We founded Align Botanica in 2015 because we believe that everyone has the right to be well and feel good no matter our age, life circumstances, or health condition.
The name "Align Botanica" reflects a recognition of the shared power of aligning with and tuning into the body's wisdom and of honoring and utilizing nature's botanical medicine to support self care and elevate wellness.
Over thousands of years, humankind survived and evolved by joining instinct and intellect to stay well, becoming experts at self care out of necessity. Now in our modern life, self care is viewed as a luxury or a nuisance and wellness is often confused with healthiness and youthfulness.
At Align Botanica, we believe that wellness-seeking activities and mindful self care practices are still necessities and not indulgences. We wanted to build a resource that helps inspire exploration and enable discovery of ways to be well within modern life and throughout all of life's stages and challenges. We wanted to create a space where ideas around wellness activism and radical self care can begin to take material form and where it's okay to use any means necessary to nourish, boost, or supercharge the body, mind, and spirit so that the most wellness is possible no matter what life brings.
We believe that being well and having a high quality of life are the best ways to take care of our bodies and honor the life force that we have been given in this lifetime. When we are well, we feel good and energized and we have more fulfillment and are able to better serve other beings and the environment. Being well cared for and supported allows us to go out into the world to make a bigger impact.
Wellness is a state of body, mind, and spirit that is centered on being attuned to the the needs of the vital force within our bodies, consciously choosing life-affirming behaviors, and seeking out activities, foods, and relationships that enhance our feelings of well-being.
Wellness is unique to each person and stage of life. Wellness has multiple layers and applies to families & communities as well as individuals. Wellness is for those who are healthy and those who are challenged with a disability, illness, injury, or disease. Those who consider themselves healthy are not necessarily well and those who have disability or illness can still have wellness. Read more here.
A key way to build and sustain wellness is through the practice of a kind of self care that is conscious, intentional, and mindful, also known as radical self care. Read more here.
We hope that our products, services, and events can inspire & help empower our customers and clients to develop and deepen self care practices and create space in their lives for activities that are uplifting and wellness-promoting.
We believe that every person has the right to take an active and collaborative role in designing and creating more wellness and well-being in their lives by working in partnership with our bodies and our healthcare and wellness practitioners to feel our best everyday.
We teach and recommend only what we practice or have experienced or use for ourselves or for our families. This way we stay grounded in truth and more connected to our clients.
We believe in using and learning from the diverse sciences and perspectives of ancient healing systems including Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine, western herbalism, ancient American plant medicine, and modern naturopathic, holistic, and western (traditional/allopathic) medicine.
We are wellness activists with professional training, continuing education certification, and experience in wellness, exercise, healing, and a variety of healthcare modalities. We are not licensed medical doctors, psychologists, or dietitians.
We promote the idea that information and resources to empower wellness in ourselves and our communities should be readily available and shared.
OUR CUSTOMERS & CLIENTS
Align Botanica's customers & clients include those who want to elevate their wellness and enrich their quality of life as well as those who want to find greater wellness in spite of illness, injury, chronic disease or the effects of aging and life transitions.
Our Creators, Teachers, & Practitioners
Dr. Sarah Richardson Burns, PhD, RYT
wellness consultant, yoga & meditation teacher, neuroscientist, herbalist, reiki practitioner
Georgia Richardson Melody, MS
wellness consultant, medical anthropologist
Carol Richardson, RN, NP
licensed & certified Nurse Practitioner
sustainability consultant, recipe tester
Radical Self Care
A conscious and intentional approach to supporting the body, mind, spirit, and life force towards elevated wellness and well-being. When our own being is well cared for, we are then able to serve, love, and support our fellow beings.
What, Why, How?
Self care is the whole spectrum of activities and efforts that we do everyday to care for and maintain our bodies. This encompasses things as simple as drinking water and brushing our teeth to the more purposeful, such as exercising or getting medical care.
What is radical self care? When you shift the process of self care out of the mundane and into the mindful, you take the first step on a path towards the possibility of greater wellness and radical improvements in your quality of life.
Radical self care is intentional care for the whole being of our selves. It is the conscious and continuous promotion of wellness for the body as well as the mind and spirit.
Radical self care is the intentional decision to elevate your self care of the body, mind, or spirit to the next level. This manifests differently for each of us and takes various forms when it comes to care for the body, mind, or spirit.
For the body, this is consuming real, nutrient-rich, and healing foods, physical movement and exercise, and purposeful care of our skin, hair, blood, and organs.
For the mind, this is a decision to be in a state of continuous learning, promoting plasticity, adaptability, and regularly practicing meditation and/or mindfulness.
For the spirit, this is studying and considering our life's purpose, seeking of expanded consciousness, honoring and thoughtfully using and consuming our earth's resources, and connecting physically, emotionally, or intellectually with other beings and energies in any form.
Within radical self care, there is particular consideration for the "energetic body". This is the part of our beings that comprises and sustains our very life force. This is the spark of life that is hard to put into words but we all can sense when it is strong or in contrast, waning in another person. This life force is sometimes referred to as Prana or Qi and by many other names. Every culture throughout the ages has identified this force and understood it's necessity to life.
The process & practices of radical self care feed life force/prana/qi, maintaining and boosting our resilience, stability, durability, and adaptability. Radical self care practices also help us better understand and connect with how our beings use our energy throughout the day or over monthly rhythms. Overtime through radical self care, we can become more attuned to our being's energetic needs and are therefore better able to support ourselves, staying steady and mindful at times of stress or challenge as well as at times of excitement or pleasure.
Radical self care is compatible with any religion or belief paradigm and integrates with practices of varied forms of medicine, including eastern and western approaches to healing the body, mind, and spirit.
Radical self care is a way of living and a lifestyle founded on the pillars of real/whole food nutrition, movement, equanimity (even-temperedness), moderation, mindfulness, compassion, service, honoring life-force, and self-study/practice/training.
Why radical self care? When wellness and awareness of body, mind, and spirit are nourished and heightened, you are better positioned to accept, adapt, and fully engage in the experiences, challenges, and mysteries that life presents everyday.
Radical self care can help your body, mind, and spirit can become stronger and more resilient.
Radical self care presents opportunities for designing a more fulfilling and healthful life, sustaining and elevating wellness, finding and creating self-healing, preventing or alleviating disease, sleeping and managing our energy better better, maintaining a healthy weight, feeling a greater sense of contentment or life purpose, and for some of us, being well in spite of illness or injury.
Since the beginning of humanity, radical self care has been necessary for survival of our human species. Now for many of us living in the developed world, it is a privilege and perhaps, still a necessity, given the environmental and lifestyle challenges we currently face.
For most of us, making lifestyle changes and evolving ourselves is both daunting and overwhelming. Where do we start? How do we find the time or money? What will we have to give-up or change? What will other people think and how will we explain it to them?
The best answer to these questions is......to simply begin right now, by deciding that you want to learn more then go one day at a time or one change at a time, lead by example, let yourself fail then begin again, and be open to the possibility that there are many ways to accomplish or obtain any one thing.
Sustainable lifestyle shifts require patience and open-mindedness. The radical self care evolution is a step-wise process of adding new practices into our daily lives while slowly and incrementally letting go of things that no longer serve us. Even when a quicker or more revolutionary approach to lifestyle transformation is desired, radical self care offers a mindful and intentional path that brings a lasting and sustainable higher quality of life.
Why nature's medicine for radical self care? Naturally-occuring organisms are the foundation of our body's nourishment and the original medicine. The healing power of nature is so potent that almost all medicines in use today are derived from the leaves, bark, roots, or seeds of plants or fungi and bacteria, or are synthetic versions of natural substances from these same organisms. Learn more.
From our earliest days, humans have been experimenting with and honing the use of plants, fungi and microorganisms to alleviate and cure our ailments. This work continues today, taking many forms and in diverse places from the kitchens of herbalists to the laboratories of pharmaceutical companies.
Some thoughts on wellness.
Being healthy does not necessarily mean you are well and having a disease or injury does not necessarily mean you are NOT well.
It is common today to associate wellness with healthiness. Often when we think of someone who is well, we have impressions of someone who is healthy, able-bodied, disease-free, or youthful and to the extent that those are qualities of physical wellness, this is accurate. However many other qualities and factors can make-up a state of wellness or well-being that are outside of the narrow confines of being healthy or young.
Wellness is unique to each person and every stage of life.
Wellness can take many forms as wellness or well-being of the body, mind, spirit or whole lifestyle and may ebb and flow as you ride the tides of daily and yearly life. Essential aspects of wellness include feeling good and fulfilled and being functional and fit within the context of your body's current state of ability. if you have wellness and are well cared for, even with the ups and downs of daily life and possible limitations of your abilities or physical health, you are better able to do things that bring meaning to life including pursuing careers and dreams, serving and supporting family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and the environment, and making impacts with your actions locally or globally.
When defining wellness this way, having good "health" or optimal ability and fitness is independent of having high "wellness". A common example in today's society, is claims by many people that they are "healthy" because they do not have a disability, diagnosed disease, or injury. However they are often stressed or anxious, have low or irregular physical fitness, have a general malaise or fatigue, do not enjoy or feel affirmed by their work, and feel disconnected from nature, friends, society, or life purpose in general.
When listed this way, it is clear that having wellness and being "healthy" are different and independent. Certainly being physically healthy is an aspect of wellness but it is not a requirement, per se. Whether you are already living with a wellness-focus or if it is something you'd like to have more of, we believe that there are always opportunities to discover and explore new ways to bring more wellness and self care into our lives.
A wellness-focused life is so full of "the good" that it crowds out "the bad".
Increasing your wellness is about bringing more wellness-promoting and life-affirming things into your daily experience, not about being perfect, always getting it right, making sacrifices, or having to eliminate things.
Common ways to elevate wellness & well-being include more mindfulness and stress reduction, enhanced nutrient intake and personalized nutrition, more simplicity, more nature & natural chemicals and materials, and more self awareness and personal development towards a life where you do more of what you love and less of what doesn't work for you.
Elevating wellness can be a collaboration between yourself and health professionals or practitioners.
Most of us have a sense that being healthy & being well are not necessarily the same thing. However in our modern culture, the concepts of health and wellness are often confused and deemed the domain of medical professionals. This has lead to a prevailing culture where individuals are often expected to cede control of decisions regarding their bodies to doctors and are dissuaded or disempowered from seeking ways to increase or guide their own wellness.
A new approach is to think of your health and medical professionals or practitioners as partners with whom you will work to find solutions. This approach is all about re-framing the relationships between patients/clients and health and medical professionals or practitioners towards the collaborative rather than authoritative.
Whether or not your practitioner is on board with this idea, as thethe patient/client, you can be in the driver seat. Getting the most out of the partnership with your practitioners, relies on your active involvement, self-education, self-empowerment, and advance consideration about why exactly you are seeking health or wellness care. Thinking about your health concerns from the point of view of "cause" rather than "effect" can help guide your interactions with your practitioner towards solving the underlying problems rather than simply treating the various symptoms.
An example of this could be a middle-aged woman who has a known or suspected metabolic disorder such as pre-diabetes or PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) that is either untreated or not being managed regularly. She visits her doctor seeking relief from depression, elevated blood pressure, and back pain. Typically in today's healthcare system, to relieve her complaints, this woman would be prescribed 3 or more different pharmaceuticals and possibly physical therapy and sent away with little or no follow-up or recommendations.
In contrast a more self-empowered and collaborative approach might be a situation where the woman visits her doctor seeking assessment and alleviation of her metabolic syndrome which she has learned through self-lead research can cause depression, high blood pressure, and joint pain, the very things that she is currently suffering from. She also decides to try acupuncture which she has learned from friends can offer relief from her current health concerns. She also decides to reduce her daily carbohydrate intake as she has read that PCOS is associated with dysregulation in the metabolism of carbohydrates which can cause worsening of PCOS symptoms.
By thinking of her doctors and practitioners as her collaborators, she was able to get treatment for her problems by helping focus her doctors on solving the underlying metabolic syndrome rather than only treating the problems she was originally seeking medical care for and by empowering herself to do research on her conditions, make dietary changes, and go outside of her comfort zone to seek alternative and complimentary medical care.
Align Botanica is founded on principles of whole life wellness and personal empowerment. We believe that each of us has the right to be well, feel good, and have a high quality of life throughout our entire lives, no matter our age, life circumstances, or health condition. Unfortunately, this can be really difficult in our modern life where there is so much that challenges our well-being and is out of our control.
Despite this, we believe that a new kind of wellness empowerment is possible through a combination of personal responsibility, an attitude of possibility, development of relationships with practitioners who are willing to collaboratively partner with you and not just authorize or permit, and access to information and resources relevant to wellness & healing.
So to find and create more wellness and well-being in spite of all the road blocks, we must draw on the one powerful resource that each of us has and that is the ingenuity of our own bodies. To fuel this power source and possibly unlock latent wellness & healing capacities, we must nourish the body, mind, and spirit with the myriad natural resources provided to us by this universe and with select man-made intelligence and technology.
Living a wellness-promoting lifestyle is all-encompassing, not just on days when we are not feeling well and not just about what we eat or do for exercise. Living a wellness-centered life is about actively, evolutionarily, and continuously crafting and steering our lifestyle and life experience towards enhanced and sustainable well-being. It's about living consciously and mindfully, always doing our best to take into consideration our whole body-mind-spirit "in-vironment" and those of our families, friends, the wider societal ecosystem, and the whole Earth and universal environment. When we individually make changes and find more wellness in our lives, this causes a ripple effect that reaches out to the beings around us, directly or indirectly also bringing them more wellness.
A wellness-promoting life is about being open-minded, inclusive, life-affirming, supportive, promotive, non-paternalistic, non-authoritative, and non-judgmental of our fellow human beings and living in a state of "possibility" and open-ness for ourselves, aspiring towards not judging ourselves or others and towards unconditionally loving ourselves. It's about acknowledging, appreciating, honoring, and being grateful for the abundance and opportunity in our lives, caring for our communities and environments, using resources and materials with intentional moderation, and building into our lives time for sharing, charity, and service. It's about knowing that conscious living does not happen all at once or in the same way for each person. Each new moment brings another chance to better align consciously and mindfully with your values.
The implications of living this way are inherently multi-dimensional and perhaps overwhelming. To some people, these statements will seem absurd, idealistic, or grandiose, especially for a company doing business in the United States. Yet, we believe that conscious living is the best way to have a fulfilling and enriched life today and the best hope for the future of humanity, all beings, Earth, and beyond. And if we are to truly live consciously then we must extend this to all aspects of our lives, including to our business, service, or work.
So what this means for our promise to you as customers and clients of Align Botanica is that we approach doing business consciously and mindfully, doing our best to support the 3 ecosystems of our body-mind-spirits, our Earth, and our society. What that means practically is that we take a collaborative and partnering approach to doing and growing our business, believing that success is mutually gained by supporting, sharing, and working with other business owners and experts to further each others endeavors. It means that the information we post on our website and the businesses or products that we promote are aligned with our principle of creating more whole life wellness. It means that the wellness and self care information and resources that we post on our website or in our store(s) are done so with a spirit of integrity and are true to the best of our knowledge, backed or vetted by professional, scientific, and/or medical sources and acknowledging and honoring of the original source material or person.
Further, our promise means that our services offer something of value to our clients, promoting wellness or healing, our products are, whenever possible, organic, plant-based, sustainably grown/harvested/obtained, fair-trade, and attuned to social justice concerns, and our packaging is minimal, sourced and comprised of materials that are environmentally-friendly. We also do our best to make sure that the products and packaging of our partner businesses rise to similar standards that we set for ourselves.
To take these ideas a step further, similar to our belief in collaboration and partnering with fellow business owners, we aspire to provide guidance and support to empower our customers and clients to get involved and create their own wellness-promoting products and lifestyle by developing, curating, and providing recipes, tutorials, and protocols.
Lastly, our promise to our customers and clients is that we are fully transparent in our product information, sourcing, and ingredients, business-to-business relationships, and our disclaimers and that when relevant we will post or include in labeling any outside source or reference in support of a product claim or information statement. We welcome all questions and complements. Email us.
The entire contents of this website are based upon the opinions of Align Botanica and it's practitioners, unless otherwise noted. Individual articles and references are based upon the opinions of the respective author(s) and source(s). The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information for the empowerment of the individual. Align Botanica encourages everyone to make their own health care and treatment decisions based upon their own research and in partnership with qualified health care professionals.
Unless otherwise indicated, any statements about foods, products, or accessories available on this entire website, whether from Align Botanica or from one of it's partners or recommended sources, have not been evaluated by the United States Food and Drug Administration. Any product available on this entire website or recommended by Align Botanica is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your physician or qualified health care professional before using this product.