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Teaching Yoga

The Yogini’s Guide to Starting Your Own Women’s Circle

As politics become more and more divisive, women’s circles offer empowering connection, community, and a refuge of trust and love. In honor of International Women's Day, consider starting your own.

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As politics become more and more divisive, women’s circles offer empowering connection, community, and a refuge of trust and love. In honor of International Women’s Day, consider starting your own.

A women’s circle is a safe and sacred space for women to come together, use their voices, be heard and be seen. Women throughout history have gathered in circles to empower each other and share wisdom. These affirming community gatherings help women get in touch with their feminine strength and turn up their positive vibration. With politics dividing us further every day, women need community more than ever.

See also3 Steps to Form a Yoga Circle: How to Build a Stronger Community

9 Steps to Start Your Own Women’s Circle

Inspired by the powerful Women’s Circle at last month’s Envision Festival in Costa Rica, we looked to the organizers for wisdom and advice on how to deal with the changing tides around the world by creating your own community.

1. Focus on a theme.

Focusing your circle on a theme is a great way to keep your gathering on topic. “Working with the moon is an easy and powerful way, because as women we are already in sync with the moon,” says Sofiah Thom, Envision Festival Co-Founder and Founder of the School of Temple Body Arts for Women. “I find the new moon is really powerful because the energy is more internal. It’s the dark moon—it’s the mystery.” Other themes could be goddesses, the womb, or on the power of love.

2. Find collaborators.

A women’s circle is about finding a tribe, so don’t be afraid to ask for help from other women. “You don’t have to be this trained yogini or coach or whatever to be able to do this, it’s really just stepping into your own leadership and bringing other women together; and you can collaborate with other women who have something to share,” Thom says. If you aren’t a certified yoga teacher, finding a friend who can offer an asana practice or guided meditation can help root the circle more deeply.

3. Set a powerful intention.

Taking the time to allow each woman to speak her intention aloud has a powerful healing effect for the group and the world. “By coming together with other women, we are sending out that big radio wave from each one of us,” Thom says. “This frequency ripples out and other people are touched by that. And that’s how we can continue to bring more light. To bring light to what is here…to bring light to the shadows. It really can be revealed and something huge can shift.”

4. Be open and vulnerable.

Although you are hosting the circle, remembering to include yourself in the process is crucial for the space to feel equal and safe. “In many ways you’re the guide and learning to hold space,” says Hannah Dyson, the Founder of Sacred Female Space. “Part of that is dropping yourself into the circle. For me, the most profound experience is if I can drop down into my vulnerability and to share something on where I’m at.”

See alsoA Meditation Inspired by the Women’s March on Washington

Envision Festival, Women's circle

5. Practice listening.

Hearing stories from other women fosters empathy and helps us feel less alone. By slowing down and being mindful, each woman will feel like her voice is heard. “I always say this is an incredible practice to listen,” Dyson says. “This is one of the practices that we’re really missing in our life. And for me, especially, I know when I’m in conversation my mind is already working with what I want to say and what I want to add. How much can I actually hold space and listen fully to each person speaking? And not wait to figure out what I’m saying and just allow it to come because that’s also one of the most powerful things.”

6. Guide a Yoga Nidra or meditation.

Guiding a Yoga Nidra or meditation during your circle will help women to tap into their unconscious thoughts. Dyson recommends a bridging question, such as “What are you angry about right now?” to have women search within themselves for answers. Once finished with the meditation, open up the circle to discuss visions, thoughts, and feelings.

See alsoHow Yoga Fosters Real Community + Relationships in a Digital World

7. Add Mudras for womb wisdom.

Make a triangle with your thumbs and pointer fingers and place your hands at the base of your stomach. This mudra will help you connect to the wisdom of your womb and ground yourself to the earth and those around you. Explore more mudras for women.

8. If it makes you happy, just do it.

Start by asking your close friends to a women’s circle, but don’t hold on to feelings if no one shows up at first. “I sometimes just had one friend who would come,” Dyson says. “And I decided I want to show up and do this every week because I was interested in what ceremony and ritual really means.” If your intention is strong and purpose pure, women will find their way to you.

9. Enrich your circle by exploring others.

Continue your study of women’s circles by exploring others in your area or through women-focused workshops and classes. Dyson’s “Women Who Want to Change the World” workshop in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica, May 5–10 and will help women rise to action and find their purpose in life. Thom is offering a 50-Hour Temple Body Arts Facilitator Training for Women in Dominical, Costa Rica, June 4–14 on finding your womb wisdom.

See alsoOut There: Seek Transformation at Costa Rica’s Envision Festival