An Interview with Sarah Starnes

A passionate yogi, lover of life, compassionate soul, and creative goddess. Sarah lives in the untouched lands of Oregon, spending her days with her animals and loved ones, creating love through yoga and art. In this interview, written with magic and honesty, you will be inspired. Sarah embraces the unknown with courage and a smile, welcoming us to do the same.

Into the wild we go.

What’s your personal mantra?

Mantra has been a huge part of my life since childhood.  I love to share what I feel are important messages that heal and transform with myself and with the world.  I also enjoy focusing on certain messages based on lunar phases, and for each passing year.  My words for this year are: Relax, Play and Enjoy.14444727_10154516286236665_7352760705125506406_o.jpg

How has moving to Oregon impacted you in a positive way?
Moving to Oregon was a “coming home” for me.  Nature has been calling… and I felt a huge transformation and awakening when I arrived.  I have always known (since childhood) that I would live in Oregon, and that I would work with horses here.  When I was very young, I used to point to a place called “horse heaven hills” in Oregon on a map and tell my family and friends that I was going to live there.  I recently found out that the area where my partner Adam and I live (in Estacada) used to be called horse heaven hills.  I am home… and it feels amazing.  The Nature here feeds my being in ways I am deeply grateful for… every single day.  I have never felt healthier or more alive in my body.  The air and rivers are clean, the soil is rich, the trees are abundant, and the cannabis is legal.
What are some of your daily rituals?
I am very ritualistic.  My rituals vary day by day, as I love variety and there simply isn’t enough time in one day to do all of the things that I love to do.  I love embodying the sacred in whatever practice/art/action I am exploring, and a practice of mindfulness and presence is a big part of who I am.  Self-care is huge… and if not self-care, I am focusing my energy on serving animals, plants, and humans in whatever ways I am able.
Some of my self-care practices include:
*growing/foraging/cooking/brewing/fermenting and enjoying nourishing/healthy/natural/delicious/colorful food and plant medicines
*breathwork, yogic cleansing techniques, playing music, making art in many forms and meditation
making art in many forms and meditation
*therapeutic movement for my body (asana, dance, strength building exercises, acro, horseback riding, hiking, climbing, slacklining, and more)
*exploring sacred sexuality and pleasure (with my partner and alone, yoni steams, yoni eggs, self-massage, etc.)
*spending as much time outside and with animals as I can… sitting by a fire, sun/moon bathing, swimming in rivers, soaking in hot springs, etc.
*not wearing shoes or clothes whenever possibles
How would you describe your yoga practice?
My yoga practice is very organic, primal and intuitive.  I feel as though everything I do is my yoga practice… whether I am practicing asana, dancing, rolling around on the floor, doing the dishes, gardening, having a conversation with someone, staring at my chickens or cleaning up horse shit, it is all my yoga practice.  As far as asana goes, everything I explore is infused with potent medicine to heal and align my body.  I feel deeply empowered with a skillful knowing of how to move in healthy ways.  I am so grateful for this.  Sometimes I sweat and engage powerfully, sometimes I barely move and completely let go.  I listen to what my body wants and needs… and I do that.  I usually move slowly and I have no goals.  I move with a deep gratitude for the gift of being able to move my body as I can, especially after sustaining many physical injuries in my lifetime.
How has your relationship with nature influenced your perspective on life?
Nature is everything.  We are Nature.  I feel so connected to Her in every way, and I always have.  I see disease, depression, and despair disappear and dissolve when people realize this and open up to the transformational healing and awakening that Nature provides.  I was homeschooled and grew up eating from our organic garden, playing outside with plants and animals daily… which was paramount to my development and growth as a child.  I love when people dive deeply into themselves and their shadow through deep soul work with the help of Nature and Her medicines… from vision quests to sacred plant medicine ceremonies… there is so much healing to be had for those who are ready to explore Nature’s gifts.  Thanks to Her, I passionately love my life and all that it entails… the light, the dark, everything.13123274_10154098781396665_6560726596679786100_o.jpg
How did your passion for animals manifest?
I was born with an immense passion for animals.  I was that strange child petting the wild deer, bringing home a baby raccoon, finding flying squirrels and coaxing them into my hands, raising 300 gerbils to create new color genetics, riding the big, black goat named Licorice like a horse, picking up the poisonous snake and sleeping with a water snake I found in the river on my shoulder at night.  I am still that strange child, in an adult body.  I love animals more than I love humans.  I feel like I can speak their languages.  I find an incredible connection to Spirit through the animal kingdom.  Some of my recent endeavors in business have been extremely animal focused, like creating cannabis infused medicine for pets, horse connection events/horse training, and soon my partner and I will have pop-up, therapeutic yoga events with bunnies.  Animals are amazing and they are our healers and teachers.14925509_10154639138396665_4071301706076303696_n
What was it like being introduced to yoga, meditation, and chanting at a young age?
Growing up with a wild, shamanistic, witchy mother and a responsible, conservative father was a blessing.  Their contrast taught me a lot about both tantric and classical yoga philosophies even before I knew what I was learning.  My mother’s deep love for Native American ritual and ceremony exposed me to chanting sacred songs, breathing practices, meditation and prayerful dances.  Her holistic medicine woman tendencies taught me about the many healing powers of what grows from the earth… learning how to heal myself from all illnesses and injuries (we didn’t go to western medicine doctors for anything… and I’m still the same way), and the power of myth and storytelling.  My father’s discipline, sharp mind and calm nature balanced out the wild of the feminine.  So, yoga feels like it has been infused into my existence from the beginning.  I have also experienced a lot of darkness/shadow in my life.  I seem to come from a lineage of wounded warriors with some heavy karma.  Those deeply challenging life experiences have powerfully connected me to who I am on a soul level and to Spirit.  I am grateful for everything.13584860_1046740332046831_5811175627148217953_o
What goddess do you connect with the most?
I connect to Gaia, the goddess of mother earth…  Nature as the goddess.  I love all of the Hindu myths of the goddess taking unique form and expression as well.  If I had to pick a favorite goddess from Hindu mythology, I guess it would have to be Lalita Tripura Sundari.  She is a playful, beautiful, sensual goddess, who is described as “solidified bliss.”  Lalita is the divine feminine at ease in her own power… and when humans feel her energy awakened within them, they can find themselves in a blissful state even when hardship or darkness appears in their lives.  Here’s a mantra I use to connect with her:  Ka – aa – ee – la – hrim … Ha – sa – ka – ha – la – hrim … Sa – ka – la – hrim
What advice do you have for women who want to start a new adventure, whether it’s traveling, getting a new job (etc)?
My advice for women and for all beings is to live your lives fully, authentically and passionately!  If you are afraid to fully live, to take risks, to enjoy your life and follow your deepest calling… wake up and enjoy it before it is gone!  Life is a wild ride… fully embrace who you are and dive deep!  Here’s one of my favorite quotes:
“Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, totally worn out, thoroughly used up, and loudly proclaiming — WOW– What a Ride!” – anonymous16299134_10154967523071665_5805409880885251946_n.jpg
Look back on the past year, what is a moment that stand out the most to you?
My life is full of so many amazing and mystical experiences… and the past year has been both challenging and beautiful.  The first thing that came to mind was an experience I had with my partner this winter at the horse rescue where we volunteer.  We were out in the field with a group of horses, when an American kestrel (small falcon) flew up to us and hovered in one place for a solid 20-30 seconds, staring right at us.  It was so beautiful… and we were flooded with feelings of magic and wonder.  When it continued on its way, we turned to see a Cooper’s hawk and a red-tailed hawk fly near us as well, immediately following.  It was a powerful couple of minutes with birds of prey and horses… some of our favorite creatures on this magical planet.
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