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Natural Awakenings Charlotte

Okra is Much More than a Meal

by Martin Miron

Alicia Roskind is the co-owner and founder of Okra, comprised of three distinctly important parts: yoga and wellness classes, massage therapy and private healing sessions, and a tea and coffee lounge.

She explains, “Okra-that weird and beautiful underdog of the vegetable kingdom, that odd and gummy and delicious staple of Southern cuisine that has become a symbol of home for so many Southerners. We envision this space and all of the components of Okra as a refreshing change from your standard fare of yoga and wellness centers —one that is uniquely representative of and involved with the community that supports it.”

Roskind wants to create a space for each and every person to feel welcome and at home, no matter where they’re from or how good their downward dog is. “We want to be a place for the impossible and unlikely to come alive through celebrating the pursuit of our unique, individual passions and creativity,” she says. “Okra, we believe, is a perfect embodiment of the kind of uncommon beauty that is only found in the simplicity of your own home.” Okra is for practitioners at every level and tailored to each individual. Along with basic services, they offer a variety pack of modalities that help to support the healing of body and mind.

When Roskind was 25, she launched Okra as a yoga and massage therapy studio to be a center for healing practices and community in Charlotte. Her vision to create a place that facilitated growth while providing an organic and natural setting has blossomed, much like the plant from which the studio takes its name.

Hal Smith, co-owner and managing partner of Okra, started practicing there a few years ago and experienced the unique sense of community. He decided to partner with Roskind to further grow the business. They developed the retail concept for Gumbo Goods that would support the natural health and healing energy approaches that are practiced at Okra, and opened it in 2015.

Smith is a licensed spiritual healer, certified Raindrop Technique Specialist, an RYT-200 Yoga Alliance yoga instructor, certified Aroma Yoga instructor, certified ChiRunning Instructor, certified Triggerpoint Myofascial Release specialist and Crossfit trainer. He also teaches several classes and performs services for clients.

Okra wants to grow by offering ways for residents to improve their health and quality of life. Raindrop Technique, which includes the application of eight essential oils using Tibetan and Native American energy approaches that help support systems throughout the body is being introduced. In addition, Okra is now offering weekly essential oil workshops, including Aroma Yoga, which combines the application of oils with easy yoga asanas and polarity exercises to support balanced energies. In January, they will begin Bowspring Yoga workshops, based on a revolutionary new postural model developed by founder of anusara yoga John Friend and Desi Springer.


Okra is located at 1912 Commonwealth Ave., in Charlotte. For more information, call 704-266-1443 or visit

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