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Welcome to the Aura Holistic Therapies Blog.

 

A sharing of the feminine through  awarenessness and wellness.

 

 

By Leora Leboff, Dec 20 2016 11:01PM


Where’s my cave?


Searching for warmth and enduring comfort as winter solstice falls upon us, the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. It's also a time to gently sow seeds, ready to emerge as spring begins to arrive.


What’s the nature of your internal landscape? Does your menstrual cycle match that of the yearly cycle? Are you menstruating in sync with the shortest day? Are you within your inner summer, ovulating and craving an expansiveness that is hard to reach on a wintry day? Breath in to where you are at this winter solstice.


To ease you through the winter months, please enjoy a selection of essential oils that will nourish and offer you comfort; your very own blanket of essential oil care...


Cedarwood – cedrus atlantica


Atlas cedarwood is a woody, sweet, slightly balsamic and deeply nourishing oil; it offers a softness in it’s aroma that you just may want to welcome with open arms during the winter.


But, don’t underestimate the softness of this healing oil, it’s one that offers solidity and stability. According to Valerie Ann Worwood “It has qualities which are often needed when the spirit is weakened by living too much, loving too much, and being unable to forgive” (The Fragrant Heavens, Valerie Ann Worwood)


It’s the perfect oil for menopause “It encourages the strength we need to continue on our pathway, and urges us to hold fast to our dreams, helping bringing our hopes to reality” Valerie Ann Worwood


As a physical support, winter coughs and colds can also be supported by atlas cedarwood, with it's warming expectorant and anti-spasmodic actions.


It’s considered a powerful tonic, according to Gabriel Mojay “The oil is tonifying to the kidneys and spleen-pancreas and may be used for general lethargy, nervous debility, lower back ache and poor concentration” (Aromatherapy for Healing The Spirit ,Gabriel Mojay)


Delicious oils to blend with cedarwood for winter nurturing are, frankincense, petitgrain or orange.


Ginger – zingiber officinale


Spicy, pungent sometimes sweet tones, but ever so warming.


Ginger is a perfect companion during the festive season, with its digestive qualities; useful for nausea, bloating and flatulence.


With ginger’s ability to stimulate circulation, add it to a massage blend over the abdomen to relieve not just digestive, also menstrual disturbances.


This is another oil that encourages strength, according to Valerie Ann Worwodd “Ginger is a fragrance of valour and courage”. (The Fragant Heavens) P Holmes agrees “It is recommended for conditions associated with loss of motivation, will or inner strength, especially when these present apathy, listlessness, indecision, confusion and disconnection” (The International Journal of Aromatherapy)


When blended with sweet orange, you are gifted with a warming chocolate orange aroma. One you may quite happily envelope yourself in all winter!


It blends beautifully with all other citrus oils, or introduce some fun into the long wintry nights with aphrodisiacs such as ylang ylang, rose or patchouli.


Geranium – pelargonium graveolens


As Valerie Ann Worwood proclaims: “Geranium resonates with Mother Earth. It signifies the archetypal energy of goddess culture, and encompasses the energy of the feminine, of reproduction, of birth and rebirth” (The Fragrant Heavens)


As you can imagine, geranium is an oil I turn to frequently.


With an aroma that is sweet and floral (even though it’s the leaves of the plant that hold the essential oil), it is soft, green with ever so slightly citrus notes.


Along with deeply feminine qualities, geranium is regenerative and an anti-depressant, as Gabriel Mojay shares: “Clearing heat and smoothing the flow of Qi, geranium, like lavender is able to relax the mind, calm agitation, and ease frustration and irritability”. (Aromatherapy fo Healing the Spirit) It has PMS support written all over it.


Geranium blends well with citrus oils, but as a menstrual support it’s beautiful with clary sage and lavender.


Each of the oils I have shared, offer warmth, hope and that glimmer of light we may look for in the darkness of winter solstice.



Now, imagine being holed up in a cave with these delectable oils, comforting soups, your favourite book and the comfiest of blankets! You might just find me there all winter!


Winter solstice blessings to all.


x


To enjoy your own exploration of how aromatherapy can support your menstrual cycle and menopause book in here.




By Leora Leboff, Oct 10 2016 12:11AM


Ooh, so far, this has been a defining year.


Once I was accepted on to Alexandra Pope's Women's Quest Apprenticeship, it was clear that, life would never quite be the same.


The training, (although seriously, "training" doesn't even begin to describe the experience!) was a series of beautifully crafted processes, transformations and wisdom sharing, such is the like I've never encountered.


Essentially over two separate residential weeks we were invited to truly meet ourselves.


And not just a polite shaking of hands kind of meeting. No, this was getting down and sometimes oh so messy with our psyches. Delving in to the different stages of our lives, from menarche (first period) to menopause and beyond.


All under the immensely skilful and watchful eyes and guidance of Alexandra Pope and Sjanie Hugo-Wurlitzer, who run Red School Online, with the huge hearted Laura Tonello and Laila Torsheim to support. I must acknowledge how the teaching team of women working together was so inspirational; the celebration of each others skills, only lifting each other. All utterly powerful to witness. And how each of our teachers shared their authenticity was deeply moving.


By the end of the two residentials, each of us had relived our experience of menarche, traversed our menstrual cycles in several different forms, gone toe to toe with our inner critic, dreamt in to how we can serve the world, met the future wise woman within us, culminating in a pure celebration of ourselves.


And how we celebrated!


Every exercise was searching and challenging, as was the immensely courageous opening of hearts within the circle of sisters I'm sharing the apprenticeship journey with. We listened to one another's moments of self-awareness, witnessed each others pain, celebrated the emerging joy coming from the healing wisdom, all with such love and compassion. We sang, we danced, we lovingly held space for each other.


My own journey was often painful, but deeply transformational, and allowed me to ease out of the comfiest of comfortable life sofas. In fact, not long after the first residential, with some acknowledgment to where I was standing in my menstrual cycle (my inner summer of ovulation), I found myself calling in to a national radio station to voice my feelings on medication to reverse the menopause. Never done that before! You'll see why this was such a big deal...


...All my life I've had issue with my voice, with projection, with allowing myself to be heard. But even more transformation was to occur. Nearly two years after being gifted a recording studio session by my children, I broke through a whole heap of resistance, started seeing a vocal coach and stepped with confidence in to that recording studio and rocked my way to recording the perfect song choice. It was dedicated to my husband for his daily acceptance of every part of me. I also realised that it was unknowingly a 90s head tip to menstruality!


Please do enjoy the recording of "Bitch", which would not have materialised were it not for sitting in circle with my Women's Quest sisters and teachers.


Well, some real gifts have been borne out of the apprenticeship, so grab these while you're hanging out in this blog post:


1) First is the ever so simple act of introducing cycle awareness in to your life. That's menstrual cycle awareneness in your menstruating years, or with the lunar cycle, if you're post menopause, breast feeding, not having menstrual cycles, or post hysterectomy.

Keeping a track of your feelings along with your cycle can be a treasure trove. To help you get started, download your chart here.


2) If you are following a menstrual cycle, really listen to what your body, emotions and psyche are telling you in the different inner seasons (more info on these in number 5). And for women journeying the menopause, the listening is paramount. What is your body asking you to do in this moment? What are your emotions saying to you? What is your intuition nudging you to do (listen ever so carefully to your intuition in your inner winter, especially when you are bleeding, the potential for insight can be staggering).


3) Once you've listened, then HEAR, I mean really hear what your needs are, this is as a means to truly support yourself. How can those needs be met? What do you need to do or perhaps more importantly, NOT do.


4) Self-care is key. Establish practices that feed you. This could be: self-care massage, yoga, meditation, your favourite exercise class, receiving a massage, meeting friends, spending time in mama nature, bringing health giving foods in to your life...the list is personal and endless. And if these practices are moved through with awareness as to how they nourish you, your self-care box is firmly ticked.


5) Intertwined with 2-4 is introducing the concept of the 1% in to your life. As Alexandra Pope also calls it, the homeopathic dose. Devoting time to self-care is deeply important, but when the time and frankly the inclination is just not there, what to do then? The 1% is a balm to your needs. What little kindnesses can you show yourself?


Here are a few ideas, working around the inner seasons of the menstrual cycle:


*That moment of slowing your step, if you can't fully stop, while you're bleeding in your inner winter.

*That moment of taking a breath when your inner critic speaks up in your inner autumnal pre-menstruum; maybe texting a friend who always lifts you when you're down.

*That social event you duck out of at the last minute while you're in your super sexy, inner summer, ovulation phase. Because actually its the 4th night on the trot you've gone out and suddenly you no longer feel super sexy and if you go there's the very real chance of an energy slump that might really floor you - and...take a breath!

*That moment you bite your tongue, even though you want to tell everyone about your latest, greatest innovative idea in exciting, but still quite vulnerable, pre-ovulatory, inner spring. Knowing actually, its too early to share and any criticism might squash your precious idea shoots.


Find your own 1%s, your own small kindnesses that will ease unease.


I adore the simplicity, that the answers lie within you. All in your cycle guiding you to when and how to engage in the self-care, when to reach for a choco endorphin release, shift your exercise from Insanity to pleasurable yoga, make that presentation, write that blog post...yes my loves, it's all there in cycle awareness.


If you would like to explore these gifts and possibilities of your menstrual cycle or menopause journey, you have options:


*There are workshops to sign up for, check out our latest Love Your Belly offering here

*Opportunities for embodying these gifts with Abdominal and Fertility Massage,

*Simply having a consultation to explore how you can introduce menstrual cycle or menopause awareness as a support to your life. You can reach me at Leora@auraholistictherapies.com

*The Red School Online programme, which I can't recommend enough, leads you on your own menstruality journey with Alexandra and Sjanie.


With heartfelt thanks and love to Alexandra Pope and Sjanie Hugo-Wurlitzer and fellow sisters who sat in circle at the Apprenticeship.


Blessings x





By Leora Leboff, Jun 20 2016 07:16PM





Today we are in for a celestial treat.


At summer solstice we are also being treated to a Strawberry Moon, a full moon given it’s name by Native American tribes to mark the beginning of the gathering of ripe strawberries (our local Pick Your Own would also agree it’s time!). Despite being rained on as though it was the coming of Armageddon this morning; I can now look out of my office window - the birds are singing, the trees are abundant with lush green leaves and the blue sky is radiant.


We enter summer here in the northern hemisphere, when Mama Earth is at her most fertile. As you read this, be aware of where you are in your menstrual cycle. Are you in your ovulatory or your internal summer season? How does it feel to be in synch with the great Mama? Or are you menstruating, your internal winter, perhaps feeling at odds with the expansiveness of summer?


If you are trying to conceive, it’s a beautiful night to make love, under the full Strawberry Moon.


To support this celestial coupling and this most fertile of seasons, here are three summery and sensual essential oils you might enjoy:


If you’re looking for an aphrodisiac, Jasmine (Jasminum officinalis, Jasmine grandiflorum) may be your first choice. Deeply sensual, warm, rich, sweet and floral in aroma. It’s the oil of seduction, but as Gabriel Mojay (Gabrial Mojay, Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit) writes, it’s more than simply a sexual stimulant: “Whenever fear and vulnerability, or anxiety and depression cuts us off from our ability to share physical pleasure and affection, jasmine oil can support, reassure, and delight. Its voluptuously warm, joyous fragrance allows the heart to flow again through the river of senses”.



Ylang Ylang (Cananga odorata), another aphrodisiac which “…shields and guides the passion of love and true emotion, whilst allowing a tender awakening of that sensual part of our being and spirit which can embrace all things.” Valerie Worwood’s words in The Fragrant Heavens reflect the sweet fervour Ylang Ylang can elicit. There’s a playfulness about this floral, softly balsamic and slightly heady oil. Where there is a lack of ardour, Ylang Ylang will ease the fear and anxiety and allow sexuality and sensuality to flourish with just a touch of euphoria.


If the rose is “the queen of flowers” (Greek poet Sappho), the damask rose of Bulgaria, must be the empress of roses. The damask rose distilled to produce Rose Otto (Rosa damascena), has an exquisiteness that is only matched by it’s value. For the 50 rose heads required to produce just one drop of oil; that it requires harvesting early in the morning and that there are only 20-40 days of the year when the rose heads can be picked, the result is a highly expensive essential oil. If you are out-priced by the oil, buying it in a dilution of jojoba oil allows affordability.


The aroma oil of rose otto is deeply feminine, softly sweet, slightly spicy and gently floral. It is the aromatic epitome of love. It is an oil that supports the heart, whether in grief or in the throws of emotion, being holding and comforting. It’s also a tonic for the womb and sacral chakra. Descibed as “a gentle aphrodisiac which helps to spiritualise sexual relationships” (P Davis, Subtle Aromatherapy).


Yes, we’re being gifted a strawberry moon at summer solstice, so make love tonight in it’s superlunary glory, and remember to leave the curtains open, letting mama moon’s light in.


Enjoy the oils I’ve described above, maybe tonight, maybe for the next full moon! Consider asking an aromatherapist to make up a blend for you to use, as there’s nothing more sensual than giving and receiving a massage. Think of the magic that could be created?


Blessings.

x









By Leora Leboff, Mar 21 2016 01:25AM






Is it just me or has it felt like an extraordinarily long winter this year?


As Spring Equinox was finally with us yesterday, I welcome in the light with immense gratitude, the balance that it brought and now for all the new possibilities and a time of ascension.


A question was asked of me this weekend - which essential oils would support the spring equinox?


I've pondered the oils would help to ease us into the new light, a time of nurturing fertility, not just our own, but that of the earth and of our souls?


Here are three essential oils that might just help this time of transition:


My first choice would have to be Sweet Orange (citrus sinesis)


It's an oil that exudes utter joy; is uplifting and a perfect fragrance to bring you gently out of the winter darkness. An oil of regeneration; it is sweet, fruity and fresh, and often lights up the eyes of those who breathe in its revitalising odour.


It blends well with so many other oils, but for the purposes of super boosting regeneration and a fertile soul, a more summery oil, Jasmine Absolute (jasminum officinalis), and a fellow spring oil Bergamot (citrus bergamia), are beautiful. These three oils offer sweet, slightly bitter, and deeply floral notes which come together in synergistic bliss.


My second choice of Spring Equinox support is Bergamot (citrus bergamia or citrus aurantium).


I love Valerie Ann Worwood's description of the oil "It lightens the shadows of the mind, bringing illumination and laughter...lifting us from stagnation, bringing an awareness that the light will rescue us and take us ever forward to the realms of peace and joy" - The Fragrant Heavens by Valerie Ann Worwood


A popular oil, it's gentle aroma and flavour is used in Earl Grey Tea, but psychologically, as Valerie Ann Worwood alludes, an aroma particularly wonderful for depression. When used with other oils it tends to take not just the blend, but the person receiving it, to wherever they need to be. I can't think of another oil it doesn't work beautifully in synergy with.


The last oil I'll mention to ease you through the changes of Spring Equinox is Helichrysum (helichrysum italicum or helichrysum angustifolium), also known as Immortelle or Everlasting.


It has a bitter-sweet aroma. As Gabriel Mojay writes "At it's most transformative, everlasting oil can loosen the hardest of knots lying deep within the psyche..." Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit by Gabiel Mojay.


Using Helichrysum in a blend during an Abdominal Massage, especially at the solar plexus and over the womb, could truly be a game changer in emotional release.


Blending Helichrysum with uplifitng citrus oils such as Bergamot and Grapefruit makes emerging from the darkness into the possibilities brought by spring, quite a magical prospect.

To support the transition from winter to spring, a wonderful way of using the oils mentioned would be to vapourise them, or ask your local friendly Aromatherapist to use them in a blend for you. For optimal results with vapourising, do so in an airy room, for not more than 10-15 minutes.


Blessings on your spring emergence.


x


***A couple of notes of caution


- Jasmine should not be used during pregnancy, unless under the guidance of an Aromatherapist.

- Bermamot (unless it is furocumarin free), is phototoxic, if not used in a safe dilution, and can cause burning if exposed to UV light.


By Leora Leboff, Mar 11 2016 10:26PM



Coping mechanisms at times of personal tragedy or trauma are truly fascinating.


Some of us need to share our thoughts and thought processes; some of us need to remain private; some of us need to internalise; some of us need to create a safe space for others who have undergone similar experiences, maybe by running a support group; some of us go on to educate and work to support others who have experienced similar trauma; some raise money for charity, or even set up their own charity.


Each and every intention that is born out of a trauma or tragedy will come from a place of authenticity and a drive to cope. And each will also play a role in the healing journey of the person involved.


Losing a baby or child is a trauma that illicits many diverse and individual responses.


Support groups are available, some in person, many online and thankfully with the space created by social media there is more and more opportunity for offering or receiving assistance. Within this network sometimes what emerges is a name that unifies those that are coping with the same situation.





Rainbow Babies are those precious souls carried and born following a pregancy or baby loss.


It's utterly beautiful to connect your next precious pregnancy or baby you can actually hold, feed, take home and nurture, to a phenomenon that occurs after a storm has broken and the sunlight that has been allowed in to break the darkness.


And there is such darkness to weather when you've been left with empty arms and a broken heart.


When I googled Rainbow Baby, endless search results came up; there is clearly a huge amount of support that comes with the term - many pages, images and services are on offer to bring comfort to parents.


But what of those who grow up being Rainbow Babies?


They are the much longed-for child, who has grown, has filled their parents lives, has been able to offer cuddles, giggles and hopefully joy.


But, what other weight is being held with this name?


The constant reminder of loss; I am here because my sibling or siblings died. Could this name carry guilt? I live, but my baby brother or sister didn't. Do I want to be recognised by this label that will always refer to the baby before me? Can I not be my own person?


I wasn't aware of the term when I was pregnant with my daughter after losing Baby Harry. I decided to ask her what she thought of the name Rainbow Baby/Child (she's 10 years old) and shared with her its meaning. Her reaction was that it was a lovely name. After this conversation, we had a busy afternoon, a period of time passed, so I tested the water and referred to her again later as my Rainbow Child. This time she began to get upset, and made it clear that she didn't want me to use the term again. It was hard for her to verbalise why her reaction was so strong, but she did ask me to use pet names I've had for her in the past instead. I'm assuming they felt safer.


There is certainly no right and no wrong in using the term Rainbow Baby. The comfort for parents is palpable, but so was the strength of rejection of it by my daughter.


Our methods of coping when faced with recovering from trauma will always remain highly individual.


EFT and Abdominal Massage are therapies that can play a part in helping to ease such trauma and finding peace.


To all who are on their healing journey following baby loss, I wish you peace in your heart.



Blessings

x






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