This coming weekend I will be teaching a therapeutic yoga workshop for women only. I think a lot of women could benefit from learning yoga techniques that will support the inner workings of their bodies for the rest of their lives. I certainly view my own practice as one that will nurture and support my health until I am old and a practice that can modify with my body as it goes through inevitable changes of time.
You may be wondering why do women would need their own yoga and how that would differ from a man’s practice. In all honesty men can benefit from the same postures that women benefit from. However our anatomy and physiology are vastly different from a man’s and that should be reflected in our practices. Take for instance the facts that it an estimated 231,840 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women in 2015 as well as about 12% of women 15–44 years of age in the United States have difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term. This leads me to explore the ways that yoga can help women become healthier in the face of such alarming numbers.
One of the most powerful and therapeutic effects of yoga is the movement of fluids. The result of many of the asanas is the hydration of muscle tissues, organs and joints with fresh blood and synovial fluid. I like to compare this hydrating effect to adding WD40 to squeaky hinges. When you consider the anatomy of a woman’s body you see that the reproductive organs have a rich bed of capillaries that supply the area with blood. Now consider that muscular and fascial tension in the inner legs, abdomen and chest can restrict the flow of that blood. Suddenly the idea that an area that has restricted blood flow could be more prone to infection or disease doesn’t seem that far fetched. So then the goal of the asanas to facilitate openness and movement of blood becomes more relevant.
Image of blood capillaries in female reproductive organs
Another thing to consider and one that I have talked about in previous blog posts is how yoga assists with lymphatic drainage. Lymph is a fluid in the body that works directly with our circulatory system. As blood supplies nutrients to cells and collects waste the lymph acts as transportation medium for many of these metabolic byproducts. Unlike the blood, lymph does not have a pump, like the heart. Thankfully the muscular movements, twisting and inversions found in yoga DO help push the lymph fluid towards exit points. Again when you consider the female body can you see how the collection of lymph nodes in the groin, armpits and breast tissue could benefit from the detoxifying effects of yoga asana.
Aside from physiological effects I also think yoga can help women to develop a stronger connection to their inner compass and intuition. In today’s culture women are working double time to build careers, raise families and keep their lives together, so much so that I think we may be letting our own self care, nurturing, and presence of mind fall to the wayside. I’ve always felt that in order to help others you have to be in a good place with yourself and I think this is true for mothers, lovers, sisters and friends. To be your best self you’ve got to take care of yourself! Make the time to slow down, take inventory, heal and reconnect to that unflinching and powerful feminine mystique that is your birthright!
This mothers day weekend I hope that you will join me for this women’s only yoga workshop at 12:30 on Saturday May 9th where we will work directly with these concepts. In honor of building a strong female community the class requires you to bring a female partner. This could be your mom, sister, best girlfriend or any other awesome woman in your life. No yoga experience is needed just a desire to go inward and experience the ways yoga can support your amazing female body for years to come!
View the workshop details and sign up here.
Based out of Austin Texas, Anna teaches Yoga and offers therapeutic massage. She is interested in Zen-Buddhism and the spiritual journey that yoga offers. Check out her blog for inspirations, teaching on yoga, educational information about the body and interesting stuff that she comes across out there in the world.