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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Getting To Know Our Hypnotherapist: Kelli Knight

Kelli_kins_newWe are thrilled to have Kelli Knight facilitating at the Radiant Soul Retreat this September 11th-13th, 2015. Kelli is passionate about promoting radiant health through balancing body, mind and soul in her work as a certified master hypnotherapist, Kineseologist and personal trainer. She’ll be facilitating a group hypnosis journey during the retreat, and will also be offering private hypnosis sessions to retreat participants.  A session with Kelli is always deeply moving, incredibly relaxing and profoundly healing. The past life regressions we have done with her have also been fantastically vivid and interesting! We asked her a few questions to help you get to know her better:

You have a background as a personal trainer with a degree in Kinesiology. You’ve helped many women lose weight. What do you see as the biggest barrier to long-lasting results?

I think the biggest barrier to women getting long lasting results in their weight loss journey is not addressing the reason a woman isn’t showing herself love and respect through how she is treating her body. A lot of the time it comes down to self-love and acceptance, but it can also be important to address if a woman is using food or her weight as protection or for other reasons. Even if a woman had the perfect plan to follow to lose weight, if the underlying issues are not addressed, then she will go back to old habits very quickly.

You mention that you now incorporate concepts of self-love, acceptance, and spirituality, emotional and mental health in your coaching. Have you seen increased results when you use these methods versus just focusing on the physical aspects of weight loss?

Absolutely. There are very few of my clients that are able to lose weight and keep it off if they don’t address the mental and emotional aspects of their relationship with food and their relationship with themselves. Anyone can use willpower and motivation to eat less or stick with an exercise program for a short amount of time, but in order to lose more than a few pounds or keep the weight off, the root cause of the problem needs to be addressed. The client needs to be able to find their “why” in order to be dedicated to this process and themselves rather than just using motivation which is fleeting.

How did you get into hypnotherapy?

I read Michael Newton’s book “Journey of Souls”, which is a collection of case studies on life between lives hypnotherapy sessions. This is where the client gets to visit the other side, meet and talk to their guides, their soul groups, the main players in their lives, their council, etc. When I read this book, I immediately knew that this is what I wanted to do. I wanted to help people journey to the other side.

Can it help with weight loss?

Absolutely! It can help us get to the root of those underlying issues I was mentioning earlier by allowing us to access the subconscious mind, which helps us be more open to change. This can be done in a myriad of ways, including using positive suggestions or regression work where we revisit the past, sometimes even through childhood or past lives.

How has hypnotherapy helped you personally?

Hypnotherapy has helped me in countless ways.  From helping me to discover many things about myself and my relationships with the people in my life through past life regression, to helping me deal with the guilt of not being at my grandma’s bedside when she passed on, as well as helping me to deal with my anxiety.

You’ll be offering an Akashic Record hypnotherapy journey at the retreat. A lot of people think hypnosis is when you do silly things on a stage for entertainment. Can you tell us what hypnosis is and how it can be used for healing?

Hypnotherapy is quite different from Stage hypnosis, although there are some similarities in the methods used. Simply put, hypnotherapy takes the conscious mind, which is always questioning and analyzing, out of the picture and works with subconscious mind, which is more open to suggestion.

Every experience we have in life then becomes a story we tell ourselves about those experiences. Two people may have the same experience, but then each tells a very different story about that experience. Imagine 2 people ride a roller coaster and are then asked how it was. The first person might say “it was so exhilarating and exciting! I had so much fun!” while the second person might say “That was terrifying, I absolutely hated it and never want to do it again”. Hypnotherapy can help to reframe past experiences to help decrease trauma, or change our perspective.

Hypnotherapy can also help us to access forgotten memories, past lives and our higher selves and guides to help with healing and transformation. This can help us get to the root cause where we can heal this past experience.

Just what are the Akashic records anyway? How can accessing them help in the healing journey?

Our Akashic records are where our soul’s complete history is retained in our subconscious mind. This is available for us to access and take with us into our conscious mind in this lifetime for energetic and physical healing, transformational change and enhanced wisdom.

Most of us have lived many lives on earth. Imagine you struggle in this life with confidence. Using your Akashic records you can access a past life where you lived a life with where you were full of confidence and bring this into your life now. For example, on my last visit to my Akashic records, I accessed  a previous lifetime where I was well rested and fell asleep easily to help me heal my sleep issues in this life. This has resulted in me being able to sleep much more deeply and longer than before has helped me on my path to healing.

Silly question, but can you hypnotize yourself?

Absolutely, it’s called self-hypnosis and can be very effective.

What was your most recent radiant moment?

In a recent hypnotherapy session, I received confirmation once again that I’m doing what I’m meant to be doing when I was able to help a client deprogram trauma from a particularly painful moment in their past. This validation makes me feel radiant because I feel my connection to my higher self and to the universe when I’m able to help and guide someone towards healing.

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