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Art of Vitality

We invite you to join us in an exploration of the regenerative wisdom of the human body and the healing power of nature!

Art of Vitality

Revitalizing Mind, Body and Spirit

Upcoming Programs


Free introduction to the Art of Vitality program August 25, 10-1pm at Commonweal Garden. Join Anna and James to experience a flavour of the journey.


 The Art of Vitality program will now be hosted by Natura Institute for Ecology and Medicine, the new institute managing the Commonweal Garden as RDI will be moving to Whidbey Island WA in July. To connect to the Natura website click HERE and to register for the program click HERE.

What would our lives be like if we were living into our healthiest potential? How would we feel if each meal was a nourishing experience that optimized our vitality and decreased risk of disease? What would we gain by learning to attune ourselves to the rhythms of nature and our natural world? What might shift if we brought our behaviors and lives into alignment with our highest selves?

We know there is a way toward healing, wholeness and vitality, and that it starts from within. We know that living systems, including our human bodies, have tremendous regenerative potential. We know that we belong to the life-giving body of the Earth, and that remembering and reconnecting to this source renews our body, mind and spirit.

We invite you to join us in exploring liberating, life-affirming and life-sustaining ways of being. Drawing inspiration from time-honored wisdom, advances in integrative medicine, and nature herself, we’ll be empowered to walk our individual and collective paths toward wellbeing.

The Art of Vitality is an initiation into Self-Healing

The Art of Vitality programs weave self-healing concepts and practices with experiential learning about food as medicine, mind-body medicine, and body-ecological permaculture. Anna O’Malley and James Stark will guide you on a path of discovery through creative work, personal and inter-personal reflection, deep nature connection, integrative medicine conversation, cooking demonstrations, and fire circle ritual. You will be oriented to healthy ecological systems on all levels: cellular, whole-body, interpersonal, and community.

The Art of Vitality is offered in two formats: an introductory three-day weekend intensive workshop, and a full nine month program delivered over four seasonal weekend experiences.

What You Will Learn

Over the course of the programs, you’ll develop a set of practices and behaviors  designed to optimize your physical and mental functions. You’ll develop recognition of limiting mental, emotional, and physical habits, and be supported to “compost” these no longer useful ways of being.

You will experience the profound connection between the mind, the body and the spirit. You’ll discover the use of food as medicine, the ability of nature to facilitate self-healing and inquiry, and the delightfully effective medicine that is movement. You will discover meditative modalities and culinary alchemy, cultivate reciprocal relationship with nature and supportive relationships with each other.  You will move your body and open your heart. You’ll recognize your natural state of being: vital, open, connected and whole.

You will discover:

  • Practices to prevent or reverse chronic disease processes by limiting inflammation and detoxifying.
  • Mind-body practices that harness the relaxation response, deepen your connection to the natural world, increase energy and decrease harmful stress.
  • The use of food as medicine, through chef demonstrations and medicinal pot-lucks. This will include seasonal wild-crafted delights.
  • Practices to support a healthy gut ecology, and the emerging awareness of the farm-food-gut ecological connection as pertains to health
  • Practices supporting healthy sleep
  • Self-directed, facilitated goal-setting toward behavior change with between-workshop support, partner work, and consultation.
  • Practice with honing intuition, insight and vision in manifesting one’s utmost mind-body vital potential.
  • Engaging and accessible yoga poses and qi gong practices

Program Logistics

Participants in our programs at Commonweal Garden are asked to bring camping gear and stay overnight during consecutive meeting dates. Please note that each Art of Vitality weekend starts at 9 am the first day (see dates under each program offering) and ends at 5pm on the last day. Participants are asked to stay on site at Commonweal Garden for the entire duration, as there will be evening and early morning programming.

We are happy to support anyone who has questions or concerns around camping logistics. Our What To Know page has information on things you will need to know for your visit to Commonweal Garden, including directions, transportaion options, site accommodations and what to bring. Please read through this information, which will answer many of your questions. When you register for one of our programs, you will also receive a detailed email with further logistics information.

Upcoming Art of Vitality Offerings 2019-20


Art of Vitality

In this nine-month program, you will have the opportunity to deepen your exploration of the pursuit of wellness, wholeness and meaning. You’ll attune your body and mind to the seasonal resonance, and from this presence we’ll approach the work of inquiry and connection, of caring for and nourishing the body and mind.  Along the way, you’ll have opening experiences connecting you to the Earth, her bounties both wild-crafted and cultivated, and you’ll develop your own connection to growing food.

You’ll learn the science behind these experiences, become intimately familiar with the way your body works, and cultivate a dedication to practicing vital wellness that we’ll nurture throughout the course.

Our journey will begin in Autumn. As trees release leaves and nature begins her preparation for new beginnings, so too will you release yourself from old patterns and begin to rebuild yourself on all levels.  You’ll explore mind-body practices to quiet the mind and cultivate a receptive awareness. The garden’s healing abundance in this Harvest season supports our use of food as medicine. We’ll mindfully walk through the gardens, and connect with nature.  We’ll dance.

Our second weekend together will be in Winter. In this dark, quiet time of the year, our attention to self-care, restorative practices and the warmth of connection becomes increasingly important.  We will deepen the work initiated in the Fall, and consider what seeds within us are beginning to germinate. We’ll enrich our inner soil in support of the manifestation of our most vital, healthy selves.

As we come together in Spring, the urge to experience renewal, rebirth, and growth is strong. We’ll gently cleanse and detoxify the body as we connect to the vital regenerative energies of Nature. All around us, vibrant edible greens are bursting forth, offering their support. We will reflect upon our own experiences energetically and physically in this time of lengthening days and rising energy. We will put our hands in the soil and plant literal seeds. We will consider: what do the tender little sprouts require in order to become vibrant plants? What do we need to support our new growth?

Our culminative celebratory experience is in Summer. In this time of warmth, light, and fruition, we’ll come together over delicious healing food, dance to revitalizing music, and delight in our capacity to bloom. We’ll reflect on the arc of our individual journeys toward self-healing, and consider how subsequent turns of the wheel of the year will be experienced. You will have the opportunity to cultivate community with co-participants for on-going support of health and vitality. You’ll leave this final three-day weekend energized with clarity and community, poised to step into sustained vitality.

In addition to the four weekends, you will be supported between the gatherings with group conference calls with Anna and James, a buddy relationship to anchor you in integrating new nurturing practices, and a flow to helpfull articles and support material to assist you in attaining your vision of vitality for yourself.

This is a nine-month (September-June) journey in self-discovery and awakening to your vital potential. We ask that you commit to attending all four of the gatherings.

Registration open for 2019-2020

October 4-6, December 6-8, March 27-29, June 26-28, 2020





For more info connect to the Natura website click HERE or to apply click Here

There are two steps toward registration in the Art of Vitality program.

  1. Complete the online application form.
  2. Once your application has been reviewed you will receive an acceptance letter with a link to registration. You must complete the registration process to be fully enrolled in the program.

"Anna and James weave a safe space for the group to deepen their connection to the core of the healing journey. They work together beautifully, creating a rich offering. Looking forward to experiencing the nine month Wisdom of the Seasons path." YD

"This AOV 3-day workshop brought the group very close together as we explored our individual realities and intentions. It was well balanced in listening, participating and movement. It went deep. It feels like a taste and I'd like to explore further this journey of change." CD

"Anna and James are a fabulous team presenting the best of Western Science, the art of eating well, the mind/body connection, exercise paractices - such as Yoga, Chi Gung, Pilates and healing dance integated with the importance of inner work, composting what is not working. I highly recommend the Art of Vitality and in such a supportive setting as the Commonweal Garden." BG

"Anna and James really balance each other with their backgrounds in psychology and medicine. The love and authenticity they brought forth manifested those qualities in the circle in a short time. Thank ya'll for being awesome". BA

"I knew what I wanted, but didn't know how to get it. With Anna and James' help I have a path to follow and a true vision of what that looks like- and I won't stop until I get there! Thank you so much!" DZ