Ma Yoga Gets Big Girl Panties!
Sometimes my daughter put on outfits that make me wonder where she came from. She’ll wear dresses as skirts and a headband with a paper crown taped to it to school. But no matter what I think of her fashion choices, it is a thrill to watch her begin to define herself by expressing her uniqueness.
I am getting a similar thrill as I watch this self-definition process happen with Ma Yoga. After teaching trainings last fall – Therapeutics: Take Healing Into Your Own Hands, I found myself remembering where Ma Yoga started and appreciating what it has become.
On one level it began with a bunch of prenatal teachers who got kicked out of our space and decided to find locations in our own neighborhoods. It also grew from a desire to fulfill the particular needs and desires we as women have.
We didn’t go about re-inventing yoga. We didn’t have to – it was all in there. In a way, we just took the parts that support the flow of power, wisdom and love of our feminine side, and allowed them to expand into a full yoga practice.
According to yoga, containers are masculine, what flows through them is feminine. We let go of the containers we were used to for teaching. Literally, we said goodbye to yoga studios for our Mama Circles, allowing them to define themselves as different from the yoga culture at large.
We also de-emphasized the containers for transformation – the poses themselves – and focused more on ourselves as expressions of the power, wisdom, and love of the universe. We allowed what we saw as the essence of yoga – defined since the beginnings of Tantra as feminine – to expand.
Expansion is simply the nature of the universe. As my yoga teacher reminded us the other day, the Big Bang is still happening – even speeding up, according to some scientists. And we humans are at the leading edge of this expansion. Yoga helps us expand consciousless into the areas we want to live and breathe.
Here are the 5 steps we teach in Ma Yoga to experience this expansion for ouselves:
1. Connect to Your Feminine Side – No, it’s not a passive, powerless part of ourselves to be shunned. It’s our potential to be powerful co-creators of lives we want to live. It’s an innate flow of intelligence, power, and nurturing energy. To find it, we lengthen the exhale and expand inside, and step into 3 R’s – Receptive (be open to new ways of seeing and being), Relational (connect, reach out and receive), and Reversible (be so open that we are willing to say “I changed my mind.” Hey, it’s a woman’s prerogative, right?).
2. Steady goes it – By engaging our muscles and hugging into our center, we create a steadiness both physically and mentally. In order to keep spacious in the back body, we must engage both upper and lower abdominals. When we do this – by squeezing a bottle between our legs while driving for instance – just like swaddling a baby calms her nervous system, we feel supported.
3. –Do a Dance – Everything feels better when we create juicy, feminine movements and wag our tail a bit! Even in the hardest poses and situations we can delight in the play of it.
4. Ground Yourself – We root from hips to earth – standing strong in our authenticity. An opposite natural reaction lifts our hearts toward the sky.
5. Give Your Gifts – From the center there is an expansion in all directions. This expansion is both physical – a stretch – and mental, a new way of seeing and expressing who we are right now in our journey as an evolutionary, ever-changing being.
Ma Yoga is like a toddler now. It’s wandering around discovering and expressing who it is and who it’s becoming. Just like thinking about my daughter puts me in a space of love and gratitude, Ma Yoga feels to me like a child born of many women. Thousands of pregnant women and new moms have now been part of creating it.
Ma Yoga asks: Can we do yoga while our kid watches Dora next to us? Can we meditate in the 2 minutes we have left before a nap is over? Can we do daily practices when we’re not even sure whether it’s night or day? Can we get healthy food into us without spending all day in the kitchen? Can we co-create our own unique containers in our day for the power, wisdom and love of the Divine feminine to flow through?
Can we step into our feminine selves – away from the linear, logical, organized, independent part of us and toward community, as we feel our way toward who we are becoming? Out of the boxes we put ourselves in with our “shoulds” and our “have to’s”?
Can we step into being the softer, wiser, more loving Divine MA we all want to be – together?
YES! Join us for the practices and support along the way in the Ma Yoga Living Room FB Community!