After losing her husband, Sherri Doucette decided to cure black men through yoga
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It’s Mental Health Awareness Month, and especially in May, Litehouse Wellness continues to put “men” in mental health.
The group started out as a means of reaching black men in Dallas; participants in yoga sessions – called “broga” – carry some form of pain or trauma, which is not unusual. As the organization notes on his website, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that black men in America live seven years less than other races on average, and that suicide is the third leading cause of death for black men.
Sherri Doucette, a doula, yoga and meditation instructor, founded Litehouse Wellness in 2017, almost two years after losing her husband to gastroesophageal cancer. Doucette and her husband Baba grew closer to their spirituality and holistic life after her diagnosis in 2015. It was her dream to enter communities of color and help men take their health more seriously. and talk about what they were thinking. a safe space. He never has a chance.
“When I got to a point where the grief was starting to dissipate from my shoulders and the memory of that conversation came back to me, I thought, Sherri, you have work to do,” said Doucette. “That’s when I founded Litehouse Wellness in 2017. It started by sharing yoga in all kinds of restorative practices with men. So I contacted the owner of [resource center] Pan African Connection, and she loved the idea. “
At first Doucette had doubts, wondering how she could tackle healing men and if they would take her seriously.
“There’s been this internal battle of I don’t know if that’s what I’m supposed to do,” Doucette says. “Why teach this? Why me? It has always been me coming from a place of deep respect during practice, honoring those I share it with and seeing it as a privilege to be of service.”
Within months, more men began to seek out his broga classes. The organization also offers wellness retreats for men. While retreats are popular among women, men can see the idea with a secondary eye.
A retreat organized by the organization is called “Wade in the Water”. It was an alternative to their three-day Higher Ground retreat, which was introduced in 2018. Due to the pandemic, however, Wade in the Water took place for a day along Five-Mile Creek. The retreat included nature moments, bentonite clay masks, meditation, drumming and a newspaper.
“What’s my vision now, I’m sharing these healing practices with as many men as possible to change the narrative of what healing looks like,” says Doucette. “It’s to share, to spread the word that we can heal ourselves, that we have tools to heal ourselves, like controlling the breathing and moving slowly and sitting with complicated emotions.
After losing her husband to cancer, Sherri Doucette made her dream come true with the Litehouse Wellness organization.
“In the future, I also see broga as a training program where men – especially men of color – are trained to be yoga and meditation teachers. Healed men heal men.”
From the start of the pandemic until last December, the theme of the sessions was “to heal the sorrow”. The men participated in healing circles, meditation, tai chi and creative self-expression to fight anxiety, grief and anger related to COVID.
Litehouse Wellness has gone from indoor yoga and meditation sessions to outdoor sessions at various Dallas parks including Klyde Warren, Reverchon and Kidd Springs. As the pandemic subsides and indoor meetings become less frightening, broga will soon be back in its usual place.
“We have been very active during COVID, in a very non-traditional way,” says Doucette. “I am happy to report that we are preparing to resume indoor classes at Pan African Connection in the coming weeks.”
Litehouse Wellness is not just about men’s health. They also offer doula birthing workshops, herbal foods, nutrition, and other restoration classes. Ahead of the pandemic, Doucette also held grocery store tours showing healthy options for black men and women.
“It’s one thing to be diagnosed, like high blood pressure, and say, ‘Eat better’, but what does it really look like?” Said Doucette. “What does this mean to someone who works at a job where they’re away from home all the time and can’t access it, or maybe someone who relies on fast food? I would organize grocery tours in partnership with the Sprouts and Fiesta Marketplace and just take them and introduce them to the whole food section and then take them to the produce section and show them how to buy and create inexpensive, easy and nutritious meals. and delicious.
A recent WFAA video featured broga from Litehouse Wellness was nominated for both an Emmy and a National Association of Black Journalists award. Doucette says this reaffirmed her purpose and eliminated any doubts she faced when starting her practice.
“I took it as a sign from the universe that this was my path,” says Doucette. “That it wasn’t my ego that got me here, that I was listening to the voice of God that brought me to the stakes. With this season we’re in, it amplifies the need for healing. no one else comes to heal us. “
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