Natural Awakenings Richmond is 20 Years Old!Jun 30, 2022 04:53PM ● By Julie Peterson
To celebrate Natural Awakenings Richmond’s 20th year serving the local natural health and wellness community, several integral collaborators to the magazine described how it has helped educate local readers, connect the community and inspire positive change. Through these relationships and the community’s passion to spread the message about healthy living on a healthy planet, this free publication has been able to grow alongside the wellness community in the Greater Richmond area.
Barbara Marsh was the founding Richmond publisher and is originally from Naples, Florida, the home of the very first Natural Awakenings (NA) magazine. After moving to Virginia, Marsh recognized that there was no real means of exposure or connection for the natural health practitioners in the Richmond area and thus, your local NA Richmond magazine was born. “Practitioners readily supported me and, over time, distribution grew to include medical facilities. The community was open to learning about natural health,” says Marsh. “Then after 12 years of publishing, the perfect person appeared within weeks to take over the stewardship I had started. Now 20 years later, it’s a testament to the magazine’s success that some early advertisers and practitioner delivery team members are still involved.”
“Barbara helped grow the magazine into a wonderful publication and resource, and I have enjoyed being a part of it for the past nine years,” says current publisher Jessica Coffey. “I started publishing the magazine because I loved spending my free time learning about personal development and holistic living, I wanted to become better connected with the local wellness community and it was my favorite local magazine to read. I’ve loved meeting practitioners, business owners and others in the community who are doing such good work. It’s a joy to help promote their endeavors and events and see their businesses thrive. The success of so many of these natural health and wellness businesses says a lot about the overall health of our community.”
Nora Vimala Pozzi, director of Integral Yoga® Center of Richmond (IYCoR), has been advertising with NA Richmond since the start. “I love many things about the magazine, that is why I have always supported it in so many ways, including helping to distribute the magazine,” says Pozzi. “The spirit of the magazine aligns with my ethics of life, my focus and experience on reputable integrative methods of healing and the beautiful purpose of the magazine to educate and share different approaches to lifestyles, inviting those in the community to share their skills and expertise. It is a win-win model of building a harmonious community.”
For 27 years, the national family of NA magazines has had the mission to provide communities with the tools and resources to lead healthier lives on a healthy planet. With more than 45 local editions around the U.S., Richmond is in an elite group of cities that have formed such a strong health and wellness network.
Sherron Marquina, DC, owner of Health InSyncs enjoys supporting and participating in the local community of natural health healers and businesses in the Richmond area. “I believe that a consistent presence in the magazine provides a context of sustained participation in the community, transparent credibility and alignment with the values of the magazine, which helps validate any recommendations to Health InSyncs,” Marquina says.
As people read and refer the magazine for the informative articles, many businesses featured in those articles or through calendar posts, news briefs, community resource guide listings or participation in the annual Healthy Living Guide have found increases in their patronage.
“Many of my patients over the years learned of me through Natural Awakenings,” says Nancy A. Powell, M.D., owner of River’s Way Healthcare of Virginia. “I want to present my capabilities as a holistic physician to a population that is looking for this kind of experience.”
Baylor Rice, R.Ph., owner of South River Compounding Pharmacy loves the diversity of articles. “I started with Natural Awakenings as a way to reach out and help support our local community,” says Rice, who also found that it helped his business reach more patients and thus, change more lives. “We are all about helping to optimize the health of our patients. The more we can reach, the more we can help.”
Indeed, that’s a large part of the magic of NA Richmond. Readers may be drawn to the free publication for an article, the resource guide or a local wellness event, but they end up learning about a wide range of topics, businesses and modalities they perhaps didn’t know existed in the area. “I love hearing feedback about people being drawn down a healthier path of living simply by discovering what is available and what is possible with natural and holistic treatment methods, organic eating, greener lifestyle choices and more,” says Coffey. “What I have learned from the magazine and this community has helped me and my family make healthier lifestyle choices. It has been such a rewarding experience.”
Practitioners featured in the magazine even use it to recommend other practitioners and businesses. “It’s a wonderful resource with talented, like-minded individuals listed, which we use as a reference many times over with our clients,” says Kathleen Baker, owner of Glenmore Yoga & Wellness Center and another advertiser that has been with the magazine since its start in Richmond. “We have always felt that this publication is where our potential students would be drawn to find information and providers and have found this to be the case.”
“We have always been active in the Richmond community,” says Coffey. “Over the years, we have sponsored many wonderful local events, including Veg Fest, the Peace Fest, Peace Love RVA (Richmond’s Yoga Festival) and the Environmental Film Fest. We love promoting businesses and events in the print magazine and online through the website and via social media. We also enjoy spreading the good news that is happening in our community, such as the James River Association's hard work to keep the James River healthy and safe to enjoy; Gini Bonnell’s famous Be Kind signs that started popping up in the local neighborhood of Stratford Hills and now there are more than 65,000 signs worldwide spreading the message of kindness and peace; The The The Innerwork Center’s programs that inspire curiosity, cultivate mindfulness and awaken the spirit; and Project Yoga Richmond’s tireless efforts to make yoga affordable, accessible and inclusive.”
Pozzi sums it up: “Natural Awakenings is user-friendly, community-oriented, pleasant to the eyes with colorful covers and inviting topics of interest to those who want to address their health, both preventative and therapeutically, in natural ways through responsible credible sources.”
Julie Peterson writes on wellness and environmental issues.
For more information on becoming a distribution location or having your event or business featured in the magazine, contact Jessica Coffey at [email protected].