By Danielle Anthony
As Barbara Symons sat down to dinner with her friend Isabel McPartlin and their husbands, they discussed the disconnect that divided the holistic community. Hoping for a way to bridge this divide, they devised a plan for the first annual holistic fair. Although only approximately 20 vendors were initially expected, once word spread it was clear that a large space was needed for the event that would hold 58 vendors. The first Holistic Fair took place on January 28 at the Brazos Center.
“Holistic health is searching beyond western medicine and looking for avenues that support some of the more spiritual side of healing your body,” Symons says. She advocates for taking charge of your body’s health and integrating holistic health care with traditional medicine.
Since moving to Bryan College Station in 1991, Barbara Symons has watched as the conservative community slowly accepted yoga and more integrative arts. With the holistic health approach on the rise in B/CS, Symons realized that connection in the holistic health community was vital. Conscious Cooperative, the official organization that coordinated the fair, is an organization comprised of the holistic community. “Conscious is a word to describe anyone searching beyond the typical boundaries that we set for ourselves for the body, spirit, and mind,” Symons explains.
Yoga, reflexology, tarot card reading, handmade jewelry, and massage were among the vendors at the Holistic Fair. Approximately 600 tickets were sold, resulting in almost $1,200 made for the 4 Paws Animal Rescue. The event was much larger than Conscious Cooperative could have imagined. Many vendors sold out of their products, and vendors who performed services such as massage and tarot card reading spent the day working without a break.
Among the vendors at the Holistic Fair was Lisette Templin, a holistic health coach who teaches classes ranging anywhere from nutrition to an ancient Tai Chi form called Sheng Zhen Gong. She believes wholly in the concept of food as medicine and teaches this in her nutrition classes. Relying strictly on whole, organic foods to rebuild the body system when it is in a diseased state, she teaches her students to switch from to a food-as-medicine system that allows the food to rebuild the cells at the DNA level.
Templin’s other passion is Qigong, specifically Sheng Zhen Gong. Qigong was introduced to the United States in the 1950s, but has been practiced in China for more than 5,000 years. Although it has not proliferated like yoga, it has spread due to people gaining a deeper understanding of the true art and health benefit.
Templin realized her need for holistic living when she was in her early 40s. This was a stressful and exhausting time for her, as it is for many women. While working full-time and taking care of small children, she found herself in bad health. Instead of taking medication, she turned to a different approach, which involved eating holistically and moving in a way that allowed mind, body, and spirit awareness.
Templin began training in martial arts when she was 6 years old, but it was not until her 40s that she began internal martial arts such as Tai Chi and Sheng Zhen Gong. She fell in love with the slow meditative movements and sought out ways to teach other people. The movement of these martial arts allows people to feel graceful while alleviating stress and pain. “The most rewarding thing about teaching these classes is watching people tap into their peace and feel power within their peace,” she says. Her next workshop series will be April 15 and May 20 from 9am to noon. The cost is $45 per day.
Another vendor at the Holistic Fair was Jennifer Pocurull, a Person-Centered© expressive arts facilitator. “The Person-Centered© philosophy believes that each person has their own innate ability to heal [emotional wounds],” Pocurull says. Her work in the expressive arts is not about teaching a technique rather she teaches a philosophy. Pocurull adds that she is not there to fix people but acts as a guide to bring students on an inner journey to find their own answers to healing by tapping into the vast array of emotions people are so used to suppressing.
Pocurull has always been an artist, and she received her teaching certification in expressive arts in Calistoga, California. She then mastered the Person-Centered© philosophy under Dr. Natalie Rogers, psychotherapist, author, and pioneer in expressive arts therapy and daughter of the psychologist Carl Rogers, who founded Person-Centered© therapy. Pocurull’s teachings focus on tapping into the creative mind to clear up any blockages and let the creative juices flow. A typical class would involve working through the Creative-Connection©, discovered by Dr. Natalie Rogers, by participating in multiple creative activities. The class may start by painting, then move on to dancing, meditating, sculpting, or collage.
Although some students may be apprehensive about partaking in these activities, Pocurull has her own tricks to help people work through these fears and tap into the creative mind. The more creative activity the students participate in, the deeper they delve into the creative mind.
“The creative mind is a well-spring into unconscious thought, so it’s really very magical and psychedelic,” she says. Her next all-day workshop is on Saturday, April 22, from 10am to 4pm. The workshop will cost $99.
Along with her teaching in expressive arts, Pocurull co-owns Artisan’s Rejuvination MedSpa. They focus on cutting edge technology and work to bring unique services to Brazos Valley such as vampire facials, skin tightening, hair restoration, and much more.
In addition to the many vendors at the Holistic Fair was Rachael Klemm, who is a Reiki master and healer. “Reiki is a type of energy healing where you remove blockages and get things flowing,” she says. Reiki can be used to relax the body and ease stress. It also heightens intuition, improves focus, and accelerates the body’s self-healing ability by removing blockages.
Klemm first discovered Reiki when she met her Reiki master who worked for her mother. She then trained to become a Reiki master and healer. Upon becoming a master, she opened Happy Place Healing, which started from her desire to help people. It began with just friends and grew through word-of-mouth publicity. Her Reiki sessions are one hour long and typically cost $50, but she offers student discounts.
Klemm also teaches classes on essential oils, which are typically free. She teaches people what the oils are, the importance of the Seed to Seal Promise, and how to use the oils most effectively. “My favorite thing about what I do is being able to help people and get them to a better place,” she says.
Mark your calendars now — the 2nd Annual Holistic Fair will take place on January 27, 2018, at the Brazos Center.