What’s New in the Community

By Lynda Gronlund

This ongoing column features upcoming events within Ann Arbor/Washtenaw County and surrounding areas’ Body/Mind/Spirit communities, new (during the past year or two) practitioners and holistic businesses, new books written by local/regional authors, new classes, as well as new offerings by established practitioners and holistic businesses.

Local doulas Cynthia Gabriel and Catherine Fischer have started a new Mother Baby group in Ann Arbor for new and expectant moms. The group meets at the Great Oak Cohousing Common House on Little Lake Drive, and starting in January, will meet on Mondays from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Gabriel and Fischer facilitate discussions on a different topic each week: birth stories, the unexpected emotions of motherhood, sex after having a baby, postpartum bodies, sleep, infant feeding, negotiating changed relationships, and building a support system. The goal of the group is to provide an opportunity for new mothers to make friends and share understanding and support to enhance their confidence and help them enjoy parenting more. The group is ongoing and women may join at any time.

Noting that she attended several Mother Baby groups when she was a new mom in New York City, Gabriel said that there are other similar groups in the area, but, she said, “the more, the merrier.” Both women have extensive backgrounds. Gabriel has written a book about natural hospital birth and has studied birth not only in the United States but also in Russia, Canada, and Brazil. Fischer spent years as a postpartum doula before also becoming a birth doula; she also helps moms with breastfeeding. Both have years of experience as support-group leaders, doulas, educators, and mothers.

Gabriel emphasized that while there are lots of competing philosophies about best parenting practices, she and Fischer believe in supporting what works for the individual mother and child, not preaching particular parenting choices. “There are as many different ways to parent as there are parents,” she said, and added that this is a “non-judgement group.”

The cost for participating in the group is $10 to drop in, or $56 for 8 meetings. There is a Facebook group where participants can confirm the group meetings and topics for each week at www.facebook.com/groups/697063093771680/. Catherine Fischer can be reached at catherine@supportforgrowingfamilies.com or (734) 395-5244. Cynthia Gabriel can be reached at motherearthbirth@yahoo.com. The Great Oak Cohousing Common House is located at 500 Little Lake Drive, Ann Arbor, MI 48103.

Sahaja Yoga Meditation is a meditation technique and movement founded by Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi, who taught that meditation should be taught free of charge, and “knowledge should be paid forward, not back.” Vic Divecha, a local teacher of the technique, recently introduced a “digital badge”-based learning program, which allows learners to “personalize their learning and get recognition for their rich learning experiences outside the confines of the classroom walls.” He described the digital badges as an alternative to certificates. “So much in meditation happens spontaneously, in one-on-one and informal settings,” he said, and with the digital badges, learners can earn them by demonstrating knowledge they learned from peers, instructors, online resources, or the community. The badges can be displayed on a website or just used privately for a student to track his or her own progress. Divecha said that the badges can help clarify where a student is and what to work on next, especially for “busy working professionals who don’t always have the bandwidth to think, ‘Where am I and what’s next?’” He said that the badges have created excitement for learners who are eager to earn their next badge.

Information about free local Sahaja Yoga Meditation meetings is available at http://Meetup.meditatewith.us and at www.facebook.com/AnnArborMeditation. Vic Divecha can be reached by email at vic@meditatewith.us.

A2GetFit is a women-only fitness studio offering group fitness classes and one-on-one training sessions. The studio is located in personal trainer Debra Clark’s home. Last year, Clark added a comprehensive set of nutrition services to the studio’s options, headed up by nutritionist Kelly Sager.

The TakeDown Challenge is a 28-day kickstart program that A2GetFit offers three times per year — in January, May, and September. Participants receive a food journal, menus, recipes, and shopping lists. “Everything is laid out for you,” said Clark, including what to eat, how to make the recipes, and when to eat. Weekly weigh-ins and food journal checks help keep everyone on track. The women receive support in person and online, not only from Clark and Sager, but from each other. “It’s very community-oriented,” said Clark.

Results so far have been consistently positive. The average weight loss for one 28-day challenge has been 8 to 13 pounds, and women who have done multiple challenges have lost 35, 50, and, for one woman, over 70 pounds.

A second program, the TakeDown Lifestyle, is an eight-week personalized program which goes more in-depth. “At the end of the eight weeks, you’re going to know how to eat for the rest of your life,” said Clark. This program is available year-round. Clients meet one-on-one with Sager 6 times for support, and to be accountable for their lifestyle modification. They receive a binder full of information, a food diary, recipes and instructions, and continual email support.

Clark and Sager also offer a corporate wellness program they can tailor to help groups of people improve their eating habits.

The studio has partnered with Wildtree Organics, a company that offers all natural, peanut-free cooking products (like spices, flavor-infused oils, and more) with no dyes, fillers, MSG, GMOs, or preservatives. A2GetFit offers tastings and workshops with Wildtree products, where clients can assemble complete meals from meat, fish, poultry, spices, and vegetables, and then store the meals in a freezer bag to take home, freeze, and eat at any time.

They have also partnered with Local Grown Harvest, a farm in Milan, Michigan, to offer fresh produce, meat, and eggs grown without pesticides, growth hormones, or GMOs. The farm can offer produce year-round because of its indoor aquaponics system, which fertilizes plants with the waste from organically-fed koi fish, and hydrates the plants with the water the koi swim in. Local Grown Harvest delivers to A2GetFit weekly, and women can pick up their orders when they come in for their group workouts or personal training sessions.

Clark explained that A2GetFit’s “all-in-one” approach to fitness and nutrition is unique to the area, and has helped her clients achieve great results.

A2GetFit is online at www.a2getfit.com. Debra Clark can be reached by email at Debra@a2getfit.com or by phone at (734) 395-0771.

The Nutritional Healing Center of Ann Arbor has several pieces of news. First, founder Dr. Darren Schmidt, D.C., has designed a new line of nutrition bars called Good Fat Bars. Based on the idea that American diets are deficient in good, healthy fats (such as fish oil, extra virgin olive oil, and avocados) while being overloaded with sugar, Good Fat Bars meet a need in the nutrition bar industry that has not been recognized, Dr. Schmidt said. “Even the protein bars are full of sugar,” he said, and there are no bars on the market that provide significant amounts of healthy fats. Good Fat Bars provide 9 grams of good fat, 4 grams of protein, and just 3 grams of carbohydrates. The bars contain no sugar and are flavored with essential oils. They are available in cinnamon, cocoa-almond, and lemon-ginger-turmeric flavors. Dr. Schmidt said that healthy fats help improve long-term endurance, calmness, and physical strength, and nourish our body systems and tissues: hormonal systems, the brain and nervous system, breast tissues, eyes, and cell membranes. Good Fat Bars keep blood sugar stable and keep the appetite down for hours. Recently, Dr. Schmidt said he went over 8 hours eating 3 bars (just over 300 calories) and a slice of pizza and did not feel hungry or low on energy. The Good Fat Bars are currently available at the Nutritional Healing Center and will soon be available on Amazon and in stores. Dr. Schmidt would soon like to be able to distribute the bars nationally.

NHCAA is also welcoming a new team member, registered dietician Nick Pomante, who works with both corporate wellness programs and individual clients for the Center. Dr. Schmidt said he hired Pomante because he is “exceptional at what he does,” and because he takes a customized approach to nutrition rather than pushing a one-size-fits-all program. Pomante recently graduated from Eastern Michigan University. He said that he helps people with the “how” part of improving their diets.

Finally, NHCAA received three awards and was a runner-up for a fourth in 2015. The Center was named Best Alternative Health Care in Washtenaw County in Current Magazine’s Reader’s Choice Awards. Dr. Joel Vickers won the Ann Arbor Family Favorites Award for Best Chiropractor, and the Center was named a runner-up for Best Allergist in the same contest. Dr. Schmidt’s chiropractic practice has also been awarded as a top practice by Opencare.com.

The Nutritional Healing Center of Ann Arbor is located at 3610 West Liberty Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48103. The website is www.thenutritionalhealingcenter.com. The Center can be reached by phone at (734)302-7575 or by email at frontdesk@thenhcaa.com.

Sara Vos is a writer, editor, and coach who, through launching Vos Holistic Services, L.L.C., is shifting her professional focus to helping holistic and spiritual entrepreneurs grow their businesses, create content, and reach more people. Working as a writer and editor for the last ten years, Vos had previously focused on academia, but recognized a need for what she does in the holistic and spiritual community. For the past nine months she has shifted to working with local people and businesses which, she said, are the “change-makers.” In addition to blogging, writing copy, and editing, Vos has recently started offering social media management and publicity and event planning for practitioners. She described her approach as “collaborative,” and also talked about creating and improving connections between practitioners to “create a feedback loop” of growth. To that end, Vos is also co-producing a weekly networking and healing meeting in Plymouth with life coach Barbra White, owner of Accepted As I Am Center. Beginning January 6, Vos and White will host the meeting every Wednesday at 7 p.m. for “healers and leaders” in the community to connect and “create a powerful vortex of healing.”

Sara Vos is online at www.saravoswrites.com. She can be reached by phone at (470) 777-2065 or by email at saravoswrites@gmail.com.

Sun Shen School of Spiritual Development recently moved from downtown to a new location near Trader Joe’s. Members of the school are completing the buildout of the new school, which is slated to be 100 percent complete by January. Since the space is over three times larger than the previous school, Sun Shen has been able to expand its offerings. For the first time, Sun Shen’s founder, Master Sang Kim, is teaching the entire Sun Shen system of self-healing and energy cultivation, which he inherited from his teacher, Master Gabriel Chin. This is a high-intensity, in-depth class with five hours of class time each week. Students learn healing and energy cultivation, Tai Chi, physical manipulation, and counseling to resolve physical, emotional, and spiritual issues for self and others. The class is for both personal growth and professional certification, and is taught in a modular form, accepting new students every four weeks.

Class offerings have expanded to include three evening Tai Chi classes in addition to Sun Shen’s ongoing five-days-per-week morning classes, and the school has added a weekly open house from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Fridays, when members of the community come in, practice Tai Chi or bodywork, eat together, and just hang out. This helps fulfill the school’s mission of “mysticism for the modern world,” by creating a community of fellowship and support in otherwise busy lives.

Master Kim and his students have also been able to implement a dream of Master Chin’s — the Chi Clinic. This is a way of offering energy and healing support for people, five days a week for one hour. This is facilitated by Master Kim’s senior healing students, Alexis Neuhaus and Joanna Myers. They, along with participants in the clinic, both send and receive healing energy during the designated time. This is offered remotely Monday through Friday so that people anywhere in the world can receive and add to the energy, since energy is not limited by distance, explained Neuhaus. On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, the Clinic is also offered in person, so people who prefer to come into the school to participate may do so. The Clinic is offered during the day, but people who work or have other responsibilities at those times can still participate.

Participants receive a text when the Clinic begins so that they may connect with the energy. They may lie down and focus on receiving healing, or they may just go about their lives and still benefit. Neuhaus said that he always feels better after the Clinic, since he is receiving energy as well as sending it. He has heard great results from participants with chronic pain or health problems who have improved, as well as from people who have just wanted more energy and to “feel more alive.”

More information about Sun Shen is available at www.sunshen.org. The school is located at 2466 East Stadium Boulevard, Ann Arbor, MI 48104. Questions can be directed to info@sunshen.org or (734) 845-9786.

The Brain Center division of the Natural Balance Wellness Medical Center opened in 2013, and uses brainwave optimization to help clients with a variety of issues. Dayatra West, the Brain Center’s manager and lead technologist, holds a degree in psychology and is certified by Brain State Technologies. Brainwave optimization involves placing sensors on the head that pick up brainwaves. Software “translates” the brainwaves into sound, which is played for the person undergoing optimization. This allows the brain to “autocallibrate,”self-correcting imbalances and often resulting, West explained, in better sleep, reduced stress, improved mental clarity, better mood, and even improved relationships.

West said that she has worked with clients from ages 4 to 85. She has seen children for focus issues and ADD/ADHD symptoms, some of whom are on medication or have been told they should be. The treatment has been very successful in helping them get off medication, she said. Adults come in for stress, anxiety, and depression, as well as sleep problems. Older clients have come in for “brain fog,” poor sleep, and balance and memory problems. West said, “If you don’t want to be on medication or experience invasive therapies, this is a great fit.” She added, “It’s cutting-edge technology, it’s safe, it’s non-invasive, and it has a 90-percent success rate.”

West explained that clients start with an assessment, which takes about an hour and a half to collect data. The assessment is then analyzed by the computer and the technologist to ensure that brainwave optimization would be a good fit. The client then receives a program to follow. After the assessment, the client undergoes 10 daily 45 to 90 minute sessions, followed by a 6-week healing integration program. After this, occasional sessions can be done for maintenance. Most of her clients, said West, have reported immediately better sleep, better focus, and improvement in personal relationships as well as progress on the issues they came in for. “The brain does all the work,” she explained, “finding a balance that works best for the individual at its own pace.” She also said that this technique is “much faster than traditional neurofeedback techniques” in that people tend to feel better much faster.

The Brain Center (part of the Natural Balance Wellness Medical Center) is located at 1310 South Main Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48104. Dayatra West can be reached by email at Day@nbwellness.com or by phone at (734) 716-7656. More information is available online at www.nbwellness.com. (See Ad on Page 61.)


Please note that the “What’s New” column is an editorial (not paid-for advertising) feature of the Crazy Wisdom Journal, and the editors may or may not include what you submit. Whether the editors include material or not will depend on space considerations, as well as other editorial issues, such as the need for high resolution jpgs and the overall mix of stories included in the “What’s New in the Community” column in a given issue. If you would like to submit information to be considered for this column, please email communitynews@crazywisdom.net or drop off or mail to the store: What’s New in the Community, 114 South Main, Ann Arbor, MI 48104. The firm deadline for submissions for the next issue (May through August 2016) is March 1, 2016.

Posted on December 31, 2015 .