In August of 2010, a few women in my area shared their interest in a home-based yoga program. Looking for a smaller group environment within which to learn and practice yoga, they were interested in something a bit different than a traditional studio-based class. Around the same time, I was looking for a way to introduce some additional components to a yoga class, namely meditation instruction and a discussion about different wellness topics. After a bit of planning, my home-based Women’s Wellness Group program began.
Since its inception, many women have attended from all walks of life and backgrounds. The classes combine yoga, meditation and a wellness discussion about different topics I prepare for the group. Some weeks, I’ll share a brief excerpt from a book on yoga or wellness and we’ll discuss it; one week we shared tips for managing stress. We’ve taken a quiz on our ayurvedic body types and reviewed the results to see if it matched with our perception of ourselves. Some weeks we’ve discussed our reactions to the meditation practice and some weeks, women share some of what’s going on in their lives that is a source of confusion, stress or tension. In each session, there are nuggets of wisdom that arise, out of a blend of each woman’s intuition and experience. Many times, what one woman shares about her own experience becomes helpful to someone else; this is part of what I love about the classes.
Some of what’s been shared isn’t complex, but it’s heartfelt and authentic. Maybe you can relate to some of these thoughts; maybe you’ll find something new in some of what’s below:
Meditation is a great time to send positive vibes to someone in your life that needs it. Even if you’re not sure if it works, it sure feels good to try.
If you’re trying to create a new habit, one of the best places to start is by visualizing what you’d look like living that habit. Want to find 15 minutes a day to take care of yourself, instead of everyone else? Close your eyes and visualize what you’d be doing. Where would you be? What activity resonates with you?
Taking time to say “thank you” makes you feel just as good as the person you’re thanking. One woman said that at a recent conference, she thanked each of the hotel employees she encountered and it made her feel great and brought a big smile to their faces!
If you value health in your life, you have to set limits with those around you so that you can keep your health a priority. Many women say when they arrive and close the door behind them, “You’re never going to believe what I had to leave in order to get here!” One woman left kids with dad, one woman had to remind her boss she had to leave at a reasonable hour that day. Many of the women share that it’s not easy but it’s necessary for them to set these limits because if they don’t, no one else will!
Stillness can inspire deep revelations that you’ll never access any other time. One week, after meditation, one of the women shared that she felt a sense of calm and peace and for the first time, felt like a huge load had been lifted from her because she was beginning to take charge of her health. This feeling was giving her the support to continue to devote time to wellness activities and in fact, was making it easier to do so.
Having a mantra can be a helpful tool to use to manage stress. We’ve talked in past sessions about sayings or phrases we use to help us stay in our bodies when situations are pushing our buttons. Women shared scenarios with their kids, their in-laws, significant others. Having a “go-to” saying can keep you connected to your body and out of the fray of the situation. What’s your key phrase?
The flip side of anger can be compassion. One woman shared a challenge she was having training someone at her office and her initial reactions of anger and frustration having to repeat the same process several times. She then went on to share that she had a realization of feeling compassion for the woman, as she began to realize there might be a learning block getting in the way. Much of anger can be like that; if we open our hearts, we can use it as an opportunity to show compassion towards the other person.
Wisdom isn’t book-learned; it’s the assimilation of the academic with the experiential; it’s infused with your heart and soul. It’s the lessons you take from your life, the inspirations you derive from your experiences and those around you. It’s what you’d share with your children, thoughts you’d tell friends going through a challenging time in their lives. Although the focus of this article is on women, they by no means have the market cornered on wisdom. It’s all around you, if you just open your ears and ask for support.