Spiritual Eco-Feminism: A Radical Approach to Post-Lineage Yoga for Women During These Times

Uma Dinsmore-Tuli PhD changing the western face of yoga: calling back its feminine roots combined with a #metoo inspired perspective

“In these uncertain times, if we can shift beyond the restrictions and constraints of hierarchical yoga lineages based on outmoded power structures, then we can move into freedom and healing for ourselves and our planet.” This is the timely message of Yoni Shakti: A Woman’s Guide to Power and Freedom Through Yoga and Tantra by Uma Dinsmore-Tuli.

As we explore together what the landscape of post-lineage yoga might be, now is the perfect moment to welcome Uma’s work as a support for the collective empowerment of our intuitive, embodied wisdoms. Her mission in yoga is to re-introduce a feminine approach to what she considers the patriarchal, military styles of yoga that we practice today.

Uma’s approach to yoga therapy is one of inclusion: welcoming and honoring all phases and cycles of a woman’s life. Womb Yoga, the form of yoga she created, fills the gap that is missing in so many yoga studios around the world.

“The main thing to know about women’s bodies is that we are always changing. We are in a cyclical relationship with our bodies, our minds, and our emotions. Most standard yoga classes do not honor that, in fact, they don’t even acknowledge it. What I’m endeavoring to encourage amongst all yoga teachers is kindness, compassion, and adaptability. That actually everyone in class is doing something appropriate to their cycle. It’s easy once you just recognize that you need seasonal variations in your yoga classes to suit whether a woman is bleeding, ovulating, menopausal, pre-menstrual or post-natal. It’s about opening our eyes to the truth of the feminine experience.” – Uma Dinsmore-Tuli, PhD

As the yoga community embraces the #metoo movement and begins to unravel decades of abuses of power in guru culture, Uma’s message of radical inclusion and intuitive connection to the deep feminine invites women to come back home to their bodies and feel that their practice can be one that nourishes all aspects of their lives.

“A lot of women come to my trainings because they feel lonely in their yoga classes. When they get an awakened understanding of their embodied experiences as women, they tell me, ‘I can’t go to normal yoga classes anymore.’ I think, the sooner the better for yoga people to start outing what’s going on, because it’s hidden. The whole hierarchy of contemporary yoga is misogynist. It’s absolutely misogynist. And it’s worse than that. People expect to be adjusted and corrected and that can be the basis of bullying and abuse in the class and outside of the class. It’s about time people start speaking up about it.” – Uma Dinsmore-Tuli, PhD

This past June Uma was warmly welcomed at the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT) annual conference Symposium on Yoga Therapy and Research (SYTAR). She gave the closing keynote address about post-lineage yoga and sacred activism. Uma will be in the US this fall for her third North American tour in the last twelve months. She’s making stops in Washington, California, Massachusetts and Ohio.

Uma Dinsmore-Tuli PhD met yoga in 1969 at the age of four, and fell in love. She’s been practicing ever since, and teaching yoga since 1994. A yoga therapist with special expertise in yoga therapy for women’s health, Uma is a mother of two sons and one daughter, all born at home in her yoga space, and she has written four books on yoga for women, including a guide to pranayama for pregnancy, birth and mothering, Mother’s Breath, and the massive women’s yoga bible Yoni Shakti: A Woman’s Guide to Power and Freedom through Yoga and Tantra. www.yonishakti.co, www.wombyoga.org, www.yoganidranetwork.org

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