On January 27th, 2018 from 2-4 PM I’ll be offering a workshop entitled Yoga for Anatomical Empowerment at Wild Ginger Apothecary's Studio. When I first chose the title for this workshop, I liked it because it had some oomph, it’s a series of strong words that (hopefully) invoke curiosity -- it has for me, at least!
In considering more deeply what I meant by this phrase, I’ve delved into a deeper analysis of what EMPOWERMENT really means. This is one of those buzzwords, especially in feminist and other alternative circles, that gets thrown around without a lot of definition.
So the analysis begins with what is POWER? According to Starhawk, a leader in contemporary discussions about power, there are three types of power : power-over -- linked to domination and control, power-from-within -- empowerment, and power-with -- the influence we wield among equals (from The Empowerment Manual). Power has been coveted, shared, stolen, abused and upheld in countless ways throughout history, taking each of these different forms across contexts, and having become a bit of dirty word. But power is just a kind of energy, able to be wielded for good, evil and everything in between.
The power I’m interested in talking about here is power-from-within, which yields a sense of being EMPOWERED. To me, this means having the confidence and agency to act based on your own needs, desires, ambitions and preferences. Power is taken away from us when we are unable to act in our own best interest - empowerment is having the courage to act.
Power comes from many different sources, but the sources I hope to share in this workshop are information and awareness. I believe that much of the power of yoga comes from this source - the more deeply present and aware we are, the more consciously we can move through our lives, the more we can connect to a sense of confidence and agency.
There are many layers of awareness, perhaps best seen through the koshas, or the framework for layers of self laid out by ancient yogis. We can be aware of our physical body, breath body, mental/emotional body, wisdom body and bliss body -- the more tuned in we are to each of these layers, the more presence we cultivate.
In this workshop, we will focus primarily on the physical body, anna maya kosha, a layer of self many of us in our culture have lost connection to. As our jobs keep us sitting down for hours at a time, the pressures of our work keep us in our head, we often overlook the POWER that can come from awareness and information offered by our bodies.
Not only will we examine our physical movement patterns, and what a personalized yoga practice might look like for each student, we will delve in to how to feels to listen so deeply to our bodies, we gain a deep sense of empowerment. Our bodies are a treasure trove of information and guidance, available at any and every moment. Come connect to your anatomy through this practice, and cultivate your internal sources of power.
Leah Van Winkle is a Sarasota native, back for the winter from her home in Kentucky to share all that she has learned with the local yoga community! She has trained extensively in various styles of yoga at Kripalu Center in MA, The Om Place in Winchester, KY, and with teachers such as Doug Keller and Tom Myers, most of this training with a heavy focus on anatomy and the subtle details of alignment. Leah is also a professional Thai Bodyworker, trained with renowned teachers like Michael Sitzer, Noam Tyroler, and soon to train in the Soma Veda Lineage. Besides yoga, Leah loves outdoor adventure, delicious, nourishing food (especially ferments!), and learning as much as she can about whatever she can. Feel free to reach out with questions and clarifications about any of these offerings!