Lexington native Lauren Higdon was healing herself when she opened a holistic healing center on North Ashland Avenue.
“When we opened almost five years ago, my goal was to create a place that felt accessible, warm, inviting and caring for everybody, and in the nature of being holistic, that there was something here for everyone and that cost would never be an issue,” she said.
Lauren brainstormed the business idea with her brother about 10 years ago. After going through a divorce in 2010, she found herself struggling financially while trying to raise two sons.
“It was just a really transitional time in my life. So in becoming a single mom, I realized it was time to pick myself up and figure out how I more consciously wanted to live my life. My oldest son remembered the business idea and said we should start (it). He was seven at the time.”
She began to have gatherings of like-minded friends at her home, along with her partner, Josh, and formed a team.
“Josh has been tremendously supportive throughout this whole process, including my brother. It’s been a family event. As soon as we said yes and decided it was something we wanted to do, it felt like doors continued to open.”
Though opening the business was difficult, Lauren found help in longtime massage clients and friends in her line of work allowing her to take classes for free.
“They were giving me care because they wanted me to succeed and I was in need,” she said. “Going through my own healing as I was creating the healing center felt sometimes isolating in the process. I wanted people to feel they had a place to go when they were in a life transition. We created a bit of a nest; a safe place for people to come when they’re in need.”
One of the most recent additions at Centered is kundalini yoga, something Lauren felt called to do.
“I haven’t felt so strongly about something since before opened we Centered,” she said. “I started practicing this myself about when I opened Centered. It immediately began bringing up big emotions for me. It’s been one of the biggest tools for me to work through PTSD. I had a lot of trauma as a younger person. I had a variety of therapies, and I felt like this kind of yoga has been the biggest help.”
She said the most important thing about the practice is having a good teacher to help work through emotional responses.
“If we have had a lot of experiences in our lives that are disharmonious, we’ll have a big response,” she said. “The opportunity to teach this and being able to observe people in the class having their unique experience feels really like a huge blessing to be able to share what I know has been healing to me. I took these years really figuring out who I was and now realize that I’m able to be in harmony with others because I’ve focused on myself.”
The team at Centered offers acupuncture, life coaching, acro-yoga for kids and adults, special needs yoga and tai chi. Centered Birth focuses on prenatal and postpartum massage, birth plans and education, cesarean recovery and breathwork. Art classes and dance are offered in the community space, and people are encouraged to gather at the Centered Café or browse the retail space featuring local products. Many of the classes are donation-based, so people can take classes without worrying about cost.
Centered also recently became a milk bank, where mothers can drop off extra breastmilk that will be donated to newborns in need.
Lauren said she favors teaching kundalini and gentle community yoga and working with babies through massage, craniosacral therapy and movement.
“It’s a lot about community and embracing the idea that everybody benefits from this kind of care. We’re creating a new model for wellness,” she said. “I feel like maybe we helped the idea (of holistic healing) to become more known and accepted in Lexington, which feels really good because it’s just a way of living.”