Sagalakova has a large family, for whom she keeps a vegetable patch and an orchard, tends cattle, cooks, cleans the house, and looks after the little ones in the summer. Legend has it that the origins of her family go back to a great shaman, while Sagalakova herself inherited her powers from her father.
Since childhood, Sagalakova had an extraordinary intuition, however, she first displayed true shamanic abilities only at the age of 40, when her youngest son was born: Each time she sat down to sing a lullaby, guttural singing came out instead. Three years later, she was paralyzed for nine months, throughout which period she kept seeing the same dream. Neither doctors, nor psychoanalysts, nor the church could help her.
Finally, Sagalakova decided to turn to shamans. She was told that her destiny was to help people and unless she opened herself to the spirits, she would die at 50. She herself had nowhere to turn for help: Her shaman father could not pass his knowledge to her directly – since in Soviet Russia shamans were persecuted, he practiced in secret.
When in a trance, Sagalakova listens to herself because the words she speaks and the rites she performs come over her as if from above. She also keeps notes, to makes things easier for her descendants.
The biggest manuscript in her collection is the visitors' book. People come to Sagalakova almost every day. When there are no visitors, she still has work to do, otherwise the spirits may punish her.