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.