Harnessing the power of yoga for women

The feminine life force energy is considered the creative force in yoga philosophy, the energy that brings all things into physical form.


This energy is radiant and powerful, it is active and creative as well as receptive and nurturing. 


I learnt my own way of what felt right in the yoga space and what didn't when I began to practice over two decades ago.


Although most participants were women many of the classes were very ‘yang’ based - Strong physical classes that felt quite competitive at times. It often seemed that we needed to be more, do more, be more flexible, and stay longer and longer in strengthening poses. 

Many times it just didn't feel right to practice in the way I was being told to, so instead I decided to listen to what felt right to me. 


Through experimentation and observation, I came up with the way to practice that resonated with me, and my mostly female students.


Many years of research, seeking out practices for and by women, and finding the right teachers for me, as well as listening to my body and intuition, flowing with my natural cycles, and learning about the role of Shakti - the feminine energy, helped me to create a practice that is sustainable and lifelong. 


In yoga philosophy the feminine and masculine energy is present in us all, and it's really not as much about gender, but about finding your energetic balance. When both are balanced that is when creation happens. 


This philosophy is also present in te ao māori, the māori world view, and many indigenous cultures view masculine and feminine energy in both genders. Feminine energy is also seen as dynamic, strong and creative as well as nurturing and loving as seen in our many pūrakau- stories. Wāhine can be destructive as well as creative. Peacemakers, as well as warriors. 


This philosophy resonated with me - looking into your own culture - be it beliefs, practices or legends, and finding commonalities is both exciting, empowering and healing. 


We intuitively know that we are both fierce and soft, directional and nurturing. Yogic practices, and my culture, as well as many indigenous cultures affirm this. Bringing a baby into the world affirms our strength, and the mothers instinct to protect also brings out our inner fierceness.


So our practice can be a balance of strong, physical, intuitive, reflective, self nurturing, loving, directional, structured or organic.

A balance of practices for our taha tinana / physical, taha hinengaro/ mental, and taha wairua , spiritual side.

There is also a time and a cycle that we flow with, for all of these aspects to be either heightened, or more subtle. Following the Maramataka (moon calender) or your own marama time can be helpful to help us find balance.




  • Yoga allows you to tune in to your bodies messages - this can help us through childbirth, hormonal changes, different stages of life, and being aware of how stress affects you.


  • Your practice can be a beautiful ritual of coming home to yourself. Our wairuatanga / spirituality is honoured .


  • We learn to love ourselves exactly as we are, and to recognise our true essence.


  • Honour your cycles - Yoga teaches to accept the ebb and flow of our mind and body, not to stay stuck in one phase, but to acknowledge it before moving on. It is often in the acceptance that we become unstuck.


  • Regulate the nervous system - slow mindful yoga has the benefit of balancing the nervous system and can bring us back to homeostasis/ balance. 


  • Slow, mindful poses, breathing and meditation or guided relaxation help to activate our para-sympathetic nervous system, helping to mitigate the effects of chronic stress.


  • Yoga promotes a clear mind, vitality and a stronger body


  • Mauri - life force energy increases and inner resilience is promoted


How we approach yoga practice may be different for women, it can be intuitive and compassionate, an opportunity for self love, appreciation and recognition of the divine feminine within. This is not to say men can't or don't practice like this too, many are beginning too, and many that came to my classes said they enjoyed the fact that they could just do yoga without it being performative or competitive. We all need to honour ourselves and have compassion for ourselves!


And Pūāio/yoga is so much more than only asana/ poses, it also involves breathing practices, meditation, mantra, lifestyle practices, philosophy and more.


If you have only an asana/ physical practice, bringing in some of the other aspects of yoga can encourage a deeper connection, and help you to harness the true power of yoga.



Tips for practicing for wāhine/ women

  • Notice how amazing your body is, a body that may create life, and has the power to bring life into the world, if you choose to do so or not. You are a creative force of nature. Connected to  Papatūānuku / Mother Earth.


  • Give up comparing - with others, or with past versions of yourself. You are who you because of everything you have been through and your experiences shape you. Physically, mentally, emotionally.   


  • Take your time, make it a ritual to care for yourself and reconnect.


  • While wāhine often put their family needs ahead of their own, and sometimes your practice gets put aside, remind yourself that yoga means 'union', and you are practicing yoga when you are giving with awareness too.


  • Feel into your body in your physical practice, your responses and the life force present in every cell of your body. 


  • Remember that there is representation in yoga of all aspects of the feminine.


How do you practice as a woman?


You can respond to this question here - [email protected]


If you would like to join me on the mat, here are some of the options to practice with me....

Pūmanwa - Weekly Live sessions plus recordings available for 4 months

Yoga for Calm - a pre-recorded mini course to take in your own time, short practice videos that can be practiced individually, or joined together for a 1.5 hour practice

Fantail - single class pass- join in any Pūmanawa class, recordings not available for this option

Tui - four class pass for Live Zoom sessions


Aroha nui

Linsey x






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