Our founder Sara was lucky enough to connect with Kristen Stuart at this year's Banff Yoga Festival and walked away from the conversation energized and eager to share her with YOU, the HEMM tribe. Radical self-love was the topic of conversation, and we picked Kristen's brain more about it. Here is what she had to say:
SELF LOVE - a phrase that has its own hash tag and is the topic of so many blogs and shout outs in this time of seeking, coaching, self help literature and in walking this wild earth path as a light being. I insert the ‘Radical' in front of it because it takes radical amounts of self-love to courageously illuminate yourself and others. In this space you do what you do and walk your path raw and vulnerable without worrying about the opinions or expectations of others. And though we don’t like to talk about it too much because it can feel heavy or not light enough, embodying radical self-love usually requires a dance and dip in the shadows first to clear the way for your light to shine. No mud, no lotus as they say.
This concept of Radical Self Love is something that I really began exploring in 2012 following my own shadowy dive after opening and closing a yoga studio in a matter of 7 months and flat lining myself with serious adrenal burnout that left me unable to work for nearly a year. It is also what birthed my coaching practice and has informed my teachings and programs in such rich ways. Through my healing journey, diligent research - both scientific and spiritual, I came to the conclusion that I had not truly embodied radical self-love. I had the ‘not enough’ tape playing in my head for so long that despite my passion and drive to create my dream (Sacred Roots Yoga Studio), I couldn’t find a place internally that allowed me to feel content, to be at peace with who I was and what I was creating. So I needed to learn how to create a new internal program, essentially re-program my hard drive. I also came to believe Radical Self Love is a daily practice.
My 5 most influential RADICAL SELF LOVE practices that became my daily medicine include:
- Morning lemon water upon waking. The citrus scent is uplifting and fresh while the lemon water alkalizes your body (moving it from one of acidity where dis-ease can thrive. Stress is one of the leading causes of acidity in the body) and gets your digestive system working to flush toxins from your body.
- Daily Meditation (minimum of 5 minutes). Create a sacred space in your home filled with things that uplift you (fresh flowers, crystals, rocks, pictures, readings) and let this be where you practice.
- Work with a daily Mantra. Choose 3 words to place after the words I AM (Peace, Power, Love, Connected, Enough…). This can be repeated as part of your meditation practice or separately to set the tone for your day and again in the evening prior to sleep.
- Move your body - run, walk, hike, yoga (even 10 minutes of sun salutations) to get prana flowing, your body feeling strong, and you connecting to your body in a healthy, positive way. If energy is low (initially it was all I could do to lay on my mat for meditation or walk 2 minutes to my mailbox) choose a few restorative poses to unwind and ground your energy.
- Himalayan Salt Baths with your favorite essential oils - Geranium, Clary Sage, Grapefruit and Lavender are some of my favorites. The minerals in the Himalayan salts are so good for your body for detoxification and to feed your adrenal glands. Add candlelight, music, and chill as you love yourself up Goddess Warrior ;)
BONUS: Take time to journal - what did I do well today, what did I learn, what are my 3 dominant feelings, what beauty did I see today.
Place your hand on your heart, plug your feet into the earth, look yourself in the eyes in the mirror and say I LOVE YOU. I AM AWESOME. This may be followed by a spontaneous dance party!
Our One-On-One With Kristen Stuart
In a single sentence (or two), describe who you are:
I am a mountain living boho spirit, entrepreneur, yoga & meditation teacher, coach, mentor, and creator of the Yogini Path Program for Women. On occasion I still wear hats from previous lives as a personal trainer and I combine my passion for yoga and love of the mountains as an ACMG Certified Hiking Guide (Association of Canadian Mountain Guides).
I am in love with sea salt dark chocolate, strong coffee, avocados, RISE Kombucha (Rose + Shizandra is my fav!), morning alpenglow in the mountains, anything with feathers, and a home full of fresh flowers.
How would you describe what you do?
I teach and facilitate programs through yoga and meditation that inspire women to connect to their radiance, own their power, and embody true self-love - to hear women say I AM ENOUGH. I also have a coaching practice through which I offer mentorship to yoga teachers and also guide people who are in times of transition, challenge, and looking for renewed inspiration, direction and support on their path.
Other projects I am involved with include a cause super close to my heart, supporting an orphanage in Peru (since 2011) called Ninos del Sol (ninosdelsol.org) through karma yoga projects, special yoga events, and the sale of ‘ senkapa’, colourful Unity bracelets with white beads, representing our ‘oneness’ that are woven by the Quechua women of the Sacred Valley of Peru. I run a retreat in the Sacred Valley of Peru each November and it always includes a visit with the children for some yoga, play and connection. I am committed to ensuring these children thrive in their lives.
A recent love I have discovered is utilizing my passion for healing benefits through therapeutic application of essential oils. I have been ‘playing with oils’ for nearly 15 years and recently jumped on board with fellow teacher and colleague Elena Brower to build a growing tribe of essential oil savvy business babes and Wellness Advocates with DöTerra. Needless to say I am loving the connection, community, and always smelling pretty with these magic oils!
Why do you do what you do? What inspires you to continue on this path?
I have always felt lit up when I see women step into their power and truly own it. When the shift is made into empowered presence and the embodiment of radical self-love, not only do these women and their families heal, but our whole world becomes a lot more luminous. There is a great quote that says: "When Women Gather, Mountains Move” and I’ve been blessed to witness this on so many occasions in students and clients who needed that extra little nudge to authentically step into the person they came here to be. They remember their radiance, strength and the power they consciously create when they can let go of fear and drop back into a space of love. This is our essence. The magnetism of that energy breaks through so many barriers - many self-imposed - and opens one up to a whole new field of what is possible. When we hold one another and ourselves in our highest light, we rise to it. This is our yoga and this is what inspires me to continue on this path. And rockin’ out your first handstand or having that ‘aha' moment in practice, that is so rich and sweet too.
Feel free to check out Kristen's Radical Self Love Yoga + Surf Retreat in Sayulita, MX or harness the power + beauty of healing crystals with her Radical Self Love Mala + Bracelet Stack, co-created with the amazing Chalice Grove. You can find more Kristen at www.kristenstuart.ca, and on Facebook & Instafram as @kristenstuartyoga.