Here at the Center for Sacred Window Studies, we share voices from many perspectives and backgrounds. We believe that the sacred weeks post birth, and the experience of humanity is experienced in countless ways. We learn by listening to one another and honoring our stories. The views and opinions of our writers do not necessarily reflect the mission, viewpoints or opinions of the Center for Sacred Window Studies.
Anne Heart is a bodyworker, Ayurvedic counselor, and a Postpartum Ayurdoula. She is the maker behind Anjali Apothecary. She lives with her family in Nederland, Colorado.
CSWS: Where did you grow up? What brought you to Colorado?
AH: I grew up in Overland Park, Kansas.
I came here to study Rolfing and a particular dance form that thrives here. When coming out to study and dance, I got sucked into the amazingness that is here. It’s a mecca for healing modalities and creative outlets. Nederland is in the rural mountains, just outside of Boulder.
CSWS: Tell us about your teachers.
AH: Laura-Martin Eagle (of Mother + Pearl Potions) was my first Ayurvedic teacher.
She would hold these beautiful women’s nights where we would do rituals together. I’m so grateful for that time together. I’ve studied with Dr. Lad and at California College of Ayurveda & many other established teachers.
However, I feel like my most impactful teachers are these two elder women who are herbalists living off the land and are not even that well known. They have definitely influenced me the most through growing medicine, wild harvesting and how woven into their community their healing modalities are. I feel so blessed to have had those people in my life. Apprenticeship-style learning, like I did with these two women, has most influenced my work with people and it is really close to my heart.
CSWS: Tell us about your creative process.
AH: When creating, I consider the needs of my friends, kids, family, clients, and community.
When I was doing body work, people would get curious about Ayurveda and my work. I wanted to create a really simple way to get Ayurveda into people’s lives. So I started with me and the circle around me and asked, What do they need?
This is what drives creativity for me. Ayurvedic medicines and formulas are beautiful, exquisite and complex and my goal was to simplify it! Kind of like how everyone uses salt and pepper – everyone can also have a spice blend, a ghee and an herbal tea that’s seasonally oriented. I wanted to make it much more accessible, take the decision making out of it and help guide people into a beautiful and nourishing routine for their bodies and lives.
CSWS: What’s a product of yours that you love & how do you see someone using it in their sacred postpartum window?
AH: My infused body oils. Postpartum time is so overwhelming and so depleting, and I speak from experience – I’ve had two Sacred Windows myself.
Herbal infused body oils are a super easy way for Mama to ground and nourish herself wherever she is. All Mama has to do is rub the oil on her body or even just smell it and aromatherapy goes right to the brain stem to shift our state immediately. Our skin takes in the properties of herbs just as we would through drink.
It’s super easy nourishing, as Mama could be nursing or the baby could even be asleep on her, and she could rub it on her chest or belly, which is so easy and accessible! It’s totally the opposite of telling someone to cook a nourishing meal for themselves, which is very challenging to do during this time!
Herbs are also so wonderful for women at this time. To nourish yourself before you had a baby, you would sleep all night, or have quiet time or go for a walk. But now you can’t really do all of those basic things! You can take herbs and they are our allies as women during this time, especially for women with kids under age four. You can put things in your mouth and on your body and that is empowering.
CSWS: Will you tell us more about how you source your ingredients?
AH: I’ve been transitioning lots of the herbs from bulk orders to herbs that I grow or wild harvest in the mountains around us.
And I’ve loved having that more personal connection to the plants and the land. It’s really amazing the difference in vitality that I can see in the plants I grow or wild harvest vs. herbs I order in bulk. I wild harvest wild rose petals and rose hips while hiking (yes, it takes a ridiculously long time) and the color and smells are totally intoxicating. I do still order herbs and I don’t want to diminish those herbs, but I can definitely feel a difference in vitality between the two.
CSWS: We’d love to hear about your process for making ghee!
AH: Every full moon, I make ghee.
I sit on my floor in my kitchen. I have a wood burning stove and in winter, I cook it right over the fire and chant the Gayatri mantra. Laura Martin-Eagle showed it to me first. She had a stove top in her yoga studio and we would all sit around chanting and listening to the sound of making the ghee. You listen for the sound to change: the bubbles, crackling, popping. It’s a sensory meditation. Making the medicine is connecting to it through the sound itself.
CSWS: What is your favorite nourishing comfort dish to make for a new mom?
I like to put my savory herb spice blend in it, which has rosemary, oregano, ajwain, bay leaf, pippali & black pepper. Broth is distilled simplicity and easy to assimilate. It fortified me during my postpartum time.
CSWS: What is your vision for the future of postpartum care?
AH: More normalized. Everyone has a provider who helps them with pregnancy and birth, and the hard part is when the baby is actually here.
Financially, it’s not often in the mindset of people that they could spend money on their Sacred Window time or it’s not financially available. I want to help shift the narrative to value it, but maybe someone else can pay for it and move funding toward supporting women postpartum.
Ultimately we as doulas learn wisdom teachings and we share them with as many women as we can. We have daughters who have children and we share with them. We care for as many women as we can and it continues on and on and that’s just what we do. And we all know how to do it and we take care of each other so it becomes part of our cultural knowledge.
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