WE SPOKE TO THIS MEDICINE WOMAN AND BUSINESS OWNER ON THE ART OF SPIRITUAL SELF CARE
On our never-ending quest to nurture ourselves through the powers of food as medicine and become intertwined in the spiritual component to healing our bodies, we were fortunate enough to meet Kari Jansen. Kari is a multi-hyphenate healer, whose line of handcrafted, herbal beauty blends, Poppy and Someday, is extra potent thanks to her grounding education in Ayurveda, herbalism and ancient teachings.
After meeting Kari it became clear that her mission is to heal and help others. Hidden up on a hill overlooking Laurel Canyon, is an oasis bathed in golden light, surrounded by nature and all its glorious sounds and smells, with little to no reason to venture outside of this eutopic "Shangri-La". This is where Poppy and Someday is handmade, where Kari lives and where she performs her healing body care services.
After experiencing her magic touch through Shirodhara, an ancient Ayurvedic treatment where "a stream of warm oil is poured continuously over the forehead" (a truly outer-body experience), we were led to the outdoor spa where a soaking tub was waiting, filled with rosemary, herbs and rose petals. Transporting through time and space in the ambient jungle of Laurel Canyon, we declared to ourselves that this space, this energy, this woman provides real answers in the art of spiritual self-care.
Kari, thank you so much for having us in your beautiful oasis. This place is pure magic. Can you tell walk us through your journey to how you arrived here?
Where do I just start? About 20 years ago, I became a massage therapist, and I went to the Aveda Institue in the Midwest. That was the place to come and learn, especially about essential oils and the first entry of, like, somewhat natural products before it got bought by Esteé Lauder, soon after that. From there, I moved out to San Francisco and went up to Sebastopol to study Western Herbalism, studied Ayurveda, studied in India. I just kept taking all these traits and learning and learning, and then became pregnant, relaxed, settled down a little bit, and then started making a ton of products that I wanted for me. Me, and my family, and my baby, and my friends. I kept giving them away and people would be like, 'You should make these!' When I moved to LA, about eight years ago, I realized how little people knew about herbalism here. Up there [in Northern California], it's so saturated, so it was nice to grow this community down here, and it's kind of blossomed since I've moved here. It was nice to come down here and talk to people wondering like, 'What's a salve? What's a tincture?' They didn't even know these simple basic things and that herbs could be used in these ways, so it was fun to teach and talk to people about it, and give them my stuff. I started creating everything and coming up little by little. Little steps and growing to what I am now.
Was this something that you were interested in even when you were younger?
I was a kid that was outside, who would never would come in. Just in nature, playing. Figuring out how to make lemonade from lemons from the trees and my dad was a big gardener.
That makes so much sense. Being here, your home/work/retreat space you've created, [it] feels deeply rooted. The nature, the sounds, the light, the energy is extraordinary.
Yes. And the woman that owned it, this house, before me is Suzanne Goin and she owns a.o.c. and Tavern and Lucques, and a lot of the restaurants around here, so I feel like her amazing energy has helped me become a strong woman entrepreneur. It's cool.
How do you find the balance of being connected to nature and to yourself, but also running a business?
And being a mom.
And being a woman in this world.
I just have to make sure I bring people in, do what I can, not overwork, 'cause I tend to just circle and overwork until there's nothing left. It's hard, but I think it's a lot of self-care. I always tub or lay on my bio-mat after sessions. I don't overbook. I don't overbook myself in anything, and try to keep a balance. And there's a balance of the treatments I give and the products I do, which is nice 'cause I can have two worlds that I don't have to be saturated in one, and get burned out. And sometimes I don't have to leave here, which is great. I'm like, 'Come to me!' It's a nice little community inside this big, wild LA world.
Can you talk about all the things you do here? The treatments and practices and services you offer?
I do a lot with the traditional Ayurveda style 'cause I studied in India, and I did a lot of Panchakarma. Here, at my space I do, basically, a Panchakarma for a one-day. I don't have people living in, maybe down the future I'll get into doing that. But I do at least two hours, a long lymphatic where I use cannabis-infused oil. I usually use about a cup and a half on people. Infuse 'em, hot rocks, hot steam. Ayurveda's all about oils and steam. The oils go in to take out the toxins and the steam gets everything softened. Panchakarma's supposed to be for seven days, 'cause there's seven Dhatu tissue layers to get through. So, I'm working directly in the lymph system. In the first one, I use Gua shas, I use cups, I stir everything up and try to pull out and get things out so that your body can help its process, and your river of life, your lymph system, can be all-flowing. Your lymph system is your transportation for everything; from emotions to blood to everything that gets stuck, so I find those little areas and work 'em and try to release things for people and help them find and understand their own way of self-care. Give 'em a bunch of products afterwards, give 'em and be like, 'This is what a Gua sha is, this is salt scrub. Try your own self-care at home.' So, a lot of products I've developed are for those things.
And can you please tell us about the euphoric and ultra healing Shirodhara treatment you do?
Shirodhara is just a really great way to help cleanse out your whole fields. [It cleanses out] your whole pituitary and pineal gland, which are your master glands that control your whole body. Overtime, they get calcified. They get overstimulated with our world of technology and on-the-go, so it's nice to clean that out and really clean out your intuition and, you know, I use mugwort and white sage to help clarify and you have a warm drip of oil that runs down your third eye and on down your head and saturates your whole crown with this oil that helps not only to take things away, but it's one of the strongest to help balance Vata and get away the anxiety and the insomnia, the worry, the fear, and a lot of the things that go along with the cycle of the Vata that tend to move too fast. So it just is very grounding and clarifying and kind of gets you reset, especially going into and coming out of the holiday time.
And then afterwards, I put you in the tub. So, you're all oily and stuff and I have an outside shower and a tub and an infrared sauna out there, so you can just take time and really ground down more in nature and hear the birds and hear the things that sometimes we forget about, living in a city.
Do you notice an immediate change in people?
It's just amazing to see them afterwards. To see just their blood flow and their skin, and their vibrance, and calm, and being in their body. I can see that right away. And then over time, I see them using their own system, and they're Gua sha-ing and they'll stop by and they'll use some of the stuff here and hang out, and I can see the change in the body and in the mind.
Tell us more about your Poppy and Someday products. You use cardamom for your oil pulling, coriander in your lip stain, mugwort and sage in body oil...
I try to stay a lot with an Ayurvedic theme of using a lot of the spices, and spices are like the healing enzymes. It's not about so much herbs, it's more about foods. So, I like the idea of the oil-pulling and the oil everywhere. I have a body oil, I have face oils, salves for the body. The oils heal the nervous system and the whole body. I feel like our world is getting better with that. There used to be such a fear of oils everywhere. We sell Gua shas and salt scrubs that move your lymph system. The salt scrub has cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, and all the spices too, to help warm and get everything moving and penetrating.
People tend to throw "wellness buzzwords" around without really knowing the history behind them, or what they actually mean. Can you talk talk more about Ayurveda and the lymph system, and the importance of both?
Definitely. Ayurveda is amazing because it's based off of balance. It's based off the three doshas, which is the vata, pitta, and kapha, and the vata is your air and space. We have all three, so not getting stuck on one, like, people get stuck on just vata, or just pitta. No, you're all three. You wouldn't be here if you weren't. But you tend to be out of balance into one. You tend to be born with more of one constitution, your prakriti, and then vikriti is what happens over time. Like, you live in an area that's very fast-paced, very dry, you tend to be more vata, and you tend to take on the characteristics of each dosha. So you want to balance that by doing the opposite. I see a lot of vata out of balance and pitta because of the heat here. So, oils help that, in that realm.
You have your lymph system that feeds your blood, your blood feeds your fat, your fat feeds your tissues, your tissues feed your bones, your bones feed your bone marrow, which is your nervous system, and that feeds your reproductive. So, when you have something in your lymph system that moves deeper and deeper and deeper in the systems, you're already affecting everything. The lymph is the first system you want to take care of. Like vata's the first dosha that you want to pull back in, because it governs all the other doshas. The lymph system is the body's system that governs all the other ones. You need to work on that one, it's the first one that's easily affected. It's right here, it's right under your skin to help maneuver and manipulate and pull things out before things get deeper and deeper and settled in and start to become sickness or disease because they move everything. They're a cleansing system. We're learning more about that from a lot of people with so many autoimmune stuff happening that's, you know, it's kind of all interrelated.
Being a mother in the space that you work in, how do you teach your son about what you do? Do you have any practices together?
He's 9 years old and he's very cute. He's very vata, and vata is very mobile. He moves back and forth and he talks really fast, and so I've got little bowls and do a lot with sound therapy and really into the vibrational work. I do a lot of that on his belly and then I rub his feet with cannabis oil just to take him down and ground down. He doesn't like oils. So it's hard, you know, I'm like, 'This is medicine.' And then after a while, he's like, 'Wait, massage my feet. Wait, come back here.' I haven't given him a Shirodhara yet--that would be intense, but that it would be really beneficial someday.
We always end our conversations on the idea of legacy and the mark you want to leave.
The world keeps changing and it's becoming harder and harder to live in a society with intensity and toxins and environmental stress. I would like to create a space and create products that help people connect with their intuition and recognize their spiritual nature. I want to connect people with our plants and all that they have to teach us. I want to help people deepen their connection with nature and the rhythm of the planetaries while our world is in such a crazy flux.
I'm working to stay grounded and I'm hoping that I'm doing everything I can to help others do that, too. I want to help anybody that comes into my connection or space. I love to share.