A few weeks ago we headed to New York to celebrate the wedding of two great friends. Before we ventured out to the summertime haven of Long Island for the ceremony, we spent some time in Manhattan and Brooklyn. It was here on Green St that I met Lisa Levine from New York’s most beloved and authentic holistic healing centre, Maha Rose, and amid the never-ending activity of Manhattan and its bustling streets and busy bars and sidewalks, her little den of compassion and wellness took me from an anxious state of unrest and groundlessness to a place of calm, spacious surrender and deeply peaceful restoration.
It is a very special place and I am so grateful to the online community and Instagram for opening the channels of communication and allowing us to connect and make friends across the Atlantic. It is something I both adore and often battle with, as we live more and more of our lives online, and yet when it opens the pathway to new friends and family from all four corners of the world you know the magic is happening for real.
Lisa is a natural healer and infinitely inspiring women, mother and community leader. She has grown Maha Rose in a truly organic journey, from a small group of likeminded friends over the years to a tightly-knit tribe of accomplished practitioners, and now holds space for a large number of healing workshops, courses and sessions to provide what New Yorkers are most in need of. In my treatment, joined also by her beautiful son Hudson, we fused bodywork, reiki and acupuncture in a unique and very gentle treatment; I have no doubt that something major shifted in the days afterward and only regret that I am not in the States to receive more of these gifts and go deeper with Lisa and her team.
I caught up with her to share her unique story and ethos here, I hope it inspires. She and her ladies are running a series of retreats upstate and I would highly recommend them to anyone who is able to go. As for us, well, never say never….
Lisa – you are a very gifted and natural healer. How did your journey into this work begin?
Oh thank you love! Even as a small child I remember massaging people – anyone from my family to my teacher in kindergarten… I think I came in with that gift, the gift of healing touch – carried over from another time and place. I also had a somewhat turbulent childhood, with a divorce and the challenges that come with, that but I now believe I chose to come in to this life to be of service and to help myself and my community.
How did Maha Rose come to life?
It’s a lovely story… I was living at Maha Rose (before it was my home, not yet Maha Rose) and as I got deeper into yoga, then meditation and healing, we started to create everything we wanted to experience in the city right in our living room: a meditation group, healing treatments, and classes with my reiki teacher Padma Gonzalez. Later, we started to host acupuncturists and held breathwork circles… everything we wanted and needed in New York City but wasn’t there yet – we created! Brooklyn is such a creative place, and being artists as well as healers, we just went on to build it! Then when I finished acupuncture school in 2013, that’s when I moved out and we made it a “real” business.
I know you started out making jewellery… How did you manage that while training and studying your various healing modalities?
I closed the jewellery business in the late summer of 2008 and then completed my reiki masters right after. I had studied reiki and shiatsu while running my jewellery business and they were such beautiful courses – and such beautiful breaks from my work in the fashion world – that I naturally gravitated to living and working in that world.
Your treatments are a unique fusion of different healing methods – do you think the complementary approach is important?
Yes! No two treatments are ever the same: each person is unique, and each time they come in it is a unique experience. For me it is very important to work with what is happening now, in the present moment, and to see each client with fresh eyes each time they come.
There seems to be such a strong holistic community in New York – do you think it is increasingly needed in the hustle and bustle of the city?
YES! It’s so beautiful to see the city evolving. And I think people begin to want more than what they perhaps originally came to the city for – which is often creative pursuits. Now they want self love and healing too, and community with other like-minded individuals. They don’t necessarily want to go out to the bars or clubs; and they may want to dance but without the alcohol! Also New Yorkers work hard: we need a lot of self care and good tools to maintain our health and happiness amidst the demands of life in the city.
I feel like you are in New York for a reason – to offer this work to those who need it most. What are the main challenges holding this space in a city that never sleeps?
There is a lot of energy in New York City. It really is a vortex. And with so many people doing so much releasing in our space, we have to constantly be clearing it out! I see our role as transmuting all the junk and turning it into beauty, love, creativity and mutual support.
What does true wellness mean to you right now?
To me, true wellness is a happy, healthy, peaceful mind. It all comes from the mind: if the mind is happy then there is wellness. You can be sick somewhere in the body, but if the mind is happy then there is peace.
What is coming up next for the Maha Rose family?
We have just launched Maha Rose North where we are holding retreats upstate and it’s so exciting. As New Yorkers, we love the city but we also love to get out of it too, into the country! Our new retreat center is just two hours north of the city and available for retreats and private groups to go deeper in and study and receive even more.
Which women inspire you?
Amma! The ultimate woman… she is beyond the human really. Human women I love are: Marianne Williamson, Louise Hay, all of our practitioners and teachers and my mother.
Do you have any daily practices or rituals that keep you centred and grounded?
I practise intention setting in the morning. I meditate when I can, but I have a new baby and my meditation practice has turned into the Baby Meditation – always ending up in a moving meditation for sure…