Ladies, take a different yoga practice whenever you need it.
I love leading my yoga sessions and I'm honoured that so many come along to play with me. During these sessions, I invite people to follow my instruction and a wonderful yoga teacher recently prompted me to consider that it really is just that; an invitation. This invitation does not need to be followed if it doesn’t feel good for you today. A key thing that I’d like for everyone to remember is that even though I’m standing at the front of the room doing most of the talking, the practice is yours and yours alone and only you know how your body feels right now.
I considered emailing this to my female subscribers only but then I thought, 'nope, not going to do it' because why do we assume that men don’t want to understand their wives, girlfriends, daughters, mothers? We are all connected to one another in this beautiful life and there need be no shame. Let’s celebrate who we are and what we are; perfectly imperfect humans living a perfectly imperfect life.
I am passionate about this thing, yoga, and honestly I'm discovering at every turn that the more I know, the less I know - the subject is so vast. Huge. My prenatal yoga training has highlighted to me the amazing work of Uma Dunsmore Tulli (I would soooo love to study with her one day!) and I’m beginning to understand that in all the centuries of yoga being passed from guru to student, regardless of lineage, there is no traditional approach to suit women in their beautiful and varied stages of life. Here, I’m talking about puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, postnatal recovery, lactation, menopause and all the other things that make women wonderful. These things can be seen as inconvenient, uncomfortable, or whatever other words are commonly used (*blows raspberry*). I now see this cyclical rhythm as something completely amazing. All schools of yoga, be it Hatha, Ashtanga, Iyengar are ‘designed’ around the male body that is fairly hormonally constant and not subject to the rhythmic, hormonal and physical changes of a female body. Please don’t get me wrong, I am in no way about to start man-bashing, I’m just saying; can we start to love ourselves for who we are? 50% of our population are female, why do we need to hide these things as though they were shameful?
During different stages of life, or even different points in the calendar or times of the day, specific yoga asana may not feel comfortable for a woman and that. Is. Fine. I’m really not asking to be told about peoples really personal circumstances, and nobody needs to take out a full-page ad concerning the intimate workings of their body, but you get my drift; if you need a slower practice, please feel very welcome.
I read recently that it takes a strong woman to lift up another woman but can we change the word ‘woman’ for ‘person’ in that little anecdote? Do that for yourself whether you happen to be a woman OR a man. Listen to your inner guide, your own perfectly imperfect self, be kind and honest with yourself and compassionate and supportive with others. Take your practice in any way that’s best for you.
Love and light to you,