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

Choosing Your Best Prenatal + Childbirth Provider

Kiera Lillesve Foto


By Stephanie Singletary, M.Ed.

So often in our Western society, pregnancy and childbirth are thought of and treated as a means to an end: what a woman must endure in order to have a baby. However, for individuals who take the time to truly REVEL in the pregnancy and birth processes, and acknowledge how MIRACULOUS they truly are, these times are seen as sacred. Whilst motherhood lasts a lifetime, the journeys of pregnancy, labor, and birthing are finite. They are small windows in a woman’s lifetime that only SHE is able to experience. These rites of passage will, without question, shift a woman’s existence—body, mind, and spirit. Being present and truly FEELING and CONNECTING to the acts of growing and birthing a baby are two of the most profound series of events a woman will have in her life. Given the enormity of the process, it makes sense that a woman and her partner should put a lot of energy into choosing the care provider who will see them through pregnancy and the birth of their child.

When it comes to selecting a provider, knowing what YOU want for your pregnancy and birth experiences will help you decide where and how to start finding a provider. Here are some questions and considerations to help you prepare for your search:

If you plan on birthing at a hospital, your choice is to be served by either an Ob/Gyn or a midwife. If you are seeking an un-medicated, natural birth, a midwife is going to be the most supportive of your vision. Only midwives support homebirths. Once you have answered the above questions for yourself, you will know what answers you are looking for from a potential provider. No matter what type of birth you are planning, trusting your INTUITION is of utmost importance when it comes to choosing YOUR care provider. It is very difficult to have an easy birth if you feel uncomfortable or unsafe in any way. So, if at ANY point in your interview or during your prenatal care your intuition shouts, “NO!” listen to it, and change your path.

If you are planning a hospital birth, I recommend asking the following questions of your provider. The ideal provider’s answers will match yours from above:

FOR YOUR BABY:

KNOW YOUR OPTIONS: Learn about antibiotic eye ointment, newborn testing, hepatitis B vaccine, vitamin K shot, and ALL other newborn protocol so that YOU are able to make educated decisions around what you DO and DO NOT want for your baby. ALSO, know that if you arrive and the nurse you are assigned does not seem aligned with your birth vision, there are ALWAYS other nurses present. It is OKAY to ask for another nurse to be assigned to you. Your nurse is often with you more than your primary care provider during the labor and delivery process—make sure you’re comfortable with her.

While the list of questions for a hospital birth is quite long, the list for homebirth providers is much shorter because they are there to support you in having the most natural birth possible without having to yield to hospital policies. Here are a handful of questions to ask a homebirth midwife:

There is no more delicate or powerful experience in a woman’s life than that of pregnancy and childbirth. My hope is that this thorough list of questions will support you in making the incredibly important decision of who will guide you across this beautiful bridge to motherhood.

Enjoy the search!

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Stephanie Singletary, M.Ed. is the founder of Sacred Living of Georgia. She is Georgia’s first and only fully-certified Sacred Pregnancy instructor, and offers the eight-week Sacred Pregnancy Pregnancy Journey classes, the four-week Sacred Pregnancy Birth Journey classes, and the Sacred Pregnancy two-day mini retreats. Stephanie also offers doula services, breastfeeding support, private pregnancy and childbirth education, and holistic postpartum services.

Stephanie was drawn to being a birth worker after the transformative experience of carrying and birthing her daughter. She comes to you with a background in psychology and child development, a master’s degree in special education, and a passion for the arts, nutrition, and healthy, positive living. Stephanie supports ALL birth journeys from home birth to planned Caesarean to Adoption. If you live in the Atlanta area, and are longing to make your pregnancy and birth experiences more meaningful, Stephanie will support you in achieving that vision with knowledge, kindness, compassion, and a desire and ability to TRULY hear your fears, wishes and needs.

The Language of Nature in Autumn

By Radha Crawley, LMT, Certified Ayurvedic Educator

Ayurveda, the ancient healing science of life from India, offers insight into the language that nature speaks to us.  Through the understanding of the symbols and indicators nature offers us, we can choose which foods, aromas, routines, herbs, and activities that are balancing for us and will bring us into health and well being.

Autumn in Ayurveda is the Vata time of year. This is the time that brings more lightness, dryness, and coolness to permeate the atmosphere and our bodies.

Vata is a Sanskrit word meaning “that which moves things”.  It is also one of the three doshas, a specific mixture of the five elements.  Vata is a mixture of the air and ether/space elements. This divine collaboration creates the qualities of coolness, lightness, dryness, mobility, clarity, and subtlety.  Nature is offering us the opportunity to bask in the spirit of creativity while we feel the sensations of levity on our body, mind and spirit.

If we are balanced in this season, our visions will offer clear glimpses of insight imbued with divine connection and creative manifestation.

The beauty that lies in understanding what language nature is speaking is that we can then apply balance in our daily routine so that we can harness the gifts of the season.  In Ayurveda balance is achieved by applying opposites.

Our mantra for autumnal balance is: warmth, moisture, routine and stability.

In our physical environment during the autumn we see many leaves change color, loosen their hold, and fall gracefully to the earth. The leaves will dry and eventually decompose, offering nutrients to the roots.  These changes tell us something big is shifting in the atmosphere that will affect us for months to come. The sun season is alleviating and the moon season is beginning.  There is a grand stirring of the heat that accumulated all summer as it begins to move up and out of the body.  Circulation in the body slows as the cool air shrinks the channels of the body. As time passes and we experience more of this moon season, we will see the agni/transformative fire, that was present in our skin in the summer time, move into our digestive systems. This increased internal fire will bring a desire for more heavy and warm foods.

Care has to be taken not to eat too many hot spices that are said to increase circulation as the result will be a wearing away of the protective mucous stomach lining and thus dehydration. This happens because the body is trying to protect the tissues of the stomach by using the lymphatic fluid as a cooling agent in the stomach.  Over time, this action will deplete the water reserves of the body.

Ayurveda offers a system of holistic health by creating balance between the elements present in the atmosphere and body.

Listed here are some suggestions for encouraging balance that will allow you to flow gracefully through vata season!

 

  • Daily warm-oil self massage with vata oil or organic sesame oil. Vata balancing essential oils should be emollient, sedative, rejuvenative, tonic, and have the qualities of moisture, heaviness, calming and warmth. (Miller and Miller, 1995)

 

In Sanskrit oil therapy is called snehana. Snehana also means ‘love therapy’. Every time you take a moment to lovingly apply oil to your skin, you are practicing a sacred ritual of self-love and ultimate self-care.

 

Aromatherapy Vata oil recipe

*If you are pregnant, please omit essential oils with asterik*

2 oz organic sesame oil (Sesamum indicum)

3 drops Tulsi *(Ocimum sanctum)

1 drops Clove *(Eugenia caryophyllata)

2 drops Patchouli (Pogostemom cablim)

3 drops Jatamansi *(Nardostachys jatamansi)

8 drops Lavender (Lavendula angustofolia)

 

  • Keep a regular daily routine. Wake at the same time, eat meals on a regular schedule, go to bed at the same time each night.
  • Be asleep no later than 10:30pm. Limit exposure to screens past 7pm.
  • Depending on your personal constitution, the diet in the autumn should be focused on (but not limited to) sweet, salty and sour foods. Examples are: almonds, grains, seaweed, ghee, milk, pomegranate, lime, yogurt, carrots, sweet potatoes, and parsnip.
  • Enjoy this rejuvenating, nourishing homemade almond milk recipe. Almonds are       immune building and have an overall strengthening action.

 

Fresh Almond Milk recipe

Bring to boil 2c pure spring water

Remove from heat allow it to cool slightly, then pour over 3 TBS raw almonds, preferably organic

Soak the almonds overnight.

Rub peels off almonds and put them with the soaking water in the blender. Grind at low speed for a few seconds, then on high until smooth. Put through a stainless steel strainer for smoother consistency.

Optional:

Sweeten with 1 TBS maple syrup, honey or raw sugar and/or add 1 tsp cardamom and/or 1/8tsp nutmeg.

  • Focus on warm, cooked foods such as: kitchari, soups, and lightly steamed vegetables.

 

Kitchari/Kichadi recipe

This is the “chicken noodle soup” of India. There are many versions of this recipe, feel free to play around with the spices and get to know their properties!

1 cup Basmati Rice (or other grains: quinoa, barley)

2 cups split Mung beans or red lentils if you can’t find split mung

7 cups (approx.) Water

a bit of Salt

2 Tbs. ghee

Use your specific spice churna as recommended in your Ayurvedic Consultation or:

3 tsp. Mustard Seeds

2 tsp. Cumin Seeds or Powder (not if constipated)

2 tsp. Turmeric Powder

2 tsp. Coriander Powder

2 tsp. Fennel Powder

 

Heat ghee in pan and add spices, except turmeric (it burns easily), let the spices toast for 1-2 minutes in the pan, add turmeric, toast for 15 seconds.  Add rinsed rice, mung dal and water. Bring to near boil, turn to low, let simmer for 30-40 minutes. Garnish with fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime.

 

  • Incorporate spices and herbs such as: cinnamon, nutmeg, cumin, ginger, fennel, coriander, saffron, cardamom, pippali/long pepper, black pepper.
  • Receive shirodhara to relax the mind and entire central nervous system. Shirodhara is an Ayurvedic therapy where warm herbal oil is poured over the forehead to relax the nervous system, which in turn will naturally release and unravel stress and tension.
  • Limit the number of activities you choose to participate in.
  • Engage in activities that allow you to feel grounded, nurtured, warm and creative.
  • Practice restorative, yin and slow flow, forward bend-focused yoga postures.
  • Avoid overstimulation, excessive exposure to wind, cold and raw foods, staying up late, and extensive travel.

 

Autumn is a beautiful time to slow down, delve deep into your daily rituals and connect with all the beings you love. Remember, by creating a rhythm for yourself that includes warm foods, nurturing situations, and daily oil massage, you will be able to harness and explore your creative potential that will offer you crystal clear clarity of mind, a calm and nurtured body and an expanding connection to spirit.

 

Reference:

Miller , D. L., & Miller , D. B. (1995). Ayurveda and Aromatherapy. Twin Lakes, WI: Lotus Press.

Pregnancy Practice

by Anni Daulter, Sacred Living Movement Founder + Creator

Many times in our culture, when a woman gets pregnant, the immediate focus goes directly to her baby and the birth. It’s almost as if the wholeness of the pregnancy and the woman herself gets skipped over as all direct focus becomes about the birth. This is not to say we do not coach pregnant woman on what to eat, weighing her, checking in to make sure baby is fine and dandy, give her proper books to read, and so on, but what about her spiritual and emotional journey to that final day and beyond? I believe that pregnancy ITSELF is a sacred journey, not just the BIRTH part, and its critical that we recognize that as true. We have given women a huge dis-service by filling their heads up with so much “birthy” knowledge that she gets overwhelmed instead of uplifted, educated instead of prepared.

I propose that women take on what I call a “pregnancy practice”, much like a monk meditates everyday or a chef cooks everyday or a dancer practices her craft every-day, so must a pregnant woman step into her journey with awareness, consciousness and intention every single day. A “pregnancy practice” involves NOT preparing for birth, UNTIL the end of her pregnancy when the time has come for her to ready herself for birth and being present in the moments of her pregnancy, thus allowing herself to experience all of the emotional tides that run through it. When a woman can do this, she is no longer just a body or a vessel for birthing a baby, she is a woman on a personal mission…to motherhood. She has an opportunity to re-define herself along the way, look deeply at the ebbs + flows of her days as a “pregnant woman”. I encourage women to sink deeply in their pregnancy journeys and stir around in their awareness pots the juicy topics of sex, partnerships, food relationships, sacred experiences, connection, sisterhood, ceremony and personal empowerment.

Being PRESENT during pregnancy is also practical. This skill will serve women in their birth experiences and in motherhood. We can teach a woman all kinds of tricks and techniques for birth, but unless she truly knows how to go back to herself, find her core, and can easily access her connection to her highest self, every technique becomes more like a Band-Aid and less like a cure. Teach a woman to count on herself and you have turned the philosophical concept of empowerment to an actual tangible practice that will carry her through her life as a mother.

In my opinion, in order to REALLY change the birth conversation, we have to give pregnant women a new language to speak, new ideals of knowing themselves as pregnant women, then as birthing women, then as mothers, new depths of understanding expectations and personal connection to the process and most importantly, we have to give them the gift of TRUSTING themselves.

This kind of power makes real change. Instantly. Empower a woman by teaching her HOW TO DO EMPOWERMENT, not just say the word, and you have taught her to fish, and with that kind of skill…well, lets just say, look out establishment, change will be a comin’ like it or not. The beauty of this will happen so effortlessly that all of our shouting from the rooftops will seem as quiet as a whisper.

So a pregnancy practice is as needed as the air we breath, as the food we eat, as what warms us at night…it’s the essential piece missing for women, and its time to open that door! One woman at a time, inviting her to the sweet table of her sacred journey, will feed her, her baby and her family for the duration of the pregnancy, will be the nectar she drinks at the birth, and the nourishment she conjures up for her family for many years to come.

This is my dream…how about you?

Empowerment + Birth

by Anni Daulter, Sacred Living Movement Founder + Creator

Empowerment is a tricky word to me. Its one of those words that gets thrown around like its meaning and application are common knowledge and we should all “know” how to apply this concept to our lives in general, but particularly to our pregnant + birthing experiences. I have taken this word on as my personal challenge to make it a tangible, touchable, taste-able, feel-able word that women learn and know “how to do”. I no longer give advice to women to be empowered during pregnancy + birth, I SHOW them. I give them the empowerment fishing rod and show them where to throw the line in along their journey. This is what is so different about what we are doing with this movement. When women get pregnant, the very first thing they start doing is planning for the birth. Their care providers are also pretty focused on the final outcome, a “healthy baby”. While that is a wonderful last step of a long 10 month journey for a woman, what about all the time in between, where she goes up and down emotionally, possibly struggling with her changing body, the relationship shifts with her partner, expectations that may or may not be being met?

A woman’s walk down the pregnancy path to the awe inspiring “birth” day of her baby is a long and winding one and needs to be honored, talked about and acknowledged along the way. We need to help women find that transcending place within where they can tap into regardless of birthing environment. This is a place of higher vibrational living, a place of spiritual centeredness, a place of calm and grounding, of personal; awareness, this is the place where empowerment truly lives, and where I aim to have women walk. Getting in touch with her innate power is a daily “practice” and not something she can just read about or be handed with a fortune cookie proverb of “get empowered today” kind of thing. It’s a place she earns through her commitment to her own personal growth and vision to walk her whole life, not just her pregnant life, in a higher state of consciousness. This place of true empowerment will give her the gift of birthing in her own wisdom, of being able to tap into past women’s wisdom and will carry her over the threshold of maiden to mother with a look of fiery knowing in her eyes, because simply, she has “remembered” who she is and where she came from.

Abhyanga: The Art of Self Love through Massage For Pregnancy and Postpartum Bliss

By Radha Crawley, LMT, Certified Ayurvedic Educator, Sacred Ayurveda Creator

The body of one who uses oil massage regularly does not become affected much even if subjected to accidental injuries, or strenuous work. By using oil massage daily, a person is endowed with pleasant touch, trimmed body parts and becomes strong, charming and least affected by old age.
Charaka Samhita Vol. 1, V: 88-89

Giving birth is one of the most powerful experiences a woman will have in her life. To go through pregnancy and childbirth feeling clear, connected, blissful, devoted and loving, mama will transfer these feelings directly to the child. By using the practices from the ancient science of Ayurveda, one can achieve a balanced body, peace of mind and bliss in the spirit!

Everything that a woman experiences during this time is directly transferred into the growing life inside her body. Massage, skin care, footbaths, compresses, aromatherapy, and sacred bathing will increase the connection between mama and her growing baby.

What is Abhyanga? In Sanskrit, the ancient, vibrational, written language from India, abhy means to rub and anga means limb, so together they make up the word massage.

Abhyanga is an anointing of the body with warm oil, often infused with healing herbs and balancing essential oils.

In the West we are beginning to catch on to the importance of massage from a wellness and preventative health standpoint.

In Ayurveda the healing aspects of Abhyanga include relaxation of the muscles and calming of the nervous system as well as attention being paid to many subtle healing aspects that make it a holistic healing modality.

The act of anointing the body with warm, herbal oil is called snehana. The Sanskrit word sneha means oil and love. The benefits of regular snehana invite the same qualities as being deeply loved, loving yourself and loving another: strength, stability, openness and warmth.

More benefits of Abhyanga as stated by the ancient Ayurvedic text, Astanga Hridaya:
• Improves Sleep
• Promotes sturdiness of the body
• Promotes longevity
• Nourishes the body
• Promotes better eyesight
• Prevents and corrects affliction of the nervous system
• Overcomes fatigue
• Prevents and corrects the aging process
• Detoxification of the body

In the Charak Samhita, another ancient Ayurvedic text, abhyanga in the form of snehana is said to be like a pot smeared with oil and the impurities of vata, pitta, and kapha cannot stick to it. In the same way, if the body is properly oiled with abhyanga daily, impurities cannot penetrate and disease cannot develop.

Abhyanga is best performed daily before bathing or showering. After the warm oil is massaged into the skin, it is best to sit for 15-20 minutes in a warm room to allow the oil to penetrate deep into the tissues. Depending on your current state of balance and the seasons you can choose the most balancing oil for you.

Using warm oil is very nurturing and nourishing to the entire physiology. Feel free to use a plain base oil if you are sensitive to essential oils in any way.

During pregnancy when mixing essential oils with a base oil, I recommend the ratio of 2 oz of base oil to 10 drops total of essential oil. When you are not pregnant and during postpartum, 2 oz of oil to 20-25 drops of essential oil is recommended.

Essential oils can greatly enhance the emotional and spiritually balancing aspects of the abhyanga and so I highly recommend adding 1-4 of the recommended oils below to your base oil.

For Spring and Kapha (cold and wet) types choose organic sesame oil, jojoba, olive oil or safflower oil. Add your choice of eucalyptus, frankincense, lemon, sweet orange, lavender and rose.

For Winter, change of seasons and Vata (dry, cold, light) types choose organic sesame oil, olive oil, almond oil and essential oils of chamomile, jatamansi, lavender, ylang ylang, geranium, cedarwood, patchouli, lemon and rose.

For Summer and Pitta (hot, inflamed, oily) types choose coconut oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, almond oil and essential oils of sandalwood, rose, lavender, vetiver, sweet orange, lime, clary sage, chamomile and geranium.

How to Perform a self massage/ Abhyanga

Remember you are anointing your body with oil as a way of loving yourself and to increase your state of health in your mind, body and spirit. Take your time, be gentle and soft with yourself.

1. Choose your base oil and essential oils. Generally a safe proportion is 2 oz of base oil to 20-25 drops of essential oil.
2. Heat up your massage oil. Warm the oil in its container in a sink full of warm water or a large Pyrex measuring cup filled with warm water.
3. Begin by applying a small amount of oil to the top of your head. Massage the top of the head in a clockwise manner with the center of your palm. This is the Maha (great) Marma point and regulates the amount of prana that moves throughout the body.
4. Next apply oil to the entire body beginning with the neck and arms. Remember to do circular motions over the joints and long strokes on the limbs.
5. Clockwise circular strokes will be performed around the breast area and on the abdominal area.
6. Continue sequence to hips, buttocks, legs and ending on the feet.
7. Let the oil soak in for 15-20 minutes for maximum benefit. Be sure to stay out of drafts and in a
warm space at this time.
8. Take a warm bath or shower. Use gentle soap, it is good if a little oil remains.
9. Repeat daily.

Enjoy the benefits of daily Abhyanga and your growing connection with your baby!

For more information on Ayurvedic practices, please contact Radha Crawley at radhacrawley@gmail.com and www.samadhiayurveda.com.