Yoga for women


#1

Om Mukunda

I started practicing Yoga (Asana, Pranayama, Meditation, Chanting and all) 17 years ago. Somewhere along the Path I figured that Yoga was discovered/invented by men. Men have a different phisical, emotional and mental complexion from woman + I am a woman = How can I trust Yoga to work for me?

I just now started learning from a woman “Women’s Yoga”, which combines studies of female hormones, the menstural cicle, pregnancy and birth ect. with practices centering on the pelvis, mulabanda and how to adjust daily practice to female changes. It is an enlightning course.
Whithin the Yoga-Sutra we study sutras in the mirror of change and womanhood. The Spiritual part of Unity and Meditation seems to me to be the same, while asana and pranayama (including flexibility of practice) differ.

It interests me greatly to hear what you have to say about this subject - would be gratefull for your reply
Om Shanti
Raya


#2

This is indeed an excellent topic to address. The men in contemporary yoga have been dominating the teachings for sometime and as a result the woman’s voice is soft. Consider that Indra Devi a Latvia Russian was the first western woman given yoga teachings in 1937 by Krishnamacharya. From her it has blossomed into a fullness such that now 80% of the practitioners of yoga are women. It is wonderful for women to attend yoga seminars taught by long term yoginis so they can experience how the practice is of tremendous benefit. I was recently at Kripalu and while teaching there Angela Farmer was leading a retreat celebrating womanhood. Such teachers are gems to be with. Now we have many more women spiritual teachers to benefit us too. Consider Ammachi, the hugging Mother, and many others who come to serve their children. Also note that certain yoga texts give some specific details for women such as the Yoga Rahasya (published by KYM - Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram) and the Nawa Yogini Tantra (published by the Bihar School of YOga).

       Classic Yoga texts have been composed by women as a result of dialog with their consort.  This is the case of the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra (see Daniel Odier's Yoga Spandakarikas for a terse version) in which Parvati asks her husband/consort Shiva for how to become immersed in her True Self, in essence she asks what are the practical means of attaining Yoga?  Slightly different is the Yogayajnavalkya Samhita (KYM publishers) that is the teachings of the sage to his female disciple Gargi.  These are examples of treatises that help women evolve in their unique way.  The best teachers recognize that women need a sadhana that is personalized not only to them as women but also variations given the stage of life they are in, roles they play, and their unique ability for devotion and divine love.  

         namaste and blessings.  Mukunda

#3

Om Mukunda,
Thank you for your detailed and appreciative to women Yoginis reply.
It interests me to find out more about women Yoginis in the past - were there any who were single, not taught by her husbands? Gurus in the old days who were female?.
You wrote:
"Also note that certain yoga texts give some specific details for women such as the Yoga Rahasya (published by KYM - Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram) and the Nawa Yogini Tantra (published by the Bihar School of YOga). "
When were those written, do you know?

One other thing that I wish to KNOW is the part within me that is neither man nor woman, or both - the essence of a Human Being beyond gender.

Beyong conditioning of gender and beyond the physical difference - what is the difference between a meditation experienced by a man and by a woman? I know of a woman (Spiritual teacher) who had visions and heared Divine Guidance: after her Uterus was removed she stopped having her visions (The inner Voice stayed). I’m intrigued.
during menstruation the vail is thinner` I can not imagine what a man would experience when he goes through times of thinned vail - I’m curious.
Om Shanty
Raya


#4

All yoginis and yogis had a guru a spiritual teacher. Without one the attainment is questionable, unreliable, and not confirmed by the testing of life. As to women yoginis I am certain that any sensitive student will realize the differences between sexes is on the grosser koshas of the physical body and emotional states not the subtler ones. For true yoga does not take place on the first 2 koshas but is a transcendant experience and thus goes beyond all the signs of duality such as male/female, age/youth, etc. I do not know much about this topic, except for the memory of my past lives as women, so i am sure you can research more. All evolved souls have lived before. The memory of such lives shows us that death is an illusion otherwise how could we know the past? This is worthy of inquiry. namaste mukunda