As we take time for inward reflection and acts of love and devotion in the heart of winter, we at Malabella have been eager to explore the divine energy of Shakti. The name Shakti comes from the mother goddess, known for her role as the source of all energy and her special connection to creative and divine feminine energy. Today we honor the origins of Shakti by honoring the divine feminine within ourselves. We connect with the universal energies that empower every living being through sacred physical ritual and recognition of the part we play in the divine whole that is Shakti.
Helping us to learn more about the spiritual wonder of Shakti are three yogis out of Los Angeles: Ellen Humphreys, Brandi Jeanne, and Lindsey Millen. These Shakti babes have joined forces to host #EMBRACESHAKTI, a five day mini challenge on Instagram that celebrates the way yoga connects us with our sacred physical bodies, and explores postures and rituals that connect us to universal Shakti.
Malabella Jewels is excited to be partnered with #EMBRACESHAKTI by providing two lucky winners of the challenge with $150 Malabella Jewels Gift Cards. We feel this challenge is the perfect way for Bellas to practice self-love and nurture their spirit with warmth and compassion, concepts at the very heart of our new Sacred Love collection. We were elated to creatively collaborate with the Shakti Babes and photographer Oleg Bolotov to bring to you a photoshoot full of Shakti vibes. Follow them on Instagram, @outboundyogi, @brandijeanneb, @goingfortheglow, and photographer @bolotovcocktail
So to celebrate Shakti and the season of self-love, we’ve sat down with Ellen, Brandi, and Lindsey to understand their perspectives on how to connect to feminine energy, how to feel sensual in every day ways, and how to align our yoga practice with our intentions. But first, let’s get to know the Shakti Babes.
Ellen is an actress, wilderness babe, devotee of goddess Sarasvati and the practice of yoga. She aspires to expand the minds of others through storytelling and mindful living.
Lindsey is a graphic designer, artist, and yogi. Her favorite things are avocado rolls, houseplants, and spontaneous road trips with friends. She is currently in yoga teacher training so she can become the traveling-yoga-teacher-freelance-designer-free-spirited-lady that she always wanted to be when she grew up.
Brandi is a believer of magic and a yoga and wellness nut. When she’s not eating, shaking her booty, or exercising, you can find her producing prizes for The Price is Right. She is on a mission to spread love and positivity through her passion for living her best life.
Let’s dive in and learn more!
Malabella (Hannah): How did you come to yoga?
Ellen: I grew up in the American South, where people think the only way you can be an athlete is by playing sports. I’m really really bad at sports, so I lived almost until adulthood thinking that I wasn’t a naturally physical person. I was a dancer until high school, and when college started and my demanding conservatory actor’s schedule didn’t allow me the time to take dance classes, I found myself really missing the connection I’d developed with my body through dance. Yoga was tapping me on the shoulder for years–starting when I was sixteen and my mom started bringing me with her to her yoga classes at the gym–but I finally listened to the call when I was twenty and had missed my body for far too long. I’ve had a daily practice now for about 4 years and the growth I’ve experienced is… really, beyond words.
Lindsey: I found yoga during a time in my life when I was going through a lot of change. I had just ended a relationship, moved out of my apartment, and lost my job. But I found that removing these things had lightened my load. I felt so free – more free than I ever had. This was the moment that I truly began my yoga journey. It would be my favorite part of the day, to go into my room as the sun was setting and really connect to my body through movement. The day before I was let go from my job I had bought a one way ticket to Europe (I kid you not), it was like the universe allowed me the path to go totally uninhibited. I practiced yoga all throughout my travels, learning more about myself and my body and developed a meaningful personal practice. I am so grateful for the exact events that led me to yoga.
Brandi: My practice began June 8th, 2014 (thank you INSTAGRAM for being so specific, ha!) I had been on a health journey for about six months, and a girl that I’d been following on Instagram started a yoga challenge. I had seen a few yogis on Instagram but NEVER thought yoga was for me. I was an athlete; I played soccer damn it! LOL. I thought yoga was too slow, too girly, too something that I thought wasn’t me. However, I decided that month that I was going to be a little more open to things. So I gave the challenge a shot and honestly, the rest is history.
MB: What are you favorite gemstones/crystals at the moment and why?
E: I’m obsessed with my Kyanite MB mala; that stone has some seriously powerful vibrations. My long-time favorite will always be my birthstone, Amethyst. Nothing makes me feel more grounded, energized, and at home than a big, beautiful raw chunk of Amethyst.
L: I am a Cancer so I am always highly drawn to crystals that increase my intuition like Moonstone. Moonstone is also my birthstone – so I think we are a match made in heaven!
B: To be completely honest, Gemstones/Crystals are very new for me. It’s a topic I’ve always been curious about, but never actually took the time to learn. Which is one of the many reasons I am so excited to be working with Malabella, I’m going to learn so much! Once you told me that the jewels you are attracted to are typically what you need most at the time, I felt the power of Moonstone drawing me in. Known as the “Stone of New Beginnings.” The energy of new beginnings in my life is strong right now, so this feels perfect.
MB: What are your favorite rituals for getting in touch with your sensuality and femininity?
E: I believe strongly in the power of herbs; there’s an incredibly powerful elixir I make occasionally that’s full of Shakti-charged goodness like rose tea, Schisandra, and cacao.
L: I like to romance myself and turn off the lights, light a bunch of candles and get a vibe going in my house. I find that when I create a calm space for myself I am drawn to my mat, and feel a lot of creative energy flowing from me. It works!
B: For the longest time I was such a tomboy, I mean from age 15 and on I was raised by my dad. It makes sense. Because of that, I never really tuned into my feelings and I had zero connection to my body. All I knew was this large mass got me from a to b. But as my practice developed I finally started to FEEL. Now, I firmly believe that life should be more about FEELING. Tapping into your sensual nature and igniting your spirit. My favorite way to create this feeling is through daily sacred rituals. These rituals are mostly based on some serious self-love and self-care, which means I’m bringing tons of pleasure and nourishment into my body, mind, and spirit. Here are a few of my favorite things:
Warm Salt Bath with essential oils, candles, and a good book
Warm Oil Massage after the bath
Be Compassionate towards yourself – writing down things I LOVE about myself
Slow stretching, breathing
MB: What yoga poses do you find the most sensual? Which poses do you find the most abundant in feminine energy/make you feel the most feminine?
E: I think yin/feminine energy can be found in any asana, but I find it most abundant in grounding postures that tap into the lower Chakras, like malasana and skandasana. I also love big heart-openers, since nothing feels more powerfully feminine than boldly opening your heart: ustrasana is a big favorite for me right now.
L: Anything with a backbend makes me feel powerful and feminine. There is a vulnerability in deep backbends like wheel – but also takes so much strength!
B: I LOVE Goddess Pose – I always feel powerful and beautiful. Puppy Pose – because it feels so good, butts up!! Ha! Backbends – just in general are ALWAYS beautiful and help crack your heart wide open.
MB: How do you live an intentional life? What does that mean to you?
E: I live in the middle of Los Angeles, an environment that hardly lends itself to intention and mindfulness. So I have a big bag of little tricks: I wear my japa mala to auditions and meetings as much as possible to fill me with positivity and guard me from negativity, I listen to Kirtan in my car to drown out the chaotic noise of the city, and I fill my home with crystals, plants, and mindful decor and objects that bring me peace. I try to eliminate clutter (sometimes unsuccessfully…) and spend lots of time outside.
L: Living intentionally for me means working to be better than I was yesterday. Not just in my yoga practice or in my job – but in my attitude, reactions and thoughts. I try to use my time intentionally as well – I don’t own a TV, and prefer to spend my time really engaging with friends, making art, reading or learning. Sometimes though I lay in bed and watch Seinfeld all morning – it’s all about balance right!?
B: This question ties closely with how I got in touch with connecting my mind to my body. I believe that living intentionally is knowing why you do what you do and why you don’t do what you don’t do. It’s making a choice to do things that are important to you even when they’re not easy. It gives you the freedom to make time for the things that are truly important and to discard the rest. It allows you to feel your way through life rather than move with no intention.
MB: What are you favorite mantras/intentions? Do you have a particular favorite for this time in your life?
E: The Mantra given to me by Swamiji is this: OM AIM SARASVATI NAMAH.
This mantra is a prostration to the goddess Sarasvati, the creator, the source of ultimate feminine power, absolute Shakti bliss. This mantra was given to me for life, and I can’t imagine any mantra ever feeling quite the same.
L: Something that has been resonating with me recently is – “love without fear”. I know that I feel very deeply, and that vulnerability can be scary sometimes. This mantra has been reminding me that being vulnerable, open, and receptive invites more love in our lives. I think it’s working 🙂
B: My favorite mantra right now is “When I stop struggling, I float.” To surrender into what life has to offer us. This does not mean giving up; it means you are willing to go with the flow of the current instead of trying to swim against it. Being willing to trust that everything will work out as it’s supposed to.
Shop the entire collection here
Jewels ~ Malabella Jewels
Photographer ~ Oleg Bolotov
Muses ~ Ellen Humphreys @outboundyogi
Lindsey Millen @goingfortheglow
Brandi Jeanne @brandijeanneb