Hotmilk Bra Review

Let’s face it, ladies; nursing bras tend to be a little lack luster (and that’s being polite!). The last thing a woman wants after having a baby is to wear some plain, colourless bra in a style to match the unfortunate “granny panties”. Or at least that has been my experience! I typically buy from places like Victoria’s Secret so going from fun, bright, frilly undergarments to drab, colourless, plain cotton was a bit of a depressing thought during my most recent pregnancy. I think most of us like to feel beautiful and while beauty certainly IS on the inside, sometimes what we dress ourselves in reflects how we feel on the outside as well. There is certainly nothing wrong with a plain, functional bra for nursing, but for me it was the issue of feeling like I didn’t have a choice in the matter. I like wearing pretty things for myself, even if no-one else sees.

Enter Hotmilk lingerie! I was fortunate enough to be given one of their bras to try recently and I am so in love! I have been dubious about ordering online because normally I am able to try things on before I buy, and as any breastfeeding mother knows, breasts tend to change in size and shape from one feed to another. So while I was happy and excited to try this out, I was also entering it with a fair bit of trepidation.

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When I first opened the mail, I was struck by how beautifully it was packaged. Usually when I have ordered online, things are just shoved in an envelope without any attention to detail. Not so in the case of my Hotmilk! I wish I had taken the time to get a photo of the outer packaging, but I was a little too excited to wait! As you can see, the bra itself was wrapped in beautiful, hot pink tissue paper.

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On their website, there are many different styles to choose from. I am glad I received this pretty little thing – the Chic Ivory Nursing Bra! It is lacey and soft, with a splash of vibrant colour on the bows. I tend to have a lot of light tops so a light-coloured bra is perfect, but I also love the added bit of brightness! Hotmilk has a large array of bras to choose from; they range from lacey to smooth, nursing to regular.

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I was pleasantly surprised when I tried it on to see that – YES – it was a perfect fit! I highly encourage everyone to get professionally fitted before buying a bra (whether in person or online). There is a ridiculously high percentage of women who are wearing a bra that fits entirely incorrectly and it can make a big difference to the comfort, function, and life of a bra. This bra was contoured to my body without being too tight in certain places or too loose in others. I find that, while nursing, there is a big issue of a bra not fitting correctly for me, even if it IS the right size, so it was great to see that this bra fit so very well. It fit well continually throughout the day, even right before a feed when my breasts were heavy with milk, and after when they were quite a bit smaller. The cups are created to stretch with the breast so this is a very helpful feature.

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Of course, one of the best features, for me, is the fact that this is a nursing bra. So far, I have simply (and sometimes rather awkwardly) been using my regular bras while breastfeeding and let’s just say it isn’t pretty and I have a feeling I am ruining all my bras by doing so. I am so happy to finally have an attractive alternative! The clasps are very easy to undo and do back up one-handed (I have pretty bad carpal tunnel, so this is saying something!).

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I also enjoy that the band at the back is wider than some bras, and that there are many options as my postpartum size changes. I tend to gain a lot of weight during pregnancy and then lose quite a bit afterwards and I am confident that this bra would have brought me through the entire pregnancy, had I worn it at the time.

There were only a couple (minor) downsides that I could see. One thing I noticed is that the shoulder straps don’t seem quite as long as I am used to in a bra. On the longest setting it is just right, if not a tiny bit snug. I wonder if those with a long torso might find this to be a problem. Either that or my breasts have just entirely given up after breastfeeding three kids and are on their quest for freedom! As well, the bra cup, when it is released to breastfeed, has another fabric behind it that has a large hole in it which the breast comes through. I’m sure for many women this isn’t an issue as it is just my personal preference, but I wear a lot of tank tops and breastfeed by pulling them down rather than lifting my shirt up and so this extra fabric makes it look a bit weird (to me).

All in all, I am really digging this bra! I would give it 4/5 stars for all around function, appearance, and comfort. I really look forward to ordering from Hotmilk in the future; did I mention that they have free shipping for all orders in the US and Canada that exceed $80? Awesome! They also carry a wide range of sleepwear and even have a section of their website devoted to guiding men in how to order for their lady loves. I hope you’ve all found this review helpful as you move through pregnancy and your postpartum period (and beyond!). If it calls to you, please check out their website at http://www.hotmilklingerie.com/

Good Vibrations : An Inside Peek Into How We Make Our Essences

Lotus Flower

by Jessica Booth + Jessica Smithson from Sacred Essence

Flower, gem and environmental essences are a vibrational medicine. This means that they work on the subtle bodies: things like our emotions – not always so subtle heh!? And our auras—something certainly less tangible. But you don’t need to be a clairvoyant or even a hippie to feel what I am talking about. This is real experience. Just go into nature, put your bare feet on the earth and notice how you feel. Take a look around you and notice what plants surround you. Nature is everywhere and we are part of it. Just doing this simple activity reminds us that we are connected to the greater picture- not alone and isolated, as we can all easily feel sometimes.

Flower essences take this connection a step further. Like many traditional medicine practitioners, I believe that nature is a wonderful gift. We are surrounded by plants and beings that want to connect with us. They want to share a lesson or different perspective. Their messages are everywhere if we have the eyes to see and the ears to listen.

When Jessica and I make essences together, we will hear a call from a plant. One of my favorite teachers, Rachel Singleton from Lightbringer Essences, calls it an ARRESTING FLOWER MOMENT. This is where we are entranced by a flower. Suddenly we see it, as if for the first time, and know this plant wants to work with us. We sit in meditation with the plant, asking for guidance, to be shown the message. We journal separately and then compare notes after the essence is made. Time and time again, the feeling and message from the plant is the same for both of us. This is what makes it so much fun to work together.

Solstice is a wonderful time of year to get some support from flower essences. As we transition from the intuitive feminine aspect of the year and into the active masculine time of the year, we may need a little support. Balancing flowers such as roses, lilies and irises can help us work to bring our own masculine and feminine sides into flow and harmony. Why not add a few drops of a your favorite (we love mother rose & iris by soul tree) essence into your morning face cream for a little extra glow. Or even better take a few drops in warm water with lemon in the morning to put a real bounce in your step.

Playing in the sun? You can add a few drops of blue or white or indigo flowers into your sun cream or after sun for extra auric cooling. We love white lotus or self heal in some aloe gel for a fab homemade after sun.

As with anything trust your intuition when choosing essences, if in doubt, send us an email—we are happy to answer any questions.

Want to find out more about essences? Why not sign up for our Sacred Essence online class and deepen your relationship to nature while learning practical skills to bring essences into your life.

Dolphin Dream Meditation

River Love

By Jessica Booth from Sacred Essence

In our Mama’s Sacred Medicine Cupboard class, we play with a few different ways to help family members get ready for sleep and relax. Here is a sweet guided meditation to read to your baby.

Close your eyes and take a moment to feel your breathing.  Just let your breath be exactly the way it is. Enjoy the feeling of breathing in fresh, clean air and then enjoy the feeling of breathing out—letting go and making space for your next IN breath.

Breath in- fill yourself with warmth and joy
Breath out- share that warmth and joy back out into the space around you

Breath in- fill yourself with warmth and joy
Breath out- share that warmth and joy back out into the space around you

Breath in- fill yourself with warmth and joy
Breath out- share that warmth and joy back out into the space around you

The space around you has filled into a bubble of warmth, joy and safety—just from the way you are using your breath. You are creating this safe, cosy space around you, simply by breathing with awareness—breathing by meaning it.

This easy soft breathing also helps your muscles and body relax. The easy, soft breathing helps your body let go and become soft. Say thank you to all of your muscles and bones from the tips of your toes, to your fingers, to your head. Squeeze your whole body in a very tight hug, so every part is stiff and tight. Now, let go—let go everywhere so your toes and legs are floppy, your fingers and arms are loosey and your neck and head are wobbly.

Squeeze your shoulders right up to your ears and then drop them right down again with a thump. Give your face a tight squeeze so your eyes are crinkled up, your nose is wrinkled up and your mouth is all squashed together. Now let it all go, your whole face falling back into place, even blowing a little air out of your lips , a soft gentle raspberry.

It is time to go on an adventure. If any other thoughts or wiggles come into your head, just notice them and then let them flow out like your breath. It just happens without you needing to do anything special.

Really enjoy your breath now and the feeling of breathing. Softly, gently, easily. With each breath you feel more relaxed, more soft, more gentle. Softly, Gently, Easily. You become so warm and peaceful.

You find yourself on a warm, sunny beach. This beach is a safe haven. The sand is soft and warm. It shifts gently and easily under your feet. The sun shines warmly on your skin. You feel completely safe and relaxed. You know that only good and wonderful things come to this beach. You notice the sky above is a beautiful blue. It is a shade of blue so calm, still, and peaceful; a gentle drifting blue. The soft gentle sound of small waves lapping onto the beach is a steady easy rhythm. Just enjoy the warmth, the gentle particles of sand joining together to make rolling hills of the beach.

The soothing, easy rhythm of the small waves swishes and calls you closer to the inviting waters. Gazing out into the water you see a pod of dolphins chirping happily in the sunlight. They leap and splash joyfully in the sparkling blue of the sea. As your feet touch the warm gentle water, a magical change begins in your body. With each step into the sea, part of you changes into a dolphin. First your head, elongates and smoothes out. You are a little surprised at first but you know in this special place only good and wonderful things will happen. With the next step the upper part of your body takes on dolphin form, smoothing out, fingers turning into flippers, floppy and strong. With the last step your legs and lower body become a strong and fluid tale. You find yourself floating easily and gently in the warm water.

Flicking your tale and flapping lazily with your flippers—gently and easily you get a feel for your dolphin body. Your new dolphin friends surround you. Their happy clicks and chirps are easy to understand. This is their favourite place, they say. They just love the warm, safe, gently sparkling waters.

The dolphins show you how to blow bubbles. Sending bubbles of air floating up to the surface. Taking in a deep breath and filling all your powerful dolphin lungs and pushing the air out, concentrating of the shape of the bubble. Letting it go a float away, bursting with the touch of the sun.

Gliding up to the surface you fill again with fresh, fun , clean air. You notice that your dolphin breath is slower and deeper than your usual breathing. Your dolphin breath is expansive and fills every cell in your body with life giving breath.

Diving under the surface again you exhale—pushing out with your powerful dolphin lungs—Letting go completely of the air you no longer need. The air that has done its job of filling every cell in your body with health, vitality and life. Let it all go and make space for the vibrant air to fill you again.

You leap out of the water, using your powerful body to push you forward, flying into the world above the water. Gracefully you curve and slip back into the sea, lungs filled, cells filled, heart filled – filled with vibrant air, the freedom of flight and the happiness of your easy motion through the water.

The dolphin breathing makes you feel so joyful, calm and alive. You notice that even swimming you feel like your floating. Your whole body held and supported by the gentle, soft, warm water. Your loving dolphin friends show you a beautiful coral reef. The reef is full of every colour in the rainbow. There are so many small pretty fish dancing through the waters. Back and forth they dance swirling gently and easily around your dolphin body. Twirling around and around you in a beautiful pattern of rainbow colours. Just watch and enjoy patterns and colours of the fish sparkling and dancing all around you. Everything feels happy, gentle and free.

The little fish soon twirl off into the distance, leaving only a happy trail of bubbles and colours shimmering in the waters.

You follow your loving dolphin friends back to the beach. As each gentle, small wave carries you closer to the shore—your begin to let go of your dolphin body, changing gently and easily back into your beloved human body. First your lower body becomes your sturdy feet, legs and hips. They feel light and free. Next your upper body becomes your strong arms, chest and shoulders. They are light and easy in the warm shallow waters. Finally as you step onto the shore, your neck and head change into your own wonderful body. Gently and easily you take in a breath of fresh, calm air and feel at home in your body.

You turn back and see your dolphin friends splashing in the warm waters and you remember the feeling of happy freedom and deep breathing they shared with you. You are invited back to this special place anytime. It is always here for you.

You stand on the beach listening to the soft gentle rhythm of the waves lapping at your feet. Just enjoy the feel of the warm sun on your skin and the warmth of the gentle particles of sand- joined together to make the gentle rolling hills of the beach. Just breathing, gently, easily and softly.

Gently, easily and softly.
Gently, easily and softly.

Morning Sickness

Sacred Smoke

by Jessica Booth from Sacred Essence

Yay! You are pregnant! Boo! You have morning sickness. A pregnant woman’s body is going through so many hormonal and physical changes—it is no wonder we can feel queasy. And strangely, for something which affects so many women, there is surprisingly little research into what causes it and how to treat it.

Here are the basics:

Morning sickness is nausea that lasts usually for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy— but can last longer and be severe with vomiting. If it becomes very serious medical assistance (IV hydration and anti-nausea drugs) may be necessary for the safety of mother and baby.

From what I have seen as a doula & experienced myself as a mother—I know what works for one of us, might not work for another. So here is a list of things to try and I really hope one of them works for you!

1. Shiatsu (I will declare my interest here as a shiatsu practitioner). Shiatsu balances the whole energy system, helping to nourish and support the changes of pregnancy. Using finger pressure on acupuncture points around the body, it has been found to help with nausea. (1) Plus it is an excuse for a massage—if you needed an excuse that is.

2. Ginger. Ginger comes in many forms: tea, tablets, candy, drinks, and essential oil. Try them all! One of them just might be your ticket! Personally I found Ginger Ale and ginger tea to be indispensible. It is however a potent herb and you should check with your doctor or midwife before binging on heavy doses of the stuff. (2)

3. Vitamin B-6 & 12—this would be included in any decent pregnancy multi vitamin. (I’m partial to New Chapter or Viridian). So check your vitamins before you go doubling up. (3)

4. Eat little and often. Carry snacks such as nuts, dried fruit, organic turkey jerky, cheese sticks. Try a protein rich diet with lots of fruit & veg and you can’t really go wrong.

5. Magnesium. Pregnancy hormones slow magnesium absorption down. Magnesium plays a role in clearing cortisol (stress hormone which causes blood sugar spikes). Spikes in blood sugar can lead to nausea. In early pregnancy we can become deficient in this and other minerals. (4)

The best things you can do for yourself during pregnancy are to eat well, rest well, get fresh air when you can and be kind to yourself. You are growing a tiny baby human and that is hard work mama!

1 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17645494?dopt=Abstract
2 http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/961.html
3 http://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/hn-2928009#hn-2928009-uses
4 http://wellnessmama.com/6065/how-i-avoided-morning-sickness/

Closing the Bones + Sealing Ceremonies : Medicine for All Women

Closing the Bones

By Jessica Booth from Sacred Fertility

During labour we have to open. It is simple, really. However the baby comes into the world, as women, we literally must divide ourselves in half to release the life inside us into the world. It is the ultimate act of creation. Energetically this opening is down our center. For women who have caesareans, the opening is also across the center, perpendicular to the first opening. All of our petals unfolded, our delicate centres exposed, beautiful, intense and so very open. Then, after all the work of opening we are presented with our baby. The daily spin of feeding, nappies and care begins.

In Western cultures, some women go back to work immediately, some may stay home but their partners must work so the burden of care falls solely on the new mother. We are still open. Most of us do not have the support needed to spend a month being cared for as in other cultures around the world. We are still open. A month spent eating nutrient rich foods specifically intended to build blood and strength. A month spent resting, recovering and yes, closing.

Closing what? Well, energetically, we are closing back together the center channels. It is that energetic space at our core, the one in which we grew a tiny human, and shared with a tiny human for over nine months. Until the baby is born, we are sharing an energy system. Once the baby is born, our bodies now must rebalance, as what was full is empty, what was shared is now free to find its own rhythms again. Our petals must begin the inhalation now, folding inward, gently spooling our energy back into our hearts and cores. Closing what was so open, precious and intimate. The transition does not always go smoothly.

In Chinese Medicine, pregnancy is called a gateway of change because it offers an opportunity for the body to shift dramatically. This shift can be positive, with old longstanding patterns of illness shifted into new healthy ones. Especially if the mother eats well, rests well and keeps active during pregnancy. And after—and that is the key. The increasing rates of bladder prolapse and hip replacement in older women are just two of a growing number of patterns of illness experienced by women in later life. It is critical that we take time and energy to close effectively after baby is born. Not only do we need that energy for ourselves to meet the demands of daily life, but our physical bodies need the support and structure of bones back together.

So how do we do this? We return to our community of sisters. As women we need to do this for each other, as part of the standard, routine care of postnatal women. It can be done many ways: with massage, with rebozo, with belly wrapping, with energy work. One of the easiest and most approachable is with a rebozo, that indispensible woven cloth that can be used for anything from a scarf, to a sling, to a labour aid. It can also be used to wrap the hips and literally bring the bones back together. And by bringing the bones back together, we bring our energy back into our center, back to our core. The alternative is our energy leaking out, from the bottom, sides or top of our bodies, wherever it can. Most important is the gift to ourselves of acknowledging both that we have been open and now we are closing with intention. The clear message to ourselves is that we care enough to give our energy back to ourselves; we love ourselves enough to put ourselves back together, to honour our vessel. We love ourselves enough to become our shining whole again. Of course once we do this for ourselves, we find that we have much deeper reserves to meet the needs of all those others we love in lives.

Sacred Bathing : A Gift To Yourself

Sacred Bath

by Jessica Booth from Sacred Essence

As a healer who works with energy as well as the physical world, I must have a effective cleansing practice. This involves clearing the space in which I work, cleaning my clothes and most importantly cleaning myself. Physically this is as mundane as having a shower. Energetically it requires a little intention.

What is intention? Jessica Smithson and I were talking about this the other day. For us we have an underlying intention or what I call a clear thought—that the work we do is to serve the highest good of all involved and to harm none. Before I ever lay a hand on someone during a shiatsu, reiki session or birth, before I even ask my first question during a flower essence consult—I breathe deep and hold this clear thought in my head and heart. In Chinese medicine it is said that Qi flows where the mind goes. So always at the beginning of any act of healing is the setting of our mind/thought/intention.

A sacred bath is a bath or shower which is done with specific intention & the support of herbs, essences, crystals and /or candles. You can use whatever you have to hand, really to support the intention. Don’t be worried about having special tools—magic happens in every day life with simple things. Ceremony comes from inside, not the stuff we have outside. The intention here is to wash away any negative energy that you may have picked up, had dumped on you or for whatever reason has stuck to your auric field like cat hair on a favourite coat. It is also to take responsibility for any personal energy that you may have left with someone else (on purpose or not as the case may be). This kind of cleaning feels light and taps into our spiritual integrity.

The full moon or new moon are the perfect time to treat yourself to a sacred bath. Letting go of what no longer serves you, sparkling up your energetic field and calling your energy back to your core so you can start the new year whole and energized.

Now with a busy toddler, I’ve got to book in time for a bath these days—so I know what it is like to juggle things—but I promise this is worth it!!! If you don’t have a bath you can do this in the shower, the intention is the same.

Step 1. Heat a pot of water on the stove & add to it fresh herbs, dried herbs, flowers, essential oils, flower essences etc. If you have older children, they can help choose what goes in the pot—they often know what mommy needs. Here are some suggestions: fresh basil, mint, rosemary, sage, raspberry leaves, rue, lavender, citrus fruits/peels, cinnamon sticks—your spice rack and garden are your friends here. Bring this to a boil and add a small shot of red wine. There is an energetic property of the wine that fixes the brew—but it isn’t essential so if you don’t have it or want it leave it out. Once boiled let the mixture cool slightly. I like to bundle these herbs into a cheese cloth so they are easy to pick out of the tub and don’t clog the drain (learned that one the hard way!).

Step 2. Make your space sacred, have a quick tidy, smudge with sage or sacred wood smoke (I like Santo Palo, find out more here: http://sacredwoodessence.com/benefits/). And have a quick shower so you are clean.

Step 3: Draw yourself a lovely hot bath. Take your pot of herbs and either add to into your bath or carefully stand in your bath/shower and gently pour the slightly cooled water over your head (please make sure the temperature is okay for you before you do this. Do Not Pour Boiling Water Over Your Head!!). You can use the herbs to brush your skin and hair.

Step 4: As you soak in the tub or shower, breath deep and really connect in with this body you have. Be in your body, wholly and completely. Set your clear intention to clean and clear on all levels. You can ask for guidance from your helpful healing guides, spirits, angels, power animals or whomever you usually pray to. As you soak feel the herbs helping you to gently release with love and kindness any energy that doesn’t belong to you. You may even feel the need to say out loud that you are releasing any energy that does not belong to you. Be gentle but firm. Don’t judge any images that pop into your head, just let them go, little bubbles bursting into light. Allow yourself to enjoy the space you have now that you are not holding onto stuff that doesn’t belong to you.

Step 5. Now take a few minutes to enjoy this light feeling. Breathe deep and stay connected to your body. Now is the time to call back your own energy. Feel it spooling into you, refilling your inner sparkle and light. This energy is yours and belongs to you. With kindness and love, allow yourself to be whole, spirit and body connected. You may even feel the need to say out loud: I call back all of my energy with love and kindness. Be gentle but firm—you need to mean it. Again don’t judge yourself or any images or feelings that come up. This is just energy, not good or bad. Be kind to yourself in this moment and enjoy the feeling of wholeness and contentment.

Step 6. Stay in the bath as long as you can and enjoy!!!! I like to do a chakra scan at this point and a little meditation just to check in with where I’m at, but you can just chill and enjoy the bath. We don’t always have to do, we can just be.

Step 7. Once you are out, take it easy. Any kind of clearing out like this can take a little getting used to. Rest if you need to rest (I find it makes me a bit sleepy). Eat well, nourish yourself body and soul. Don’t go out and watch a bunch of violent movies or be around intense people. You’ve just cleaned yourself out of all that junk—don’t go putting it back in. Let the experience settle and fortify you. Now—this can be done with loads of intention but you can take short cuts if it means doing over not doing it. Have fun, keep it light. And this counts as impeccable self care, so you get a gold star—if you keep track of things like that.

Sacred Relationship Venice Beach Testimonials

Sacred Relationship Venice Beach

Katie Mullins: The Sacred Relationship retreat has changed my life and relationship with Travis forever. We went with the intention to respark the romance and and passion we had years earlier that faded in and out of our relationship, but were gifted so much more. By having a beautiful sacred container to dive deep into our relationship and ourselves, I felt I was reborn. For the first time in 10 years I was able to be completely open, raw, and honest…I finally felt honored, heard and loved for who I TRULY was and will never EVER forget that closing ceremony on the beach. I left the retreat with so much gratitude and more love than you can ever imagine for myself, my partner, and the journey of our relationship. I had been working on healing a big piece of myself for a long time, and this retreat was the final piece that freed me from that.

Serious, will Never. Ever. Forget…

So blessed to have been witnessed on the journey in Sisterhood. Their support allowed me to do the heart work I needed to do…

Much love to Anni and Tim for this gift they are sharing. Thank you so very much for supporting our journey and beyond and for creating this amazing healing experience…and of course the food was!

And so much respect for the boy who became a man that retreat, love you forever, so very proud of you…

Venice Beach

Travis Mullins: You may not believe me if I told you this but the sacred relationship retreat at Venice beach changed my life forever. It was very difficult for me to pull off going to the retreat in general, I had to take multiple days off work. My boss was out of town and I had to make sure everything was perfect for when he got back. But I made it happen… This decision was difficult but it was the best decision I ever made. I came into the retreat with a completely open mind, my love and I had intentions of putting a new spark in our relationship but wow it was definitely much much more than that. The first day we arrived, I felt an ease that I had not felt in a long time. I put away my worries of work, career, and children and was able to focus solely on us and me. The house Anni and Tim chose was beautiful the smell of the beach and , the space felt amazing and the energy of the other couples was inspiring. I also had clarity that I had not had in a long time due to addictions that I had been carrying for many years and living in a lower vibrational state for so long. The first day was intense but the ease at which Anni and Tim facilitated our day was amazing and the insight and guidance they carried made it easier to transition to a higher vibrational state of being. It really made you take a look at yourself and our relationship. The fear release day the “climax” the turning point of the retreat was mind blowing. I had done fear releases in the past, but the vast beautiful ocean setting and the mens circle that Tim facilitated allowed me to really delve deep within my soul and release fears that I did not even know I had or could even release. I left the beach that day with a clarity and lighter soul that would allow me to understand and hold space for my love that I could never have done before. The third day was a processing day for me it flew by I felt as if I was not in my body, I had transcended into a new state of being and I was loving every minute of it. I did not ever want to leave this new place I had found within myself. This day setup the most epic day of the retreat, the ceremony to finalize the retreat process. The writing of the vows and the whole process lead up to this final day. My love and I released so much at the ceremony, I cannot even begin to describe in words the feelings that were felt that day. All I can say is it was life changing. I found a new deep, soul deep gratitude for my love that I had never knew existed. Our relationship from this day forward had changed into something new, and beautiful. The love we had gained for each other filled my very being which I am still only beginning to understand. I have deep gratitude for Anni and Tim I believe they have created a process that any couple no matter your circumstances could benefit. Ultimately, these retreats have the power to shift relationships into a new paradigm. Thank you again, Travis

Rings

Aaron Crowder: I went into “Sacred Relationship” not knowing what I was getting myself into. I thought, “Oh a relationship getaway. Kind of like the movie couples retreat.” But it turned out to be one of the best experiences of my life. Not only did this retreat vastly strengthen me and my wife, Sue’s, relationship. It vastly opened me up to myself.

The feeling you take away from the experience is completely amazing. It’s been a week since I’ve left the retreat and I feel STILL lighter, happier, and more in touch with my own life than ever before. Anni and Tim are amazing people with a wealth of relationship knowledge, and they create an outstanding environment to open ourselves up and take a good look at where and who we are, and where and who we want to be, as well as provide the tools we need to get there. I had a blast and I think all relationships should experience Anni and Tim’s “Sacred Relationship.”

Love

Sue Crowder: Going to Sacred Relationship was taking a deep journey into the heart and soul of my marriage. My husband and I both felt before going that we already had a good marriage, but we wanted it to be great. This experience was life changing for us! We went in knowing that it might be hard to take such a close look at ourselves and our relationship but we were willing to do it to grow stronger.

To me, the most amazing part was watching my partner transform right in front of me. He truly did the work and found the side of himself he’s been searching for. It was an honor to walk beside him for that journey.

Anni + Tim create such a safe and intimate space for couples that we were able to deeply connect and express ourselves. We shared our hopes, our dreams, our fears, and our love. We found that deep level of trust and understanding that we’d been working towards. We also connected with other couples, each on their own beautiful journeys. We shared laughter and tears and made true friends for life.

Sacred Relationship is unlike anything you’ve experienced before. If you’re going through a difficult time, a peaceful time, or just want to connect more deeply to your partner GO to a retreat and dive in together. There is beauty and love on all levels shared here. Your relationship with your partner will be deeply nourished so you can carry the magic from the retreat into your every day lives and truly live in your Sacred Relationship always.

Thank you Anni + Tim for a relationship enriching and life changing 4 days. Aaron and I will always remember the magic that was created for us. We will always be grateful for the gifts you’ve given us. And we will always cherish our deeply Sacred Relationship.

Breath Work + Connecting To Your Body

Open to Love

By Jessica Booth from Sacred Essence

Sometimes life gets tough and we loose perspective. It is easy to get bogged down in the fine details of day-to-day stresses. Back in the days of my shiatsu training, we were discussing in class the seriousness of seeing clients who can be very ill. And one of my favourite teachers was talking about where to start. He said we have to recognise that this person is here. They are alive and they are breathing. And there is joy in life. So that is where we start, not just as practitioners, but everyone. We start with the joy and the valuing of life. So here is a super simple exercise to use that helps us re-connect with our breath, our body and our being alive.

Now that usually makes me feel joy, but if you don’t – that’s okay too. Be sure not to judge yourself (I certainly won’t). In fact just observe whatever feelings come up for you – without judgement, and know that just by breathing you are helping the energy of the emotions move.

Connecting to your body exercise:

1. Start by sitting comfortably. Can be on the floor cross –legged or even in a chair at work or on the bus. Just give yourself some mental space and allow yourself to be as comfortable as you can.

2. Place your hands over your lower belly, just under your belly button. Breathe regularly but notice your breath. You don’t need to change it. Just ask yourself, “How does it feel breathing in?” “How does it feel breathing out?” Just breath with open curiosity for your breath. Keep it relaxed.

3. After a few minutes of relaxed breathing imagine that you have another nose just under your belly button. When you breathe in, breath in through your real nose and also through your imaginary tummy nose. When you breathe out, breathe out through both noses. Allow your inhalation to fill not only your lungs but also your whole abdomen. When you release your breath, feel your tummy and lungs get smaller, making space in your body. Space for the in- breath, the new fresh clean air. Take it in and allow it to fill you with peace and vitality. Then let in go, allow yourself to be empty, ready to fill again. This rhythm of breath, inspiration and exhalation mirrors the rhythm of your cells. They take in nourishment and nutrients and expel what they no longer need. This rhythm of breathing mirrors the subtle rhythm of the cerebral fluid and the pulse of the heart. It is the rhythm of opening and connecting, taking in and the flow of closing and protecting, letting go. It is simple and vital and life.

4. When you are ready let your breathing go back to normal. Allow your awareness to return to the room you are in. And thank your body for the gift of breath. For any mamas & partners out there this is a great one for both of you to practice.

Much gratitude goes out to the Shiatsu College (UK) for the ‘tummy nose” part of this exercise. Want to learn more fun things like this? Check out the school here: http://shiatsucollege.co.uk

This Is What I Pray For You, Sweet Baby of Mine

This Is What I Pray For You, Sweet Baby of Mine
by Vicki Rivard

For all of the babies: May you be loved.

I pray that with your very first cry (that mighty hellooooo world that will shift atoms and alter planet Earth forever), you feel my arms around you, holding you close to my beating heart, and learn that you can cry in this world, that you are safe in this world, that my arms and my heart were built to hold you.

I pray that with your very first feeding, nestled against the warmth of my chest, you learn what it is to be nourished by your mama (me) and by your Mama (Earth) and that you grasp, deep inside your brand-new-ancient mind, that you belong here, that you were called here, that you are worthy of receiving the sustenance you need to thrive amongst the big and small creatures of this difficult world.

I pray that with your very first pee and your very first poo, you learn to enjoy the crucial act of letting go, of releasing what no longer serves you, of making space inside and out for the continually unfurling possibilities of life.

I pray that with your very first laugh, you learn to embrace the pleasure of pleasure, to find the funny in a sound, a thought, a sensation, and to let the ease of the moment fill you up and burst out of you like speckles of starlight. Never be scared of the silly, baby. The silly will keep you strong.

I pray that with your very first awareness of your thumb, your hand, your toes, you learn that to inhabit a body is a miraculous thing. That with your very first crawl, you learn to be excited by moving in this world, by touching and climbing, and chasing the wind, and feeling it all. That with your very first tooth, you learn that pain happens, that it cuts and pierces and burns, but that it also passes, leaving precious gifts in its wake.

I pray that with your very first sleep through the night, you learn not to fear the darkness but to find solace in the Moon’s glow, to fall easily into that limp and heavy state where the active mind surrenders to the mystical truth buried in dreams. Listen to your dreams, baby. They will connect you to the angels.

I pray that with your very first word, you learn that words are power and I hope that you unflinchingly say no when you mean no, and yes when you mean yes, and courageously walk away when others don’t respect the sanctity of your words.

I pray that with your very first prayer, you learn to trust in the unseen forces of this world, to listen to the guidance of the Great Spirit who speaks to us in birdsong and sunbeams, and to find the answers you seek in the divine knowing of your own perfect heart.

I pray that with your very first ache for the pain of another, you learn not to dread the ache but to welcome the ache, for this is compassion gently knocking at your door. Let it in, little one. Let the ache travel deep inside and crack you open so that all the goodness you hold can rush out of you and into this beautiful, broken world.

I pray that with your very first brush against warm fur, you learn to cherish animals as the blessed beings they are, that you allow them into your space, and invite their soft bodies to curl up against yours. Become friends with the animals, baby. They will grow your heart, if you let them.

I pray all of this for you, sweet baby of mine, knowing all too well that you will struggle as we all do, and hurt as we all do, and feel very alone and very confused and very lost, as we all do.

But I pray that when you feel lost, you know to look up at the sky, the clouds, the stars, my eyes and remember who you are, remember where you come from, remember that I am your mother and that, for a short time, your tiny heart beat inside of my body, filling me up with the most radiant light, and we were magic together.

I pray–and I pray this most of all–that with your very first breath, and with every breath that follows, you feel the sacredness of my love and know that it will never falter or fade. It is a love that lasts forever and it is the fiercest force in the world.

I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you.

I love you, baby.

“Listen to the musn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.” ~ Shel Silverstein

 

About the Author: Vicki trusts in the guidance of her own heart-compass, which has yet to lead her astray. She is a Registered Acupuncturist who practices the ancient art of Chinese Medicine to support women as they heal, grow, rise, and shine. Caring for the Spirit of mothers and mothers-to-be is at the forefront of her treatment philosophy. She is a graduate of the highly esteemed Institute of Traditional Medicine in Toronto, Ontario and was the first recipient of the Karen Haffey Memorial Award for Leadership in Changing the World. Vicki advocates for the wellness of all beings – of Earth and Sky and Sea – and aims to write, speak, and teach from a place of love. She was once reminded, by a deer in a forest, to “keep believing in the magic,” so she does. She and her husband are expecting their first baby in April and are reveling in the joy of it all. Connect with her on Facebook, by email, or (in the very near-future), at her sacred cyberhome, www.mahinamedicine.com. Sea: www.facebook.com/swimwildcanada Facebook: www.facebook.com/vjr26 Email: vicki@mahinamedicine.com

Welcome to the Sacred Living Movement

Kiera Lillesve Foto

The Sacred Living Movement™ started with a book, a vision, and a dream. Anni Daulter wrote a book called Sacred Pregnancy and held one retreat in November of 2012 to train visionary birth workers her program and ideas for shifting the pregnancy + birth experience for women from medicalized to something sacred and honored. After the flagship retreat in Ojai, the movement grew into more programs and ideas and has become a grand vision that we now call The Sacred Living Movement™.  We quickly realized that all aspects of our life journey needed to be addressed, honored, marked and seen as sacred and so we started developing programs to fit the needs of the communities we were servicing. Today we have traveled to over 9 different countries, trained well over 600 women to be Sacred Pregnancy Instructors and expanded who we are and who we want to be by including more programs that support living a truly S A C  R E D   L I F E. Take your time sifting through our website at www.sacredlivingmovement.com and checking out all we have going on. We now offer many live + online trainings that you can take to enhance your life and / or become certified in to either teach or offer direct services in your own communities. Please see our list below and click through to learn more about each unquie SACRED PROGRAM and who is running them!

Thank you for checking out The Sacred Living Movement™ and we hope to have you in a class / training soon!

Namaste,

Anni Daulter + The Sacred Living Movement Team

 

We now have several programs /trainings available to anyone interested in joining our movement!

sacred pregnancy created by anni daulter
art of sacred postpartum created by anni daulter + sara harkness
sacred relationship (for couples) created by anni daulter + tim daulter
sacred essence (natural family living) created by jessica booth + jessica smithson
sacred medicine woman created by myrriah raimbault
sacred ayurveda created by radha crawley
sacred doula created by lorie mccoy
sacred midwife created by miriam pearson-martinez
sacred loss created by corinne laan
sacred yoga created by nina phelan + mar oscategui
sacred menopause created by bronwyn simons
sacred wise woman created by bronwyn simons
sacred scent (essential oil classes) created by lety murphy
sacred beginnings (mom + baby) created by danielle gustafson
sacred care teams (for pregnant moms on bedrest) created by anni dautler + devyn hummer
i am sisterhood created by anni daulter
sacred sweeties summer camp (little girls + their moms) created by anni daulter
sacred sons created by tnah louise
sacred motherhood created by niki dewart
sacred men created by tim daulter
sacred milk created by sara goff + austin rees
sacred fertility created by jessica booth + jessica smithson

 

additionally, we have amazing sacred mini programs, with more being added all the time!

sacred year with anni daulter
sacred red drum making with nikiah seeds
sacred money manifestation with i am sisterhood
sacred detox with radha schwaller
awakening the heart with radha schwaller
sacred moon energy with bronwyn simmons
sacred blood mysteries with jessica booth + jessica smithson
sacred flower essence with jessica booth + jessica smithson
mama’s sacred medicine cupboard with jessica booth + jessica smithson
sacred belly dancing with jacqueline vincent
sacred medicine wheel with jacqueline vincent
healing birth trauma with corinne laan
sacred belly binding + sealing ceremony with sacred postpartum
sacred vsteams + teas with sacred postpartum