Up until the very start of this year, the community area at WOOM Center, a sensorially immersive yoga studio on the Bowery, served up small glasses of healthy elixirs as a treat to close class. Now the space has been subtly redesigned and the menu expanded under the direction of Rachelle Robinett, a holistic health practitioner and wellness guide, who’s adept at blending herbal potions with personalized tweaks.
Robinett grew up surrounded by plants on a farm in Washington State, so the concept of food as medicine is something she has always carried with her, even when she moved to New York to pursue a career in the fashion industry.
Here, in a city where ancient and holistic healing modalities are easily accessible, she sought out a series of apprenticeships with shaman, Chinese medicine practitioners, and yogis. As her holistic skill set continued to expand, it became clear that wellness was her career calling.
“Enough people were asking me: ‘what is your health routine?’, ‘why is your skin so glowy?’, ‘what the hell is in your lunch?’, ‘that smoothie looks bizarre, what are you drinking?’ You know, just this fascination with behind the scenes stuff, so I started to share it,” she explains. “I realized fashion was not important to me, and with that there’s this cascade effect. My priorities changed and my perspective changed. It was this thing that I had always been employing—a plant based study.”
When she joined WOOM, she brought all the various components of her business under one roof—there’s even a little nook for private consultations. At the Supernatural bar she whips up healthy infusions that employ adaptogenic herbs and other natural goodies to support the body in whatever way it needs. And what most New Yorker’s need, perhaps unsurprisingly, are solutions that tackle stress and anxiety.
“The lifestyle here is just so demanding from a social, cultural and professional perspective. Generally New Yorkers are a little bit more stressed out and toxic, and bit more strained than if we had a different lifestyle,” she explains. No wonder her workshop, “powerful plant remedies for stress and anxiety” has been so in demand at wellness spaces throughout the city.
Robinett has an encyclopedic knowledge of plant medicine, and knows just how to blend a spoon of this and a pinch of that to create formulas that work on stress. “Adaptogens can be phenomenal for helping to balance out stress response,” she explains. “A lot of times they’re powerful enough to help us recover from damage or imbalanced stressed responses […] I definitely have more herbs here for stress and anxiety than any other class of herbs.” Her recommendations for treating that tired / wired stress effect? Ashwagandha, skullcap, kava kava, rose, camomile, lavender, damiana and oh-so trendy CBD—the non-psychoactive, stress-busting component found in cannabis.
For me, Robinett suggests the Maca Mocha. A blend of cacao, Peruvian maca (a root which works on the endocrine system, and an “informant” for our hormones), maple syrup, sea salt and a little cinnamon. It’s basically a hot chocolate I can feel good about drinking, and it’s served on an agate crystal coaster, naturally.