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Conscious Condoms and Vaginal Health

Sex. Most of us are doing it at one point or another. This sacred act is one of our greatest gifts as humans. The ability to connect, to create, and to collapse into another. 

 

The practical act of having sex comes with certain logistical measures that need to be taken. The biggest being preventing sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancy. While there are numerous options for preventing unwanted pregnancy, there are less when it comes to STDs. 

 

If you are choosing to have penetrative sex, whatever the iteration of your relationship may be, you may also be choosing to use condoms. For many of us, our first experience with condoms was seeing a health teacher slip one onto a banana, or our parents embarrassingly handing us a stack “just in case”. While it is important to practice “safe sex”, what wasn’t discussed was the possible implications of the presence of toxic condoms in our delicate vaginal microbiomes. 

 

The vaginal microbiome are the bacterial communities comprised of vaginal flora- microorganisms that colonize the vagina. A balanced microbiome, much like a balanced ecosystem, helps to prevent STDs, maintain natural hygiene, aid in fertility, and the overall health and wellbeing of people with vaginas. 

 

Part of maintaining a healthy vaginal microbiome, is watching what you put up there. Between latex allergies, toxic ingredients, and other possible carcinogens- condoms can be tricky territory. 

 

Some conventional condom ingredients to watch out for include:

 

Petrochemicals: Just what it sounds like- chemicals obtained from petroleum or natural gas. No thank you! A 2013 study found that women who used petroleum jelly in the past 2 month were 2.2 times more likely to have a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis. Yikes!

 

Glycerin: While glycerin gives the appearance of moisturizing, it utilizes osmosis. This means that when a product with glycerin is applied to the vagina, the glycerin molecules pulls natural moisture from the vagina, dehydrating it. The opposite of what you want during your intimate moments. When left in the vagina too long, glycerin can turn into a sugar- increasing the risk of yeast infections. 

 

Latex: Latex allergies are fairly common, yet many people are unaware of them. If you experience itching, swelling, and other signs of irritation after sex with a condom, you may have a latex allergy. Luckily, there are wonderful latex alternatives out there these days.

 

Nitrosamines: These are chemical compounds that form during the production of latex. While levels tend to be low in condoms, there is a potential for increased risk of cancer from exposure to nitrosamines.

 

Parabens: Parabens are a common preservative that are used in many personal care products, including personal lubricants and condoms. Parabens have been found to mimic estrogen in the body, causing a disruption of the hormone. This leads to an increased risk of breast cancer, amongst other things.

 

Dry Dusting Powder: This is used to help prevent a rolled up condom from sticking together or breaking while unrolling it. While these are typically made from corn starch, it may contain other ingredients, including harmful preservatives that are there to prevent the breakdown of latex.

 

All hope is not lost. As the demand for sustainable and non toxic products in every industry has grown, it has trickled into the condom community. There are a growing number of companies offering non toxic condoms, redefining the meaning of “safe sex”. 

 

Sustain Natural: These latex condoms are ultra thin and lubricated inside and out- all while being free from nitrosamines, as well as being fair trade. Woohoo!

 

Lovability Inc. : These ultra stylish and millennial focused condoms have a brilliant brand, and an awesome product to back it up. Their condoms are made from 100% natural, vegan latex. They coat them with an aloe infused silicone lube to avoid harmful spermicides, dyes, fragrances, and other toxic chemicals. Even better? They’re cute packaging makes them the perfect accessory. 

 

GLYDE America : This company prides themselves on clean plant based formulas, sustainable ingredients, and ethical processes to produce their vegan and cruelty free condoms. 

 

Sir Richard’s : All natural latex condoms free from parabens, spermicides, and petrochemicals. They are PETA approved, and all vegan. Cruelty free condoms for the win!

 

Whatever your sexual preferences and journey may look like, it is important to understand the effect that the products we expose our vaginas too have implications. Finding the right “fit” can take time and some experimentation, but there is a non-toxic sustainable condom option out there for everyone. So take some of these brands for a test ride, and have at it!

Stay frisky, Alila Grace CEO of Mahina Menstrual Cup

A Woman’s Seasons

The earth goes through natural cycles. The sun rises and sets, the moon waxes and wanes and the seasons have a rhythm of blossoming and falling away.

The earth’s cycles are balanced and rhythmic.

They keep the harmony of all the species that live here. The animals depend on the cycles to know when to migrate, conceive and birth their kin and when to store food for a long winter.

We, humans, also depend on the earth’s cycles, however we have gotten so far away from the natural elements. Kids are more familiar with screens than greens. We had to invent practices like “earthing” to remind people to walk on the earth. Dis-ease is normalized, birth is institutionalized and we have completely handed over our power to forces outside of us.

Women’s bodies are a mirror reflection of the earth and carries out these natural cycles, each and every month.

Every period is a moon phase, a waxing a waning. She journeys within her an entire winter, spring, summer and fall. Our bodies depend on these rhythms for inner balance and harmony. When we throw off or interrupt our natural cycle, we interfere with the whole system. Our body forgets that ebbs and flows are the norm and we forget that there are times of going deep inside and times to express ourselves out into the world.

When we take away the seasons of our bodies, we strip ourselves of the juice of live. Fall colors are dull, spring flowers do not fully bloom, and the body begins to come out of balance, or into dis-ease. We push against the natural flow, we swim upstream and we make everything more challenging then it needs, or wants, to be.

It’s no wonder so many girls and women are suffering from ‘PMS’ symptoms and fertility issues. When the rhythm of life is not honored, the body will offer signals of this imbalance in the form of symptoms. The symptoms get more and more severe the more off balance the body is.

The body wants to be in balance, peace and vitality.

It’s our job to listen and take direction from it.

Hormonal birth control (HBC) is the biggest disrupter of the women’s natural balance. It takes away the cycles and seasons. It alters the ph, hormones, pheromones and chemical balance in the body. It removes us from our natural ebb and flow and puts the power of our rhythm into a man-made pill. This pill is supposed to save us from the worries of conception, and what most don’t realize is it removes us from our primal power and intuition as women.

A women’s power is in her belly. Her power to create, to dream and to see. When we take a women away from her inner sight, she forgets who she is and what her purpose is.

A women in her natural rhythm is a women in her full essence.

She understands the cycles of her body like she understands the cycles of nature. She is not controlled by her monthly shed (period), rather she is honored to greet it. And when/if she is ready to conceive she has an inner intelligence that guides her.

This is one of the greatest gifts of being born in a women’s body.

My favorite way to track my cycle is with Fertility Awareness Method (FAM). It’s a complete method of deciphering the bodies cues to figure out your unique rhythm. It looks at your body basal body temperature, cervix position and cervical mucus. These 3 markers are the most important for gauging where you are in your cycle. Each season, like the earth, has it’s own signature; our temperature rises and falls, the cervix (flower) opens and closes and the mucus (precipitation) varies.

FAM is accurate and empowering. It’s scientific and also deeply intuitive.

I’ve noticed for myself over time, the physical charting has become secondary to the inner knowing of my cycles. After charting for some years, I learned my particular signs and signals and have been able to successfully use this method for both conscious conception and contraception.

The best place to start is by becoming aware of big and subtle changes throughout the month as well as getting in the habit of daily cervix checks. For a cervix deep dive, journey here.

The best books to learn more are “The Garden of Fertility” by Katie Singer and “Taking charge of your fertility” by Toni Weschler.

Remember, your body is your compass, and HBC completely altars your north star.

There is nothing more empowering than learning the cycles and rhythms of your own body and making informed decisions regarding your fertility.

If you’re ready to jump off HBC, take out your IUD or have personalized support with your natural fertility options, feel welcomed to message Alila for a 1:1 empowerment session.

 

with seasoned love, Alila Rose Grace, Founder of Mahina Menstrual Cup  xx

The Magical, Mystical Cervix

As talk of female anatomy becomes more and more common, we hear different terms being thrown around. One of those being cervix. 

 

Many of us are familiar with the magic of the cervix during labor. While navigating the portal that is childbirth, a birthing person’s cervix goes through a process of softening, dilating (opening), and effacing (thinning). This is to allow an opening for the baby to travel from the uterus, through the vaginal canal, and out into the world. 

 

What many people don’t know, is that the cervix plays a powerful role in our reproduction, besides during the process of birth. 

 

Although technically, the cervix is its own distinct anatomical structure, it is the lower part of the uterus, extending from the bottom of it. It is the gateway from the uterus to the vagina. 

 

The cervix maintains sterility of the upper reproductive tract. Protecting the female reproductive organs from a bacterial infection. 

 

The cervix is not stationary. Throughout your menstrual cycle, it intelligently moves up and down, as well as changing in opening and moisture levels. 

 

During your period, the cervix stays low, and is firm like the tip of your nose. This is to allow blood to flow through freely. When your periods ends, the cervix closes tightly, but tends to stay low. During the luteal phase when the egg starts to travel down the fallopian tube, the cervix may stay soft, while your cervical mucus gets thicker, as well as cloudy and sticky. As our bodies move through our cycles, and closer to ovulation, the cervix moves up. It becomes soft, wet, and open- making it easier for the passage of sperm. A good way to remember this, is by using the acronym SHOW- soft, high, open, and wet. After ovulation, the cervix becomes firm, dry, and closer. While Progesterone plays a large part in our cycles, estrogen is the magical hormone that helps facilitate this process, causing uterine lining to thicken, and softening your cervix throughout the month. 

 

These changes in your cervix make inserting your Mahina cup that much easier! With the cervix lower, it is more accessible. Your menstrual cup should sit just below your cervix. So during your period (with clean hands), you will fold your Mahina cup into a tulip shape by pressing the side edge all the way to the bottom with a finger. In a relaxed state, and on an exhale, you will insert your folded cup into your vagina, letting it sit just below your lowered cervix. 

 

A great way to become more familiar with your body and your cycle, is by tracking the changes in your cervix. You can make it a ritualistic practice, by creating a calm, sensual space. Feel free to use a mirror, to be able to actually see your cervix. If you’re unable to see it, you can try using a flashlight, or wait a few days until you are in a different part of your cycle. Recording changes in your cervical positioning and discharge in a journal (or handy period tracking app), will give you an accurate picture of your cycle. This can also help you in the journey of conception- or preventing conception. 

 

Understanding your reproductive organs from the inside out, gives you the freedom to understand yourself, and your fluctuations on a deeper level. Educating ourselves on our bodies and cycles is part of the path of liberation for female bodied people. 

 

Fun facts about the cervix:

 

  • The cervix can change positions after vaginal intercourse, despite where you are in your menstrual cycle. 
  • During pregnancy, the cervix may go through all sorts of changes. Some people say it changes colors- to blue or purple. It is also totally normal for it to become enlarged and puffy. 
  • The cervix often looks like a little pink doughnut. It also resembles the head of a penis! 
  • During ovulation, the consistency of your cervical mucus helps sperm travel to the egg, helping aid in conception. 
  • While HPV, human papillomavirus, is incredibly common, it also the leading cause of cervical cancer. Pap smears are important, as well as safe sex! 
  • And just for fun…Aardvarks have two cervixes! 

 

I encourage you to start getting to know this hard working piece of equipment. Understand your cervix and your cycle, to take charge of your fertility- and your body!

 

What do you call yours?

Vagina. Some people squirm with discomfort at the sound of the word. For some, it’s an average word in their vocabulary. Some say it every chance they get. No matter your relationship with the word, and the organ, vaginas are a subject that need to be discussed for many reasons. 

 

Part of building a discussion around our vaginas, is creating vocabulary around what we call them. Pussy, cunt, yoni, bits, coochie, the list goes on. Some of these words are more charged up than others. Some are seemingly lighthearted family words. 

 

We’re here to give you some background on where these words come from, what they truly mean. As well as how you can feel empowered, no matter what you call your vagina.

 

Let’s start with an obvious one…

 

Vagina: Latin origins. This refers to a sheath. Specifically one that someone would put a sword in. Ouch. Not the most empowering of origins, but we decide a word’s value and meaning. Technically, the word vagina refers directly to the internal structures, but we often use it to describe the vulva as well. Read more about this in our previous post Tour de Vagina.

 

Pussy: While the exact origins of this word and how it got around to be used as slang for vagina are unknown, sources say that one possible place of origin is from the Old Norse word puss, which means “pocket”, or “pouch”. The Old English Dictionary cites uses of the word pussy back to the 1500s, and defines it as “A girl or woman exhibiting characteristics associated with a cat, especially sweetness or amiability.” It began to be used as slang for female genitalia in as early as 1699. Maybe it’s my affinity for cats, but this is one of my personal favorites. 

 

Yoni: In its original Sanskrit origins, Yoni means “the divine passage” or “source of life”. I’m a fan of the term “yoniverse”, to reflect the macro of what we call the source of life. The Hindu Goddess Shakti, represents the source of life or creation, or “Divine feminine life force energy”. When you bring these words together, Yoni Shakti means “source power”. It is worth noting, that while this word may be used in some places in Northern India, and other predominantly Hindu based areas, it is not used everywhere in the incredibly diverse country of India. 

 

Cunt: Possible origins of the word “cunt” referring to the vagina may be from the Hindu Goddess Kunti, or “Great Yoni of the Universe”. Worshipped in shrines across the Eastern world, Kunti encompassed life itself. From India, to Old Norse language, the word “kunta” refers to vulvas in many Germanic and Scandinavian languages. Other possible origins stem from the Latin word “cunnus” meaning vulva. Amongst other pop culture figures such as Jack Kerouac and D.H. Lawrence, Eve Ensler, creator of the legendary “Vagina Monologues” reclaimed the word stating; “I call it cunt…I’ve reclaimed it ‘cunt’, I really like it.”

 

Some other slang for Vaginas throughout history are Love Glove, Bits, Breakfast of Champions, Love Taco, Hoochie, Coochie, Vajayjay, Muff, Fanny, and many more.

 

Whatever you choose to call your sacred parts, is your decision. Language evolves and grows over time. So while some of these words may not have the most feminist backgrounds, they carry different weight depending on the social and cultural context. We get to choose how words affect us, and have the ability to empower ourselves through redefining our relationships to certain words.

Reconnecting With Our Natural Rhythm

I have big goals, ambitious dreams, a neverending drive to create, and make an impact on the world. Sometimes in the midst of all this production and creation, there’s a lapse in what we’re truly here for. Sometimes we lose sight of our “why”.

 

Connection.

 

Connection to ourselves. To our loved ones. To nature. It all comes down to connecting to the world around and within you. Those times of complete bliss. Of fully surrendering to the moment. The joyous, depth of the moments that make up what we call life. 

 

Last week, I spent three days away from my loving daughter Andara. After returning from my work trip, my baby was feeling anxious and clingy. It was apparent that her nervous system was over-stimulated, after days of worrying if her Mama would ever come back.

 

We are made of this Earth. So when things seem just a little (or a lot) off, one of the quickest ways to reset is to return from where we came from. After a beautiful camping trip, I am reminded of the profound power of grounding down.

 

Let’s take a look at some of the incredible ways spending time in nature can reset you on a physiological level.

 

Fresh Air

 

Living in smog filled cities, means having our lungs and bodies be constantly filled by muck and mire. Sometimes we forget the power that concentrated oxygen can have on our well being. The healing power of being surrounded by the never ending dance of breath between us and the trees.

 

Sweet Sunshine

 

Like we discussed a few weeks ago in our blog on Safe Sun Optimization, the Sun is our friend. We live in harmony with it, and are by the definition of the word- solar powered. So when we give ourselves time to (safely) soak in its radiant rays, we are rewarded with endless benefits. Better moods, clearer skin, clarity of mind, and so much more.

 

Screen Free Time

 

We are surrounded by screens. So much of our lives are through these little devices that live by our sides. But as we become increasingly more dependent on them, we need to make an extra effort to spend time away from them as well. The blue light in screens affects our hormone levels such as dopamine and melatonin. Over time, this can have detrimental effects on our moods and sleep. And while there are so many incredible tools offered by the internet and social media, we cannot live our lives through our screens. Sometimes we need reminders that this isn’t all that life is about. 

 

Being Barefoot

 

We are designed to work harmoniously with nature. We are nature after all. When we wear shoes, and walk on concrete all day, we disrupt this gentle pattern. The Earth has a negative ionic charge. Our bodies are about 60% water. When we walk barefoot on the Earth, our bodies ground to this negative charge. This can reduce inflammation throughout the body, calm nerves, soothe anxiety, regulate hormones and physiological cycles, and detoxify our beings. 

 

Sleeping Under The Stars

 

As creatures of the daylight, we are made to rise and fall with the Sun. Fluorescent lights, unnatural schedules, and alarm clocks all take us out of our natural circadian rhythm. When we sleep under the stars, we naturally wake when the sun rises. Watching the sunrise, energizes and syncs us up with the natural cycles of the universe. 

 

Socializing 

 

There’s nothing more fulfilling than spending time in nature with the ones you love. We are social creatures. Yet are often so busy, that we don’t give ourselves space to connect without these distractions. Camping is the perfect time to do this. Time where the only things on your mind are what’s for dinner and what song to jam to next. This is what we’re here for.

 

So I encourage you- take the time. The time to be in nature. To reconnect with what and who we are. To be with the people that matter most to you in life. Savor the sweetness of fresh bodies of water. Of slightly overcooked campfire food. Of cuddles under the stars. Take in the best gifts life has to offer.

 

Tour de Vagina

Vaginas. About half the world has one. Many of us come into the world through one. Yet there is so much misinformation around them, that many people don’t even know exactly what a vagina is. When it comes to the female reproductive system, we’re often kept in the dark. This lack of understanding of our basic anatomy, keeps people from being able to truly connect with their bodies. The more we understand just how magical these bodies are, the more we respect and cherish them.

 

There are many variations, and things that make different vaginas unique and beautiful in their own way. But before we celebrate the incredible differences that make us who we are, we need to first understand the basic anatomy of female bodied people.

 

First things first. The whole area that people often refer to as a vagina, is not necessarily the vagina. There are many parts we must encounter and see first, before we even get to the actual vagina. 

 

If you are comfortable doing so, an amazing activity for getting to know your body, is the mirror exercise. As you are reading this, try laying in front of a mirror, or using a handheld one, to examine your own anatomy (or your partner’s)- to get a front row seat on this Tour de Vagina.

 

The first thing  you see when examining your genitals (besides maybe pubic hair), is the vulva. This is the outside area of the genitals, that includes the mons pubis (latin for pubic mound), labia majora (outer lips), labia minora (inner lips), the clitoral head, and the external openings of the urethra and vagina (introitus).

 

Underneath the mons pubis, lies the joints of the pubic bone, making up part of the pelvis.

 

Take a turn south, directly in between your legs, and you will begin to see the labia majora. Unless you choose to remove it, these are often covered in pubic hair. They serve to protect the more sensitive areas just beneath them.

 

Behind the gates of the labia majora, lies the labia minora. They are hairless, and made of more sensitive tissue than the labia majora. They come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. They also can change throughout someone’s lifetime, from pregnancy and hormones, and swell when you are turned on.

 

At the top of the labia minora, and just below the mons, lies the clitorial hood- a fold of skin protecting the head of the clitoris, or glans. Like labia, the glans comes in all different sizes. This magic button is a powerful tool for arousal and orgasm. Contrary to popular belief, this is not the whole clitoris, in fact, it’s just the beginning of it.

 

If you are on the glans, and move up, you begin to feel the clitoral shaft. It is a hard, rod like structure. The clitoris then makes a wishbone shape, dividing into two parts. The shaft and crura (roots and legs) of the clitoris, are about 5 inches long. On either side of the vaginal opening, under the labia majora, are the clitoral vestibules. When aroused, these engorge, giving a bear hug to the vaginal opening, and tightening it.

 

Below the glans, is the urethra. This is the end of the urinary tract, and it’s the tiny hole that you pee out of. 

 

Just below the urethra, is the vaginal opening. This is the opening to the vagina, or vaginal canal, which goes into the internal parts of the female anatomy. While babies and menstrual blood can come out of the vaginal opening, other things such as menstrual cups, fingers, penises, and dildos can go in. 

 

With clean, possibly lubricated fingers, you can begin to explore the vaginal canal. The soft folds of the mucous membrane, stretch and mold to accommodate things like those listed above, to come in and out. The natural lubrication of the vagina, varies depending on arousal level, age, and where you are in your cycle. 

 

A few inches inside your vagina, is the legendary G-Spot, or Gräfenberg Spot. It’s located on the belly side of your internal structure, and can be incredibly sensitive when aroused. 

 

If you keep moving upwards, you will reach the cervix. This is the opening from the uterus to the vagina. When you touch it, it feels bulbous, almost like a nose. This incredible piece of our anatomy, thins and dilates during childbirth. It also descends during ovulation, and can be a powerful tool in tracking your cycle. 

 

The uterus is a muscular, pear shaped organ. Normally, it is about the size of your fist. This area, often called the womb, is where the fetus (or fetuses) grow during pregnancy. 

 

Extending from the uterus on each side, are the fallopian tubes. They are the pathway that eggs travel from your ovaries, to the uterus. During conception, sperm travels through the fallopian tubes to the ovaries, in an effort to fertilize the eggs.

 

These ovaries, are the storage house for the eggs. They also produce powerful hormones such as estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone. These help regulate puberty, menstruation, and pregnancy. 

 

There are so many more layers and details in understanding female body’s anatomy, and as a society, we are just starting to scratch the surface (The first published information on the clitoris didn’t come out until 2011)! 

 

So I invite you, to do your own hands on research. Get to know your unique anatomy, and understand that it is going to change throughout your lifetime. With that, I leave you with some fun facts about the female reproductive structure: 

 

  • Female bodied people have the same amount of erectile tissue as male bodied people do (1).
  • The area of the clitoris that is visible, contains 8,000 nerve endings.
  • Female bodied people reach orgasms in all different ways. From clitoral, to vaginal, to everything in between. For some people, breast stimulation does the trick, others can think themselves to orgasm. 
  • When turned on, the lower part of the uterus, moves towards the belly button. This is called “tenting”, and makes the vagina longer.
  • Female bodied people, are born with all the eggs they will ever produce.

 

Citations:

 

  1. Women’s Anatomy of Arousal. Sheri Winston. 2010.
  2. https://www.ourbodiesourselves.org/book-excerpts/health-article/self-exam-vulva-vagina/

We are Solar Powered: Smart Sun Optimization

“The Earth has received the embrace of the sun, and we shall see the results of that love.” -Tatanka Iyotake

 

The ancient Greeks called it heliosis. Today we call it Heliotherapy. Have you heard of it? It’s the use of natural sunlight for the treatment of various disorders. Original Olympic athletes would sunbathe to strengthen their nerves and muscles. In the 1800s, it cured people of smallpox and tuberculosis (1). Indian Ayruvedic doctors use it to treat everything from arthritis to eczema. It helps treat acne, boost mood levels, and gives us the precious gift of life.

 

As humans, just like everything else on this planet, we have evolved and continue to grow with the never ending gift of love the sun provides. We’re designed to rise and set just as the sun does, our circadian rhythms gently falling into a peaceful harmony. To eat the nourishment that grows under the sun’s rays. To be charged up like a battery, from our radiant energy source. And yes, to spend time letting the sweet vitamin d be absorbed deep into our cells.

The sun allows us to blossom, just as it does the sweet flowers we so lovingly enjoy.

 

Today we are constantly bombarded with fear filled messages about sun exposure. And while yes, we do need to be conscientious about how we spend our days in the sun, avoiding it all together is not the answer. Like every other thing on this planet, we need the sun to thrive. So let’s have a discussion around how we can do this safely. 

 

Conventional sunscreens tend to be chock full of parabens, petroleum, and chemicals we can’t pronounce. They contain endocrine disruptors that harm our natural production of hormones, and ingredients that harm our planet’s bodies of water, while seeping into our bloodstream. While we of course want to avoid sunburns, when we begin to turn red from sun exposure, it is our bodies’ warning sign to find shade.

When we block this warning sign, we are exposing ourselves to excessive amounts of sun damage. 

 

Instead of thinking of sun protection, let’s think of sun optimization. How we can best optimize our time spent in the sun. So how can we get our helio-cake and eat it too?

 

Diet. How we interact with the sun is more than skin deep. Our diet directly effects how the sun’s rays interact with our skin. Eating a diet full of leafy greens, fresh veggies, fruits, and healthy fats is one way to help promote healthy sun exposure. Going for organic, and minimal processing if you have access to that.

 

Time outside. If you’re not used to spending time in the sunlight, start little by little. A few minutes at a time can work wonders. Your needs are going to vary depending on where you are in the world, the time of year, your genetics, and many other factors. Bare as much as your body as you feel comfortable with, keeping in mind that some areas may be more sensitive than others. Use your intuition, and pay attention to your skin. If it begins to feel warm, move out of the sun, or cover yourself. 

 

Coverage. Not only are hats the ultimate accessory, they can also be a crucial component in your sun optimization plan. Layers, light scarves, and umbrellas can also come in handy. 

 

Sunscreen. There are some great options out there. Go for zinc-oxide based organic sunblocks. Or use one of these DIY options:

 

  • Mix pure vitamin C powder in 10% solution with water. Mist onto skin, and allow it to soak in. Repeat again before going outside.
  • Jojoba, sesame and coconut oils, as well as shea butter offer a small amount of protection from the sun. Can be great for day to day use, but use cautiously. 
  • You can purchase non-nano zinc oxide to make your own sunblock at home. It is essential to buy non-nano, as these particles are too big to be absorbed into your bloodstream. You can mix this into your favorite lotions, or make your own with one of the oils listed above, as well as Vitamin E. While essential oils are a great addition, be sure not to use citrus. These are photosensitive, and may cause negative interactions with the sun. 

 

Got too much sun? It happens to the best of us. I know how hard it is to peel yourself off the beach when you’re blissed out from those glorious rays.

 

Here are some tips if you get a bit too toasty:

 

  • Aloe vera! Fresh is best if you can. If you buy bottled, try to find one with minimal ingredients. A drop or two of peppermint and lavender essential oils in the aloe, will help to cool and soothe the skin.
  • Rehydrate from the inside out. Drink plenty of fresh water, herbal teas, aloe water, or coconut water.
  • Mix equal parts apple cider vinegar with water, spray onto skin as often as needed. You can also make a cool compress with this mixture and apply to skin as needed.
  • Vitamin E oil helps repair damage from the sun. It can also be ingested orally, and is in many foods like nuts, avocados, and mangoes. 
  • A cool bath may help soothe the intensity of your burn. 
  • Some people swear by raw yogurt, whose probiotics may help heal the skin. 

 

We are so lucky to be supported the brilliant life force that is the Sun. Let’s honor it, while we honor ourselves, by practicing safe sun optimization.

 

Now get out there. You’ve got rays to soak up. 

 

References:

  1. http://broughttolife.sciencemuseum.org.uk/broughttolife/techniques/heliotherapy

Mess Free Menstruation: Cleaning your Cup in a Public Bathroom

Menstrual cups have endless benefits. From saving money, to cutting back on waste, to allowing more freedom during your period, and minimizing leakage. 

 

But with new practices, comes new questions. Especially when said practices revolve around the health of your yoni. 

 

One of the most common questions I get about menstrual cups is “How do I clean it when I’m out and about?”.

 

The thought of having to clean a menstrual cup in public, is enough to make many people blush. But there’s no need to stress. Cleaning your menstrual cup is as easy to clean at home, as it is at the bathroom of your local Yoga studio.

 

Mahina Cups are designed to last up to 12 hours without needing to be cleaned out. Which means you can run all your errands, go for a hike, and get brunch, without having to worry.

 

Try to clean your cup before leaving home. But if you do find yourself needing to clean your cup while on the go, there’s no need to be intimidated. Cleaning your Mahina Cup can be done in 5 easy steps.

 

  1. Start off with clean, sanitized hands. 
  2. Pour the contents of your cup into the toilet. 
  3. Wipe your cup with toilet paper to clean off excess menses. If you choose to wipe your cup with wet wipes, make sure they won’t irritate your delicate vaginal skin.
  4. Rinse off residual period blood with water. If you want to avoid using the sink, you can use simply use the water in your reusable bottle to rinse it in the stall. No one will suspect a thing.
  5. Make sure there are no pieces of toilet paper stuck to your cup, then simply reinsert. Voilá!

 

If you don’t have access to clean water, do what you can to wipe your cup down as much as possible. Then as soon as you get a chance, make sure to clean thoroughly with cool water (hot water may stain the cup).

 

Avoid using soap to clean, as it can throw off the delicate balance of your vagina’s pH levels.

 

All clean!

 

If someone does see you cleaning your Mahina Cup, awesome! Chances are, the other people in that bathroom currently menstruate, or did at one point in their lives. Periods are nothing to be ashamed of, they are to be celebrated.

 

This gives you a chance to strike up a conversation. Talk to your sink buddy about how using a Mahina Cup has simplified your period, and squash any concerns about making the switch. Bonus points for converting people to Mahina Cups, and even more if you make a new friend!

 

Like anything new, navigating using your menstrual cup takes practice. But before you know it, you’ll be a Mahina Cup pro. Telling all your friends just how easy they are to use.

 

Happy Menstruating!

 

5 Radiant Femme-Boss Hacks to Uplevel your Game

When we step into ‘boss mode’ we often step into our masculine. We make to-do lists, schedules, non-negotiables and get hyper-focused on the bottom line. Having the ability to integrate our masculine is an invaluable tool that really anchors stuff getting done, and effectively. However, when we are too busy pushing and grinding, we can forget to open to unknown variables and flow with spontaneity.

When we are driving hard and fast in our masculine, we often finish the day exhausted, depleted and drained. The masculine essence is very penetrating, using his strong will and determination as the motivating driving force. The feminine essence is receptive, open to emotions expressing and plans shifting. She is tuned in and turned on to life. She uses her 6th sense to be in the right place at the right time, thus being more efficient and effective with her time and energy.  

By adding your soft, sweet and sexy feminine into your day you’ll be amazed at how much you can get done while actually enjoying yourself!

See if you can notice the difference when you are operating from your masculine essence versus your feminine essence. Make it a fun experiment to find that sweet spot where you can remain receptive and effective.

Here are 5 femme-boss hacks to spice up your day.

 

  1. ‘To feel’ list rather than ‘to do’ list

Rather than beginning your day with your ‘to-do’ list, get your day jamming with your ‘to-feel’ list. Write out 3-5 desired feelings for the day. How you wish to feel is usually at the core of what you wish to achieve. Instead of landing an account, how will that account make you feel when it lands? Instead of prepping dinner before your kids get hangry, how will it feel to have a beautiful nourishing spread waiting for your hungry family? By focusing on your feels, you will set your day in motion for success!

We don’t have control over our external environment, however we do have control over our emotional body and reactions. By focusing on our feelings, and creating a list that aligns with them, we set a day in motion for success and magic!

 

  1. Prioritize Pleasure

Yes mama, I know you have SO much to do, and trust me, I get it! However, hear me out. I know from experience that if I am juiced up, have endorphins flowing, feeling beautiful and freshly orgasmed then my work is 3x’s more effective, creative and focused!

When we prioritize pleasure we amp up productivity! It can be a difficult switch to make when we already feel like we don’t have any extra hours in the day to give to anything, let alone pleasure. Pleasure may often feel like a luxury that only comes on the weekends or special occasions. Trust me , when you prioritize pleasure or add it into your to do/feel list you will get more done in less time. Try it out!

After a juicy night of love making, the next day my house is clean, things are baking all day, meals are made on time, work is flowing and I am more playful and engaged with my daughter. Did I suddenly find a time hack?! YES, play and pleasure!  

 

  1. Wear clothes that allow your belly to breath

This is an important and often overlooked one.

Ever heard the saying, “dress for success?”

In order to align with our divine feminine, our belly needs space to breath. Our belly is the foundation of our feminine essence and carries all the wisdom of the ages. In order to tap into her fully, we need to allow space for her to breathfully. Imagine the difference you feel when you wear tight yoga pants vs a long flowy dress. Our feelings and energy can often directly correlate to our outfit and how comfortable we feel both physically and emotionally.

Even when I have a home work-day I love to put on my fav dress, dangly earrings and gold glitter because I choose to feel good and look beautiful – for me.

Try wearing clothes that allow your belly space to express herself and take little breaks throughout the day to take some deep belly breaths.

 

  1. Hydrate with Blessed Water

The divine feminine is water, flowing and embracing. She can be soft and gentle or wild and rapid. Water is receptive to intentions infused into it. This is proven science;Dr. Emoto showed how human consciousness has an effect on the molecular structure of water. Take a moment and bless your bottle of water. Speak your intentions for the day, your goals and/or your to-feel list, into your water and witness how your day mirrors these back to you.

Our bodies are about 60% water and are constantly shifting at a molecular level with the words we speak. Staying hydrated is number 1 for staying on your game no matter what your role is. Blessing your water is a sure way to get the results you want while embodying your Divine Feminine.

 

  1. Make everything an altar

The feminine loves to beautify everything she touches. She places flowers on her desk, arranges meals in aesthetically pleasing ways, places crystals in her water and pulls tarot cards to start her day. Whatever your day brings, make it your job to make it more beautiful than you found it. Entering and working in a clean and beautiful space is invigorating and inspiring. When we see beautiful, we feel more beautiful. Take an extra moment in your day to make your desk, or your kitchen, or your car an altar. By adding that sacred feel, we are actually letting the universe know we understand it’s bigger than us. We are allowing and inviting the universal forces of creation to weave through our day. When we make everything sacred, it’s amazing how much it divinely aligns naturally and effortlessly for us.

Get it gurl!

Comment below and let us know how you love to up level your game!

xx, Alila Grace Founder Mahina Menstrual Cup 

Protect your Assets, Magnetize your Magic and Strengthen your Energy Field with Kundalini Yoga

Are you constantly trying to protect your energy and ward off danger?

Are you wary of things being ‘too good’?

 

I know you’ve been hurt before. It makes total sense that you have built protective mechanisms to feel safe in the world. I understand why you are constantly smudging your space and clearing your belly.

 

The thing is, if we constantly continue to give our attention to clearing and processing we will continue to magnetize more and more to continue processing and protecting. My friend Matt Kahn lovingly calls this the ‘Cosmic Janitor’ – it’s time to put the broom and smudge stick down, we no longer need to sweep the karmic basement.

 

As the feminine, it is our nature to want to open, to surrender and to allow. When we build walls around ourselves, we begin to close off to the magic. We stop talking to strangers and allowing people in. We may find ourselves  in a constant state of judgement or spells of protection.

 

In a universe of ‘all is energy’ how do we find the balance between completely trusting the flow and also holding practical discernment?

 

Imagine this: the world is our external mirror, reflecting back to you what you  put out. So every time we drop a token of love into the collective, another reason to love returns. Every time we judge, criticize, or dramatize, the universe will continue to feed that story. This means we get to choose what we desire to have reflected back to us.

 

If you look into the mirror and smile you will receive a smile.

If you look in the mirror and frown you will receive a frown .

This is a micro-cosmic lens of the macro-cosmic reality.

 

Ok, stay with me.

 

Obviously we don’t have complete control over our external circumstances and how other people around us behave. However, we do have control of our emotions and our thoughts. We have control over how we wish to perceive our external environment.

 

We have control over our sensing of danger lurking or magic awaiting.

 

Here’s the secret, if we spend consistent quality time strengthening our energetic body, refining our mind and focusing on the good, then we can spend less energy on protection and discernment. With a strong auric field, which you can think of as  an extended energetic outline of your physical body, danger won’t even be attracted to you. . When we take the time to fill ourselves with love and light, that is exactly what we will magnetize. So we can spend more time celebrating and less time processing – hallelujah!

A refined human has an aura that can extend up to nine feet. A strong aura automatically uplifts and improves mood, as well as the whole body system. It is a subtle space that interweaves us with the universe and allows us to attract opportunities, vitality and wealth.

 

Our aura provides natural protection against disease and a negative environment. When the aura is weak, there is a sense of vulnerability to everything around us, like germs, attitudes, and emotions. When our aura is defragmented we feel shrunken, confused and dim.  

 

“The aura changes. You are ten trillion cells. They change every seventy-two hours.  A person can lie, but the aura doesn’t lie. You can very rhythmically read it; it will tell you everything. We want to grow in our strength, right? That’s the purpose of life: to be vital, to grow, so we can face every day, every person, every relationship, everything with excellence.”

-Yogi Bhajan

 

Let’s experiment. Here  is an invitation to spend the next 40 days taking 5-10 minutes daily  to strengthen and light-infuse your auric field. Do this at the beginning of the day to set the tone and intention of the day. Journal your progress and report back.

We want to know how it feels when you can open and trust more.

We are eager to hear how the magic flows into your experience as you focus more of your energy on strengthening from the inside out rather than protecting from the outside in.

 

Here are 3 easy and potent Kundalini Yoga practices or Kriya for Strengthening the Aura.

This kriya can be found in Sadhana Guidelines manual available at The Yogi Bhajan Library of Teachings.

 

Sat Nam,

Alila Rose Grace, Founder of Mahina Menstrual Cup 

 

  1. Stand up and bend forward so the palms are on the ground and the body forms a triangle. Raise the right leg up with the knee straight. 
Exhale and bend the arms and bring the head toward the ground. 
Inhale and raise up to the original triangle pose. 
Continue this triangle push-up for 1 minute. Switch legs and continue for 1 minute.

  1. Sit in easy pose. Extend the left hand forward as if grasping a pole so the palm faces to the right. 
Cross the right hand beneath the left, palm down. 
Drop the thumb so the palm faces the right. Grasp the left hand (put the right fingers over the left hand). 
Inhale and raise the arms to 60 °. 
Exhale and bring the arms down to shoulder level. 
Keep the elbows straight. Breathe deeply for 2 to 3 minutes. Then inhale and stretch the arms up. Relax.

 

  1. Bring the arms in front of you with the hands at the level of the face, palms facing each other about 6 inches apart. As you inhale, swing the arms down and back. 
Exhale and bring them forward to the original position. 
Continue for 3 minutes with deep rhythmic breaths.

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