Lisa Haake, founder of Pure Being, had a vision. “I know how that sounds,” she says with a bit of a laugh.

Haake has been practicing psychotherapy for 21 years, and at some point she began to explore mindfulness practice and yoga. She did the yoga teacher training at Amara Yoga and Arts, and that’s when the vision that would become Pure Being materialized. “I realized how when you add the body and spirit to working with the mind, the healing and growth process was exponential. I started purposefully wanting to add more services that would help people connect with their whole self.”


A corner of the exterior of a brick building. There is a white sign with a blue and white logo that says Pure Being, A Center for Healing and Growth on the side of the building. In the foreground there is a rainbow flag on a black wire stake in the ground. Photo by Julie McClure.Photo by Julie McClure.

Haake connected with a developer to find a space in town that could accommodate her expanding services, and was shown the current space, a former podiatrist’s office: “It was stripped down to the studs. When I walked in it was kind of like a shell. And I kid you not, I had a vision. I could see where all the offices would go, and what would be here.”

After putting in the work of bringing her vision to life on this blank canvas, Haake and another provider, Sarah Reynertson, were ready to open the doors…in March of 2020. Like the rest of the community, and the world, Pure Being was put on hold. After doing some outdoor yoga and meditation sessions, and slowly bringing clients into the fold, and an open house last fall, they are now fully open for business. “I’m always amazed at the gifts that just come. These providers have arrived, clients have arrived, we’re coming through this really challenging experience, and I think we’re all feeling energetic and ready to go.”

A rectangular stained glass window. The word Photo by Julie McClure.

I’m pretty sure my shoulders dropped an inch or two a few moments after I entered the space at Pure Being, which can be found on East Main Street in Urbana. From the wall colors, to the faint smells of candles or aromatherapy oils or something soothing and pleasant, to the warm and welcoming staff that greeted me at the door, I definitely could’ve spent a few hours there. This time, I was there for just an hour, but I had the opportunity to tour the space and get a feel for what each provider offers. Reynertson is moving away from C-U, but three other providers have found a home at Pure Being. They all operate separately, under a shared mission and vision, each tapping into a piece of the body-mind-spirit puzzle. The connectedness allows them to easily cross-refer clients who may be looking for an additional component to their wellness journey. 

A long, mostly empty room with wood flooring. There are two yoga mats stretched out, each have two yoga blocks beside them. Photo by Julie McClure.Photo by Julie McClure.

Haake provides holistic psychotherapy and nutritional guidance, as well as yoga therapy. Holistic therapy goes beyond focusing on the mind. “I’m going to be asking you questions about your sleep and your food and your movement and your spirituality…how you are connected to something outside yourself.” Her office opens into a bright yoga studio, where she hosts sessions for individuals, couples and small groups and holds classes that are open to the public. There is a Wednesday offering called SOS (Soothe Our Systems) that focuses on slowing down and recalibrating. 

A spiral bound sketchbook sits on a wooden table. The page showing has a yin and yang symbol, and has been covered in color with pastels. In the corners are black shading. Photo by Julie McClure.

Patty Pyrz is a wellness coach and art teacher who provides one on one art therapy consulting. She works with both adults and children to utilize art as a mindfulness activity, or an alternative way to process feelings of anxiety or depression. “Sometimes it’s nice to just stop talking, and express it through [art].” One activity she might lead a client through is shadow work, working through feelings using concepts of darkness and light, and trying to tap into "hidden emotions and subconscious feelings." She also uses zendoodling and art journaling with clients. Her art exercises can bring a visual component to a challenging situation that a client might be dealing with. 

A massage table with a white blanket and pink sheets is the the middle of a small room with light green walls and curtains. Photo by Julie McClure.Photo by Julie McClure.

Amy Wyatt provides the bodywork component. She is a massage therapist and hoop dance instructor who operates her practice Vital Flow under the Pure Being umbrella. She also provides massage therapy for guests at Allerton, and travels to people’s homes. “I cater to client’s needs, and meet them where they’re at. I advocate for open communication throughout the session so they’re comfortable the whole time.” Wyatt fell in love with hooping in 2016, and decided she wanted to share that with other people. She does individual lessons, and can expand into group lessons once the weather is warmer and sessions can be held outside. Wyatt offers memberships, and also has a sliding scale so those who are on a tight budget can still utilize her services. 

A rectangular sign with a white frame and background has the words Photo by Julie McClure.

In her bio, Rev. Eileen Gebbie describes herself as a “a queer, white, anti-racist Christian priest working outside of institutional religion.” She provides spiritual direction and forest therapy. Her spiritual direction is not counseling, but rather “a dedicated space to bring what you’re experiencing [in your spiritual life] on a month to month basis: trauma, joy, questions, uncertainties.” The forest therapy sessions are an extension of this work. Gebbie calls them a "gentle invitation" to engage with nature. They may take three hours to cover two miles of a trail. All faith traditions are welcome in her practice. “I’m going to give you permission to say things that our world may not welcome you saying…to have the fears, to have the questions, to be goofy. I will receive you just as you are without judgment.” Gebbie offers discounts as needed to people of color and to LGBTQIA+ people who have faced financial discrimination, as well as current seminarians and divinity students. 

Pure Being will be hosting a retreat on March 25th and 26th. Participants will have the opportunity to experience what the various practices have to offer, as well as enjoy some light refreshments. You can find out more about the retreat, and register, on the Pure Being website. Find a full list of upcoming classes, workshops, and events here.

Top photo (l-r): Pyrz, Wyatt, Haake, Gebbie. Photo by Julie McClure.