A weekend of Wellness awaits
- Published: September 27, 2012
In the late 1800s, Yellow Springs was a mecca for health and wellness as far-flung visitors flocked to the village to soak in the mineral-rich waters of the Yellow Spring. With hopes of re-igniting regional interest in the town’s alternative therapies, holistic health practitioners and artists have teamed up to put on this weekend’s Wellness Experience.
“We have this rich history,” said organizer and yogi Monica Hasek. “If people want an alternative treatment, Yellow Springs is probably the first place they look. So we have that reputation and now we just have to step it up a notch.”
Today the village boasts a dizzying array of holistic health options — from acupuncture, massage, yoga, and chiropractics to reiki, sound therapy and homeopathic medicine — and most of it will be on display this weekend. As in the 19th century, an interest in alternative healthcare is surging in the 21st.
“Our culture is ready,” said Hasek, of Yoga Springs. “People are searching for ways to take responsibility of their own health and not have it in the hands of a [conventional] practitioner. There is a longing for this.”
And while the mainstream can be skeptical of alternative healthcare, Hasek emphasized that holistic health is a serious discipline and that local practitioners have extensive training, honed skills and unique gifts to offer.
The marquee event is a wellness fair, on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the John Bryan Center, where live health demonstrations will start every 20 minutes, free mini-classes will be offered and more than 40 exhibitors will showcase their chosen healing modality. Paid art and wellness workshops follow on Sunday and include poetry hikes, various yoga practices, paper-making, mediation and more. Meanwhile, fun and frivolity are scheduled on Friday and Saturday nights, where the weekend’s themes of artistic creation and health and healing merge.
Art and wellness share a common thread, according to Brian Housh of the Yellow Springs Arts Council, an event organizer and sponsor. Art can be therapeutic, while wellness practitioners rely on a “creative spirit,” he said. This is the second wellness weekend the Arts Council has organized as part of the Yellow Springs Experience, a series of events that the Arts Council has put on since 2010 with partial funding from the Morgan Family Foundation. Funding for this event also comes from the Yellow Springs Community Foundation and Antioch University Midwest.
The connection between art and wellness is especially clear in the work of local artist Glenn Owen, whose latest ink drawings, created following his recent heart problem, will open at the Arts Council gallery on Friday night. The drawings in his “Pulmonary Series” were inspired by images of his own heart beating on a monitor screen and are dedicated to the doctor who saved his life. Owen, a former Yellow Springs High School art teacher with more than 30 one-man shows in his 56-year career, will also speak on how “Art is Therapy” on Saturday night.
The Saturday fair will kick off with a free “Salute to Wellness” yoga practice led by Hasek, followed by a an opening ceremony that comes from the Filipino tradition in which the ancestors and four directions are honored. Demonstrations throughout the day include qigong, shiatsu massage, zumba, holistic birth support, hot yoga and even animal acupuncture using a live pony. Vendors can only sell all-natural or handmade items. Outside on the Bryan Center lawn there will be music and health food (think falafel, scrambled tofu and smoothies), with all Styrofoam packaging banned.
At the fair, local bed shop Design Sleep will exhibit, since “wellness and healing doesn’t stop when one is asleep,” according to Stacy Arnett of the store. Beds that are chemically-safe and ergonomically-designed can improve circulation, muscle relaxation and sleep — a critical time when the body heals and recuperates, Arnett said. Steve Deal will unveil his new company, IFG Health, at the fair. His web and mobile healthcare application helps patients create an electronic health journal to put their treatment in their own hands. There will also be natural cleaning products and Om T-shirts for sale, and much more.
On Sunday, Molly Lunde will teach a workshop on Yoga for Athletes, which focuses on poses that support an athletic body. Yoga can help athletes gain balance, strength, endurance and flexibility and learn injury-prevention and mindful breath work, according to Lunde. Carol Allin will head a session in which participants decorate a walking stick, while Sarah Strong will help participants make paper journals by hand, and Jannirose Joy will lead a meditation on the vibrating frequencies created by gongs, drums, chimes, bells and tuning forks.
Hasek said she hopes the weekend will be an opportunity for local holistic health practitioners to market themselves to new audiences, and for those who have little knowledge with alternative therapies to learn more about them. But it’s also a rare occasion in which local wellness practitioners, most of whom usually work alone, to collaborate as a community. And it’s a first step in making Yellow Springs once again a destination for health and healing.
“Eventually, people will come for a weekend of paid wellness workshops,” Hasek said. “This is a work in progress that builds with each event.”
For a full schedule of events, visit www.yellow-springs-experience.org.