BERLIN - They talked, they breathed and they fought.
Women, during the second Root to Rise workshop, held at the Yousef Tae Kwon Do Family Fitness and Wellness Facility Sunday, in Berlin.
Studio owners Kristen and Waleed Yousef invited women to their space for an empowerment event, with a focus on healthy relationships and self-defense.
A handful of people took part, including Root to Rise co-founders the Rev. Briggite Brown, from Right Now Ministries, and holistic nurse Clarice McDermott-Wilson.
The first workshop was held mid-February in the new home of Right Now Ministries, the former St. Mark’s Church building on West Main Street in New Britain. Sixty people attended.
“Sometimes when we’re stressed and out running around all the time we suppress our emotions,” Brown said. “It leads to illness and unhappiness. We want to show people other ways of coping.”
Now more than ever, Yousef pointed out, adults live stressful lives.
“We’re all overworked and overwhelmed,” she explained. “We’re all going through our own stuff. We thought it was important to have a space for women to trust and dump their toxic stuff, so they can begin healing. Here, we can laugh, joke around, be real and then beat each other up on the mat.”
Sunday’s session began at a table, in a room where the scents of lavender and essential oils permeated the air. The five participants shared personal stories of terror and triumph. Brown’s tale involved both.
“In July I was diagnosed with stage four lymphoma,” she said. “The doctor told me I needed chemo or I was going to die. That didn’t sit right with me. I decided to trust myself for the first time in my life and do it holistically.”
Brown began working with a naturopath, incorporating essential oils into her daily routine and eating healthier. Almost 10 months later, she is doing well.
“My blood work has improved significantly,” she revealed. “I reset my whole body.”
Brown and Yousef hope that sharing their stories will inspire other women to be honest about their own challenges - with themselves and with others.
“Maybe other women will start opening up,” Yousef said. “We were meant to be intimate beings and support each other.”
Eliminating toxic relationships from your life can be the first step for many self-healers.
“Your vibe attracts your tribe,” Yousef said.
She and Brown met McDermott-Wilson by chance, in Utah, even though all three live locally.
“We needed each other,” Brown remembered. “Our journeys were different but all leading up to the same purpose: wellness of the mind, body and spirit.”
“Living your best life,” Yousef chimed in. “We want to do this monthly,” she added. “For as many people who are interested in coming.”
Root to Rise Paint Night is set for Sunday, April 28, at 5 p.m. at Yousef Tae Kwon Do Family Fitness and Wellness Facility, located at 1201 Farmington Ave. in Berlin.
Erica Drzewiecki can be reached at 860-801-5097 or firstname.lastname@example.org.