When I meet Cissy Brady-Rogers, she has just returned from a hike and, I’m not exaggerating, radiates health and well-being. I literally ask her if she’s just had a facial. The answer is no, but her healthy lifestyle and outlook clearly show on her face. Brady-Rogers is a local therapist who is the founder of the non-profit organization Alive and Well Women. They operate out of the Fremont Centre Theatre building, which has become a hub of health, wellness, good food and good theatre in the past several years.
Brady-Rogers has 25 years experience as a marital and family therapist specializing in eating disorders and women’s health, is a Duke University Integrative Medicine certified health coach and has trained as both a yoga instructor and spiritual director. She is also a breast cancer survivor which served to deepen her experience and wisdom in dealing with body issues. Her background makes her uniquely suited to guide other women in creating sustainable rhythms of self-care.
As she worked with women diagnosed with eating disorders, early on Brady-Rogers realized that the “thoughts, feelings and behaviors that they were engaging in were not that different from myself and women I knew in terms of the thoughts and feelings we were having about our bodies,” she says, “I began to recognize that it was a matter of degree; the difference between a disordered, clinically diagnosed person and every other woman I knew.” And so began her interest in looking at ways to help every woman that suffers because of social, cultural and media driven messages about embodiment. She began to offer workshops that focused around what she describes as “let’s own our bodies, let’s listen to our bodies, let’s respect and honor our bodies” with the key being to move away from the idea of changing or “fixing” your body but rather learning how to be alive and well in your body as you are.
Brady-Rogers says “it’s about transforming your relationship with your body and helping women develop a more loving attitude towards their bodies as the foundation for behavioral change.” She goes on to say, “so it’s not that we don’t need to make behavioral changes because some of us are engaging in patterns with our food and our bodies that aren’t optimal for our well-being but you have to do that from a positive, loving place for it to be sustainable and effective.”
She co-founded Alive and Well Women three years ago with Betsy Faber and, through grants, sponsorships and donations, they offer retreats and workshops at a reduced rate to hopefully bring these life-changing, immersive workshops to more women who need them. Brady-Rogers explains, “it’s about listening to our inner wisdom and inner authority about how to be well, what our bodies need to eat and how we need to live to feel our best and have the energy we need.”
The upcoming retreat “A Contemplative Path to Health and Well-Being” begins with an “in town” retreat at the beautiful Neighborhood Church in Pasadena, continues with evening workshops for 8 Thursdays, and concludes with a Saturday retreat. Brady-Rogers explains, “it’s a culmination of bringing together psychology, mind/body medicine, and contemplative practices all in a package that really helps women learn to listen to and respect the body’s signals and indicators of what you need on a day to day. It’s about healing the mind/body split and deepening your own capacity to trust yourself.”
The program takes participants on a journey to discover the power of taking a loving look at your health challenges and finding your own unique path toward well-being. They do this through large and small group teaching covering five main principles along with various activities, reflection exercises, mindful movement, contemplative practices, writing and art exercises in addition to guidebooks and online support and forums.
When I ask Brady-Rogers who this program is for, she says, “it’s for women who are sick and tired of all of the typical fitness and diet messages and programs that don’t work and aren’t sustainable. For women who really want to listen deeply to their own life and trust themselves with food, exercise and wellness related things…women who want to be free to be who they are and don’t want others telling them how they should eat, think, feel and live and who want something different than what they’re seeing in the broader culture.”
The program is limited to 20 participants, so head over to AliveandWellWomen.org for all the details and to sign up.
DATES & TIMES
Opening Retreat: Friday, February 9–Saturday, February 10
Friday 6:30 – 9:00 p.m.
Saturday 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Local, stay-at-home retreat
Refreshments and Saturday lunch provided
Weekly Meetings: Thursday evenings February 15 – April 5, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
Teaching and application of the Alive and Well principles and practices to your daily life
Facilitated small group support with an Alive and Well trained guide
Closing Retreat: Saturday, April 7, 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Refreshments and mindful lunch provided
Weekend retreats will meet at the Neighborhood Church, 301 North Orange Grove, Pasadena, CA, 91103
Thursday evening meetings will be at Young & Healthy, 136 W. Peoria Street, Pasadena, CA, 91103