Come take a walk with RiseVT this Thursday evening, May 3 at Mystic Waters Day Spa in St. Albans. ‘A Soul Inspired Walk to New Beginnings,’ a workshop facilitated by Nathan Wiles and Christine Favreau, will introduce you to the labyrinth as a tool for personal and community transformation.

“The labyrinth is a mindfulness approach to wellness,” says Favreau, certified Labyrinth Facilitator. “In addition to the physical movements, walking a labyrinth helps you clear through the stressors to invite your creative self to come forward.”

A labyrinth is a path that leads from the outer edge in a circuitous way to the center. Unlike a maze, where you might get lost, the labyrinth is a tool to help you find your way. The rhythm of walking, placing one foot in front of the other, helps empty the mind and relax the body; following the pace your body wants to go.

“In any type of wellness program, whether emotional or physical, you must be able to connect all parts of the body to be productive,” says Wiles, Advanced Labyrinth Facilitator. “People aren’t always able to be quiet, to deal with stress and anxiety. The labyrinth allows the mind to be free to open up, while invoking intuition and creativity.”

As a Master Builder and Designer of labyrinths, Wiles creates both permanent stone structures and portable canvas labyrinths. He has been bringing the labyrinth to communities for nearly a decade, through installations and facilitation within schools, churches and universities.

“It’s my passion to create that personal space that people can be invited into; that safe space,” he says.

“Nathan has been one of my greatest teachers,” says Favreau, “We are a team and it is our combined passion to introduce the labyrinth to our community.” She and Wiles met years ago, during a summer labyrinth training course through the Veriditas organization, where Wiles also serves as a faculty member.

Passionate about wellness, the duo appreciates the opportunity to reach more of the community through collaboration. “RiseVT is an amazing source and driver of wellness initiatives,” says Favreau. “These show-up events help build awareness, giving people an opportunity to connect with others and reconnect with themselves,” says Wiles.

During the ‘New Beginnings’ mini-workshop, participants will learn labyrinth etiquette and exercises to prepare for walking with intention along the custom-made canvas path. “We want everyone to be able to experience the labyrinth walk, so the instructional portion will be kept short,” says Wiles.

“My dream is to see people open to this type of approach to wellness, using it as a daily tool,” says Favreau. “We get so focused on the externals, like going to the gym or watching what we eat. Yet, trying the labyrinth is a tool for your own self-examination.”

As Favreau and Wiles believe the labyrinth also helps to build a sense of community, they invite you to come walk the labyrinth –  finding your way to center, one step at a time.    —

To learn more about labyrinths, please visit: www.Veriditas.org

By, Sarah Parsons West, freelance writer