Radiant Resources: From Kacie

At our Radiant Retreat in September, Kacie Beluse Knight shared two workshops with us: A Movement Meditation, and an Introduction to the Elemental Forces of Creation.

Much of what she shared with us that weekend comes from training with her mentor Lisa Michaels. Kacie has studied to be a Consious Dance Facilitator, Creation Coach and Alchemical Creation Priestess with Lisa over the last 7 years, with each program delving deeper into the mystery school of the elements.

One of the beautiful things working with the elements teaches us is to honor the sacred timings of the wheel of the year. Working with the natural rhythms accelerates our manifestation and creation power. We are just 7 days away from the winter solstice, the longest day of the year, and the the most potent day to set our intentions for what we want to create in the upcoming year. As the darkness outside deepens, it is our time to turn inwards, to focus on nurturing our inner light to prepare for the year ahead.

Lisa Michaels has created a  free 7 day chakra clearing journey to help prepare you for the solstice energy, which you can find here. You can also sign up with Lisa here to Download Your Free Creation Starter Kit 3 Days of Juicy Gifts to Get Started Accelerating Your Sacred Manifestation Power Today. You can also like her page on facebook to stay connected with her, and get updates on how you can use the elements each day!

If you’d like more support around preparing for the Solstice, Kacie has a special self care session: Soul Reading and Energy Healing you can find out more about on her website www.dancingintobeing.com

You can also stay connected to Kacie and Dancing Into Being on Facebook.

Kacie headshot

Photo by Cadencia Photography

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Posted in Uncategorized

Radiant Resources From Nina Infinity

 

Nina

We have more amazing resources to share with you today! Nina Infinity, of Infinity Hoopdance facilitated two incredible sessions at our Radiant Soul Retreat in September; The Delicious & Nutritious workshop as well as the Breath of Bliss Ceremony.

In the Delicious and Nutritious workshop Nina shared scrumptious smoothies and ridiculously tasty bliss balls with group. You can find a  link to her handout from the class where she shares her recipes and information on Superfoods here.

She also gave us quite a bit of information on how to find great ingredients for those recipes and places to get more ideas:

  • Her FAVE store: Earth’s General Store in Edmonton (9605-82 Avenue) for: superfoods, fresh produce, gluten free etc + natural, biodegradable, bulk cleaning supplies & personal care products!
  • Join the mailing lists at www.kriscarr.com and www.myvega.com/recipes for awesome recipes & tips
  • Join 30 day green smoothie challenge at www.simplegreensmoothies.com
  • Excellent Book: The Thrive Diet by Brendan Brazier (the source of many of the superfood facts shared on page 2 of the handout).

Nina also shared with us her playlist from the beautiful Breath of Bliss Ceremony: Breath of Bliss Playlist

 

To keep in touch with Nina’s many upcoming workshops, events and sales, you can sign up for her newsletter at www.infinityhoopdance.com, or like Infinity Hoopdance on Facebook.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Radiant Resources: Meditation With Mobot

Hello lovelies,

We promised at the retreat to send out some resources mentioned by the instructors. These will be a fantastic way to revisit some of the energy of the retreat, or if you weren’t there, to get a little taste.

From Mobot, who lead us through our yummy yoga sessions and an amazing hoopdance, we have a meditation track that she shared on Sunday morning.

 

Mo also wanted to share with you the website of  Matthew Remski, a yoga philosopher and writer from whom she has learned so much. This is  for anyone interested in exploring the discourses around yoga injury, Ayurveda, and other juicy topics like cultural appropriation in yoga.

If you’d like to to stay in touch with Mo for upcoming hoop and yoga workshop info  find her at – https://www.facebook.com/whirlgrousemovementart/ OR https://instagram.com/whirlinggrouse/

Posted in Uncategorized

Getting to Know: Nicole Rose

Nicole Rose is on a mission to share her passions to inspire others and to live a radiant life. She is the founder of Radiant Soul Retreats and of Rosehip Hoop Dance & Healing. When she’s not planning a retreat, teaching hoop dance classes or working as an Alumni Relations Officer at NAIT, you’ll likely find her outdoors – smelling the flowers, walking her dog Millie, laying in her hammock or hooping in a field! Nicole will be leading two hoop dance workshops at the retreat, will be offering complimentary Reiki sessions and will be holding ceremonial space. Read on to learn a little bit more about Nicole.

goddess picWhat inspired you to create this retreat and why the focus on radiance?

I actually just woke up one morning on May long weekend in 2014, with the idea that I needed to organize a women’s retreat. It was such a strong impulse and it just felt like something I had to do, so I did it!

I was feeling a little overwhelmed because it was only May, but my entire summer was pretty much booked up already and I felt like I might be kind of burned out by the end of it. I started thinking about how lovely it would be to have a retreat near the end of summer that would focus on self care for woman. I was inspired to create this retreat because I figured I probably wasn’t the only woman who felt like they needed to take a time out in between a busy summer and an even busier fall.

The focus on radiance came from my desire to live a joyfully radiant life. To me, that means being in a state of bliss, living with an open heart and just feeling happy to be alive! I don’t feel joyfully radiant every moment of my life, because you know, I’m human, but there are moments every day that I do experience it. Most often it occurs when I’m dancing or hoop dancing,  teaching hoop dance or spending time in nature.

Can you tell us why you’ve chosen to make this a space for women only?

I really wanted to support women the way I would want to be supported. Also, over the past few years I’ve really become interested in learning about goddesses, understanding femininty and embracing my own feminine energies.  On my 30th birthday I realized that I didn’t feel like a woman, but more of a girl. I’ve spent the last two years embracing my womanhood and I guess as part of that, I’m answering the call of supporting other women!

Your story of personal transformation is inspiring. You were depressed and even suicidal as a teen, and now you share your happiness and joy with others so freely. Can you tell us a little about your journey?

I sometimes reflect on my life and find it kind of astonishing that I’ve managed to overcome depression, self mutilation and a suicide attempt, drug and alcohol abuse and that I quit smoking and lost 50+ pounds. I guess when I put my mind to something, I make it happen! I feel my purpose in life is to share my experienes so I can help others. When I was a teen, I remember thinking I would never forget how I felt during those hard times and that I eventually wanted to help other kids overcome what I had. A few years ago I started volunteering teaching hoop dance to the youth in the same treatment program that I went through. There were so many people in my life that supported me to get where I am today, and I wanted to be able to do the same for the kids there now.

I still experience depression from time to time but now I have so many tools in my tool belt that I can usually find a way to bring myself out of it. I use how I feel as a barometer. If I’m not feeling great, it means I need to take some time to figure out what needs aren’t being met and then do something to change that. Sometimes it’s an attitude shift, sometimes I just need to move and sweat, it’s really about connecting to what I need and loving myself enough to give myself whatever that is.

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Photo by Olivia Kachman

You are a fantastic hoopdancer, how has hoopdance influenced your life?

First of all, thank you! And second, it has influenced my life in so many ways that I didn’t think were possible. It just started out as a hobby and has grown into so much more. Hoop dance has been a tool for self empowerment, self expression and creativity, it allows me to connect to my centre and to an amazing community of people I never would have met otherwise. It’s allowed me to find and fulfill my purpose, I love teaching so much and prior to that, speaking in front of peole was terrifying. It helps me meet my physical exercise needs, and it challenges my mind too. Without hoop dance, I don’t know how I’d get all those needs met. This is the only hobby I’ve stuck with for over 7 years consistently, and I don’t see any signs of that slowing down. I’m quite certain I’m going to be a hooper for life.

You are truly devoted to the practice of self care, what are the essentials for you, and what does your daily/weekly routine look like?

I am! I’ve really learned that in order for me to feel my most radiant, I need to give myself down time. I’m an introvert, and while I love connecting with other people and doing lots of awesome things, it can wear me down if I don’t take proper care of myself. What I actually do for self care changes on a day to day basis. I try to connect with what I need most each day, sometimes that’s movement like dance, a walk in the ravine, or practicing yoga. Other times it could be meditation, journalling or even just laying in my hammock. Once in awhile, it’s laying on the couch in my pjs and watching some guilty pleasure trashy tv show. That doesn’t happen often, but it feels so wonderful when it does!

I do have a non-negotiable daily practice though, and that is writing in my gratitude journal before bed. I started doing this because of the gratitude challenge that was happening on Facebook at the time. It was only supposed to last for 5 or 10 days, but I decided to go for 30 and by that time I reached that it was Thanksgiving and it didn’t feel right to stop practicing gratitude on the gratitude holiday! It’s almost been a year now and I’m still going strong. I no longer make gratitude posts on Facebook, but I love writing in my journal. Day 365 actually falls one day before the retreat, which I think is kind of neat timing. This practice has allowed me to focus on all the awesomeness in my life, and I feel that the more I focus on that, the more the awesomeness I create. It’s amazing too, that every single day I can think of at least three (but usually more)  things in my life to be grateful for. This practice has brought so much abundance to my life, more than I ever could have imagined!

And what does self care look like for you in terms of food and nutrition?

Nutrition is also an important part of my self care practice. I try to ensure I eat lots of veggies, some fruit and other healthy food every day. I’m also trying to listen more to what my body needs and not get stuck in habits. Pretty much every day for the last 3 years I’ve had a smoothie for breakfast and loved it, but all of sudden, this last week, I wanted nothing to do with smoothies. I was craving millet porridge instead and even though I’ve been having less greens, I feel great! I actually feel quite ready to go on a cleanse after all the summer fun I had this year and I think the retreat will be a great way to start that process.

I see a naturopath regularly and she supports me various vitamins, herbs and supplements. All of this has actually helped to heal my digestion. I have an allergy to wheat, but  my lactose intolerance went away with her help and I can tolderate onions more than I used to as well. It was tough when I couldn’t eat all three of those things.

You lead a busy life between work, teaching hoopdance, throwing a retreat and all of the awesome extracurriculars you do, how do you maintain a balance between it all?

I do have a lot going on, and in the past I’ve definitely suffered burn out from trying to do all the things. I’ve found a good flow in my life now by setting boundaries for myself. I have a lot of responsibility in my job and used to let it take over my life. Now, I only put in the extra time that I’m comfortable with because I know that the work will always be there so there’s no need to overwork myself. I have to be quite organized and often don’t have a lot of idle time, but I definitely make time for fun. I actually feel like I could have put a lot more effort into marketing the retreat or getting more planning for it done months ago, but I do schedule fun time, it’s necessary to keep myself sane! Life is meant to be lived, to be enjoyed, and if you’re working all the time, you’re missing the point. I make sure that I’m always enjoying what I’m doing too, so when I am busy working on my side projects, it doesn’t feel like work because I love it so much.

 radiant meI’m sure there are so many to choose from, but what was your most recent radiant moment?

That is tough, because I do have a lot! I think the most recent one was when I was at the farmer’s market, picking up goodies for the retreat and picking out sunflowers to bring home. It was a cool, gray day and the yellow petals just lifted my spirits. Sometimes the simplest things bring me so much joy. I actually ran into a friend who must have seen the radiance I was feeling and snapped this photo of me.

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Posted in Getting to Know

Getting To Know: Kacie Beluse Knight

photo by Cadensia Photography

photo by Cadensia Photography

Kacie Beluse Knight has a mission, and it’s to share love, light and joyful movement with the world. When Nicole asked her to Co-host the Radiant Soul Retreat, there was no hesitation to her emphatic YES! Kacie works as an artist in residence at elementary schools in Edmonton, but loves sharing sacred play with adult kids as well. She will be facilitating two workshops, Movement Meditation and an Introduction to the Elemental Forces of Creation, as well as offering Reiki sessions at the retreat. We asked her a few questions to get to know her better:

What was your first experience with energy or the spiritual world?

Wow, that’s a really tough question because I have just known things intuitively, and felt energy/spirit for as long as I can remember. One memory that stands out is when I was 16 and I was meditating with a musical track that was overlaid with loud, deep, long breaths. I breathed along with the track and my sense of self dissolved into unity consciousness, where I was one with all that is, and it was incredible. I had believed and known intellectually that we were all one for some time, but to actually experience it was to know it as an unshakable truth which has brought me so much peace and joy.

What does self care look like to you?

Self care to me is listening to my body and my intuition to know what I need in any given moment. One day it might be laying on the couch for hours with a good book and a fuzzy blanket, and at another time it might be going for a walk outside, or dancing my face of with my hoops and some funky tunes. My body has pretty specific needs for sleep, food, fresh air, exercise, fun, solitude and companionship as well, so I need to keep it all in balance or I’m not the most pleasant person to be around. Seriously, a hungry, sleep deprived Kacie is kind of scary, so I try to take care of myself as a service to the world.

What led you to work with the elements?

I started working with the elements, Earth- the physical realm, Air- the mental realm, Fire- the action realm, Water- the emotional realm and Spirit- the spiritual realm in 2009, when I trained as a Conscious Dance Facilitator with Lisa Michaels. I loved her material so much I went on to become a Creation Coach and Alchemical Creation Priestess with her as well. The elemental forces of creation have become my friends and allies. They represent all that is, both within us and out in the universe, and always have amazing information to share. Their insights are endless, and always exactly what I need to hear. I can’t wait to share more about them at the retreat!

Strange question, but do you have a favourite element, or one that is resonating most with you lately?

Definitely! It changes with my mood, but I always have an affinity with the element of Fire. I love it’s warmth, energy, illumination and transformational capacity. Fire is the realm of dance, full of change, passion, shamanic voyages and altered states of consciousness. I think it’s the most exciting element for sure!

You’re company is called Dancing into Being. What does that name mean to you? You must love to dance!

I do love to dance! Not only is it art that moves, but it’s also a path to personal mastery and magic. Through dance, you can take a thought, belief or idea, and bring it into your body, move it around and really feel it, until you become it. You can literally dance your dreams into being. It is creation and manifestation magic at it’s finest, which humanity has known about since the dawn of time. Some of the oldest creation myths tell of Goddesses dancing the universe into being.

A lot of people think of meditation as one thing, sitting with your legs crossed and maybe saying some oms. Tell me about the movement meditation you’ll be teaching at the retreat and how that practice came to be?

It actually developed out of my personal practice when I spent a year listening to everything my body had to say. My body told me it craved dedicated time to just move, stretch and feel whatever it needed to feel. The meditative aspect comes from the deep listening required to hear what your body is asking for. The workshop itself will be a guided movement journey of tuning into different areas of the body, noticing how they feel and how they would like to move. The guidance is merely suggestion and people are free to listen to or ignore what I am saying. Basically I will be holding space for you to connect more deeply to your body so you can honor whatever it needs. There will be music, and we will be moving from quiet, small movements to larger ones designed to wake the body up and get us ready for the rest of the day!

You’re very intuitive; did you always know how to listen to your intuition? How did you develop that?

Like I mentioned early, I always just knew things. Knowledge would come to me, fully formed, without me having to read or hear about it. I always trusted those ideas, but I didn’t always trust my gut feelings. After a kundalini awakening when I was 25, My third eye opened and I started to see more energy and beings, which scared me since I was living alone, so I shut that part down hard. When I was 26, I went to a medium with a friend and my Grannie came through loud and clear. She said I needed to trust my intuition. That sent me on a path of learning as much I could to develop all of my intuitive senses.I studied as much as I could, reading, taking courses and meditating. It turns out you can build your intuition like you build any muscle. It just takes practice and a willingness to trust yourself. Our bodies and spirits are constantly sending us information, but you have to learn to listen.

What is making you feel most radiant in your life these days?

Just looking at my life, and being grateful for how awesome it truly is makes me feel joyfully radiant. I am surrounded by amazing, loving, inspiring people all the time, and I get to share the healing gifts of movement and dance with the world. Life is awesome, and as more people wake up to the love revolution on the planet, more and more awesome will be coming our way!

Thanks Kacie, we can’t wait to see you at the retreat!

photo by Cadencia photography

photo by Cadencia photography

Posted in Getting to Know

Getting To Know Our Massage Therapist: Jennifer Semeniuk

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Getting some bodywork done is definitely one of our favorite ways to feel radiant, so we are thrilled to announce that Jennifer Semenuik will be offering private sessions at the Radiant Soul Retreat coming up this September 11th-13th, 2015!
Jenny will be offering massage, reflexology and craniosacral sessions, and possibly foot detox baths as well! We asked her a few questions for you to get to know her a little better!

  You’ve been a massage therapist for over 12 years now. How did you know that’s what you wanted to be when you grew up?

I had no clue to be honest, I was called to this path in my last high school years with out really knowing why, prior to that I was dead set on being a veterinarian.  Thankfully I had the support and inner sense to just follow this path and what an amazing journey it has been!

You are very intuitive and often receive messages for your clients during your treatments. Can you tell us about the types of messages you received, when you discovered you had this gift and how have you cultivated it?

I think that when you work so closely with people you may naturally become empathetic to their emotions and states of being.  This is where is all started for me, being able to pick up on moods, feelings and body tension.  I believe that intuition is a muscle of sorts, once you start using it it only gets stronger.  My intuition has developed from just being able to sense emotions to things like being able to identify spirit animals and other animal messages.  I’m always surprised how this gift is evolving. How and why, well I could talk about that for hours.  The short version is that I believe everyone has a talent, some people  paint, some people sing, I have the gift of intuition.  We have to embrace the gifts we are given, nurture and support them with mentorship and education.  

You also offer CranioSacral therapy. Can you tell us a little bit about what that is and how it can benefit someone?

Craniosacral therapy is light touch, long hold, fascia release therapy.  It address the muscular, bone and fascia dysfunction as well as underlying patterns of emotional stress to create lasting balance.  Sometimes just one therapy may not be the complete answer for creating function for an individual. Craniosacral is amazing when accompanied with massage therapy or just on its own.
You give Reflexology treatments too. How did you get into that modality?

Reflexology had always interested me, the idea of the reflexes in the foot being able to influence the whole body is pretty astonishing.  It shows how interconnected everything in the body is and how just like dropping a pebble in a pond a small act like influencing a reflex can create huge results. And really who doesn’t love their feet being massaged for 45 minutes!
You offer detox foot baths. This sounds intriguing! How does it work and what does it do? 

 It’s my favorite “easy” way to detox! The detox foot spa works on the principal of general electrolysis, the array when place in the water with a tiny bit of salt creates an electromagnetic effect.  You then soak your feet in this water for thirty minutes. This capitalizes on the approximate 2000 sweat glands in the feet drawing toxins, environmental pollutants and heavy metals out of your body into the water.

 If you could offer any advice to people looking to keep their body healthy and balanced, what would that be?

Moderation! This is number one and perhaps number two as well! Your body has this astonishing ability to heal and perform but moderation is key to doing so.  Listening and observing is paramount, hearing what your body is trying to tell you, and adjusting what needs to be adjusted.I know a lot of individuals that feel that they can’t “hear” what their bodies are telling them, it takes practice, just as we taught ourselves to stop listening we can teach ourselves to start again.  We are born knowing how to get our needs met, crying when hungry, going to mom for a cuddle when we needed touch, these instincts are a part of our nature and I invite everyone to start listening in you will be amazed at the results. Can you tell us about your most recent radiant moment?There is nothing more radiant in the world to me than a cool crisp morning, slightly dewy it seems the earth just smells a little more earthy, and just walking my dog, everything is just a bit quieter and I feel so in tune, like the world just stopped for a minute to let me enjoy it.

Outside of your work, what are you most passionate about?

Family, both my fur babies and common-law partner as well as my not related but just like family friends! Also expanding my “frontier-living skills” and always striving to live a more sustainable lifestyle.
Thanks Jenny! We can’t wait to see you at the retreat!

Posted in Getting to Know

Getting To Know: Nina Infinity

Photo by Cadencia Photography

Photo by Cadencia Photography

Nina Infinity may be best known for her hoopdance teaching and performance art, with Infinity Hoopdance and Transflowmation,  but this amazing woman has so many amazing gifts to share with the world. We feel doubly blessed that she will be sharing both a Breath Of Bliss journey and a Delicious and Nutritious Workshop with us at our upcoming retreat September 11th-13th, 2015!

You’re a full time hoop dance performer, teacher and hoop maker. Sweet gig! How did you make this your reality?

When I first fell in love with hoopdance 8 years ago at Shambhala Music Festival, it instantly became a big part of my life. I spent many wonderful hours in my hoop, learning not only about hoopdance, but also about myself as a person, my body, my life, beliefs and purpose. I knew that one day I would teach hoopdance. I needed to share it’s magic with others! In February 2010, I traveled to California to train as an instructor with Christabel Zamor of HoopGirl, which empowered me with experience, knowledge and confidence. At first I started out by teaching one class a week while also ​serving in a restaurant. Over time the demand for classes grew and I began to teach and hand craft hoops full time. Meanwhile, I gained valuable performance experience while dancing with Vibe Tribe Gypsy Circus. I have since co-founded TransFlowmation Entertainment and have been enjoying the opportunity to work with incredible flow artists to create visually stunning fire and glow performances for a variety of different events!

Being an entrepreneur must keep you busy. How do you ensure you get enough self care time?

I start every day out with meditation and some type of movement, followed by a green superfood smoothie to give me a boost of nourishment and energy! I know that when I set aside even a small amount of time to still my mind, move my body and feed myself high quality nutrition, the benefits overflow into the rest of my day.

What self care practice is speaking to you most these days?

Lately I have been enjoying beautiful baths. I like to take time to create a special experience for myself with essential oils (my favorite is lavender), magnesium salts, a beeswax candle, crystals, soothing music and a heart warming book.

You’ll be leading a Breath of Bliss breath work session at the retreat which is not hoop dance related. How did you learn about this practice?

I first experienced Breath of Bliss at The Mermaid Retreat in Hawaii. During the session I received clear guidance that this was something that I ​need to share​ with others​. Breath of Bliss​ creator ​Christabel Zamor​ ​also ​trained me as a hoopdance instructor many years ago. I ​am very inspired by all that she has created in her life, the energy that she embodies, and her commitment to growth, discovery, sharing and authenticity. I resonate deeply with the mission of Breath of Bliss to help as many people as possible give and receive more love! My experiences with breathwork have guided me in opening my heart to love more deeply, forgiving​ and letting go​, feeling emotions fully​ and​ ​being more present. ​I look forward to sharing this offering with others at Radiant Soul!

You recently returned from Bali where you took your training. That must have been magical. Tell us about it!

​My trip to Bali was a truly beautiful and powerful experience! The training was two weeks, beginning with five days of ​”Self Love Immersion” with two breathworks per day, conscious coaching exercises and self care practices. It was a wonderful way to be immersed in breathwork on a daily basis and really dive into the benefits that are possible. During the third day, which was focused on loving our family, I experienced an incredibly powerful breathwork session in which I received profound clarity and understanding about my father, his childhood, his life’s choices and as a result I was able to deeply feel emotions, forgive and heal decades of hurt between us and expand into unconditional love. Throughout the session, I felt safe, supported and nurtured by the space that Christabel and her assistant Joann created, and therefore was able to surrender into this journey of forgiveness and love. And now as a facilitator, I feel very blessed to have the opportunity to create a supporting atmosphere for others to surrender into.

What does the Breath of Bliss session entail?

​Our journey begins with movement, deep sharing, touching, conscious loving exercises and sound healing and deepens as we lie down for an hour of circular connected breathing. The journey is guided by empowering messages, visualizations and specially selected music. A supportive space is held in which all are invited to soften and surrender to the breath, welcoming any and all emotions that arise and using them to come home to our true essence of pure love!

You will also be sharing a few of your favorite recipes during your Delicious and Nutritious workshop. What is your food philosophy?​

I am passionate about fresh, whole, alive, plant based foods! I love to learn about, grow, prepare, share and enjoy them. My daily meals always include a variety of fruit, vegetables and superfoods. I enjoy experimenting with new recipes and view food as an exciting adventure! My Delicious & Nutritious workshops were born out of a desire to share my knowledge, what has worked for me, my tips and tricks to make food prep and storage easier, and of course some deliciously delectable treats! I’ve got some tasty goodies to share with everyone at the retreat!

Do you have a favorite recipe to share?

Since I will be sharing my absolute favorite recipes with you very soon at the retreat, I’m going to keep them a secret for now! But in the meantime, here is an unbelievably scrumptious looking recipe that I just found and want to try asap: Raw Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles! http://kriscarr.com/recipe/raw-chocolate-chip-cookie-dough-truffles/Chip Cookie Dough Truffles! 

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Posted in Getting to Know

Getting to Know: Anastasia Kutt

Photo by Leigh-Anne Hazard

Photo by Leigh-Anne Hazard

We are so lucky to have gifted healer and teacher Anastasia Kutt of Luminous Tranquility facilitating  at the retreat. Anastasia is a Reiki Master teacher, a certified Trilotherapy practitioner, and a Yuen Method practitioner, and also teaches popular Spoon Bending and Tantric Sex workshops. She is also a research assistant in academia working to bridge complementary and conventional medicine in a safe and evidence-based manner. We asked her a few questions to help you get to know her better!

Spirituality and energy work are such a big part of your life now, but it wasn’t always that way. What would you say was your awakening moment in life?

When I was living in Montreal, I had a high stress job in a biopharmaceutical company – supervising a team working on a multimillion dollar project that was failing repeatedly due to equipment issues. My team and I would try to troubleshoot the issues, fix them, re-validate the equipment, and get the project back on track…  only to have it fail again.  Everyone was stressed out and management was quite upset, coming down on me, and asking me to come down on my team (asking them to work longer hours, 24/7, cutting out vacations, etc).  It was pretty awful.  In hindsight I should have gone on stress leave, but my ego prevented me from doing that.  I became very run down and internalized much of the stress – my shoulders were clenched up around my ears in hard knots and my stomach was clenched so tightly I couldn’t relax it.   I was laid off (the company was closing) and was given a package.  I knew I needed a break and major healing.  In the travel section at Chapters, a book on Thailand caught my eye, I knew I had to go.  I went, and was attracted to a retreat center called “the Sanctuary” on Koh Phangan.  I went as if on autopilot.  When I arrived, a 4 day meditation retreat was just about to begin, led by an amazing woman named Ananta. Before I could register, she had a private session with me to see if I was “ready”.  She brought me into her bungalow, lit a candle, and meditated with me. I felt connected to all that is, it was amazing. It was the first time I had really meditated. She said that was my awakening.  I was accepted into the course which included daily satsung, yoga, breathwork, dynamic meditation, eye gazing, and connection with such an amazing group of people. It was during a breathwork experience that I felt the knots peeling off my shoulders and the knot in my stomach finally relaxed. I felt like a different person.  I stayed at the resort for a few weeks after, basking in the afterglow.  I practiced daily Qi Gong with my new friends and hung out with them, learning as much as I could.  When I returned to Canada I was motivated to learn more about holistic medicine, energy healing, yoga, and transformational experiences believing that they can help so many people – without drugs or surgery, only with a facilitator.

You wear many hats. You teach many different workshops including Reiki, Trilotherapy, Spoon Bending, Tantra and provide an even wider range of healing modalities to the patients you treat. Tell us what practice has had the biggest impact in your life?

Oh that’s not fair.  LOL  They have all had a big impact on my life!  During my first reiki session, I acknowledged to myself that I had to change the path I was on to fulfill my life purpose, and I started to take steps to make it happen.  Daily reiki self-care has helped me get through the tough times involved in that, especially emotionally.  I still give myself reiki self-care every day!  I feel much more balanced after.  Trilotherapy helped me recognize and change a number of unhealthy patterns in my life, and I am now making healthier and happier choices for myself.  Spoon bending was physical proof of what I can accomplish when I put my mind to it!  Tantra helps me harness my energy and connect with others on a deeper level – and I have had a couple of enlightenment experiences through tantra which were a-maz-ing.  I really love Breathwork too, and have let go of some major internalized issues using it!  I hope to take my facilitator training next year.  I love them all, don’t make me choose!

Tantra can be perceived as a taboo thing, but there is so much more to it than that. Can you tell us a bit about your experience of Tantra and what drew you to the practice?

Tantra was first introduced to western culture as a sexual practice (“tantric sex”), however the sexual aspect is actually just a small part. My very first energy based workshop was on Tantra in Montreal at a sex positive store (similar to the Traveling Tickle Trunk here in Edmonton), and in that workshop we didn’t discuss sex at all, rather we discussed how you can accumulate energy in your body and use it for healing purposes.  I have since taken quite a few workshops and have learned that Tantra is a way of being.  It encourages you to pause and focus on your senses (touch, feeling, smell), to be in the moment, and to fall in love with life. It also inspires you to interact with others – such as through eye contact, dancing with community, or witnessing them / being witnessed.  Through Tantra, I also learned how to accumulate energy in my body  (sexual or otherwise) – which can be used for healing, connection (when you share this energy with another), and enlightenment experiences.   I now teach an intro class regularly at the Traveling Tickle Trunk on Whyte Avenue.  It is always really fun to teach, I love it.

 You’ll be giving complimentary Reiki sessions at the retreat. How did you find Reiki? Can you tell us about what it is?

I was always intrigued by energy healing and while I was growing up I had quite a few intuitive experiences that just couldn’t be explained. I was inspired by one of my high school friends’ mothers, who did reiki on my leg after a minor water skiing accident.  In 2007 I finally took my first reiki class with 2 friends, one of whom will be at the retreat with us!  The theory is that your body has an energy field with a constant flow of life force energy.  When it is in balance, you have good health in all areas of life.  If it gets blocked by things like – traumatic experiences, repressed emotions, overworrying, etc – the energy field becomes unbalanced and it attracts dis-ease.  When a practitioner is “attuned” to reiki, it allows them to bring life force energy in and direct it.  This energy can flow through the practitioner to the person receiving reiki, and start to release these blockages – releasing emotions, relaxing muscles, bringing balance and good health back into the system.  Most people feel very relaxed and calm after a reiki session.

You’ll also be offering a Trilotherapy workshop at the retreat. What is Trilotherapy and how can it help someone?

Trilotherapy was developed by Zen Master Nissim Amon, who is an amazing man I had the pleasure of studying with last year.  The premise is that you have two inner children – your mind (what you think about things – “I should do this….”), and your heart (how you feel).  Sometimes they aren’t on the same page.  Your heart wants one thing, your head wants another.  And they fight with each other.  The mind plants doubts and seeds of fear (e.g. telling yourself you are stupid for wanting that), and will sometimes shut down the heart completely.  The heart fights back through addictions, panic attacks, hot flashes, etc.  The greater the separation between the two, the more stress in your life.  By awakening an “inner parent” through meditation, you can learn to listen to your thoughts and know that they aren’t you.  You can also learn to feel your emotions to see what your heart wants.  And learn to compromise between the two, reducing suffering. It includes insightful lessons about why people are the way they are, heart felt exercises, and meditation.  During Trilotherapy training, people can better understand themselves and patterns in their lives, recognize if a pattern is not healthy where it might be coming from, and start taking steps to change it.  They can learn to follow their bliss.  It’s really great to resolve relationship issues (understanding yourself, your partner, and why you may be having certain patterns together), it’s also great for those with depression to begin cultivating joy in their lives.  Trilotherapy training includes around 15 lessons with associated exercises, so way too much to cover at the retreat!   Looking at the flow of the retreat, I decided to focus on heart felt exercises that allow you to you to trust your life path and follow your inner guidance, and to connect deeply with nature.

You have lots coming up in your life – you recently recorded an audio meditation and are starting to write a book! Where did you get the inspiration for these projects? What is your book going to be about?

Yes, so exciting!  I often offer guided meditations during my workshops, and have received feedback that I have a nice soothing voice, and inquiries if I have any recorded meditations.  So I thought I would record one and see how it goes!  The CD will have 2 chakra meditations – a 40 minute meditation, and a shorter 10 minute daily meditation.  During the recording I offered energy healing into the microphone with the intention that all those listening would receive it too.  The background music is currently being finalized by Sublight (an ambient music producer from Calgary) and should be complete by the end of August.  I’m excited to hear it!  My good friend Laura Flair is completing the artwork for the CD and it is amazing.  It should be available before Christmas!

As for the book – I am just putting together a book proposal, to be submitted in December – so it’s a long ways off!  The earliest it will be published is 2017.  It will be what they call a “teaching memoir”, which shares life lessons / exercises punctuated by personal experiences.  I will be drawing from all the courses that I teach, also from my experiences in academia/working with the medical community.  My personal experiences are often surreal and amusing, so I know the book will be interesting and educational.

 You have a young daughter, what do you most hope that she learns from you as she grows up?

Ava is 10 years old and is a mini me.  I hope she learns to be a good person, to treat others with respect, to take care of herself, and also how to be successful.

 Speaking of your daughter, how do you manage to keep yourself radiant while raising her on top of everything else you do?

Ava is the light of my life.  I am a single mom, with shared custody (half-time).  I am grateful that her father stayed in the picture so I can have time to do as much as I do! I do hot yoga regularly, dance, maintain wonderful relationships with friends, give myself daily reiki self-care, and thrive off of feeling like my work will make a difference in the world (being on track with my purpose).  I also love my time as “Mommy”.  I think Ava came into my life so I could learn how to love unconditionally.  I am revitalized by the time I spend with her, and have so much gratitude to the Universe that she came into my life.​

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Getting To Know: Our Yoga Teacher Mo!

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You recently moved back from Toronto to Edmonton, how has the transition been?

It has been one year since I landed back in Edmonton after a seven year exploration of Toronto.  It was not an easy decision to leave Ontario.  The creative people, collaborative energy, lush seasons, local food access, and stunning nature nourished me in so many ways.  That said, the pace of the city, while exciting and inspiring, was also exhausting me.  It has been lovely to sink into a slower pace of life in Edmonton.  Both professionally and socially, I feel that there is more S  P  A  C  E  for me to breathe and be.  I’m not sure what the future holds for me here but I’m enjoying being on an unknown path; staying open to what may come my way.

What was your first experience with yoga?

I went to my first yoga class 13 years ago with my partner at the time.  As a former contemporary ballet dancer who had stopped formal training a few years before, I was mostly interested in limbering back up and regaining some range of motion.  I had a hard time finding a teacher I connected with, but when I did I was pulled in much deeper than I expected.  Before long my practice had expanded beyond asana to incorporate a more holistic Hatha yoga exploration of Patanjali’s 8-limbs… both on and off my mat.

Why did you want to become a yoga instructor?

To be honest, I never really envisioned being a yoga teacher.  I am a bit of a body and movement geek and my pull to complete a teacher training was really a pull to focus intensely on study for a period.  When I completed my yoga training I was already teaching hoop dance classes which incorporated a lot of yoga philosophy concepts and movement study, so I knew that more training would only support me in guiding my movement students, regardless of modality.

 What is the most recent lesson you’ve learned from your yoga practice?

After practicing for over ten years and beginning to feel the effects of aging on my body, I have been very focused on slowing down my physical practice to support sustainability in the long run.  Seated meditation has become a much larger part of my daily practice than in the past and I am not practicing in studios as much any more.  I have cycled through periods of home practice before, but this time I’m enjoying cultivating a different discipline around it.  I’ve also learned that, even as I slow down I am stronger than I have ever been.  Connecting strength and grace within soft stillness, of both body and mind, have been major themes for me.

What inspired your passion for movement?

My movement journey started out as a mini ballerina at age three.  I trained as a classical dancer for 15 years before moving away from the dance world.  It wasn’t long after that I discovered electronic music and was dancing my heart out at every opportunity.  A new movement passion was building.  When I picked up hooping eight years ago I quickly realized that I had found a movement outlet that provided me with unlimited opportunity to express myself freely while simultaneously allowing me to tap into and build upon my classical technique.  In those early honeymoon days with my hoop, my passion for dance was ignited like it never had been before.  My yoga practice began to deepen significantly in parallel during this period and, as a result, exploring the edges of my physical and mental training in all areas of my daily living became, and continues to be, a significant focus.

Classical dance, hoop dance, yoga, and dancing under the stars to cell-rumbling music have energized my life in so many interconnected ways it feels impossible to isolate any particular influence!

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You’re an avid hoop dancer. Tell us about your hoop dance journey.

All I can really say that this little plastic circle has transformed my life in more ways than I can describe.  I have expanded my soul through MY dance that I had no idea was dying to escape from within.  I have built incredible connections to talented, loving, playful, curious movement lovers around the world.  I have overcome so many struggles with self-doubt, shame, apathy, and fear… all with support from the spiral. The hoop is with me in moments of joy and moments of despair… never judging, always responding, and with unconditional availability.  This journey, this practice, is love.

 You’ve been rhythm shifting for months now. Can you explain what that is, why you’ve been doing it, and how it’s been going?

For many years now, I have used daily challenges to build new skills, support changes in my patterns and conditioning, and to simply explore prioritizing different things in my life at different times.  When I have taken on annual challenges I have typically chosen a single focus, such as 30 minutes of hoop dancing every day for 365 days.  This year I have decided to complete 12 different 30 day challenges that I am calling my “rhythm shifts”.  My aim is to break patterns and rhythms that are no longer serving and to lay the groundwork for new rhythms to come into focus. Each month I try to keep the previous rhythms in place as I layer on or remove something new.  It has been an incredibly empowering journey.

As part of this experience, I am using public accountability mechanisms by reporting my progress via social media.  If I miss a day, I am required to donate $20 to the Conservative Party of Canada, which has proven to be the greatest motivator ever!  I am almost finished shift 8.0 and I have not missed a single day. This goal -> accountability -> motivation method is something I have adopted from http://zenhabits.net/.  If you’re interested in making big changes in your life, this is a great wealth of resources to help you mindfully move through the world.

The shifts I’ve explored so far include meditation, analog reading, arm balances and inversions, juggling, drinking more water, limited social media, not allowing any clothing on the floor, and handstand conditioning.  I’m not sure what the remaining months will hold.  I try to decide them spontaneously when the next month begins with an honest check in to see what resonates.
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Getting To Know: Crystal Tooker

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We are thrilled to have Artist, Shaman & Doula Crystal Tooker with us at the Radiant Soul Retreat this September 11th-13th. Crystal be helping us beautify the space with her amazing decor, and beautify the energy of the retreat by holding space in ceremony. She’ll also be offering private sessions for participants. We’ve asked her a few questions to help you get to know her.

You’ve trained in shamanism, energy healing modalities and are trained as a doula. What led you down this path?

I started as a doula first. I had had a friend that was really afraid to have her second child. I had given birth to twins and loved the birthing process. At that time i was also going to a weekly meditation. During a meditation I found myself wanting to become a midwife to help her out. Becoming a midwife by the time she had her baby was not going to be possible. So I became a doula. Shortly after that training I felt that I still was not prepared enough for her amount of fear, so I suggested a hypno class for her. She found Hypnobabies and I attended the class with her. From that point on I have been a hypno doula.
Shamanism came shortly after. My husband took the alter course and I saw a remarkable changes in him after each class, so shortly after that I started taking so animal portals and then started the altar class, which I am now finishing.

Did you always know you were a healer?

I don’t think I always thought that I was a healer, but in a way I always knew and trusted my ability to fix my issues and wanted to help women in birthing. What excited me about shamanism is it was all done by myself, it only included me, I was the only one that was going to know what I was working through. I took comfort in that. Once I started my alter class I’ve  found that I wanted to help others more apart from the birthing industry

You’re also an artist. You create amazing black light art and curate beautiful spaces for events and healing spaces, and you’lll be doing this again for the retreat! Were you always interested in art? Tell me about your process and where your inspiration comes from.

I found Blacklight responsive art through the party scene. I wanted to create certain pictures and then I just set my mind to it. I found a spray paint that was invisible and I could spray on my walls and it was only seeing in the dark. I was not very artistic before starting. just with practice I found what worked for me.

As a mom of two twin boys and an entrepreneur, how do you keep it all together?
It is all about perception. Some may think I have it all together all the time. and most of the time I do. meditation is an extremely powerful tool that has helped me out a tough times

You’ll be offering private sessions at the retreat. What will you be offering? What would a typical treatment be like?
I will be offering energy healing. During the session, any energy that needs to be released would be blown into a stone. I would find where the energy is trapped in the body and release it into the stone. I can also install bands of power and do a decoupling. a decoupling is when I balance the heart chakra and the sacral chakra to the heartbeat of the earth .

What is your favourite way to support women?
My favorite way to support woman would definitely be during the birthing process helping them prepare for a much easier experience and changing the pre-programmed mindset and that it has to be hard.

What was your most rewarding healing experience?

My most rewarding healing experience would be back when my children were about two years old. I had decided to go to a guided meditation. It was the first time ever going to a guided meditation and really meditating at all. At this point in my life I was extremely stressed out and could understand how a mother could abuse her children. I was at the end of my ropes. I went to the meditation and the next morning woke up a complete different person.

What keeps you feeling radiant? What was your most radiant moment?

I am like every other person out there feeling radiant comes and goes but the more often I meditate, go to a shaman class, and just take time for myself to dance keeps me feeling more balanced. Finding the core energies that have been causing me to not feel so vibrant and really seeing those energies and working on the issues that arise keep me growing and finding who I truly am. I don’t think I could pick one specific time that I had my most radiant healing. Generally anytime I take time for myself or figure something out that I needed to know about myself helps me to keep my glow.

Thank you so much Crystal! We can’t wait to have you help us birth this retreat into being!

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