The winter solstice is coming on Sunday, December 21, and there are lots of great opportunities for reflection. So many that we haven’t even had a chance to put them all in our calendar yet!
So here’s a quick compilation of solstice and winter events. Be sure to follow the links for information on prices and registration. Most of these events are not free.
Sunday, December 21, 2014
Yoga Nidra: Relax and Renew at lil omm yoga in NW DC, 6:15-7:45 p.m.
Winter Solstice Hike at Long Branch Nature Center in Arlington, VA, 3:00-4:15 p.m.
Winter Solstice Shakti Flow with Jeneen Piccuro at Local Motion Studio in Alexandria, VA, 1:00-3:00 p.m. Note – this class has been canceled. Look for it to run in January!
Winter Solstice Celebration (ages 3 and up) at Locust Grove Nature Center, Bethesda, MD, 4-6 p.m.
Winter Solstice Celebration at Brookside Nature Center in Silver Spring, MD, 1:00-5:00 p.m.
Winter Solstice Yoga class for donations to ASPAN, Sun & Moon Yoga, Arlington, VA, 4:00-5:30 p.m.
Note that the Fairfax County Solstice Event for Sunday was canceled due to low numbers, but there will be some discussion of the solstice at the Friday, December 19 Wintertime Warmth Campfire at 7:00 p.m.
Other ways to welcome winter:
Host a Solstice Party of your own. You could do crafts related to dark and light, make special snacks, sing songs about cold or about sun, do things by candlelight.
Read books like Winter, Awake!, The Winter Solstice, and Return of the Light: Twelve Tales from Around the World for the Winter Solstice, or make up stories in the wordless Gerda Muller Winter board book.
December 28: Warm Up to Winter Dance Party, lil omm yoga, 6:30-7:45 p.m.
December 31: Family New Years Eve party at lil omm yoga, 4:00-5:00 p.m. for ages 0-3, 5:30-7:00 p.m. for ages 3 and up.
And of course, for more winter fun beyond the solstice, consult all the other great websites that feature lists of children’s activities around the DC area. Scroll to the bottom of our Around DC page for all the ones we know about.
This fall I’ve had the opportunity to attend several events at which I’ve learned great information on health and wellness that I’m using at home and at my children’s school. My reaction to these learning opportunities tends to be first elation, then the heavy weight of responsibility, thinking about all the things I need to research and do for my health and my family’s health, and then the desire to write about what I’ve learned, both to process it for myself and to get up here on the site.
And yet, what most of those events have had as their fundamental lesson is the importance of reducing stress! And the importance of cultivating an atmosphere of gratitude. So rather than bemoan the fact that I haven’t yet done in-depth reporting on all of these events, I’m going to shift my perspective to consider it a gift that I got to go to them and that I can share them with you in this fall recap.
Okay, I’ve rolled up my sleeves so here we go!
The fall health and wellness season launched for me at the end of the summer, when I gathered five other panelists to address the topic of “Supporting Children’s Emotional Health” with me at Holistic Moms Arlington/Alexandria’s August meeting.
We talked about positive parenting, calming ourselves and modeling healthy coping strategies for our children, food as trigger or healer, energy healing modalities (Reiki, Accunect and hypnotherapy) and bodywork (craniosacral therapy, chiropractic and massage), spiritual coaching, and more. We then did a daytime meeting repeat in October, at which got another demo of Accunect, read the children’s book Anh’s Anger and talked more about our challenges and shared strategies.
Holistic Moms Network is a cool enough group for local and online support for living holistically, but it’s even more fun when you get to meet people in person from different chapters around the country. The non-profit organization is holding its annual Natural Living Conference on Saturday, October 25 in New Jersey at Montclair State University just outside of New York City.
Okay, it’s not in DC, Maryland or Virginia, but it’s only about four hours away. By car. Last year I got to meet some of the leaders from California chapters. They had to be on a plane for more than four hours!
Breakout sessions include:
- Yoga Basics with Kristen Ambrosi
- Living with Food Allergies with Amy Hull Brown
- Making Healing Tinctures and Infusions with Jessica Cicerone
- Contemporary Homesteading with Jay Gruen
At just $55 for the whole day or $40 for a half, the event is a great deal for all the information it will impart as well as the goodie bag treats and all the other samples you’re likely to find in the exhibit hall. There, parents can learn about wonderful products — food, skin care, and more – and services like Well Amy. One could really spend the entire day in the exhibit hall (and you can do just that for a reduced rate of $20).
The conference is an adult-focused event where babes in arms are welcome. Children may come into the exhibit hall for a reduced price ticket ($10) but need to pay the full rate if they require a seat in the sessions and workshops. The keynote is in the morning and the film screening and Q&A is in the afternoon. Lunch can be purchased separately.
And if you’re looking to make a trip of it, I’m told there is plenty of fall fun to be had in New Jersey, including pumpkin and apple picking. Budding artists might enjoy the Montclair Art Museum, future naturalists will want to explore Brookdale Park and Verona Park, and animal lovers will get a kick out of Turtle Back Zoo. TripBuzz has a list of Things to Do With Kids in Montclair, NJ, and the New Jersey Mommy Poppins site also has a list of 15 Fun Things to do in Montclair, NJ along with plenty of additional ideas for exploring the area and for weekend happenings.
So take the family up with you if you have a partner, friend or family member who can treat the kiddos to some New Jersey (or even New York City) adventures while you learn lots of wellness tips to nourish your family and connect with other like-minded parents.
Holistic Moms Network has over 100 chapters around the country. In the DC area, there are HMN chapters in Arlington/Alexandria, Northern Virginia (Fairfax) and Loudoun County. The Burke/Springfield chapter will be relaunched soon. Anyone can start a chapter, too. There’s an awesome leader meeting on Sunday, October 26, the day after the conference, so if you’ve been thinking about starting a chapter, now might be a great time to see what that’s like!
If you’ve noticed a challenge feeling balanced during these busy back-to-school fall months, the wisdom of the ancient healing science of Ayurveda might shed some light on the cause.
Although the seasonal change is subtle, it can have a big impact on the mind and body.
As the seasons transition, our mind and our body also experience a transition, as they adjust to the inevitable changes that nature brings with it. This adjustment period is normal, and vital, but it can also lead to certain imbalances if we don’t manage and ease into the transition.
Autumn is known for the decreasing temperatures, the increasing winds, and the overall instability of the weather. Vata, the air and space energy (or dosha), intensifies during this time, leaving our mind and body dry, cold, and unstable.
In our culture, it is normal to start the bulk of our activities during these months. The kids go back to school, they have more activities (sports, schoolwork, and hobbies).
Your job becomes more demanding with deadlines and objectives. But if you observe nature, you will see that animals actually prepare to wind down and hibernate during the cold months. This anti-nature behavior we adopt actually leads to a lot of imbalances in our mind and body.
Perhaps you have the beginnings of a cold, or maybe you get more frequent headaches and are more moody during this time. Your skin becomes drier, your hand and toes are more sensitive to the cold. All of these things are just a way for your mind/body to adjust to the changing season. Even our cravings change. We crave “comfort” foods like soups, stews, and sweets.
The good news is that our mind and body were designed to adjust to these changes. We just need to “tune in” and manage the adjustment so that it is easy, smooth and leads to balance. In ayurveda, this management is easy if you apply the simple rule of “like increases like.”
Because vata is cold, dry, light and mobile (unpredictable, unstable), we have to add warmth/heat, oily/unctuous, and predictable/stability to our lifestyles and diets. If you master this principle, your transition from one season to the next will be a lot easier!
Keep this principle in mind when you prepare the kids’ meals/snacks. Choose grounding foods that are heavy, warm, and sweet like rice, sweet potato, and dairy; avoid raw, cold and dry foods. Download this great vata shopping list.
A great way to cut down/prevent on the colds and sniffles kids get this time of year: dab a Q-tip in warm sesame oil and place in the ears and nostrils daily after their bath. This will not only help to keep the area germ-free, it will also lubricate and nourish the area. If your child is prone to vata-like imbalances (dry cough, change in sleep pattern, constipation), try giving him an oil massage using warm sesame oil; the more often you do this, the better. A few minutes before a bath is best, but you can also do it at bedtime.
Something the whole family can practice during this time of year is savasana, or corpse or dead man’s pose. Lie flat on your back, legs and feet apart, palms up at your side. Breathe and surrender for at least 5 minutes. Guaranteed calm! Drink warm milk with a sprinkle of nutmeg, and enjoy a little quiet time before bed. This will help everyone get a good night’s sleep.
As for the grownups in the house, it is normal to feel less concentration, insomnia, and chronic fatigue with the increase in vata energy. For them, I recommend a wonderful vata-pacifying therapy called shirodhara. It is designed to directly activate the ajna chakra, thereby affecting the mind in a profound way. It provides mental clarity, decreases heart rate, decreases blood pressure, and an overall sense of calm and rest. Most people fall asleep during the treatment!
This treatment, as well as other vata-pacifying techniques, is available at Apurva Ayurveda Healing in Vienna, Virginia.
Lastly, don’t forget to increase seasonal fruits veggies—nature’s way of helping us through this transition. Look to squash and root veggies such as sweet potato. Mmmmm. So grounding and nourishing. Try Monica B.’s recipe from Hey Monica B: A Blooming Resource on Ayurveda for Roasted Root Veggies with Garlic & Rosemary.
- Any mix of root vegetables like butternut squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, beets
- Olive oil
- Garlic cloves
- Rosemary sprigs
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- Chop the root veggies into bite size chunks and place in a pan.
- Drizzle with plenty of olive oil because when cooked it will caramelize and turn extra yummy.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes uncovered
Thanks to Ileana for this guest post!
Updated in October 2017 with Apurva’s new location
A YogaKids DVD was the first television I allowed my son some seven years ago. Since then, he and his little sister have been to a handful of kids and family yoga classes, and a day of yoga camp. This summer, my daughter had a delightful yoga birthday party at which her older brother showed off his knowledge of poses and Sanskrit phrases. They are not without some yoga knowledge.
But truth be told, though I try to practice daily on my own, yoga has remained something of an extra rather than an integral part of my parenting. It’s always there in the background in theory, but in practice, when I’m working so hard just to stay well by cooking all the time and am also staying involved in volunteer efforts whose higher goal is health and well-being for families, I don’t always ooze groundedness at home. I never have, anywhere. This really is a lifetime journey.
Enter the first National Kids Yoga Conference conference this past weekend! As if it weren’t inspiring enough just to interview the organizers, I emerged from the conference in awe of the many benefits of yoga for children and bowled over by the numerous strategies out there to make yoga accessible to young ones. It was truly transformative. I hope and believe that my parenting – my life – will never be the same.
At the first National Kids Yoga Conference on September 27, we learned about many wonderful recording artists, authors and others providing support for yoga with children and providing training.
Check out this list of Resources for Children’s Yoga taken from the conference exhibitors, sponsors and speakers and organizations mentioned by speakers and exhibitors.
The organizers of the first National Kids Yoga Conference are moms who putting their mindfulness skills in practice with every step of planning toward the Saturday, September 27 event at George Washington University’s School of Public Health.
I’ve long admired the work and commitment of lil omm yoga studio owner Pleasance Silicki and Michelle Kelsey Mitchell, co-founder of the Alexandria-based non-profit organization YoKid. When I spoke with them about how they’ve managed to pull off such a huge endeavor, I got even more inspired.
Some of the best summer options for kids are the ones planned by passionate people in the promising weeks of spring, long after special issues of camp round-ups have gone to press and summer fairs have introduced hopeful parents to what seem like the only options. Not so, as I learned when I put together a list of unique camps and yoga camps for the summer, a compendium I hope to grow next year.
It had been a while since I had seen owner Suzanne Leitner-Wise, the leader of a fabulous yoga retreat I went on when I was seventh months pregnant in 2010, and I hadn’t yet made it to her gorgeous new studio. Talk about light and airy! And its front room contains two beautiful couches and a lovely array of clothing, books, jewelry and art.
The camp was planned as a weeklong experience but also offered a drop-in daily option, which worked great for us since we had other afternoon commitments a few of the days this week. It’s important to me that my kids learn to see yoga as a fun and healthy way to feel centered and grounded. And sometimes, they need to see that from another person! (I hope to learn more and get inspired to integrate yoga into our home life more this fall at the first National Kids Yoga Conference on September 27).
My children attended 532’s Kids Corner yoga camp on Monday and had a great time. When I arrived early for pick-up, energetic and bubbly teacher Lisa Sonntag — a special education teacher in Fairfax County, a certified yoga teacher, and an experienced camp counselor — said she could not believe how quickly the time flew. “Miss Lisa” shared that the children did an early savasana after a first half of class full of active asanas, or poses,
They then moved on to snack and crafts, including braiding yarn and making and coloring a “You Can Do Yoga” booklet and an accompanying coloring book/journal to be used through the week.
I sat with the class as Lisa closed that first day with a reading (peppered by lively discussion) of the Dr. Seuss book, My Many-Colored Days, which associates different emotions with different colors.
During the class, while I enjoyed some kid-free time at the Starbucks across the street, I sent Lisa some questions for further reflection.
In addition to accepting drop-ins through this session’s final day, July 18, 532Yoga will repeat this kids camp with Lisa Sonntag the week of August 4-8. Interested parties can contact the studio to inquire about a sibling discount or register through the workshops page on its scheduling site.
Disclosure: I received a discount on drop-in tuition for my two children in exchange for writing this post and sharing information about the camp.
When an email from lil omm yoga studio recently landed in my In box listing its upcoming family-friendly classes, my jaw dropped at all the offerings! I promptly asked if I could steal the info and post it all here!
If you’ve never been to lil omm, north of Tenleytown and south of Friendship Heights on Wisconsin Ave. in NW DC, it’s a truly beautiful place. There are great classes and workshops that can be enjoyed by anyone as well as classes that cater to families with young children and opportunities for mothers to refresh and renew.
Even though I have a hard time even making it to a studio a few miles from me, lil omm got me out last January to see author Katrina Kenison, in April to journal with Abundant Mama Shawn Fink, and last month to sit and practice with Zen Buddhist priest and author Karen Maezen Miller.
During the weeks my kids are not in camp this summer, I’m also hoping to get to studio for a class by myself while they are in childcare (limit of 5 kids and offered for select classes, as seen on the lil omm schedule) or for a “Yoga Flow/Playtime” class when my kids can participate or play. There are also Saturday Family Yoga classes (ages 3-8) and a new “Backyard Bootcamp” that studio owner Pleasance Silicki is hosting out of her NW home on Thursday mornings (kids welcome). We have aged out of the Baby & Me and Movers & Tots classes, but check out the Class Description page to see all those offerings and more, including prenatal and postnatal.
In addition to these regular offerings, here is what else is coming up at lil omm this summer and fall!
Downward Doll Yoga (ages 3-6) – Sat 10/18 @ 2:30-3:30. Drop off your kiddo and his/her favorite doll or stuffed animal for a fun-filled, spirited yoga class followed by tea and cookies!
Lil omm is also teaming up with YoKid to put on the first National Kids Yoga Conference on Saturday, September 27, 2014. Read more about the conference here on the lil omm blog and check out this opportunity to sponsor a teen to attend!
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
- $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
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 brochure. www.uucava.org/group/peacecamp
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.”
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:
- Activity Rocket
- Clarendon Moms
- DC Metro Mom
- The DC Moms
- DC Urban Moms and Dads
- Dulles Moms
- Go Kid Trips
- Joy-Makin’ Mamas and The Joy Troupe NOVA
- Our Kids
- A Parent in Silver Spring
- Red Tricycle
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Mother’s Day buzz is everywhere. Crafts you can do, teas you can drink, meals you can prepare or enjoy prepared by someone else. Does any of it feel very inspiring?
What do you really want for Mother’s Day? What feels good and true? If the day brings up tough emotions, how do you cope?
My husband typically has his Ultimate Frisbee spring tournament on Mother’s Day, which also typically comes at the end of Teacher Appreciation Week. I used to be a high school teacher but am pretty clear I could never again handle the stress of that job. It’s really important work, and it makes me a little sad to feel like I can’t serve in the capacity I always wanted to without detriment to my health.
I sometimes I feel the same way about mothering!
So last year, with my husband gone all day on Mother’s Day, I was feeling pretty grumpy and sorry for myself.
But really, I was blessed. A friend offered to come visit me with her husband who helped watch my kids (and hers!) so that she could do some energy work on me. It made a huge difference and opened me up to joy that had felt elusive. It felt like the start of some real transformation. It was truly the best gift I could have gotten.
This past month I got into another funk with so many responsibilities hitting at the same time, and I got a respiratory infection to boot. Elizabeth Shoop of Holistic Intuition is someone I met through that angel friend of mine who came over last year. Elizabeth has been a great resource for me, and last week, just when I needed it, she was kind enough to email me to tell me about an audio talk she found useful. It was a Healing with the Masters talk with Carol Look, a practitioner who does Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT).
I finally listed to the talk earlier this week, and it was like unzipping a dark cloud and seeing that the blue sky was behind it all the time!
Carol Look is a licensed social worker and clinical hypnotherapist who combines Emotional Freedom Technique with Law of Attraction work in her Attracting Abundance practice. I got some great insights about self-sabotage and some wonderful clearing from the tapping protocol she led on the audio talk. Afterward, I instead of stewing about how much I had to do and how little time I had to do it, I actually felt like taking a walk in the woods, doing yoga, eating vibrant food.
The talk was a game-changer for me. It would be great for anyone feeling at all stuck, whether you’ve ever heard of EFT or not. I am going to listen to the audio again before it expires in three days! And I’m going to keep reading Thrive by Arianna Huffington, which is also inspiring me to be true to what really matters, and to return to the insights on being present and setting intention that I got from Abundant Mama Shawn Fink at a recent Lil Omm journaling workshop.
With all this support and wisdom behind me, I feel ready to take on Mother’s Day solo this year. The kids and I may head to Sun & Moon in Arlington for Family Yoga at 3:00, or I might try to find some kind of performance we can all enjoy. That evening 7-9 p.m. there is a great mother’s day yoga class at Lil Omm in NW DC. Whatever I do, I’m going to try to hold onto the wisdom I have within me, and breathe.
How do you plan to spend the day on Sunday? What feels good for you? What do you really want for Mother’s Day? What should other DC-area moms know about for a gracious day?
Please share in the comments or on Facebook!