• Julie Martin

Empowered women, empower women

For this years’ International Womens Day, I put up a post on Instagram called “If a man says it, does it make it more valid?” It was interesting how many people responded saying they felt the same way. Many who had previous careers in the corporate environment said they had to live with it all the time. Being dismissed by men and women on an idea or solid information you have on a subject only to have a man come up with the same thing and all of sudden it’s the best thing since sliced bread. This can be very infuriating.


So I wanted to come back to this subject again to touch on a couple of things around it. I’m not one to indulge and sit around complaining about stuff. I’m a problem solver. I’m an optimist. I’m a ‘look on the bright side, glass half full’ kind of person. The issue is obviously there and it does make me feel concerned about what it’s implications are in terms of the yoga world. The majority of practitioners and teachers worldwide are women. We’ve got the numbers on our side, right? I have a niggling feeling that since yoga initially was a male dominated practice in India we might be more likely to defer to men, perhaps even more so, Indian men, when it comes to learning more about yoga.


I have a niggling feeling that since yoga initially was a male dominated practice in India we might be more likely to defer to men, perhaps even more so, Indian men, when it comes to learning more about yoga.

Let’s continue to remind ourselves that many of these Indian male teachers have been toppled off their thrones in recent years due to sexual misconduct, reported verbal, emotional and sometimes physical abuse, as well as other dubious practices. We’ve even seen this kind of behaviour from western male yoga teachers. I’ve run out of fingers and toes to count these substantiated reports on. But how many women have even been accused of this kind of treatment towards students? No, not all female senior teachers are perfect role models but just look at the numbers. Claims of abuse, misconduct and similar by female teachers are almost non existent in comparison.


In the afterglow of #metoo you’d think the sisterhood would be fully solidified, ready to support each other. But I feel we still have a way to go yet. The intention is there but the follow through is slow on the uptake. Is it because, as women, we have generations behind us that always deferred to men? Is there a small voice in the back of our minds that wants to say “yes” to the father figure in order to feel valid? Or, is there some element of validation from a younger male teacher, perhaps quite handsome, that makes us feel like we’re desired and therefore we subconsciously allow ourselves to be led instead of leading?


Of course I’m not talking about all women yogis by any means. I do encounter many women who speak up, get controversial, and have the confidence to challenge norms in the yoga world. I’m not the only one by a long shot. But how do we support other women, make them feel confident in who they are and what they have to share? We have to stop the act of comparison first and foremost. It is the destroyer of our own self confidence as well as the sisterhood. We have to bear in mind that when a woman succeeds in any realm, it paves the pathway for others to follow.


If, as yoga teachers, we are in service, as we climb the ladder of knowledge and success we must be prepared to reach down and help others. It makes us stronger when we hold each other up.

If I’m in a position to empower my students I want them all to walk away with absolute confidence in what they are doing. I don’t want them to worry about judgement from other teachers (male or female) or go through imposter syndrome. That is one of the reasons I teach an embodied approach to the practices. I don’t want to tell anyone how they should or shouldn’t look, or if they should be stronger or more flexible. I want students to find themselves. To feel who they are under the skin, emotionally, mentally as well as physically. My job is to elevate a teachers skills and self worth and as a trainer of teachers I succeed every time one of my trainees tells me of a new event, webinar, retreat or even their own teacher training success. Your success is my success and I hope that it gets passed down the line. I want to use my skills to raise your confidence.


If I’m in a position to empower my students I want them all to walk away with absolute confidence in what they are doing. I don’t want them to worry about judgement from other teachers (male or female) or go through imposter syndrome.

Let’s make a commitment to uplifting each other. To celebrate others successes. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not male bashing here by any means.There are many wonderful male teachers out there too. I just want to level up the playing field. Siva consciousness cannot awaken without the power of Shakti. I feel like we need to wield this power a bit more and respect it in others.


Please do share your thoughts here.

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