By Ellen Spitaleri
When Heidi Weiss decided to rebrand her business in 2021 and call it Lemon Tree Wellness, she took inspiration from a lemon tree she had been given.
“It was gifted to me by a childhood friend when she moved to New Zealand and it was failing,” she said. “I brought it home and placed it outside in a shady spot, tending to it daily. I saw its spotted, yellow leaves grow shiny and thick; it produced new foliage and soon began to flower prolifically. I was intoxicated by the shower of blossoms and amazed by the tree’s resilience.”
That plant became a metaphor for what Weiss wants to do: “helping people feel better by being in tune with earth and the environment, which includes their own bodies.”
She added, “That is why we focus on holistic care, which by definition encompasses the whole person – body, mind and spirit.”
The mission of Lemon Tree Wellness, located at 1235 SE Division St., is to provide holistic health services, including classes and one-on-one sessions, for people to heal, connect and be well.
In addition to Pilates, services offered include East Asian medicine and acupuncture, bodywork/massage, wellness coaching, wellness workshops and Reiki and sound healing.
Weiss founded Portland Pilates Collective + Wellness center in 2006 with the mission of making Pilates accessible and welcoming to a wider demographic; at the time she was located in the SE industrial area.
When that building was sold in 2016, she moved to the SE Division studio. She loves it because it is “more accessible and feels like a sanctuary.”
During the pandemic, she decided to rebrand her business to focus on whole-body wellness and the connection between nature and the healing arts.
She taught virtual classes during the lock-down period of the pandemic, but has brought back small classes in the studio and is planning to offer a full class schedule in January.
A grand opening party takes place Saturday, January 29, 2-5 pm. Advance registration, at lemontreewellness.janeapp.com/#/grand-opening-event, is required to control the number of people in the space.
Since rebranding, Lemon Tree offers monthly, affordable, weekend wellness workshops to show people that “creativity is essential to wellness” she said.
“Some people have no idea why creativity has anything to do with wellness. To me, creativity is the key to the spiritual aspect of health. When we create, we access a different part of our brains, and mindfulness is a precondition for creativity,” Weiss added.
“Being in nature automatically turns the creative switch on, because creation and renewal is constantly happening in nature; so they are all interconnected. What we do with our hands and our time is our spiritual work.”
These workshops combine three essential elements: nature, creativity and mindfulness.
Upcoming wellness workshops feature a Valentine-themed “yarn bombing” in February, making “mocktails” in March and Feng Sui for beginners in April.
Last year’s workshops included a spring and fall mushroom hunt, handmade facial care, houseplant therapy, watercolor meditation and natural plant dyeing.
For Weiss, the wellness workshops promote “the healthy effects of nature, creativity, mindfulness and community; a way to connect with the earth and self.”
She recommends people check her website for workshop updates.
The feedback Weiss has received from past workshop attendees is that everyone appreciates the community aspect, meeting people they might not meet any other way.
“They learned new skills, found the workshops deeply nourishing and experienced being in the moment,” she said.
Pilates has been a major factor in her life since she moved to the Portland area as a freshman at Reed College. “I found Pilates and realized I can be strong; it felt like coming home to myself.”
After graduating from Reed, she earned a master’s degree in public health and eventually founded her own business.
Weiss noted that she works with clients who have other medical practitioners, adding, “I do not replace their doctor; I am part of a team.”
Her clients might come to her with an injury or “they want to strengthen and maximize their performance or they realize their bodies are aging and they want to keep it strong.”
She added that she founded Lemon Tree to help “people get from where they are to where they want to be.”
Other practitioners at the business include Kathryn Armer, LAc, acupuncturist; Christy Burch, sound healer; Caitlin Couture, LMT, massage therapist and Reiki practitioner; and Iona Rainbow River, LMT, massage and craniosacral therapist.
Lemon Tree Wellness
1235 SE Division St., # 206
lemontreewellness.co (not .com)
Founder Heidi Weiss tends the lemon tree that lends its name to her business. Photo by Ellen Spitaleri.