Art + Therapy + Yoga workshop focuses on core values

Teachers, therapist collaborate on wellness workshop in Lewes
Yoga instructor Dimitra Kotanides leads the group in opening yoga exercises at the start of the workshop. BY MOLLY MACMILLAN
November 14, 2013

At the first-ever art, therapy, yoga workshop in the Hotel Rodney, more than a dozen participants showed up to open their creativity, souls and bodies for an afternoon of self-discovery and non-traditional group therapy.

Starting the workshop by physically opening the body with yoga exercises, lead by Dimitra Kotanides, owner of Dimitra Yoga, participants were guided by therapist Cher Stout to uncover their core values and express them artistically with the help of Rehoboth jewelry designer Heidi Lowe.

"Take a moment to scan your body, to read your body from the inside out," Kotanides said as she began the exercises. "Get into your core; that is where the wisdom in our bodies rests, not in our heads."

Some came seeking the physical renewal of a yoga retreat while others came for a mother-daughter bonding day. One pregnant woman was treated to the workshop by a friend as a pre-baby gift of friendship and self-discovery.

After the initial yoga exercises, Stout lead a group therapy session where those who attended were encouraged to recall some of the best and worst times in their lives.

Participants were encouraged to recall feelings from these incidents and then attach these feelings to words to reveal the core values and feelings that drive decisions in life and impact relationships.

Narrowing a list of 20 or more words they identified with feelings from these incidents to a group of five feelings that are driving forces in life, Stout then encouraged participants to identify a single core value, from which all others branch out.

"These core values are how you showed up in this world and to push them down is to die," Stout said.

As members of the group shared their stories and the feelings associated with them, through laughter and tears, participants related and built their own trees of core values from the experience.

After a mid-day break, the group reassembled as Lowe, a longtime student of Kotanides, lead the group in the creative expression of their tree of core values.

Armed with supplies including a stack of magazines, scissors and paste, the art teacher encouraged attendees to visualize those values and create a mixed-media piece to remember the day and express their core values.

"We are expressing and reinforcing core values so we are going to be making a piece as a reminder of what we stand for in the world," Lowe said.

The next Art + Therapy + Yoga workshop is currently being planned for February 2014.

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