The idea for Shanti Shea was born after Cobi had a little too much fun in the hot sun at Jazz Fest in New Orleans one year, and his skin was a tad pink. One of the African traders in the Congo square told him about shea butter. To his amazement, the next day the burn was gone, and he had a base tan for the rest of the summer! After doing some more research on the history and amazing properties of this traditional African healing moisturizer, he decided to mix some up and share it with friends and family. They all loved it too! "This stuff is great, why don't you sell it?" someone suggested.
Always wanting to share a good thing, Cobi did some more research and found the best quality fair trade and organic ingredients he could, and started a business. The name Shanti Shea reflects Cobi & Sarah's dedication to their spiritual lives, and is also in memory of their late dog Shanti, to honor her enthusiasm for life and loving nature.
Shanti can be translated as inner peace, with enough knowledge and understanding to keep oneself strong in the face of stress. Many spiritual or religious people believe that it is only truly possible to achieve inner peace with divine intervention of some form or another. In some cultures, inner peace is considered a state of consciousness or enlightenment that may be cultivated by various forms of training, such as prayer, meditation, Tai Chi, qigong or yoga, for example. Many spiritual practices refer to this peace as an experience of knowing oneself. (adapted from Wikipedia).
Cobi Bentley is a jack-of-all-trades and a free spirit. He is a certified Sheng Zhen Qigong teacher, licensed massage therapist, landscaper, handyman, painter, jewelry designer, cook, baker, and yes, candlestick maker.
He has always worked with his hands, growing up doing landscaping for his mother's business, and moving into the construction trade after studying German in college (not much money in German tutoring!). After a few years of wear and tear on his body, he decided to reverse the trend and go into the healing arts, which better suited his loving, spiritual nature. He has been a massage therapist and healing bodyworker since 1998.
Doing massage also takes a toll on the body, so he has been studying Sheng Zhen Qigong with Master Li Jun Feng, its principal teacher since 2002.
Qigong, sometimes called "Chinese Yoga," is an ancient healing art that is becoming very popular in the West. Regular qigong practice helps strengthen, revitalize and heal the body, mind and spirit. Its gentle, graceful movements bring fresh clean qi, or life force, into one's body, helping to rebuild the immune system and restore health and overall balance.
Qigong also balances the emotions, removing excess stress, worries, nervousness, anger and hatred. It has a very calming and relaxing effect. On the spiritual level, it opens our hearts. This opening of the heart is a spiritual awakening that creates awareness, compassion and a deeper connection to our surroundings. This gives a sense of connection to everything in the universe, a 'return to oneness'.
Sheng Zhen Wuji Yuan Gong is known as the qigong of unconditional love. The different forms within the practice are inspired by great spiritual masters, and consist of graceful movements and meditations accompanied by contemplations that calm your mind and emotions and return you to your heart center. Through this practice, you will experience profound well-being and a deeper connection to your true nature.
Sheng Zhen Wuji Yuan Gong helps you find your true nature and to become sensitive to the 'invisible' ocean of qi that surrounds us. The essence of qi is love. As we become aware that we are all swimming together in this sea of unconditional love, we will realize we are all one. Anger and hatred dissolve, and conflict becomes a thing of the past. For more information, check out www.shengzhenaustin.org or www.shengzhen.org.