During her career in social work, SantaLena became passionate about helping others find alternative therapies and practices outside of a pharmaceutical pill, often incorporating movement and connection to the outdoors while serving others.
Following her 200-hour yoga teacher training in Boston, MA, she attended an event in Somerville, MA called Herbstalk. Inspired by this community of nature lovers and healers SantaLena reached out to members of the Herbal Academy, where she was offered the opportunity to write their blog posts. She then took their herbal course online and crafted her very first batch of all natural and herbal skincare products. Creating beautiful skin rituals with the plants became habitual, and this was the seed for which Heart Grown Wild grew. After an herbal apprenticeship at The Gaia School of Healing in Vermont, SantaLena dove deeper into the world of plant spirits and made a radical leap to devote the majority of her time to the plants, making Heart Grown Wild a full time reality.
Mindful Rituals and Self-Care Before or After a Day in your Studio
We live in a digital, fast-paced world. Technology continues to grow exponentially. We must make time to slow down, log off, and disconnect to maintain a healthy mind, body and spirit. Our mind logs lists of to-dos, the demand for productivity increases as does access. Our fingers seem to be doing more swiping, scrolling and clicking. It begs the question, “Are we forgetting to take time to look up from the screen, get out of our head and stop to smell the flowers?”
So how do we bring in rituals that are accessible? Similar to mindfulness, we can translate everyday activities into rituals for self-care. First, we must individually ask ourselves, “What do I need to nurture myself?” Reflect on what areas of your life pose a challenge. When the experience of those challenges come to your mind, take a moment to assess where the experience lies in your body. Be kind to yourself; try not to label these aspects of ourselves as “bad” or “negative”. These are portals of information. Stress can manifest as pain in the abdomen or back, a mind that feels like a traffic jam, or difficulty sleeping due to racing thoughts at night. In wise woman herbal traditions, we are taught to see these ailments we experience as signs of what parts we need to tend to so we can shift back into balance.
As a formulator of body care products, I love the art of taking something that I use every day and making it a self-care ritual.
The plants infused into each bottle transport me to some of my favorite places no matter where I am. Body oils can be used to easily self-massage and hydrate the body after the shower or bath. By taking the time to notice how your body is feeling before you begin this ritual, you will know intuitively what areas need some extra love and care. Each one has a different energy and medicinal property. I like to take time after the shower to tap into how I want to feel emotionally from the experience. In the mornings, I tend to turn to the ascending floral energy of Prism of the Sun or Tulsi Chai to lift my spirit, relieve mild aches and pains and lean into the day head and heart forward. At the end of the day, I look forward to working with In the Trees or Nature’s Nectar because of their deep conifer earthy scents ~ they help me feel held and rooted no matter what happened in the day. I keep a bottle bedside for a warming evergreen massage of my feet, legs, heart and arms to relax into a peaceful sleep.
A couple of times a month, I bathe as a ritual. If time allows, a quiet walk outside beforehand sets the tone. Walking or movement prior to bath time can help to slow down and ground you before getting into the tub.
Rituals can be a wonderful anchor in our day-to-day. Take time to care for you.
In my work, I often hear people having the experience of difficulty unwinding in the bath. Movement can assist with the transition and flows energy through the body, allowing us to breathe. The soft early evening light at the end of the day helps relax wired eyes and open your heart to our greatest gift this precious and beautiful life we get to live ~ no Insta-shaming and no commitments pinging on our phones.
While the water swirls in the tub after a walk, set the stage.
Recommended pairings are:
– Soft music, or guided meditation (sometimes the sweetest symphony is the sound of silence.)
– Brewed cups of tea or wine
– Trinkets that you find beautiful, a special mug, a river rock, a copper candlestick
Allow yourself to breathe and soak for at least 20 minutes. After the bath, take some time to lie on a towel and stretch intuitively.