Here's a little about us...
Photo by Ollie Pratt
"I was attracted to meditation as a child, and that interest has never left me. My wish is to help retreat guests begin or to reconnect to the practice of simply sitting with the breath. It doesn’t take long to learn this form, but the support is life-long. Likewise, the practice of Self-Breema exercises is an endless aid to anyone who wishes greater freedom of thought, feeling and movement - with ongoing opportunities for insight and self-understanding. The beauty of both of these teachings is that they help us connect with other people and bring about natural well-wishing for life. I look forward to meeting you here and sharing the atmosphere of a retreat at True Nature."
Dave is a licensed massage therapist and bodyworker who has been in practice since 1997. He has been a student of Breema: The Art of Being Present since 2001, and began teaching Breema in 2006, traveling extensively instructing in Ohio, the midwest and beyond.
After many years of studying and practicing a variety of meditative disciplines, Dave settled in the Soto Zen tradition in the late 1990s and teaches that form of simple sitting and walking meditation. It is a practice anyone can learn in short time.
His formative years in retreating came from organizing retreats for the Kent Zendo starting in 1999 and that continued for about a decade. Throughout that period he also organized and led retreats for bodyworkers and those interested in meditation.
For four years prior to True Nature's birth in 2010, he created and directed an organice spa at a local inn.
Since opening this home-based retreat center, Dave and Alana have dedicated most of their work life to being based almost entirely at this location. Dave is a poet, photographer and artist. He likes to laugh, dance, play, garden and creep after birds with his camera. His art and photography website is here.
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 Holistic Retreats 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 am grateful to teach our guests here at True Nature and am also 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
Dave Pratt, B.A., L.M.T.
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.
We are Alana and Dave, wife and husband and stewards of this beautiful place that we call True Nature Holistic Retreats. We offered our first retreat here in the winter of 2009 and a small number of group events in 2010. Since then, we have continued to welcome individuals and groups, with an ever-increasing emphasis on helping our guests develop their own home practices.
Most of the people who come here are over-worked, over-stressed, and often talk about wishing to have a quieter mind or time to simply slow down. They are tired of the busy-ness of life and don't know how to find their centers in the midst of hurried days filled with endless "to dos."
The beauty of what we offer (we feel) is that it comes from our own practices and what we have learned from our own teachers over many decades. We don't suggest anyone do anything that we have not verified and worked with ourselves, and what we present is down-to-earth and simple, yet has potential to transform anyone's life.
We hope to meet you here,
Dave and Alana