On Saturday, Oct. 15, the Durham Public Library will hold a Holistic Wellness Day, featuring a series of workshops focusing on wellness practices for mind and body. The idea, funded through a Coginchaug Valley Education Foundation grant, came from former Library Director Trish Connolly.
The day was intended to coincide with the Summer Reading theme of “Exercise Your Mind” but staff turnover delayed the day. “The idea was rather than concentrate on straight up exercise, which we don’t really do much, concentrate on some lesser know alternative practices that people might be interested in learning about,” said library Assistant Director Christine Michaud, who serves as the event’s coordinator.
Book circulation suggests a community interest in alternative medicines and wellness subjects, according to Michaud. The library also recently held a T’ai Chi for Seniors event, drawing a good crowd.
“Registration has been very strong” for the sessions said Michaud. “This has been a bit of an experiment and I’m encouraged.”
Holistic Wellness Day consists of six different hour-long workshops. All are free, but registration is required.
The day includes a variety of activities oriented around the idea of health wellness. Some of the activities involvement movement, like yoga or T’ai Chi, while the stillness of meditation will be the focus of the 3 p.m. session, “Living in the Light: Meditation & Empowerment.”
“I think we got a good mix,” said Michaud.
Yoga has become a common practice in America with some doing it entirely for exercise and others mixing spiritualism.
The T’ai Chi session, at 12 p.m., explores “Qigong” or what a press release calls “gentle and fluid energy exercises” with both standing and seated meditation.
Although it might not seem gentle or fluid, acupuncture, the subject of the 10:30 a.m. session, has many practitioners and adherents who swear by it. Amy Calandruccio, a licensed acupuncturist who works at Middlesex Hospital, will show the uses and methods of acupuncture. Participants can even try an acupuncture needle.
All of the sessions are introductory and open to people with no experience in the subject.
Vegan cooking makes a timely visit to town, less than one month after the Durham Fair. In “Vegan 101,” Chef Lawrence of Well on Wheels will teach “the basics of a healthy, whole foods vegan diet and share tasty recipe ideas that will make the transition an adventure.”
Many of the workshop leaders also have books that will be available for purchase after sessions.
The last two sessions of the day bring mental wellness and “universal energy” into the mix.
In the “Meditation & Empowerment” session at 3 p.m., according to the program flyer, “participants will explore simple concepts of living in awareness that will help open you up to the wonders of life, discover who you are, and let go of fear.”
The last session of the day will focus on Reiki, which is a practice originating in Japan of massage or laying-on-hands which adherents claim promotes natural hearing through a transfer of life energy.
The library offers many one shot programs as well as programs in a series, but this is the first whole day series. While people sign up for the workshops individually, Michaud said she is surprised at how many are taking advantage of multiple sessions.
Michaud said that the event has appealed to people getting older and considering their health and interested in “activities that are less strenuous like yoga and T’ai Chi.” The meditation session has also proved to be popular in registration.
Registration can be done on-line, by phone, or in person.
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