Spring!
Spring!
Rumi, who lived in the 1200s, provided us with the guiding principle that we have grown our business on and which we continue to come back to.
Rumi, who lived in the 1200s, provided us with the guiding principle that we have grown our business on and which we continue to come back to.
Alana with Tias Little, Mike Curtis and Rhonda Custer.
Alana with Tias Little, Mike Curtis and Rhonda Custer.
Us, taking a stroll up to the pond.
Us, taking a stroll up to the pond.
One of our best buddies is Mike Curtis, owner of the Yoga Place in N. Canton and Yoga Central in Canton. Here we are having fun with a group of other teachers. Doesn't Alana look like she just said something naughty?
One of our best buddies is Mike Curtis, owner of the Yoga Place in N. Canton and Yoga Central in Canton. Here we are having fun with a group of other teachers. Doesn't Alana look like she just said something naughty?
Lunch is served at one of our Breema Weekend Retreats. I hope there is enough for other people. Dave looks a little crazed about eating.
Lunch is served at one of our Breema Weekend Retreats. I hope there is enough for other people. Dave looks a little crazed about eating.
Alana practicing asana in nature again. Name that posture...
Alana practicing asana in nature again. Name that posture...
July 31st, 2010 at True Nature
July 31st, 2010 at True Nature
We LOVE straw bale houses. In the summer of 2012, Dave and his two kids, Hannah and Max, travelled to New Mexico to work on a straw bale house for one week. We met an amazing group of people from all over the world, camped in the desert, and oh yeah - we learned a lot about how to build with straw bales. Dave and Max are in the bottom left of this photo, and Hannah is in the upper right giving the thumbs up.
We LOVE straw bale houses. In the summer of 2012, Dave and his two kids, Hannah and Max, travelled to New Mexico to work on a straw bale house for one week. We met an amazing group of people from all over the world, camped in the desert, and oh yeah - we learned a lot about how to build with straw bales. Dave and Max are in the bottom left of this photo, and Hannah is in the upper right giving the thumbs up.
At 10,000 Waves in Santa Fe.
At 10,000 Waves in Santa Fe.
This photo was taken when we were chosen as "poster children" for Grateful Body's Organic Skincare.
This photo was taken when we were chosen as "poster children" for Grateful Body's Organic Skincare.
Little woman with the big trees.
Little woman with the big trees.
The writer at work...
The writer at work...
On the bridge between Lambertville, NJ and New Hope, PA.
On the bridge between Lambertville, NJ and New Hope, PA.
Enjoying a trip to the big city - North Star in downtown Columbus. Magazines and awesome food. How hip can you get?
Enjoying a trip to the big city - North Star in downtown Columbus. Magazines and awesome food. How hip can you get?
Love.
Love.
So many artful pastries…
So many artful pastries…

A Little Bit About Us

How We Got Here

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Photo by Max Pratt

The casual kind of bio: My first inklings for True Nature began in the late 1980s. I was a student at Kent State, earning a B.A. in English, focused on creative writing, with as many art classes as I could squeeze in. At that time, I enjoyed collaborating with a group of painters and writers. We’d put together musical and spoken word performances, dive into group paintings and all kinds of artistic experiments. It was a terrifically creative time of my life, and each day was like a new search into who I was and why I was here on this planet.


One day, a friend brought up the idea of building a retreat or “keep” in the woods, a place where people could go to create and be nourished and replenished by the beauty of nature. This idea resonated strongly with me, and we kept it alive for a couple of years - planning and sketching for what might be. It also reminded me of a time in my childhood when my dad had talked about building a cabin with me and my brothers in the woods behind our home. Neither of these two dreams made it “into the world,” but I believe they planted the seeds of True Nature.


In my late twenties, I was beginning to yearn for a simple spiritual practice as a foundation for my day-to-day life. I’d worked with self-hypnosis, meditation and breathwork since I’d been a kid. My introduction to meditation started in a karate class that my brothers and I were in when I was about 10. I was so intrigued by the results of that experience, I kept on doing it for years. The hypnotherapy came at a time when I was a high school track athlete, overwhelmed by competition and even getting sick from it. The fear of losing, the stress of wanting to be the best - It seemed there had to be a way to have more fun with this... Then one day, my mom told me, “I think I know something that might help...” and scheduled me an appointment with a hypnotherapist. I still remember leaving that office after my first session. As I walked to my car, I suddenly had a timeless taste of simply being present - body walking, birds singing, Existence existing. Those 3 or 4 seconds changed my life.


Skipping back ahead in time: As I moved towards the potential busyness of massage school from 1996 - 98, I wished to find a practice grounded in the everyday, and which would help me celebrate the glorious miracle of that everyday-ness. I’d spent a couple of years working with the meditations of Thich Nhat Hanh, then entered a Tai Chi school and learned about the Taoist tradition. Still, I wished for something simpler yet. As I began this work of helping others with massage and bodywork, Soto Zen Buddhism came as a clear answer to my needs. Perhaps most importantly, it came with the profound care, sincerity and kindness of my teacher and friend, Tim McCarthy, the leader of the Kent Zendo.


Tim is a student of the late Kobun Chino Otagawa, Roshi. To simply sit in silence with Tim and the other students was a great gift to my life. It was a catharsis and clarification unlike anything I had experienced before. The fact that we practiced at a country retreat center, surrounded by landscape similar to where I grew up, was such a comfort and a blessing. (It was also pretty sweet to sip tea with these friends and talk about politics, religion, the earth and art - during break periods) For about the next 10 years, I helped organize Zen retreats and also put together meditative retreats for bodyworkers. I was amazed, and still am, at the sense of community that grows in group retreats and the level of transformation that can occur even on a solo retreat.


In 2001, I organized a retreat that was led by two Breema instructors. It was my first taste of this "Art of Being Present," and I was pretty blown away. It took me right back to that experience of Presence I'd known at the hypnotherapist's office so many years before. Here was a practice that included self-care exercises, a form of bodywork that was done for the benefit of the practitioner and the recipient, plus Breema included a simple philosophy that told students to verify what it said for themselves. I was so grateful to have found such a Teaching, and I'm honored to now be a Breema instructor myself. (See our Breema Page for details)


As I continue to teach and provide treatments at True Nature, throughout Ohio and in nearby states, I see that this work that Alana and I are doing is true Mutual Support. I see that we are students at this school we call earth and the lessons don't stop. I'm grateful for the learning, for the waking up, and sometimes I'm even thankful for the falling asleep.


Soon after we fell in love, Alana and I took up the quote from the great teacher, Jalaluddin Rumi as a guiding principle for our life together: "Let the beauty we love be what we do." We keep returning to that wisdom and the aliveness that those words point to, knowing that our work at True Nature is being guided by an intelligence and benevolence far greater than what we alone could create. What an honor this is.


Shortly after the death of my grandmother in the late fall of 1995, I began a profound journey.  I had been searching for something unnamed for many years and had grown very discontented trying to live “a straight and narrow” life.  I was scheduled to spend a semester abroad in Rome beginning that upcoming January.  Upon leaving the States, I knew that something very big needed to change in my life.  It was unclear what needed to change; it was only clear that something needed to change.

In the midst of my studies and daily wanderings along the streets of Rome, I heard a voice within calling me to New Mexico – to Santa Fe, specifically.  I had never been to New Mexico before but trusted that I must go.  For what reason or reasons, I had no idea.  I only knew that an answer had come.


So, I packed up my car in the late summer of 1996 and headed west to The Land of Enchantment (as New Mexico is fondly known).  Shortly after settling into my new life, I decided to continue (actually finish!) my undergraduate studies at The College of Santa Fe.  I fell in love with my coursework in religious studies, philosophy, and literature (especially the work of Willa Cather) and received a B.A. in Humanities in May 1998.  I was also introduced to the practice of yoga while a student at The College of Santa Fe, and the practice has been a part of my life ever since.  


I became a registered yoga teacher twelve years later in 2010 after completing a 200-hour teacher training with Tias and Surya Little, Linda Spackman, and Nicolai Bachman at Prajna Yoga in Santa Fe.  A year later, I completed another 200-hour teacher training through Yoga on High in Columbus.  I have also had many wonderful opportunities to continue my studies attending a variety of workshops led by Max Strom, Glenn Black, Angela Farmer, and Sonia Nelson.  I am currently working toward my 500-hour certification with Tias and Surya Little of Prajna Yoga.


My inspiration to birth True Nature came in great part from my time spent working at the OMEGA Institute in Rhinebeck, New York between 2005 and 2006.  I was enlivened by the sense of community I found there and perhaps this is where I really learned the meaning of the word ‘sangha.’    


I teach regular weekly classes here at True Nature (see schedule) and am an adjunct faculty member at The College of Wooster where I have been teaching Introduction to Yoga classes since 2011.  I have also taught many classes at The Yoga Place in North Canton and assisted with the 200-hour teacher training programs at The Yoga Place from 2012-2014.  


I especially love teaching beginners.  I also have a strong passion for bringing yoga into the lives of those actively struggling with eating disorders.  I had the privilege of teaching a regular weekly yoga class at The Center for Balanced Living (an eating disorder treatment center in Worthington, OH) for nearly four years (December 2010 - November 2014) and was deeply inspired by my work there.  


In addition to the practice of yoga, I have been cultivating a regular journaling practice (writing nearly every day) over the course of the last fifteen (or so!) years.


~


Sitting with tea, a pen, and a blank page

(and a cat nearby!)

make my heart sing.  

~

Spending time with Dave,

cooking, traveling, and meditating

are also song-makers in my heart.

Alana (Generson) Pratt, B.A., E.- R.Y.T. 200

David Pratt, B.A., L.M.T.

The fact-filled kind of bio: Dave is a licensed massage therapist with 20 years of experience in the field. His certifications include Breema bodywork, Somatic Release in Clinical Massage and Bodywork for the Childbearing Year. He is also a certified yoga instructor and Breema instructor and has taught throughout Ohio and in nearby states including: The American Massage Therapy Association events including both State and Regional Workshops, The Gathering Place in Cleveland, The Unitarian Fellowship of Wayne County in  Wooster, The Cleveland Center for Conscious Living, The Inn at Honey Run, The Yoga Place in N. Canton, Harmony Farm in Dayton, Lil Yoga Shop in Akron, The Camp Asbury Yoga Retreat in Hiram, Second Path Yoga in Miamisburg, Asheville NC, Chicago IL, Buffalo NY, at the Somatic Pedagogies Conference at Denison University, and of course - ongoingly here at True Nature.

Alana is a Registered Yoga Teacher who has completed two 200 hour teacher training programs and has assisted with two 200 hour yoga teacher training programs. She has been practicing yoga since 1997 and is working toward her 500 hour certification. In addition to teaching at True Nature, she is an adjunct faculty member at The College of Wooster.