International Women’s Day is a day for us women to come together so that we can rise up and have an equal voice on this planet.
"The story of women's struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights," says world-renowned feminist, journalist and social and political activist Gloria Steinem. Thus International Women's Day is all about unity, celebration, reflection, advocacy and action - whatever that looks like globally at a local level. But one thing is for sure, International Women's Day has been occurring for well over a century - and continues to grow from strength to strength.” via internationalwomensday.com
So how can we continue to catapult this movement forward? Here are some simple ways that you can create more unity, celebration, reflection, advocacy and action in your life.
Create more unity within our community of sisters by honoring all women’s stances. As yogis especially, we must not judge those that think differently from us. We’ve all been through different life experiences that have shaped the way we view the world today. So, instead of saying women aren’t doing this movement a service by not believing or reacting the same as you, we are still all women and still need to support each other in that alone. What’s the point of us being equal if it only is “equal” in the eyes of a certain type of woman with a certain belief structure? We all deserve our voices to be heard, we all matter. If we were all the same, we wouldn’t have the contrast that helps shift the planet into new ways of being.
There is so much competition between women the way it is. We judge ourselves based on how other women look, the positions they hold, the careers they’ve forged, the number of kids they have, how skinny they are, the list goes on and on. Why do we get so caught up in these petty things that really don’t mean anything in the grand scheme of things?
There is so much more to life. We have so much good in our own lives and if we’d only find gratitude for those things, we’d find so much joy, happiness and contentment. The next time you see a post on Facebook from the woman who always has everything together or you run into the head of the PTA (who always looks gorgeous) in yoga class, I want to challenge you to meet any negative thoughts head on. Don’t let yourself go down that rabbit hole of comparison and judgement. Instead of berating them for seeming perfect or yourself for being anything but, start looking within yourself to see why you’re really so bothered. You need to remember that even the most perfect people out there are not perfect at all and chances are, they definitely do see themselves that way either.
We ALL have our challenges. We ALL have those things that come easy to us. We might not all be able to effortlessly float into handstand but we ALL can get to our mats. We can all celebrate the things we CAN do, CAN be, CAN have. We just have to make the conscious decision to do so. Take it one step further, and get more karma points, by commenting on that social media post with a compliment, tell the awesome yogi at yoga class what you loved seeing her do and how it inspires you to get to your mat more often. Get out of your own way and watch the magic happen.
Take a moment to assess all the accomplishments you’ve achieved in your life so far. We can get so caught up in the future and our next goal, and the next and the next, that we forget to take stock of all the amazing things we’ve done! Once you remember and realize how awesome you really are, it will inspire you to continue doing awesome things but also to have more respect and gratitude for who you are and how much you’ve grown. Encourage those around you to do the same and to not get stuck in the hamster wheel of always moving forward and never enjoying where you’re at right now.
What are you passionate about supporting, how do you want this world to change and how can you support these causes? Start by doing some research and see how you can get involved. Do you have time or money that you could give to support what you believe in? Sometimes the best way to be an advocate is to be an example of those values you believe in. Show those around you how happy and fulfilled those values make by being that light in the world.
There are many ways to take action, some more obvious than others. If you are one to really want to take a physical stand and get out there and DO something, I highly recommend, as a yogi, to find groups that are “pro” what you want instead of “anti” what you don’t want. We can create such a shift in the direction of that which we want if we can just put more energy into how we want the world to be. Mother Theresa said, “I was once asked why I don’t participate in anti-war demonstrations. I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I’ll be there.”
Another thing you can do is to start raising your vibration by getting into alignment with Source, God, Mother Nature, whichever name you give it. If we all just did this, even for a few minutes a day, the world as we know it would be drastically different. When we are aligned, we can speak more from a place of love, act from a place of love and receive love more fully. Start by committing to your yoga and meditation practice but set the bar low. Begin with just 2-5 minutes of meditation each morning BEFORE checking the notifications on your phone which is one of the MAIN things that gets us out of alignment. As for your yoga practice? Even just 5 sun salutations a few times a week is a great place to start. Set a schedule and commit to it but don’t make it overwhelming or you’ll quit before you even can see the effects. Setting the bar low helps you feel accomplished and helps you to gradually add on as you feel inspired to do so and not because you HAVE to but because you WANT to.
If you haven’t found a group of soul sisters yet, a community to lift you up and make you feel supported, I highly recommend joining one. I’d never found more of a sense of community, acceptance and support before creating my Facebook group. The relationships that can be created online is amazing. If you enjoy your local yoga or spiritual community, get more involved there. It may look different for us all but the benefits are the same. The more you feel inspired and encouraged by other women, instead of deflated and depressed by comparing yourself to them, the more the world will start to be inspired and encouraged by you and what you do in this world!
What are you waiting for?
About the Author
Crystal Gray has been teaching yoga since 2005 and is an E-RYT at the 500 hour level. She is the creator of the Yoga Goddess Academy and helps women find their voice through yoga teacher trainings in-person and online. Crystal lives with her husband and daughter on their 20 acre organic vegetable farm in central Illinois. She feels blessed to be a YogaClub Tribe Leader and to share tips and tricks for yogis to get started with a home practice.