How an urban ranch combines yoga and plant cultivation to heal Houstonians | Houston Chronicle


One year ago, Tamika Caston-Miller was on a trip to the Andes when she started seriously reevaluating her life in Houston.

“Why do people need to get away? Why do people travel?” she wondered.

For Caston-Miller, it was all about finding an escape into nature. She asked herself: “Is this something I could create in Houston?”

She also thought about the lifestyle of the city, the hustle and bustle — and how so many Houstonians are separated from nature, often without community or even knowing their neighbors.

“We’re not meant to be alone,” she said.

Then, Caston-Miller began imagining a solution. She dreamed of a garden space, where adults could dig into the dirt and watch plants grow; where school children could go on field trips and learn about nature firsthand.

As founder of Houston’s Ashé Yoga, Caston-Miller also imagined restorative yoga near the garden. Since her wife, Lenie Caston-Miller, is a sculptor, there would also be a place for art.

“It would be a whole space for a healthy community,” Tamika Caston-Miller said.

She and Lenie were still in Peru when they began hunting for a property where this vision could take root.

At the time, they lived a couple miles north of downtown. “Let’s put our house on the market and see what’s out there,” Caston-Miller thought. “We need a place where we can live and create this space.”

The couple mapped it out and decided they needed at least 2 acres.

“If we find a property that matches what we’re looking for, then we’ll take it as a sign that we should move forward,” thought Caston-Miller, who has worked as a school teacher and a yoga instructor for about a…