Listen. See. Touch. Taste. Breathe. Create. BE
Who - Michelle Premura
Michelle is the owner/co-founder of Turquoise Barn (2003-present), a retreat and event center located in the Catskill Mountains of New York State; a botanical chef specializing in plant-based cuisine, wild foods & herbs; artist, Yoga Nidra instructor, natural lifestyle consultant, retreat facilitator, reiki practitioner, herbal alchemist, gardener, jeweler, mom., and perpetual student.
Michelle has been practicing natural living for over 30 years after being diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 1985. She has lectured and taught at a variety of schools and universities, as well as private events, sharing her training & experience to help guide others interested in making natural and healthy lifestyle changes for the mind, body, spirit, and home. She also hosts Sensory Adventure Botanical Rejuvenation retreats and workshops at Turquoise Barn and throughout the U.S. & Mexico. Luna-Chica reflects her passions and experiences related to food, herbalism, art, nature, beauty, and travel.
Education: University of Colorado-Boulder, magna cum laude BFA (sculpture) ; Graduate Gemologist from the Gemological Institute of America in Santa Monica, CA & jewelry design; Instituto de Allende in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico - jewelry design & manufacturing; Certified Vegan & Living Food Chef & Educator, Boston, MA; Divine Sleep® Yoga Nidra Teacher Certification - Kripalu Institute; Herbal Academy - MA, Herbalist apprenticeship, NY; Retreat Facilitator training, Fort Lauderdale, FL; ..
My background is in both natural living and art. I’ve always been drawn to a nature & natural living. As a teen, in between eating McDonalds & other things most teens do that would not be considered - let's say healthy (although sometimes natural); I was also practicing yoga, camping & exploring nature, trying to learn astrology from my mom (still hasn't happened - yet), popping spirulina, and sipping herbal tea. In my early 20's I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. This experiences led me to to question and explore my current lifestyle and overall existence. I develop a deeper understanding and awareness of the mind, body, spirit connection to nature and healthy living in general. Since that time, I have strived to maintain a healthy diet and a natural organic lifestyle free of chemicals and toxins while keeping in close contact with nature. A challenge at times in the world we live in today.
In 2005, I took that lifestyle to the next level which enabled me to also become medication free despite the advice from my doctors who insisted it was not possible (including a naturopath dr.). With 1/2 of a thyroid and NO prescription medications since 2005, I have been cancer free with perfect thyroid levels. It has been a long a bumpy road and I am not perfect. However, my experiences have enabled me to listen to my body, intuition and most importantly - trust. Through a variety of avenues, I've enjoyed sharing the elements that have helped me on my healing journey - food/herbalism, art, nature, and travel - some of the best "medicines" out there.
In addition to running Turquoise Barn, I host Sensory Adventure Botanical Retreats & Workshops, bringing together elements from my training, experience, research, and passions - Food/Herbalism, Art, Nature, & Travel. I use these tools to create sensory experiences to help inspire, motivate. and guide others into self-discovery, recognizing and following their intuition, passions, leading to a healthy & balanced lifestyle.
As we stop to Listen, See, Touch, Taste. Breathe, Create, BE ~ we begin to develop an acute awareness of the beauty in all that surrounds us in life; thus creating healing, growth, empowerment and joy!
The goal of my retreats & workshops is to create Sensory Learning Experiences that engage and awaken the senses via food/herbs, art, nature, & cultural immersion and to (re)connect to our surroundings while developing our intuition and discovering our true nature/self. We live in a world where most people are detached from nature and the world around us. Reconnecting to natural elements that surround us and immersing ourselves in the traditions and history of different cultures (as well as own culture/history) can help to facilitate the growth & development of our individual unique self, leading to a balanced, healthy lifestyle for ourselves and the planet.
I utilize a variety of modalities and tools based on location, facilities, and time of year. Activities may include* (but not limited to) nature walks & meditations, grounding, garden tours, wild plant ID and uses, plant-based & wild foods/herbs (hands-on learning, harvesting, crafting, recipes, benefits, action plans), detoxification (body, mind, spirit, & home), essential oils, nature meditations, drawing & writing exercises (you don't have to be an artist), body movement, visits to spiritual sites, markets and cultural landmarks, traditional ceremonies, cooking classes. *location appropriate.
I love sharing knowledge and learning; there is so much in the world to explore, not to mention all of the untapped information that we have yet to discover. When I host a workshop or retreat, I do not consider myself to be “teaching” but rather sharing information based on my individual experiences. Not only do I get to share with others, but they share their unique experiences and knowledge with me. It becomes a mutual exchange of motivating & promoting positive change to help support, grow and develop.
I’ve had a love for travel since I had my first “viewmaster” as a child. My favorite slides were not of the cartoons but the one’s of far away places - India, Japan, South Pacific, Mexico, London, Italy, etc. My greatest adventure was a one year solo backpacking trip I took throughout Mexico and Central America. Needless to say, it was life changing. I fell in love not only with the culture, but with learning and experiencing new ways of eating, listening, communicating, and living ~ it was an amazing experience I will never forget.
Travel is one of the best ways to accelerate the development our senses. Opening and allowing yourself to be immersed in another culture, is life-changing. Traveling pushes us out of our comfort zone ~ we may be faced with many fears; flying, safety, not understanding a language and getting lost. When we decide to leave the comfort of our familiar lives and routines we also choose to grow ~ growth can only happen through change.
I am excited to take our Sensory Rejuvenation Retreats on the road and in the sky for these exact reasons. What better way to grow yourself and have the ultimate sensory experience? Traveling with a group is also a plus. I remember one of the downsides of solo traveling was not having another person to share my experiences and excitement with (this was before fb and instagram). And for those who don’t have the time to research and plan for a trip, we make it easy. All you have to do is get to the airport!
I hope you can make it to a workshop or retreat either at Turquoise Barn or afar! And if you are unable to make it to one of our scheduled retreats, we offer custom group or private retreats at Turquoise Barn or a location of your choice. We LOVE to travel.
My food preference: Botanical ~ Plant-based ~ From the Earth ~ Organic ~ Natural ~ Wild Crafted, Minimally Processed ~ Compassionate. I believe in food as medicine and try to incorporate nutrient dense, wild crafted foods and herbs into most recipes. And although I am trained as a vegan raw food chef & educator; my workshops incorporate a variety of foods including cooked + raw food recipes..
I believe in intuitive eating, listening to your body and cravings. What are you most drawn to at the moment? Is it a less than optimal choice? Is there a healthier choice that can satisfy your craving or is it beneficial to just go with it? Through education and awareness, we can learn to distinguish these differences and respond appropriately. Our needs change with age, seasons, geography and circumstances. We are all individuals with different needs at various times. There is no “one diet fit’s all.”
My workshops focus on simple recipes (I am busy and a bit of a "lazy cook”) that are TASTY - no nose-holding! Just because something is healthy doesn’t mean it has to taste like twigs and grass. There are plenty of healthy nutrient dense options that are delicious - we will work with those. We also cover food presentation and how to turn a simple recipe into a gourmet meal with a few simple techniques. It’s all about awareness.
During our travel retreats, we will be sampling food from a variety of restaurants. During these trips, there will alsways be vegan & vegetarian options. And although we encourage you to try plant-based during our travels, omnivore options will also be available when dining out.
And for those of you interested in my journey with vegan & raw foods, healing, and leaving my meds behind click here. (coming soon)
Art is beauty - beauty is Art. It is all around us. Using all of our senses and learning to see and appreciate the beauty in everything is healing, and that includes ourselves. This awareness may be developed in simple, everyday tasks such as taking care with the presentation of our meals; replacing toxic chemicals with sweet-smelling, natural, good-for-you and the environment products; adorning our body and homes with objects and colors that make us smile ~ fresh flowers, new adornments, setting up a sacred space with precious objects, or filling a room with a scent to help us relax or rejuvenate.
As a trained artist, I’ve always struggled with the division between art and craft. It took me years to unlearn, accept, and understand this concept.. While raising my son, my lifestyle changed and I began spending much more time in the kitchen and garden than the studio. Eventually, my studio became my dining room. During that time, I always had a longing to be creating again, wishing I could spend more time just making “things". Then one day I realized that I was still creating, just using different mediums. To me, Art is being able to create something from multiple materials, objects, or ingredients and give them new meaning and definition; a rebirth or dual purpose as part of a whole and entirely new object.
In our workshops, we discuss techniques and practices that we can incorporate into our everyday life to strengthen our awareness of the beauty that surrounds us and apply these principals as they relate to self-care. The art and beauty of the individual; thus allowing for more joy and understanding of ourselves and the world around us. You don't have to be an artist to participate, enjoy, and learn from our exercises!
Nature - It is spirit, healing, nourishing, nurturing, beauty, art, love, animals/humans. Everything in life is connected. In our fast-paced world of this 21st century most have forgotten not only where our food comes from but where WE come from; our life source, our connection ~ ourselves. The sun, moon, stars, earth, trees, flowers, and yes - even the "weeds". All are there to work with us, nourish us, and provide for us on many levels. We just need to listen.
Connecting with nature is pivotal in leading us to fully awakening our senses and creating joy and peace in our lives. This connection is necessary to begin making the changes that can lead our lives in the direction or path of being true to ourselves. It is the pathway to love, joy, peace, and contentment. It is knowledge, experience, understanding, intuitive, beautiful, magical.
In our workshops we delve into a variety of methods to help you identify and re-establish your connection with the beauty and art of Nature. Simple techniques that you can take back with you and utilize wether you live in the city, a suburb, or the country. We will engage all of our senses as walk, talk, listen, see, touch, feel, and taste a variety of plants, flowers, seeds, leaves, roots, and essential oils.