeth’s Favorite Books:


 

Please note that the winner of the giveaway can do an in-person consultation or a phone consultation with Marybeth.
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Love Your Body, especially during Virginia Yoga Week!

Beloved Yoga’s sixth Love Your Body Day on Sunday, June 8, was truly full of love. The outdoor yoga festival kicked off Virginia Yoga Week with several different classes of yoga outside in the main plaza of Reston Town Center complemented by vendor tents from businesses devoted to health and well-being.

The festival makes yoga accessible through its free classes and brings in dozens of vendors to support people in their healing and wellness journeys. Donations made at the free event go to Cornerstones, formerly Reston Interfaith, a nonprofit organization that promotes self-sufficiency by providing support and advocacy for those in need of food, shelter, affordable housing, quality childcare, and other human services.

When I asked Beloved Yoga owner Maryam Ovissi last year about her reasons for organizing the event, she said: “All Yoga festivals and events usually have one object to bring the commUNITY together to celebrate. However my underlying motivation for creating this event is to allow us (yoga studios/wellness studios) a way to release competition among ourselves. There is enough for everyone in this world and those of us who are committed to bring wellness, healing to the community need to see how we are serving together for the Highest Good. There is not just one way and therefore we have many different lineages and practices in the yoga and wellness community! We celebrate them ALL!”

Last year, I took my then two-year-old daughter to Love Your Body Day where we enjoyed participating in the children’s yoga tent, which offers a full day of classes and activities.

Love Your Body Day 2014 Children's Yoga Tent

This year, I left both kids at home so I could enjoy a solo yoga practice, but I picked up several brochures about children’s yoga, including the upcoming National Kids Yoga Conference in September co-organized by YoKid and lil omm.

Doing yoga in the open air with more than a hundred other people was a beautiful way to start a Sunday morning. Maryam began a great opening practice accompanied by David Newman’s live music, including the song “Thinking of You” to which we all joined our voices in singing “Be bold, be free, be beautiful, believe, be love, be true to you.” I felt the hum of everyone’s energy when there are literal live vibrations coming from the stage, especially with the song’s message that we are all connected and thinking of one another.

Love Your Body Day 2014 David Newman singing

I hope we can go as a family next year so that my children and husband can be part of this group connection. Chanting with live music – in this opening class and also with the kirtan in the bhaki tent — changed my inner vibration and my outlook. I want my kids to see people this blissed out more often. I want to be this blissed out more often! Love Your Body Day reminded me that I have the power to get to a peaceful and connected place whenever I want.

Love Your Body Day 2014 Bhakti tent

Want a piece of the bliss? There are $5 classes at studios around Northern Virginia through Sunday, June 15 and other related Virginia Yoga Week events. On Saturday, June 14 (rain date June 28) from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. will be the free Yoga in the Fresh Air event in Old Town Alexandria’s Montgomery Park, 2 Montgomery Street. Organized by River’s Edge Yoga and presented in part by Yogis for Positive Change, the event will include outdoor yoga and a wine tasting and will kick off Be Well Virginia June 20-September 20. That solstice-to-equinox program will feature several free events, food drives (for people and for pets), and $5 classes to raise money for four charities: Carpenter’s Shelter, Cornerstones, Smashing Walnuts and Yoga Gives Back.

Note: Due to soggy conditions this week, Yoga In the Fresh Air may be postponed to June 28. Check the Virginia Yoga Week Facebook page or call 571-218-2161 after 12 noon on June 14th for a recorded message about the status of the event.

Also on Saturday the 14th, at Sterling Library from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. will be a free session of yoga, music and meditation as an introduction to the Happiness Program of The Art of Living Foundation. Space is limited for that one, so RSVP here or email kumblepradeep (at) gmail (d0t) com or call 480-332-2297. See the Virginia Yoga Week Facebook page for updates.

Looking ahead to 2015, expect another Love Your Baby Day around Mother’s Day next year at Beloved Yoga. This year’s inaugural event helped connect new and expectant parents with their inner wisdom and to groups and businesses that can support them in their parenting and holistic health journey.

Love Your Baby Day 2014 Beloved Yoga 2

Love Your Baby Day 2014 Beloved Yoga

And in the more recent future, if you know of a yoga camp that still has space available this summer, please share it in the comments, email jessica (at) mindfulhealthylife (dot) com, or post it on our Facebook page and I’ll include in a compilation posting next week.

Green Festival recap

That was one amazing weekend at the DC Green Festival! As I mentioned in this earlier post, 2014 marked the 10th year the Green Festival has been in DC. The vibe this time was as enthusiastic as ever. I met loads of wonderful people from great organizations and companies I hope to write about and work with in the future. Lots of them were new DC-based businesses that natural-minded families can feel great about supporting. We’ve tagged many of them on our Facebook page.

This year, the kids’ area was staffed by the folks from Team Green World, who gave out free CDs and did live performances and presentations with eco themes. In between, adults comfortably lounged on — and kids gleefully climbed on — the coolest-ever giant bean bag pillow,  Yogibo. I’d go so far as to say it would be nearly impossible not to have fun when you’re among these super-fun and colorful lounge pillows the size of a small couch.

2014 DC Green Festival Yogibo bean bags

The family space was also staffed by Holistic Moms Network, a non-profit sponsor of the Green Festival. The Northern Virginia HMN chapter organized the comfort/nursing station and the children’s play area and craft area where children enjoyed using supplies from Portland, Maine-based company eco-kids.

2014 DC Green Festival Holistic Moms Network and eco-kids crafts

eco-kids Art Supplies 2014 DC Green Festival
I spent a shift at the HMN table with my Arlington/Alexandria HMN chapter co-leader, Leigha, and got to talk to some great folks about natural living and parenting. It was a thrill to be part of the event as a volunteer.

But it was also great to go as media and get a chance to chat with new Green Festival president Dr. Corinna Basler, who came on board in February after moving from Germany. Corinna was so upbeat about the weekend and enthusiastic about the opportunity for parents to have fun with their children and show them that caring about the environment doesn’t have to be boring.

My Terrace Farmer 2014 DC Green FestivalIndeed, when I brought my son on Sunday, he was fascinated with the new portable greenhouse out of the Solar Greens Company called My Terrace Farmer. Made with the cleanest materials the inventors could source, the solar-powered, rainwater-collecting automated greenhouse that can be controlled with a smartphone came to the Green Festival in a prototype to gain interest before the founder, Greg Ching, launches a Kickstarter campaign. Greg has a great demo video that shows the unit in action. Early adopters who field test the products will be able to purchase it for half price.

I can’t wait to see how My Terrace Farmer transforms small-spaces into gardens, in homes, apartments, and even schools without much green space for traditional gardens.  The unit mixes rainwater with worm tea, something I’m anxious to try out in the bamboo basket I got from Greg.

And of course, the festival food was a big hit with my taste tester. In past years, we’ve enjoyed the DC Gluten-Free Expo, but we weren’t able to be in two places at one time this year so missed the 2014 event in Bethesda but found plenty of gluten-free and dairy-free options at the Green Festival. In addition to all the restaurants serving meals, snacks and fresh juices, there were samples from so many local and national brands, including Daiya FoodsMichele’s Granola, the Kit’s Organic line from Clif Bar, EVER BarLife by Dallas popcorn, Coconut Bliss, and SuperSeedz pumpkin seeds, to name just a few. MOMs Organic Market even gave us an orange in a reuseable shopping bag (and snazzy turnip tattoos both my kids are now sporting on their arms)!

MOMs Organic Market 2014 DC Green Festival

My son also enjoyed the samples from Charm School Chocolate, the winner of the Green Festival Brand Award. I’ll never forget one of the booth representatives complimenting my son on the rainbow loom necklace he’d made for himself that morning, and I think my son will never forget the chocolate, which is dairy-free and soy-free. Brand Award judge Robin Fillmore, publisher of the DC edition of Natural Awakenings magazine, said of the company: “Each detail of Charm School Chocolate’s production was done with care and respect for the environment and their employees.” Another finalist for the Brand Award was Ardenne Farm, whose gluten-free sugar cookie my son loved.

What I love is when my son sees all this stuff I talk about all the time getting so much attention by other people, and at a huge venue like the DC Convention Center. We try to live sustainably and healthy every day, but it’s great for him to see it’s not just his kooky mom talking! When I stopped by the Moms Clean Air Force booth, my son recognized the same recycled notebook I’d gotten from the organization back at Blogalicious 2012. Since I’m on a new committee on asthma and environmental health in my school district and have recently been investigating school air quality, I was thrilled to find out that Moms Clean Air Force has a new Virginia organizer.

Last spring, my son went to a wonderful afternoon workshop at Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture in conjunction with the Arlington chapter of Jr. Navigators USA, a co-ed scouting group. He came home raving about the deliciousness of a kale salad with sunflower seeds and so was excited to see Arcadia’s booth at the Green Festival. It’s great when kids experience something in real life and then see that initiative in getting attention elsewhere. I think it helps children him feel like they are part of something bigger, which they most certainly are!

My son will be be excited to hear that Arcadia won the Green Festival’s Community Award. Executive Director Pamela Hess said that the $5,000 grant would translate into “$10,000 of fresh, healthy, locally and sustainably grown food in Washington D.C.’s food desert.” Arcadia’s Mobile Market makes multiple stops each week in neighborhoods throughout DC, Maryland and Virginia that have low-access to fresh fruits and vegetables. This year’s Farm Camp at Arcadia is full, but it’s on my list for the future. As is the Green Festival when it returns to DC next spring!

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Tell us what you’ve enjoyed at the Green Festival or tell us about other local events that we should be sure to check out!

 

Copyright © 2015 Mindful Healthy Life. Created by MtoM Consulting.

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