Reclaim the Wild Woman evolved out of founder, Vanessa Chakour’s journey of healing through visual art, athletic training, competitive fighting and meditation, and is fused with her work as an herbalist, activist, trainer and teacher. After years of leading women’s retreats and listening to the challenges that were shared, she felt a calling to create an ongoing course and safe space for women to reclaim connection to their bodies and the body of mother earth. She is the creator Sacred Warrior through which runs Rewilding Retreats, workshops and training programs in New York, Costa Rica and Scotland.
Vanessa’s own healing journey emerged from a series of challenges including chronic asthma, sexual assault and a car accident, in which she fractured her back and neck. The accident forced her into a long period of stillness and became a catalyst for internal inquiry. Through an difficult recovery, she learned to dig deep and transform her perceived limitations through art, writing, meditation and eventually, athletic training and herbalism.
A personal trainer since 1998, Vanessa has studied various approaches to therapeutic movement from martial arts to yogic practices. She began a disciplined meditation practice in 2000 while training as a professional boxer in Brooklyn, NY studying Zen meditation, Tibetan Buddhism, Taoism and Plant Spirit Meditation. She continues to explore integrated methods, using training and sports as an extension of mindfulness practice.
Vanessa’s love for nature, led her to study herbal medicine and pursue a sustainable lifestyle. Many of her workshops inspire a connection to the wild and the multitude of healing plants in urban areas. She has studied and taught with renowned Herbalists such as Robin Rose Bennett and Matthew Wood and has partnered with Hidden Garden Wellness center in Costa Rica where she teaches, runs retreats and studies the local indigenous, latin and afro-caribbean medicines. She has partnerships with Wolf Conservation Center in So Salem NY and other wildlife organizations with whom she offers Sacred Warrior Rewilding retreats. Her work as an activist has led her to create events and initiatives on behalf of luminaries such as His Holiness, The Dalai Lama and Hip Hop Legend, KRS One.
Vanessa’s explorative artwork continues to be a daily practice and has been featured in prominent private collections, art publications and public exhibitions. As an inspirational speaker, she has spoken at Northeastern University, The Muhammad Ali Center, Brown University and The United Nations. She is a retreat leader and sustainability advisor for the True Athlete Project and recently presented at the Muhammad Ali Sports and Social Justice Forum on Sports, Self-Awareness and Sustainability.