Seven years ago, Shree Fulcher, local healer and owner of the recently relocated and expanded Ascension Studio, OBX at the old Pit Surf Shop in Kill Devil Hills, woke up in a hospital bed badly beaten.
A self-described "drunk and drug addict," she had turned to drugs and alcohol as her medicine throughout her 20s.
"I didn't even know how lost I was," Fulcher said.
It wasn't until she hit that rock bottom moment and landed in the hospital that she began to wake up. Knowing she needed to make a change, but not knowing exactly where to turn, Fulcher's friend invited her to a yoga class.
"I got up from that hospital bed, and I went to yoga. I had no idea what yoga was...or maybe I had an idea of what I thought it was. But my friend took me to that class, and I was hooked. It was the medicine that I didn't know existed that I needed so badly.”
First, she noticed how it connected her to her body, and then she started to realize that it was more than just her body...that it was connecting her to spirit.
"I do feel like the disease of addiction, for me, was a disconnection from spirit. That I was craving this home, or this substance in life, this meaning, that I didn't know where to find."
She realized that was what she had been turning to drugs and alcohol for all of those years. She turned her addiction from drugs and alcohol to an addiction to yoga.
"I figured it I'm going to be addicted to something it should be something good for me," she said.
Eight months later, she got her teacher training and started diving into all kinds of healing modalities.
Eventually, she began traveling and met her Reiki master. They traveled the country for many years together doing 4-handed body and soul sessions, which is a combination of relaxing/intuitive massage w/ aromatherapy, Reiki energy healing, sound therapy, crystal resonance therapy, and chakra balancing.
While on a trip with her Reiki master in Sedona, Arizona, she sat for a session with a woman who kept saying to her, "Go back to the waters that birthed you."
At first, Fulcher didn't understand what this meant because, though born on the Outer Banks, Shree had grown up in Richmond, Virginia, and she spent most of her adult life in Colorado, or traveling.
"I had forgotten where I was from," Fulcher said.
The realization led to a move from Sedona to The Outer Banks, where she spent her life savings on an Airbnb for two weeks. She didn't want to leave. She felt completely at home. She spent her time here on and off for the next couple of years until she became a full-time resident in November 2017, when she was offered an opportunity to become one of the owners at The Well Yoga Co-op.
By March 2019, she opened Ascension in its original, incubator location, selling crystals and offering healing sessions. It was a tiny space, and they grew out of it almost immediately. Then she saw a "for lease" sign on the Pit.
"I just kept coming and looking into the windows and just dreaming and dreaming. My mom and I asked to see the space, and when she could see the same dream as me we were like 'Okay, whatever it takes we're just going to do it.'"
“Some of the opportunities that (owner Ben Sproul) offered us in the beginning to kind of get us up and going on our feet were pivotal in our ability to be able to really say yes," she said.
It became a family affair. Every weekend, Fulcher's family was there pulling up carpet, banging in flooring, and completely renovating the space.
The studio, which opened on Nov. 7, is now a renovated, fully operating cooperative healing space, complete with an apothecary and crystal shop, private healing sessions, yoga classes, and all kinds of workshops and events.