Faculty Spotlight: Natural Remedies

Potions & Publications


BWS teachers and staff are an essential and beloved part of our community. Although it can seem shocking that they have time for anything outside of school, we are fortunate to have many talented individuals with a multitude of interests in our midst. We’ve interviewed a few of these gifted colleagues who have graciously allowed us to showcase their creativity to the world. As you read further, it becomes clear that there is always more to learn about one another. This article is certainly far from exhaustive, and we hope to feature more members of the community in the future.

Potions to Support Your Well-Being

Monk Oil was founded by BWS Early Childhood teacher Monika Stanislawek and former BWS staff member Kate Roth in 2013/2014. They’ve established a strong partnership; Monika prepares the potions and acts as the face of the company while Kate handles the business side of things. Over the years, the goal of Monk Oil has remained constant: to help people who live in the city.

In nature, we can feel more in tune, harmonious, protected and relaxed, while the city can often bring stress and anxiety to our physical bodies and mental states. The first potion Monika and Kate made was created to combat this feeling of ‘overwhelm’ that confronts us in the subway or in the polluted air or at work. It serves as a bubble, an invisible layer of armor to protect us throughout the day. Monika and Kate brewed the original monk oil with the entire BWS community in mind, including students. 

Although different, each oil addresses healing in some unique way. We’ve included a link to each of the monk oil potions’ descriptions and ingredients below:

Monk Oil Descriptions*

*Not described is the newest potion, High Noon. It was made with blissed out, happy, no worries moments and feelings in mind. Relax and have a carefree moment with this Monk Oil.

When we asked Monika for a story about Monk Oil, they told us about their father. When he went into hospice care, Monika’s mother brought him a bottle of ‘Dusk’ oil. It was the only thing that relieved his labored breathing and allowed him to inhale and exhale deeply. This potion is about self-knowledge and transitions, so it’s fitting that it comforted Monika’s father in his final moments. 

Natural Beauty from the Outside In

Sojourner, a teacher at BWS, is also an Ayurvedic practitioner, yoga instructor, and wellness blogger. She’s written a book called ‘Natural Beauty from the Outside In’ based on her worldwide travel experiences and various trainings. 

She used her already existing catalog of stories and recipes from her blog and natural penchant for writing about travel to create a unique blend of travelogue and cookbook accessible to all, no matter your previous experience with DIY, all natural skin and hair care recipes. Each chapter focuses on a location and an important native ingredient, like Thailand and coconut oil.

Sojourner participated in a year-long Ayurvedic clinical training program as well as an aromatherapy course and an additional Ayurvedic herbology course before starting to work with (now faithful) customers. Her advice to anyone starting to make their own salves, tinctures, etc.: 

Think of it like your weekly meal prep. How am I feeling/what am I craving? What season is it? Spend about an hour making just what you need; it’s better if your batch does not last long. Make recipes according to who you are in the moment and adjust as that changes. Take it one week at a time. 

When asked if she had a favorite recipe, Sojourner lamented about the common ‘Dry Hand Teacher Problem’ and cited body butter as her go-to solution. 

You can purchase Sojourner’s book on Amazon or directly via the publisher Rowman & Littlefield here.

Final Note

Thank you to the individuals showcased in this article for their input and willingness to be interviewed and have their talents displayed to the wider BWS community. We look forward to exhibiting more community members’ gifts in the near future.