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Black Women Have Always Done Retreats

Hey beautiful people! With all this Taking Care of You, Taking Care of Business retreat planning, I got to thinking about black women and our history with holistic health. Based on what's out there today you'd think that the concept of holistic health was new age, especially for black women. The reality is there are countless black women who have been engaged in sacred spaces of holistic modalities for centuries. My mother Gina is one of those black women. She has been living a holistic lifestyle since before I was born. My childhood was filled with practices that were good for the mind-body-spirit. Yoga; a big yellow juicer that seemed to weigh like 50 pounds; being forced to drink raw juice filled with beets, carrots, kale, and the like; sun tea that was so good I couldn't wait for summers to drink it; and, trays of alfalfa sprouts she grew on a continuous basis that we'd eat on damn near everything. I never remember having a sweet thing in the house which is why, as a young girl, when I could get my hands on a $1.00, I would spend every cent of it on fruity penny candy from the nearby gas station. Y'all remember, Tooties. Once in a while I'll still go hard on those things! But I digress. And she cooked every day. Fresh and clean food, lean cuts of meat, and nothing fried. EVER. Read on for a glimpse of her holistic health journey, how it transformed her, and why it's right for you as a black woman. When you're done, sign up for the Taking Care of You, Taking Care of You retreat. You won't be disappointed you did!

My siblings and I went to Hippocrates Health Institute with her back in the 1980’s. This Institute was in the Coldwater, Michigan area. During that time they offered weekend, 1 week, 2 week, 1 month and 3 month programs. This program was about eating raw uncooked food, through sprouting, soaking, fermenting, juicing and smoothies. The people that came to the Institute were from all over the world. Everyone had a different “why” for attending which included stressed out career people, parents who wanted to learn the program, and those with health and/or weight issues and those that had been identified as terminal.

Upon her return from the Institute, my mother reported she wasbursting with energy, enthusiasm and joy about how she felt physically and how the program had enhanced her spiritual walk through more time to read the word, pray and meditate, not to mention the support of a group of people trying to be the best version of themselves.

Ten plus years later (in early 90's) she attended a 10 day retreat in Arizona. This retreat consisted of fasting, cleansing, supplementation, hiking, prayer, meditation and classes. What stood out most was while she was fasting during the four days of water and green juices “only” she could climb the mountains for up to an hour without being out of breath. The other benefit of fasting was clarity and brain fog lifting. Another great thing about the retreat was fasting from outside influences such as television, radio, newspapers and working with a group of people that supported each other in reaching health goals.  

Gina's next experience was in 2011 after losing both her parents. We lost my grandmother unexpectedly in May and my grandfather to cancer six months later.  A week after my grandfather died, my mother decided to go to the Ann Wigmore Institute in Puerto Rico. She had entertained the thought over the years and felt that now, more than ever, Puerto Rico was calling her.

During the seven day retreat, with the ocean within a stones throw away, my mother would get up in the wee hours of the morning (6:30 a.m.) to meet the other seven women attending, for an hour of yoga. Followed by a raw food breakfast, cooking demonstrations, lectures, reflection, long walks on the beach, dance classes, massages, and more. The group support is what everyone looked forward to because they all had challenges and through that support it helped them identify some of the reasons for their roadblocks in areas where they had been stuck.

As we wrap up our interview my mother wants to in part this final thought, 'a retreat will assist you in recharging, bring out more of your creative side, support you in identifying and building your strengths, connect you with a team, challenge you and bring out the best version of you'. Why wait? Sign up for the Taking Care of You, Taking Care of Business retreat today, which was created exclusively with the black woman in mind. 

Peace, love, and power, Demarra


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