Leading up to International Women’s Day, people are raising their hands on Instragram as a show of support for the #ChooseToChallenge campaign. A global call to take nothing for granted and speak up against inequality, stereotyping and gender bias. An important message that we totally support. But don’t worry: you don’t have to dive into your phone, jump on the barricades or confront your boss out of solidarity with our sisters. We took IWD as an invitation to turn inward and rise to the highest version of our female selves instead.
How can we live consciously and turn our femininity into our greatest strength? Stay tuned for some empowering practices from the yoga tradition in honor of International Women’s day. Weave them into your daily life and you can take on the whole world!
Tip 1: awaken to your feminine sexuality
Sexual energy is the most powerful energy of all. It is the purest form of life energy that, once activated, allows your creativity to flow and brings great pleasure. Sexual awakening is a process of becoming aware of the erogenous zones that distinguish women from men. Have you ever been overcome by sudden emotion during a hip-opening yin yoga pose, for example? You’re not alone. In fact, our bodies store a lot of tension and trauma in the hip and pelvic area.
Awakening your sexuality requires a conscious effort to reconnect with your pelvic floor. Luckily, you can practice this with loving attention outside of the bedroom, explains Layla Martin founder of the Tantric Institute of Integrated Sexuality in an interview. In fact, having conscious sex is just like breathing consciously, going for a conscious nature walk, or rubbing oil into your skin attentively. The essence is that you are completely present in the here and now with all your senses. And for the ladies who are up for some fun: why not experiment with a tantric exercise on March 8th? See it as an International Women’s Day gift to yourself (and your partner).
Tip 2: align your work-outs with your menstrual cycle
In the hippie times, the pill was a symbol of women’s emancipation. Making love purely for pleasure was a novely and to many, a huge liberation. That freedom of choice is awesome. But the downside of hormonal contraception is that you lose contact with your natural cycle. A growing group of women prefer ‘natural’ contraception using thermometers, apps and tables to track their cycle.
A difficult trade-off, but if you are ready to live a conscious life in alignment with your cycle, there are some serious perks. It allows you to tailor your workouts around the different stages of your cycle, for example. That way you can let your natural energy levels rule and perform optimally in the gym. The rule of thumb here is that you can do heavier training leading up to your ovulation. And after your ovulation no more HIIT or cardio, but rather a nice walk or yoga class. Power to you!
Tip 3: yin for the win
Yin and yang, the moon and the sun, female and male energy. We all embody these polarities. In yoga, yin and yang translates into a softer, slower and more active and physically intense practice. Are you noticing your attitude in daily life is based around goal-oriented performance and pushing through? Chances are that you are acting from your masculine energy. Not surprising, because career-minded women have had to ‘fight’ their way to the top in order to get the same opportunities as men. Sadly, very rarely doing so by leading from their feminine power.
In comes yin yoga: an ode to your divine feminine. A lovely and conscious form of yoga where you relax into a pose for five to twenty minutes. “Yin is a beautiful practice in which you can go from human-doing, to human-being with intention and mindfulness. It allows you to surrender to just ‘be’ for a while,” says Marlene Smits. Both as lady boss of Urban Goddess and yin yoga teacher, she knows what it means to lead from a place of feminine abundance. A deep yin practice has the power to temporarily free you from all the different roles and duties you fulfil in daily life, she explains. “If you lean into the stillness even more, you can experience being nobody for a moment, no husband, no wife, no mother, no daughter, nameless, no past, no thoughts, no to-do lists. At that point, there is only pure awareness. The definition of joy!”
The model in the picture is wearing our OM tank top in off-black.