The Friends’ Wellness Program is designed to engage community members and foster overall wellness.
Don’t we all simply feel better when we are outside? There are many health benefits associated with spending time in the outdoors, and Fish Creek Provincial Park is a perfect venue to take part in activities that support a balanced, healthy lifestyle. The Friends’ Wellness Program was conceived as a way of encouraging people to take advantage of this amazing opportunity, and provides a variety of programming in support of health and wellness. Over the past six years, these sessions have provided many opportunities for people to engage their senses in the outdoors, allowing the beauty of the park’s natural surroundings to nurture and support their physical/mental/spiritual health and creativity.
Please note that all of our Wellness sessions are held outdoors
Good Grief: Nature Walking Through Grief and Loss
Research conducted with Alberta Parks and Mount Royal University has revealed how nature teaches us to grieve. Death and loss so often bring us to parks and natural places; favorite places to remember and sites simply to let grief be, just as it is – natural. Parks and nature also connect us to the cycles of life and death, reminding us of endurance, beauty, and the only constant – change. In the changes and challenges of life’s significant transitions, walking in parks and nature can provide different things, good things, to different people.
Our 8-week program offers those experiencing grief and loss a gentle, accessible walk through nature, allowing participants to observe, to chat, to enjoy fresh air, the natural world and a supportive community. The program is not intended to be a counseling experience, but simply a time to walk in nature with others who are experiencing a shared path of transition. This year you are able to sign up for either a morning or afternoon program.
Tuesday evenings from May 8th to June 26th, 6:30-8pm
Thursday mornings from May 10th to June 28th, 10-11:30am
Only $25 Register through Eventbrite
Wellness Program Kickoff! – Thursday, June 28th from 7-8:30pm at the Bow Valley Ranch
Join our instructors as we launch our Wellness Program this year with a fun night of yoga, meditation and Spring Forest Qi-Gong! Following your practice, you can stay to meet and mingle with the instructors and enjoy tea and light treats.
Only $10 – Register on Eventbrite
**Please note that this session may be photographed
Yoga in the Park
Naomi Parker and Gwen Draude team up again for their sixth season of yoga! Enjoy the practice of Raja or “Royal” yoga which emphasizes the connection between body, energy and mind through postures, meditation and breathing techniques, It incorporates all eight limbs of yoga, and each session will include breath connection, asanas (poses), relaxation and meditation. Creating a connection to your body through your breath will ensure your learning in honouring oneself, gaining a more balanced mind, body and spirit in the process.
Tuesday evenings from 7-8:30pm at the Bow Valley Ranch
$10 per session – Register through Eventbrite
Join our incredible instructors for a special wellness practice that includes yoga, meditation and Qi Gong all in one!
7-8:30pm at the Bow Valley Ranch
$10 per session – Register through Eventbrite by clicking on a date below
*Please note that these sessions may be photographed*
Spring Forest Qi-Gong
This meditative practice is based on the ancient wisdom and belief that we all have the power and ability to heal ourselves. Spring Forest Qi-Gong incorporates simple moving meditations to help open your heart, mind and physical self. Side effects – more happiness, improved mobility and health! Join instructor Diane Smith on a journey towards balanced and flowing energy this summer!
Tuesday mornings from 9:30-10:30am at the Bow Valley Ranch
$10 per session – Register through Eventbrite
Plein-Air (Outdoor) Painting Workshops
Join our amazing and creative instructors for one of these inspiring outdoor workshops. We’ll meet at the Bow Valley Ranch and walk a short distance to the painting sites.
Paint What You See with Jim Pescott
Spend the day painting among the trees and let the landscape speak to you. This outdoor painting workshop in Fish Creek Provincial Park will have you experiment with a unique painting technique called “pointillism” where images are created through the use of many tiny, colorful dots. This class is perfect for any skill level of painter, from beginner to experienced; you are invited to try this new technique or simply paint as you see fit!
- Wednesday, June 27 from 6-9pm
- Tuesday, July 24 from 11am-3pm
Only $45 – Register on Eventbrite
Watercolour Painting to Feed the Soul with Yasmin Irani
Hesitant to try watercolour painting? Now is the time to give it a try! Lose yourself and learn to paint in the beautiful surroundings of Fish Creek Provincial Park. Good for beginners and all skill levels.
Thursday, August 2, 10am-1pm
Only $45 – Register on Eventbrite
A look at our Wellness Program Instructors
Diane Smith is one of 90 people in the world who has completed level 5 in Spring Forest Qi-Gong (SFQ). She is one of four Certified Instructors and Master Healers in Canada. Diane is a passionate student of SFQ. While practicing SFQ, she experienced a profound shift in her life and is now passionate about sharing how SFQ as a lifestyle can positively influence health and well-being. Diane’s practice has given her balance, joy, peace, creativity and a stronger sense of self, family and community.
Gwen Draude received her 200 hour yoga teacher training certification in 2012 from Sunshine Yoga Academy in Calgary. Yoga continues to teach her the fundamentals of slowing down, being present, breathing deeply, and learning to let go of meaningless worries or thoughts.
Naomi Parker, of Elemental Wellness, is a Certified Fairy Intuitive Healing Practitioner, Reiki Master, Registered Yoga Teacher, Mudra Therapist, and Spiritual Response Therapist (SRT). She grew up in Northern Alberta where, surrounded by wilderness, grew a fondness for the Earth and its elements. She has been practicing yoga for over 10 years. You can find out more about Naomi’s practice and services offered through Elemental Wellness at www.elementalwellnessandyoga.com
Jim Pescott paints Alberta landscapes and his work has been exhibited internationally. His unique painting style is meditative and explores how everything on our Earth is connected. Jim is also the artist responsible for the Friends’ 25th anniversary original painting along with a few remaining limited edition prints of this masterpiece. He is a long time supporter of the Friends, with a deep love of all things in nature – espcially trees!
Yasmin Irani studied Fine Arts and graduated with Honours from the College of Art in New Delhi. She has painted across different continents for many years with an impressionist style in several mediums (acrylic, oils, pastels, inks and water coulours). Her passions are traveling, interior decoration, gardening, photography and long hikes in the great Canadian outdoors.
Here’s what people are saying about these programs:
“I loved learning a variety of techniques, the license to experiment and play, and enjoyed the surroundings. Thank you, thank you, thank you, please repeat this class!”
“Excellent class, I hope you do more!”
“Wonderful instruction, relaxing, excellent, FUN!”
We are hoping to expand our Wellness Program offerings in 2018 and are looking for people with a deep connection to Fish Creek Provincial Park who might be interested in teaching a plein-air painting workshop, drumming circle or other activity that can promote personal wellness by engaging people in the outdoors.
If you have an idea that could help to expand this program or would be interested in discussing becoming an instructor, please contact Shana Barbour, Program Coordinator, at email@example.com
Photo Credit: Ronnel Chua