MATERIAL GIRL, MYSTICAL WORLD: SHONA VERTUE

We spoke to Shona Vertue, poster girl for our Designer Yogis sweatshirt line, on seeking inner peace and harmony in our inner cities… Portraits: Cameron McNee Hair and make-up: Andjelka Madic

White Vinyasa shirt, $70

“Okay, I no longer have nature all around me. How can I still be healthy, and still be present?”

Meet Australia-born yogini and personal trainer Shona Vertue, who decamped to London’s urban jungle in January 2014. A move that’s propelled her career to new heights – but where she’s also had to seek new ways to find the sense of inner expansiveness she got from regularly being out in nature back home.

It’s a situation faced by so many city dwellers (whether we recognize it as a problem or not) – where days can become weeks can become months without so much as an open sky to help connect us back to an understanding of ourselves as all connected by and to the Cosmos.

Shona’s solution? “I spend all my money on crystals for starters, like crystal retail therapy,” she jokes, telling how she recently realized it wasn’t her laptop but a two-kilo rose quartz she likes to keep close that was making her bag too heavy to lug around.

But seriously: “finding the sense of connection to myself that I used to get from being in nature, means closing my eyes a lot. It takes daily meditation,” she says. Which currently means sitting cross-legged in bed for 15 minutes every morning on waking. “I keep my Native American flute alarm clock going while I meditate because it transports me to another place – the Grand Canyon or something!” she says.

Black Chakra shirt, $70

It’s a conversation that makes Shona the ideal poster girl for our new Chakra and Vinyasa sweatshirt collection, which we’re selling in aid of Urban Yogis. An initiative out of Queens, NY, the program helps empower young people who’ve been affected by violent street crime to share the tools of yoga and meditation in their local inner city communities, as a way of cultivating peace, acceptance, and awareness.

“Awareness” being the basis of the Buddhist teachings that Shona studied in-depth back home in Australia. In essence, Buddhism is about becoming aware of how and why you are suffering, and then treating the cause of your suffering rather than just the symptoms.

“This is based on the belief that once we strip away the layers of suffering, at the core of every human being is an innate state of bliss that we all have access to at any time – if we choose,” explains Shona. As many readers will have experienced through their own yoga and meditation practice, and spending time in nature. Practices and experiences which can be made to feel like luxuries, available only to a privileged few – but which are actually all our birth right.

Inner peace – isn’t this what anybody who identifies with the term “seeker” is really looking for? We salute the awakened souls, like Shona and the Urban Yogis, who are dedicated to lighting the way.

Black and gold Vinyasa shirt, $70

:: MATERIAL GIRL ::

My label
Dharmabums – they are ethical and sustainable!

Leggings, $90 AUD, Dharma Bums

 

My shoes
New Balance

Paradise Awaits sneakers, $79.99, New Balance

My fragrance

Anything with Geranium and Sandalwood

Radha Fragrance Oil, $36, The Goddess Line

My jewels
Anything silver with Moonstone

Moonstone ring, $200, Pamela Love

My pampering
A bath with magnesium salts

My home
My pillow & my outrageous collection of crystals!

Raw Rose Quartz, from $6, The Hoodwitch

My food
Authentic Italian pizza & French Creme Bruleé

Pizza by Roberta’s, Brooklyn

:: MYSTICAL WORLD ::

My awakening
Morning meditation with affirmations – an absolutely non-negotiable practice.

My sign
Cancerian

My mantra
“Every morning we are born again; it’s what we do today that matters most.”

My healer
I’ve most definitely had more than one in this lifetime. At the moment it’s Francesca Zampi.

My reading
Abraham Hicks, Paulo Coelho & Timber Hawkeye

My transformation
I’m still trying to break the cocoon open, but at least I can feel my wings.

My mission
This lifetime? To realize my secret powers and help others find theirs…

White Chakra shirt, $70

A FLORAL TAPPING RITUAL FOR GROUNDING

Just in time for Eclipse Season, Valerie Oula brings the healing power of flowers to a tapping ritual for grounding… Artwork: Karolina Daria Flora

There’s a new kid on the holistic healing scene: floral tapping.

During sadhana a few months back, I received the “download” to work with flower essences topically. It’s not often that I get such clear cut, specific instructions from The Universe. And so when this happens, despite any resistance, it feels like I’d better follow through at some point.

And so I’ve been using the flowers in both my private sessions and workshops, and while people aren’t quite sure what’s happening, what they do know is that they feel different. A shift is happening.

Flower essences are the energetic imprint of the flower/tree captured in water. Subtle energy medicine. They do not have a scent and are mixed with grain alcohol or brandy as a preservative. The essences are vibrational remedies that work on the emotional energy body. When we use flower essences, we get attuned to the healing frequency of the flowers – which is essentially about raising our own vibration.

Since this is subtle energy work, it can take some time to recognize the shift that is taking place. It’s not like popping a pill for instant relief – although in this Aquarian age, as more and more of us are waking up and tuning in through energy work and practices like Kundalini Yoga, we may feel the effects faster.

As for floral tapping? It’s a technique that combines these vibrational essences with various tapping (Emotional Freedom Technique) modalities. In fact, think of it as EFT – super-charged. By delivering the vibrational essences along several acupuncture points around the ear as we tap, we are loading up on energetic goodness.

And with the swirling energy of Eclipse Season on the way, here’s a grounding floral tapping ritual for extra vibrational support.

What You’ll Need

  • A grounding flower essence such as Walnut – which is excellent for grounding and protection, to help with change and transition. Also to be used as a shield during an epic sample sale, or the subway at rush hour. Bach flower essences are available in most health food stores as well as at Whole Foods.
  • A small cup/bowl of spring water or filtered tap water. To prepare, hold the bottle and tap the bottom into the palm of your opposite hand eight times to activate, holding your intention for your ritual in your mind. Add two drops of the essence to water.

Floral Tapping :: The Flower Power Tap – Right Side Only

  • Prepare a short, simple grounding affirmation expressed in the positive. Some examples you might use: “I am grounded and calm” / “I am grounded and sovereign of my energy / “I embody my truth” / “Sat Nam” (which means “truth is my identity”)
  • Now bring the fingertips of the right hand together, bunched loosely. Dip your fingers in the activated flower essence water.
  • Begin solidly tapping with the fingers, starting at the right temple by the opening of the ear. Continue to tap, circling the right ear, while saying the affirmation. Take a deep breath in and out. Tune into the rooted, grounding energy.
  • Do this three-five rounds at least five times a day, and at least 30 minutes apart.

In the midst of our busy lives in our glorious urban jungles, tap into the essence of the flowers to ground you back to earth. Vibrational medicine works to support us, to allow us to live our life in the full technicolor sensory system of our very human being.

MATERIAL GIRL, MYSTICAL WORLD: SHIVA ROSE

Meet Shiva Rose, Earth mother and holistic creatrix, and discover the fashion and beauty finds that rock her Mystical world…

“We escaped Iran when I was ten years old, one cold winter night as the country was in the throes of a bloody revolution. We traveled to Germany, then London and finally to California, where my mother and her family is from. We settled in LA.”

So speaks actress, activist and curator Shiva Rose, whose lifestyle blog and online store The Local Rose celebrates her local community of artisan makers and mystics. And it was going from “a childhood nurtured on imagination and nature to life as a refugee,” that in fact fueled her passion for fashion and paved the way for her current incarnation as a woman dedicated to promoting a holistic, healthy and authentic lifestyle.

“I was a bit shy and awkward, and the trauma of escaping a revolution didn’t help. My refuge and escape from this reality was immersing myself in what I loved best, which was old European/Hollywood films and great books. I fell in love with story telling and being told stories,” she says. “I feel today I do this with each product I create and curate. The story behind the power of the ingredients rules me.”

Shiva Rose currently lives with her two daughters, Colette Blu, 19 and Charlotte Rumi, 10, in the Santa Monica Mountains, where the family is virtually self-sufficient. In itself an important part of her evolution as a woman.

“I feel like I have only become an adult in the last five years. There have been immense challenges and yet I have so much strength now that things that I couldn’t even dream of doing a few years ago are a welcome treat now. Things like fighting off a pack of coyotes that are trying to get my chickens by the light of the moon in my garden!”

The most vital lesson of all on her life path, however; “is that i have finally realized no one is going to make me happy unless I am happy, content and fulfilled on my own.”

Here’s a peek into the Mystical World of Shiva Rose, Earth Mama and Material Girl.

:: MATERIAL GIRL ::

My label
“Clothes designed and made by my community like Awave/Awake and Rachel Craven.”

Awave Awake Fall 2015 collection

My shoes
“Celine on a fancy day. Hand made moccasins most days.”

Manitobah handmade moccasins, $149

My scent
“Faith Essential Oil (on my site shop) or Rose oil from Amma.”

Essential Faith Oil, $65

My jewels
“Tantric pearls worn through meditation to soak up the high vibrations.”

Tantric Meditation Pearls, $595, Nine Treasures

My pampering
“Daily evening goddess baths with my handmade Moon Rose Salts and then my Nectar Body Oil.”

Rose Moon Sea Salts, $50, The Local Rose

My home
“Minimal astral treehouse!”

My food
“Organic and hand picked from my garden ~ fresh salads and fruit crumble with raw cream.”

:: MYSTICAL WORLD ::

My Awakening
“I awake before my children and creatures so I can have a few cups of Living Tea in meditative silence. If I am bending time that day, I will do a few Kundalini sets.”

My sign
“Aquarius with a Scorpio Moon, thus the dance between light and dark.”

My mantra
“Wahe Guru” and “I am Love.”

My guru
“Mama Earth and Father Sky.”

My reading
“So much to devour and learn. At the moment Infinite Possibilities: The Art of Living Your Dreams; books on bee keeping, and The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy.”

My transformation
“So many, I’m always evolving and transforming ~ but the most recent when I got divorced 7 years ago, and my life broke apart and then open.”

My mission
“To raise compassionate daughters, to walk in beauty every day, to be a custodian of Mama Earth.”

Read more about Shiva Rose and shop her collections at Thelocalrose.com

AFTER THE PARTY: HOW TO HOLD ON TO YOUR SPIRITUAL HIGH

Who says there’s no comedown from a spiritual high? Erin Telford has some advice for rolling out the high vibes even once reality bites.

Illustration: Cate Parr

You know the feeling. You’ve been living in a bikini and cutoffs and braids for a week, meditating and practicing yoga every day, eater cleaner than you’ve ever eaten before and you might even have broken your tech addiction.

You’ve been living off the land, having “paradigm shift” experiences. Who cares about showers? You woke up like this. You’ve got the glow that comes from roaming, discovering, and connecting with wild, uncharted territory ALL DAY.

You’re full of vitality and big plans! Fired up and high on life, your routine is completely revamped before you land back home. You’re totally getting up at 6am every day to move your body. You will finally commit to juicing! Your relationships are going to be so Zen.

And then…wah wah wahhhhh. Reality. Back to the grind. It feels almost like you never left, except for those great photos you keep flipping through on your phone.

We’ve all been there. The post yoga retreat/Burning Man/revolutionary healing session that feels like it will catapult you into a completely new existence. And then you return to “real life” and it feels so hard to hang on to all of those incredible insights.

Illustration: Lauren Albert

What happens when we have new experiences is that we’re flooded with dopamine – a.k.a. the pleasure center chemical, the neurotransmitter of DESIRE. Dopamine is the chemical in the brain that chases rewards – and as new things fuel us with perspective and possibility, it’s a thrill and a half to get your mind blown. We thrive on the sensation of every fresh beginning.

So how do we hang onto the high vibes as we return to life as we know it?

Here’s the deal, everything you’ve felt, transformed, and learned is still within you. There’s nowhere for it to go. The ecstatic dance, the peaceful quiet morning, the Reiki session that turned your world around. The after-effects are contained and imprinted into your psyche.

In Chinese medicine, they say every time your heart beats, it’s like a camera click taking a picture of your moment-to-moment existence. Your sweet heart stamps every bit of beauty and love that you move through into your blood!

Routine is a killer and can make us feel complacent and uninspired. Novelty stirs our souls and our creative spirit. So, to keep yourself in the groove, do something you’ve never done before every week! When they say that life begins outside of your comfort zone, they aren’t kidding.

Illustration: Belinda Chen

Grab the most beautiful vegetable you see at the green market and build a meal around it. Round up some friends to watch the leaves change at Storm King. Go all the way up to to Washington Heights to have dinner. Revel in a Gong Bath. Visit the Dream House.

When you decide to look at life through a new lens, this beginner’s mind can apply to literally anything. Can you use your newfound courage and sense of self to share your fears and insecurities with a friend for the first time? Can you translate the feeling of peace in your body into a more harmonious relationship with your parents or partner? Infuse your transformation into your daily life and extend the feelings of bliss indefinitely.

And remember, you also have no idea how different things would be if you’d just stayed home – because you didn’t! And you can apply this theory to every experience, every day of your life.

Every time something shifts one teeny tiny degree in your perspective, even if you only make the most infinitesimal change in your outlook…you will still be walking an entirely different, an entirely NEW path.

Illustration: Kelly Smith

So you really can’t ever go back to the way things were because you are different now. And now. And now…The wisdom you’ve gained about yourself, your desires, your ideals, and your truth will inform every choice you make for the future. It’s impossible for you to go backwards.

In other words, what goes up doesn’t always have to come down.

Erin Telford is the founder of Radiant Heart Acupuncture.

@RadiantHeartNYC