I recently attended the Women of the World conference. It is always humbling and inspiring to learn about courageous, powerful, smart and innovative women from around the world. We got to hear a woman who with $10 and 7 other women started the peaceful revolution that ended the war in Liberia 11 years ago and another woman who turned a horrible gang rape experience at 15 into a mission that to date has rescued 20,000 people from the sex trafficking trade. There were female innovators, crusaders, celebrities and politicians all in attendance. As the day progressed and I began to process all that I heard , designer Diane Von Furstenberg shared her thoughts as part of a panel of women CEO’s. Two statements she said summed up all the inspiration of that day for me. The most important relationship in your life is the one you have with yourself & When you doubt your power you give power to your doubts. Every one of these women had to overcome and believe in themselves to accomplish what they had. They soul-searched and nurtured themselves in order to overcome their doubts and achieve amazing things.
These statements also struck me because they are powerful parts of our yoga practice. When we step on the mat we are offered the chance to nurture the incredibly important relationship we have with ourselves. It is an opportunity to honor the body and the mind and connect with our deeper truth. In addition, sometimes we have to face doubt and fear on the mat and we use the breath and the space in the mind to help us quiet that anxious chatter. This allows us to work from a place of truth and power. This was our practice this past week.
We began with a long warm up to nurture the body and prepare to explore our power. Through sun salutations we built heat and cultivated strength and flexibility in the body. In each of my classes I set the intention of building towards poses that represent power on the mat. In one class our whole practice was preparing to channel our power into handstand. In another we worked towards headstand and in still another we built towards Bakasana (pictured above).
Off the mat, these statements are equally powerful. The first step is to know ourselves by cultivating the “most important relationship we have which is with ourselves“. When we take the time to connect to our deeper truth and use that as a guide, we find a strength, a power that is unstoppable. From there we must trust ourselves and not “doubt our power which gives power to our doubts” and then truly anything is possible.
As we sat together in a final meditation, I again reminded my students of how these two powerful concepts work together. If you take the time to truly know and honor yourself then you can believe in all that you are and let go of the doubts. Once you take away the power of your doubts then all of your dreams can come true. Namaste.