I am interested in the theory and practice of the healing arts. That which brings us closer to remembering our wholeness. I have studied yoga, meditation, birth work, herbalism and body work, all in various styles and modalities.  My studies are on going and rooted deeply in my daily life experience. My path is to use my knowledge to find peace, and share this peace with all beings. 

I am completely honest in my responses to these questions, not just because it would feel terrible to be any other way but also because I believe this vulnerability is the doorway to our healing as humans. This is what I notice most in cities, people in total disconnection from each other, from nature and from the very life force energies that sustain them all because it is too overwhelming and loud and over stimulating and harsh if we actually touch in to this tenderness. It would mean a re-examination of our whole culture, which I think we are long over due for. Still; this inner journey is a gentle one. We evolve over time, walking the sacred spiral.

In gentleness, Shanti 


Beginning meditation during the sacred hours before sunrise creates a grounded practice. What are your morning rituals that start your day?

Shanti: Last night I woke up at 1am. I was wide-awake and I lay in bed being present to the love around me. Then, I gently woke my partner up by spraying rose water over our pillows. We talked and laughed and uncovered the parts of ourselves that we feel afraid of, went deep with our fears, held space, made love, had a snack and fell asleep again probably around 3am so we slept in until 8 and missed the pre-dawn holy time. I am relating this long tale because this time together was sacred.

Time stopped, we weren't trying to be anywhere. Is this not a sacred time? I cannot tell you how much self judgment and anxiety I have created in my life trying to control myself and my life to be in bed at a certain time, eat a restricted diet, cheat stray fail sleep in and feel like I've let myself down. Sometimes, we drink little tea cups of organic dark beer with a small bite of hand crafted cheese in bed before we sleep, reading to each other, talking and laughing then wake up to have coffee in bed after sleeping in.  Sometimes we lie on the floor with crystals and lambies, drink herbal infusions and light sage and a beeswax candle. In our quest to "settle" and find home (driving across the country five times since 2013) I have released control of routine and we have learned to make everywhere we stay, into home, realizing that home is an inner experience. This may sound crazy, because yoga and meditation have been the one constant in the sea of chaotic changes but somehow when I stop trying to control everything, a magical window opens each day for me to practice. If I take it, I feel more present to life as it unfolds. If I decide not to take it, I feel a little more uptight. But my most solid practice right now is to not hold judgment to myself either way.

 

What mantras do you focus on during your practice?

Shanti: When I first graduated Sananda Yoga Teacher's Training in 2006 we were each whispered a mantra from our teacher, to practice each day until we met our Guru. After meeting Amma many times, I finally stopped trying to have some psychedelic mind altering experience like I had read about in Autobiography of a Yogi or Miracle of Love, I stopped comparing my experience, and just kept going to see her whenever she is in North America, following my heart and letting my mind try to catch up to my heart's knowing. When I am with Amma, my heart feels truly open and I feel deeply inspired, I melt into her presence. When I sit in front of her picture, or tell someone about her work in the world, tears fill my eyes — simply writing this I am crying. My mind has no idea what any of this is about so using words or the language of Guru/Disciple feels strange, I simply surrender to a Love that is greater than any I have known before I met her. I asked for a mantra from Amma and this is my main telephone line to Goddess/God/the mystery of creation. This is my personal practice.  

All mantra is beautiful, Tibetan, Kundalini, all sound is sacred. As partners, Liam and I practice specific mantras together for usually 40 day periods if we need cosmic help, for example when moving around a lot balance the root chakra chanting to Ganesh, or when our financial situation became stressful, chanting to Lakshmi — not for money — but for the wisdom to know how to honor it.  I have also studied Sanskrit in my YTT and privately and often will chant with my shruti box in devotional song, with Liam sometimes joining in with guitar. In addition to this, every Friday, I practice Green Tara puja, chanting to Tara with my sister. 

 

We both have a connection to the Pacific Northwest. I have learnt profound lessons in my life living on the coast. What has its beauty taught you?

Shanti: I miss the coast all the time. I feel so connected to Ma in the form of Nature when I sit by the ocean or walk through the forest. The beauty of the Pacific North West has taught me to be truly present; that my connection to the plant world and mysteries that surround us is real. I remember being on the Ferry to Vancouver Island and sitting on the deck, feeling the movement of the boat and asking my guides, asking Ma, to help me feel grounded in that moment. All of our traveling was catching up to me and I felt suddenly overwhelmed. I asked to be shown the love around me, and then opened my eyes to see a pack of dolphins leaping and playing over the waves and a few moments later, two orca whales. I very much struggled with being away from my community (sangha) when we were living and traveling out west and learned to pray like that often, to see that love and guidance is around me in every place as it is with all beings. 

 

I have released control of routine and we have learned to make everywhere we stay, into home, realizing that home is an inner experience.
— Shanti

What is Sananda yoga? What does your practice consist of?

Shanti: Sananda Yoga is the style of Classical Hatha Yoga I learned from my teacher, combining both the eastern philosophy and practices with a more western spiritual psychological framework provided through channeled life readings. This combination has served me since 2005 and continues to ground me in times of stress. Each of the students receives a Core Pattern reading, which is essentially your core karmic wound, that old story you go to, misidentify with, time and time again causing endless amounts of stress. So when we begin working with the Chakras, through asana and meditation, and our wounds surface for the purpose of healing, we are able to use the channeled guidance to see them as exactly that: coming up in order to be released, rather than re-identifying with them. I am profoundly grateful to my teacher, Anandashakti, for bringing this path forward. On the classical hatha yoga side, we learn asanas, pranayama, mudras, bandha, meditation, vedic and tantric philosophy, jyotish, ayurveda, sanskrit and teaching skills, as well as anatomy, physiology and esoteric anatomy. It is a life changing experience to graduate from this course and I have been blessed to assist with other years training, go on retreat with Ananda, apprentice directly under her and most recently take her advanced training which was based on channeled kriya flows.

My practice has changed dramatically since becoming an RMT and again since we started traveling. Sometimes, I am restorative, a few simple poses held for long deep breaths holding crystals supported by woven blankets. Sometimes, I practice the dynamic kriya flows in a much softer, gentler pace. And sometimes, I practice a complete flow (these kriya flows combine the mantra asana pranayama mudra bandha and inspired words to evoke the divine moods of trust, gratitude and faith) but this is rare as more often than not, I am quite stiff and tired from massaging. 

 

How can women reconnect with their cycle and change the negative mentality towards menstruation to a positive one? What herbs can benefit women during that time?

Shanti: The most influential work in my life has been Wise Woman Ways to reconnect with the feminine self. Personally, my practice has been to make infusions (these are dark deep long steeped teas) with one nourishing herb as a base and sometimes a few flowers or leaves of a supporting herb. I drink these all month. It is very simple. 

Nourishing herbs grow around us, in profusion, they are free and they are common. They are often over-looked or put down. They are nettle, raspberry leaf, oatstraw; they are calendula blossom and dandelion flowers. They are what you see when you walk by the river, when you step into the woods or the ravine, they are even in the alley ways and bursting through the cracks of sidewalk in the city. 

Sacred circle, even if there are just a few women, sharing our experience of our cycles and being heard, being received, has been a profound healing for my relationship to my cycle. But even if this is not available, sitting in sacred space with yourself. Honoring your own womb wisdom and not buying into the pervasive misperception that someone else knows more about your cycle than you do. Your dreams speak. Your intuition speaks. Your womb speaks. Listen.

 

How do you incorporate Ayurveda into your daily life? How do you care for your skin internally + externally?

Shanti: I look to nature and then look inward to see how I am relating to her. It's cold, dry and windy out? My mind feels scattered, my body feels dry and my temperature feels cold. What needs nourishing? What feels grounding? I light a simple beeswax candle and rekindle my inner fire. I cook a simple nourishing easy to digest soup with organic ingredients. I prepare, lovingly, a tea, and a herbal oil, sometimes with essential oils, sometimes simple and plain. I do a gentle, self massage. Like this. 

Sometimes, I follow the prescribed self care routine but only if it feels supportive and nourishing and not stressful and overwhelming. 

 

If you had one day {completely free} to focus on your body, mind and spirit, what would you do from morning to night?

Shanti: I am assuming by free you mean anything is possible cause that's what free means to me ;) This is a more fun way to answer because I actually do leave 2 days a week completely free for this exact reason, one of them I spend trading with my healer friends at The Joy Clinic and the other I stay home and practice yoga and self care in solitude/seclusion. So, if anything was possible...

I would wake up at sunrise on the beach somewhere on the Pacific North West, in a bed made of wild flower petals with a soft green comfrey leaf blanket. I would examine each petal and give thanks to each flower, under the rainbow sky, then practice my yoga and meditation on the beach on a hand woven rainbow yoga mat made by my mother (who is an actual weaver!) then take shavasana on a giant floating lotus flower in the water surrounded by dolphins. 

I would have breakfast in silence with everyone I love, seated on the earth, in the shade of the trees. But first, we would stare into each others eyes in a circle, everyone in my circle of healing friends would be there and we would all be on a self care day. The whole day would be spent taking turns caring for each other, using the natural and magical elements all around us. We would end the day in a crystal cave sleeping on lotus flowerbeds with our loved ones and animals. 

What crystals do you bring into your practice? For those who aren't aware of what crystals are capable of, give a brief explanation as to what they can do and how you use them on clients.

Shanti: Oh boy, we have so many crystals! They are all beautiful conduits! They all inspire beauty and relaxation and they all remind us of the power of nature to heal, and we ARE nature! 

At work, I most often use crystals in Chakra Therapy sessions, where crystals of the corresponding color are placed on the chakras and then cleansed and charged with sacred sage, sound healing and rose water. But before I learned this treatment, I would just bring crystals to work with me and give them to clients to take home and work with. I also used to make meditation malas using crystals to help bring healing in specific life areas. 

 

Self-care is extremely important during pregnancy. What can women do pre + post baby to take care of themselves? What asanas help prepare women for labour?

Shanti: I would say breath, and the conscious motivation of breath as the animating force into and out of the asana is the most important. Pre-natal hormones bring a very deep level of flexibility, so, we actually don't want to take our bodies into the fullest expression of the pose, this can lead to instability and injury. What we want to cultivate is peace and strength. We want to start directing the awareness within. We can practice standing poses, and gentle vinyasa, I am speaking here about using the breath to flow into a simple expression of asana, for example breathing the arms up and overhead, and then back down. Gently breathing into and out of a simple pose, repeatedly, rather than the "vinyasa flow" yoga we see in gyms and studios, which is more dynamic and athletic, and not appropriate for pregnancy, because this is a time to go within. 

Can you share a nourishing recipe with us? 

Shanti: I like to make a very simple squash soup with ginger. I like to talk to the vegetables and thank them for their life force energies. I like to serve this soup with roasted beets and gently steamed beet tops with lemon. All ingredients are organic <3 

» As much ginger as you like, peeled. 

» Half or whole onion (depending on how big) peeled and chopped lovingly * I learned recently to actually wash the onion after peeling and then wash the cutting board you peeled it over, because onions are moldy. Thank the onion again after his bath ;)

» Raw coconut oil

» Gently cook the onion and the ginger, stir love into the pot over gentle heat. Then add some turmeric and cumin, cinnamon and coriander are lovely too.

» Add peeled and washed butternut squash chopped into cubes

» Add some chopped apple or pear

» Add spring water and a pinch of Himalayan pink salt

» Say thank you, simmer until the vegs are cooked

» Let it cool a little, then blend. 

» You can garnish with coconut milk swirls, pumpkin seeds, shredded coconut, flowers, basil, any form of beauty <3

» Give thanks, eat!

 

Who are the 5 most inspirational people to you at the moment?

Shanti: At this moment, our wedding was inspired by the work of Marianne Williamson, who was the teacher of the woman who married us who is also our link to the Wise Woman path. I am always and forever inspired by Amma, as I have mentioned. I am inspired by Karuna, who I mentioned has married us and taught me Wise Woman Ways. I am inspired by my sangha, my spiritual community, who are too many to name. And I am inspired by the gentle healers of the world, who do their work quietly, who remain unseen. Who follow the old ways, and keep the flame of sacred knowledge burning. 


You can learn more and follow Shanti on her instagram.

Interview conducted by Andy Skye, a naturalist at heart. She finds inspiration by surrounding herself in the energy of Mother Nature. Her designs, photography, art, and lifestyle are reflective of the lessons she's learnt through meditation and living consciously. Andy is currently exploring the boreal forest of northern Canada. Find her on instagram @andyskye

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