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Vail Valley: Relax, refocus, regenerate

Elizabeth Myers
Samaritan Center of the Rockies
Special to the Vail Daily

VAIL, Colorado “-The winter season in Colorado’s Vail Valley is ending and many people are facing even greater financial and emotional pressures. As stress builds, relationships become strained and people turn to stress reduction strategies which have worked for them in the past.

In this valley, those strategies often include exercise and/or a few extra beers or glasses of wine every evening. These are not bad strategies, but they do not offer solutions from which people can grow and learn.

The Samaritan Center is offering a free experiential workshop to teach people how to truly relax, refocus and regenerate. The workshop will feature two outstanding professionals ” Pastor Carl Walker and Amy Baker.



Attendees will learn several methodologies that come from ancient Judaic, Christian, Hindu and Buddhist traditions. One of these is deep breathing, which leads you to truly be in the moment through breath. The other is Centering Prayer, which is also a way to lay aside your thoughts and to open mind and heart, body and feeling to the Divine.

In reality, these two approaches can bring you to the same place ” to the stillness inside yourself. They become very useful tools as you go about your day and you find yourself getting stressed and overwhelmed.

Participate in The Longevity Project

The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.



The deep breathing and meditation techniques in yoga (also in exercise, or climbing a mountain, relaxing in an armchair or during a stressful meeting) bring you to a place of stillness wherever you are. Breathing is always with us, whether we do it well or whether we do in shallowly.

If you learn to view breathing as an anchor, it will bring you into the moment because it is always happening right now. We cannot breathe for yesterday or anticipate how we might breathe tomorrow ” it is only in the now that we can be with the breath.

When you learn to stay with your breath, in this moment, what happened five minutes ago is not relevant, nor is what you may need to do an hour from now. And in each of these moments, you encounter the Divine, be it God, love or some other spirituality dimension.



Thomas Keating, in his book “Open Mind, Open Spirit,” writes that the root of prayer is interior silence. Though we make think of prayer as feelings expressed in words, deep prayer is actually laying your thoughts aside and opening yourself to God.

Pastor Walker will teach centering prayer ” unlike the deep breathing of yoga, which is a discipline of the mind, centering prayer is more a discipline of the heart. Keating defines heartfulness as the cultivation of interior silence in relation to the Ultimate Reality. Pastor Walker has himself been learning and teaching centering prayer for several years now. His deep understanding of all world religions and of man’s spiritual journey will be reflected in the lessons where he will teach us how to relax, refocus and regenerate.

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