Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Dottie, Janice, Linda & George preparing lunch for the participants in PEACE, LOVE & YOGA Day

PEACE, LOVE & YOGA Day was a big success!!

The peace and love energy was palpable at the Peace, Love and Yoga Day sponsored by the Yoga Association of Greater Detroit (YAGD) and the Citizens for Peace on Saturday, August 25th at the Livonia Senior Center. Lynda Herman, president of the YAGD, Sharon Brand, yoga instructor at the Senior Center and other locations, and Colleen Mills, president of the Citizens for Peace planned and hosted the all day celebration.

Lynda Herman put out requests for yoga and meditation teachers to volunteer their talents for the special day. Karen Farkas, Lynda and Sharon’s yoga teacher, was asked to be the keynote speaker. Karen shared her story of how discovering the practice of yoga saved her life. After a very difficult time in her life, she responded to a notice about a yoga class. It was the inspiration she needed to turn her life around. As a yoga teacher for 40 years, Karen has influenced countless others to live mindfully through the practice of yoga and meditation. She encouraged the attendees to take the practice off their mats and into their daily lives by looking at all they see as if for the first time; really hearing as if it’s the first sound; noticing the taste of food before swallowing; appreciating the smells of the earth; being aware of the whole body in space; walking, sitting, moving with awareness; and paying attention to the wonder and beauty of the world.

The day, (8:15 a.m. – 3:15 p.m.), included classes for all levels of yoga practice, from beginners to advanced practitioners. There was Mindful Yoga with Mimi Holland-Moritz; Sun Salutations with June McCarthy; Chair Yoga with Christine Walbridge; The Five Tibetans with Diane Siegel-Divita; and Flow with Peace, Love and Yoga with Sharon Brand.

Kathy Bindu Henning led a session on Present Moment Meditation. A devotee of meditation for 35 years, Kathy teaches classes at various places around the metro area, including the Livonia Senior Center and Schoolcraft College.

Lunch was prepared by George Mills and volunteers from the Citizens for Peace. After lunch, Colleen Mills shared some thoughts on her practice of yoga and meditation.

“Besides the obvious effect of keeping our bodies fit, flexible and balanced, yoga and meditation helps us to focus; reduce stress; block out the world; enrich one’s spirit; turn off the chatter in our brain; go to an experiential peace zone; and open the heart chakra – the seat of peace, harmony, laughter and love.” Colleen congratulated everyone on choosing love. She discussed the four needs of the heart: attention; affection; appreciation and acceptance. “Developing a yoga and meditation practice fulfills these four needs” she said.

After lunch, yoga teacher Jan Chekirda provided mandalas and markers to the participants. The result was a variety of colorful expressions, each as unique as snowflakes. It was a relaxing, artistic meditation. Also, The Happiness Prescription video was shown and viewers received the wisdom of Deepak Chopra on the keys to happiness. He shared the research that the happiest people are those who make others happy. Colleen Mills thanked everyone and encouraged participants to take the love and peace energy generated from Peace, Love and Yoga Day back to their families and communities and share some loving kindness with everyone they meet, starting with the easiest form of peace work: a smile!

For more information on yoga or meditation classes or the activities of the Citizens for Peace visit the websites www.yagd.org, www.livinginthepresentmoment.com

and www.citizensforpeace11.blogspot.com.