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The Yellow Springs Arts Council is organizing a Wellness Experience weekend, Spring into Health, on March 18–20, with a variety of wellness workshops. Practitioners and organizers are, in the back row left to right, Don Kramer, Jannirose Fenimore, Anita Brown, Nancy Mellon, Carole Braun; middle row, Larisa McHugh, Monica Hasek, Emily Elliot; front row, Susan Gartner, Joanne Caputo. (Photo by Megan Bachman)

A weekend of wellness, healing in the village

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Learn new practices for optimal health. Refresh your body and renew your spirit after a long winter. Meditate, do yoga, make art, use herbs and explore the unconscious.

To do all this and more, organizers of the Yellow Springs Experience want villagers and others to “experience wellness” at its first Spring into Health weekend, March 18–20.

Featured are 14 of the town’s wellness practitioners — from chiropractors to yogis, psychologists to Reiki healers — along with more than 30 artists and performers and one keynote speaker, Dr. Sherry Weaton, a Jungian workshop leader devoted to empowering the inner healer.

“Yellow Springs has been a healing place for a very long time and we are continuing that,” said Carole Braun, coordinator of the Arts Council, which is organizing the weekend in collaboration with Antioch University Midwest and Yoga Springs.

Openings are available for individual sessions, day or weekend packages to participate in one of five workshop tracks and for Saturday night’s keynote dinner and fundraiser with Weaton.

“Spring is the time when people are getting healthier, getting active, trying something new,” Braun added of the weekend’s timing.

The weekend kicks off with a gallery opening and reception at the Arts Council’s Oten Gallery, at 309 Xenia Avenue, on “The Art of Healing.” At the free event, which runs from 5:30 to 9 p.m., attendees can browse the healing-focused work of local artists, imbibe hot tea and healthy food, take in the sounds of Yellow Springs Strings, and listen to a free lecture from Joanne Augenstein on the healing benefits of laughter, which begins at 5:30 p.m. Artwork and wellness services will be raffled off at the opening, with all proceeds benefitting the Arts Council.

Workshops begin at 6:30 p.m. on Friday and continue Saturday and Sunday, with participants choosing among five tracks — Mind and Body, Especially for Women, Renewal, Exploration and Yoga Immersion. Full weekend packages cost $290, single-day tickets can be purchased from $55 to $165 and individual workshops costs $39 each.

On Saturday night a wellness dinner catered by Current Cuisine will take place, followed by Weaton’s keynote address, “The Role of the Inner Healer in Our Health Care Crisis: The Missing Link,” at Antioch University Midwest at 6:30 p.m. The keynote, and a cocktail hour with appetizers and a cash bar starting at 5:30 p.m., are included in the weekend package and cost $50 separately.

An additional $25 will grant attendees entrance to a special VIP cocktail hour with Weaton at 5:30 p.m. and $35 covers a small group session with Weaton on “Trusting the Messages of Your Body,” from 4 to 5 p.m.

“The inner healer has a role to play in our health care crisis in this country,” Wheaton said in an interview last week. “The soul is speaking through body and contains the knowledge we need to experience wellness in our lives.” 

A 1980 graduate of the Wright State University Medical School, Weaton practiced geriatric medicine in the Dayton-area and reported on health issues for WHIO-TV Channel 7 in Dayton during the 1990s. Now living in Santa Fe, she leads BodySoul Rhythm workshops affiliated with the Marion Woodman Foundation.

Her approach combines Jungian psychology with research in psycho-neurobiology, communication between and the right and left brain, the mind-body connection and embodying conscious -femininity.

To Weaton, the root of modern disease can be attributed to our culture’s risk-aversion, which has led to anxiety and emotional trauma — symptoms increasingly treated with pharmaceuticals.

“We have so little resilience and so much anxiety because we’ve created a culture in-a-box and we don’t take risks,” Weaton said. “This risk-aversion, this anxiety, this trauma of living in the world we live in, leads to most of our diseases.”

Weaton will take session participants through experiential exercises where they will have a chance to listen to their bodies. 

Though all the weekend tracks include some kind of yoga practice, the Mind and Body track additionally offers meditation for healing and soul collage, and Especially for Women participants will create art, learn power techniques, trade massages and explore self through music. The Renewal track includes creating a health plan, learning sexual health strategies and uncovering one’s inner beauty; Exploration has belly-dancing, vibrational sound healing and astrology, and the Yoga Immersion features restorative, immune-strengthening and lymph-stimulating yoga.

Larisa McHugh’s session on “Yoga, Mandalas and Music” will be offered in the Especially for Women and Yoga Immersion tracks. It starts with stretching for relaxation followed by a mediation with specially-programmed music to guide imagery. Participants will then create mandalas as representations of their unconscious material.

As part of the Mind and Body track, clinical psychologist Don Kramer will lead a meditation designed especially for those recovering from a physical illness or living with chronic conditions.

The Wellness weekend is the third Yellow Springs Experience activity organized by the Arts Council, with partial support from the Morgan Family Foundation. The other two were the fall fundraiser Artoberfest and last summer’s Experience, a collaboration among 20 local organizations.

“These events, using the Experience brand, bring different [local] groups together with the goal of bringing more people to Yellow Springs,” Braun said. “It’s to bring more economic sustainability to arts in Yellow Springs.”

The Yellow Springs Experience is still an experiment, according to board president Anita Brown, who said that while the summer experience was well-attended (242 advance tickets were sold) the group is still struggling to make a profit.

“[Art] is a huge attraction — it’s what people come here for — but do they want to pay for it?,” Brown asked.

This time organizers are trying out a weekend format focused on a single theme. If it goes well, another Summer Experience may be in the works. In the meantime, the Arts Council is hoping to raise enough funds from artists and art patrons to keep hosting gallery exhibits and helping the town’s artists stay financially viable.

“We’ve built an identity based upon the idea that the arts have a place here,” Brown said. “Now we’re experimenting to see what works.”

For the full schedule of activities and to register, visit

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