Free yoga mats!

After years of attending festivals and workshops without her children, Lisa Arshawsky wanted to create a venue where her entire family could “unplug and dive in to spirit together.”

That is where the Santa Monica-based yoga instructor got the idea for the Awakened Family Gathering.

“At festivals, there is a flavor for adults rather than children,” Arshawsky, co-founder of the “urban family retreat,” said. “Because of my experience of wanting to attend these festivals, but yearning for my kids when I’m away from them, I thought finding a way to bring the whole family together in a festival setting that was kid friendly would be great.”

Arshawsky has been teaching yoga, as well as Mommy and Me classes, kids’ circles and mindfulness circles, for years in studios is very excited to take Santa Monicans out of their natural habitat and into the nearest countryside setting, Topanga Canyon, to have an “awakened” experience outdoors.

“Santa Monica has that pulse, that urban feel,” Arshawsky said. “But it also has an amazing group of spiritual practices and mindfulness practices, all within a concentrated area. And I think Santa Monica is a progressive area that wants to try more things. So the retreat is really an experience that I think Santa Monica families that I see and work with everyday want to try.”

The one-day retreat hosted by Arshawsky and other holistic wellness experts, will take place June 11 from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. The event will feature yoga, reiki, meditation, kirtan, vendors and “energy healing” events for the full community of participants, in addition to small groups and individual sessions.

Aside from activities intended for the whole family, kids will enjoy time away from parents with activities just for them.

“You make it very kid friendly and instead of the language that you use for adults, you make it elements that kids can understand. Some people are very familiar with that language. And we look forward to bringing in people from all different walks of life and spiritual practices and using the principles they use in their life and making them very child friendly,” Arshawsky said.

Arshawsky stated that she intends to use stories from Hinduism in her children’s activities.

“In Hinduism there are many very colorful stories about gods and goddesses. There is a deity with an elephant head and so we’ve made a whole children’s program using puppets where we will show how they can use the strength of an elephant in their day to day lives when they need to be strong, like when dealing with social issues at school.”

Afternoon free time allows families to enjoy amenities including a full-sized pool, hiking trails and a labyrinth. The day’s program includes two organic meals prepared on-site (with help from the kids) and an optional nighttime sacred dance and sound healing ceremony.

Details, complete schedule and tickets for the Awakened Family Gathering are available at www.awakenedgatherings.com.

jennifer@www.smdp.com