Habits to Heal: Exploring Practices for Mindfulness and Wellness

Improved resilience and health. Enhanced ability to manage stress and anxiety. Through mindful awareness, we can avoid being on “auto-pilot,” and more often consciously choose how we live. And there is good scientific evidence that mindful practices help us to be more compassionate, toward ourselves and others. Area experts Shirley Chock, Dr. Ginger Nash, and Hanifa Nayo Washington share healing habits that we can all experience ourselves.

Ideas talks are going on all Festival long! Read our advice on how to get the most from these explorative conversations >

Shirley Chock

Shirley Chock is co-owner of Aiping Tai Chi Center, Southern CT’s largest tai chi school, and is disciple of Grandmaster Aiping Cheng since 2001. Aiping Tai Chi Center was established in 1996 by Grandmaster Aiping Cheng, one of the world’s foremost authorities on Chinese Martial Arts and named Top 100 Chinese Martial Artists in the World. In 2017 Grandmaster Cheng transferred ownership of the center to her two disciples, Shirley Chock and Jonas Karosas.

Shirley graduated with a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Chicago and pursued a successful 20+ year career in finance and administration. Shirley spent 15 years at Yale University in finance leadership roles. At Yale, Shirley was on the steering committee of the Asian Network at Yale, serving as their Co-Chair from 2011-2014. Shirley was named Working Mother Magazine’s 2012 Working Mother of the Year for Yale University.

As Shirley pursued her finance career, she also simultaneously pursued her tai chi career. Shirley served as the Assistant Director of Aiping Tai Chi Center under Grandmaster Cheng. Shirley competed and won numerous national and international tai chi championships, including winning 2006 U.S. Female National Champion for Internal Martial Arts.

Under Shirley’s leadership, Aiping Tai Chi Center has developed new program offerings so more people in the community can benefit from tai chi. Shirley developed workplace wellness and community wellness programs offering stress management workshops, conflict management workshops, classes, and conference/retreat breaks. Shirley’s workplace wellness programs draws from her experience utilizing tai chi philosophies to help her succeed in the workplace.

Ginger Nash

Dr. Nash graduated from The National College of Naturopathic Medicine in 1998 and in her 20 years of clinical practice has worked with thousands of women on natural hormonal balance without the use of hormone-replacement. Complex homeopathy, herbal medicine and nutrigenomics are the therapeutic cornerstones of her practice. Dr. Nash taught at the University of Bridgeport's College of Naturopathic Medicine clinic for six years and has taught seminars for other healthcare professionals throughout the U.S. and Canada for over a dozen years. She is a sought-after speaker and has recently launched online health programs for women through her umbrella organization called “feminology: the art and science of female hormones” with her colleague Dr. Tara Nayak. These doctors interweave the scientific knowledge behind natural medicine and the art of helping women heal.

Hanifa Nayo Washington

Cultural Activist, Healing Justice Practitioner, Creative Designer, and Singer Songwriter

Hanifa Nayo Washington is an award winning cultural activist, storyteller, singer songwriter, performing artist, and a certified Usui/Holy Fire Reiki Master Practitioner who graduated from Beloit College in 2001 with a B.A. in Communications & Russian & Soviet Studies.

Hanifa is the Principal & Co-Founder of the newly established One Village Healing Project, an emerging New Haven based wellness and healing arts initiative dedicated to creating spaces, convenings, and programming, rooted in the values of the healing justice movement to collectively heal from the impact of systems of oppression so we can all live wildly liberated, connected, inspired, and healthy lives.

Hanifa currently works with The Word Poetry, Co-Creating Effective and Inclusive Organizations (CEIO), serves as an Intern for Beyond Diversity 101, and is a leader of the New Haven Community Leadership Program.

As a cultural activist Hanifa views her creativity as a radical tool for liberation, healing, and community building. Most recently Hanifa was awarded a Phenomenal Woman in the Arts Award by the Arts Council of Greater New Haven.

Ellen Barrett

Ellen Barrett is a mind/body movement pioneer, having created bestselling workouts like Crunch: Fat-Burning Pilates, The Yogini Workout and Weight Watcher’s Walking Series. She starred in FIT TV’s long-running show All Star Workouts, and has written four wellness books, including her most recent, The 28 Days Lighter Diet. For details about Ellen's retreats, workshops and online studio, please visit www.ellenbarrett.com.

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