Monday, March 28, 2016

Primavera! Ojai Spring Yoga/Art Retreat and Other Gifts of Spring

"What day is is?" asked Pooh.
"It's today," squeaked Piglet.
"My favorite day," said Pooh.

Ojai Preserve, Spring 2016

A little music to go with glorious Spring!

When we are mindful, deeply in touch with the present moment,
our understanding of what is join on deepens,
and we bin to be filled with 
acceptance, joy, peace and love.
~Thich Nhat Hanh

My friend Shea, who has taught yoga for years in Los Angeles, came up with an idea ages ago. She thought that it would be great for us to hold a combined yoga and art day, for Spring Equinox. This year, it finally happened! Our focus throughout the day, along with renewal, was on mindfulness.

We held it on the actual day of the Spring Equinox, in Ojai, California.

The morning yoga session was cool and foggy as we said goodbye to winter, but as the day progressed we welcomed Spring and the sunshine! Tables were set up for the art sessions under the trees ...

But first, a little water and yogi tea break!

The mindfulness "art project" was to create a sort of dream catcher mandala, so everyone could choose a tree from where they were sitting, or wander about the property to find which spoke to them.

Begin doing what you want to do now.
We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment,
sparkling like a star in our hand
and melting like a snowflake.
~Francis Bacon Sr.

There were two little art sessions. The first was before lunch, after which Shea guided a mindfulness walk through the cactus garden.

Walk as if you are kissing the earth
with your feet.
~Thich Nhat Hanh

Here's a little sample I did which was a jumping off point, if people wanted to add more to it ... or if they wanted to do cactus or something else, they were welcome to do so. Difficult to see the silver metallic paint around the tree and a few little washes of silver sparkle in the branches, but the silver is there, I assure you!

Drawing something like a tree is a wonderful mindfulness exercise as you become present to what is around you and in front of you. The changing curves of a branch, where light sparkles through the leaves, where the shadows hug surfaces and where texture creates shapes. It becomes a mindfulness meditation.

Here, in the following photos, is what a few of the ladies came up with! The colors were so beautiful and each one unique to the ladies ... some had silver and others chose gold. I couldn't really get it in the photos with the lighting so you'll have so imagine how they glow a bit from different angles.

If we are not fully ourselves,
truly in the preset moment,
we miss everything.
~Thich Nhat Hanh

A little chakra clearing workshop before finishing with a wonderful restorative yoga session, under the trees, listening to the birds, rustling of leaves, and soft Native American music in the distance. (Ojai was an area where the Chumash Indians lived. The area is considered sacred to some people and filled with a incredible energy by many who live there and visit the Ojai Valley.)

Shea and I on the tennis court where we held the morning yoga session ...

Including Shea and I, there were 21 ladies. It felt like a perfect number!

A little toast later at magic hour to celebrate the beautiful day.

Be happy in the moment,
that is enough.
Each moment is all we need, 
not more.
~Mother Teresa

 My sister shared lemons from her trees ...

A couple of days later I went to see my aunt and uncle in Long Beach. A great rooftop view of the sunset, in which to toast!

I don't know how many years it has been since I've had a manicure but I decided I would celebrate the season with pink nails! I just loved the eye candy of the spring colors, so I had to share! In the background is my "WeMoon" calendar that was on my lap at the nail salon. (artwork by Jessica Perlstein)

And to celebrate Springtime ... These fabulous artists!

Keya, 10, with her glorious mixed media landscape of wildflowers!


When you discover 
that all happiness is inside of you
the wanting 
and the needing
are over, and life gets very exciting.
~ Byron Katie

This fabulous acrylic abstract by 12 year old Caroline, who doesn't like to have her photograph taken! I love that the shapes were so silvery and had such movement but it's all done with paint (and none of it silver!)

Tessie, 8, with her Landscape of Red Poppies!

Tessa, just turning 7, with her watercolor wildflower. If that sweet expression doesn't melt your heart ...

Violette, 10, and her mixed media graphic popsicle! (wouldn't it make a cool fabric repeat?!)

And here's Lola, 6, with her pastel drawing the Easter Bunny.

I couldn't resist taking this photo with the light coming through the window ... Mia's fancy little dress for  Purim.  (I quickly found her an apron!)

 A fabulous Easter Brunch of smoked salmon and spinach Benedict with a dear friend.

Not a great picture below, but I had to point out that the lovely sequined and metallic eggs on my chandelier are from the 99 cent store, along withe the green wire basket and grass for it in the photo above. (I made the Ukrainian eggs a few years ago.)

And I'm ending this post with a spring memory of Italy, taken at the Franciscan sanctuary of Fonte Colombo in the Rieti Valley ...

Now is where Love Breathes.

Hope your spring is off to a beautiful start! Many blessings and a celebratory rebirth and renewal to all!

Blessings and light!


Candy said...

Lucinda, a Spring/Yoga/Art Retreat is a brilliant idea! I love all the quotes - especially Pooh & Piglet and the one about walking.

Thank you for sharing the students' artwork! You are the coolest!

mezzamezzo said...

Thank you for a wonderfully serene and creative experience--it worked vicariously!

donna baker said...

I had a great time with you at the retreat Lucinda and I didn't have to do a thing. Always love those kids and their art. Bet the spring days are gorgeous there.

Tammie Lee said...

WOW, so much fun and beauty.
lovely to see this area in bloom and all of you blooming in art and yoga with it.
that Easter brunch would be fab for dinner tonight ;-)

thanks for sharing the treasures of your world ~

Amanda Summer said...

Wow - what a feast of gorgeous scenery and artwork!

Marty said...

what a wonderful post Lucinda ! a happy day I think !!
your beautiful photos give us an idea of that day

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