Embrace Your Inner Goddess

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January 21, 2011

I recently taught a goddess-themed yoga class. I like the idea of occasionally having special themes for class, and the opportunity to explore and learn more about goddesses seemed like a great idea. Plus, the playlist would have to feature only music performed by incredible female artists, so that got me really excited to plan and put together the class.

My interest in goddesses was heightened when my yoga-teacher training instructor, Jan Hauenstein, talked about Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, prosperity (both material and spiritual), light, wisdom, fortune, fertility, generosity, and courage. Lakshmi was known as the embodiment of beauty, grace, and charm.

My natural curiosities led me to do some Internet research, and I found that in early times, goddesses held great power and influence in our society and were highly revered, but overtime the world became unbalanced (that is an interesting way to put it), and the worship of goddesses was put aside.

What? Really? That sucks!

I found a delightful Web site by Genie Webster, where she writes about goddesses and the importance in our society of bringing back attention to goddesslike women—through their work and art—to basically make the world a better place!

I couldn’t agree more and if you are interested in helping to promote the concept of bringing back the “goddesses” in our society, I encourage you to read her Web site to learn more about the qualities of a goddess. Here are just a few of the qualities a goddesslike woman possesses:

  • A goddess invents her own life and lives according to her own vision.
  • A goddess is passionate (not to be confused with manic).
  • A goddess is continually learning and evolving.
  • A goddess is authentic.
  • A goddess takes care of herself. She does not expect others to take care of her.
  • A goddess has learned balance and patience.
  • A goddess’s natural state is one of joy and gratitude.

Yes, mere mortal women can be goddesses, but no goddesslike woman is perfect, and no goddess can demonstrate all the qualities. I think the message Genie is trying to get across is for all of us to strive to demonstrate just a few of these qualities each day, and, as women, we need to support, promote, and build up the other goddesses in our lives.

As I read through the list of goddesslike qualities—taking care of yourself, being present, loving yourself just the way you are—I realized that they are, in essence, the same as the yoga principles I’ve been learning through the study of the eight  limbs of yoga and the yoga sutras. So ladies, by living in a yogic way both on and off the mat, we’re also in training to be goddesses. How cool is that?!

In my goddess yoga class, we embraced our inner goddess with nurturing yoga poses and did a cool flowing goddess pose sequence, which just happened to coincide with Aretha Franklin singing “Respect,” and got us all dancing on our yoga mats.

The playlist included a mix of rock, blues, soul, and reggae/ska. I threw in some shout-outs to my favorite ’80s rock role models, Pat Benatar and The Go-Go’s, and showed respect to legends like Aretha and Tina Turner. There were supportive goddesslike messages in the songs like “You’ve Got a Friend,” and I saluted Ohio artists by featuring a song by Akronite rock star Chrissie Hynde.

While researching the music for class I was introduced to Wah! and her trippy mellow groove in “Ganesha.” If you have never heard Wah!, you need to check out her addictive music that is perfect for yoga class.

The class ended with a relaxing savasana headlined by Pink with “Glitter in the Air.”

Goddess Class Playlist

Breathing/Grounding and Warm-Ups

“Why” · Annie Lenox

“Ganesha” · Wah!

“Hometown Glory” · Adele

Standing/Sun Salutations

“You Learn” · Alanis Morissette

“Hit Me With Your Best Shot” · Pat Benatar

“Our Lips Are Sealed” · The Go-Go’s

“Respect” · Aretha Franklin

“Underneath it All” · No Doubt

“I Don’t Wanna Fight” · Tina Turner

Cooldown

“Back on the Chain Gang” · Chrissie Hynde & The Pretenders (the acoustic version from The Isle of View album)

“Kiss of Life” · Sade

“What it Feels Like for a Girl” · Madonna

“You’ve Got a Friend” · Carole King

Savasana

Glitter in the Air” · Pink

“Bathe in These Waters” · Donna LeRoy

Total Song Time: 68 minutes

The hardest thing about the class was cutting my list of potential songs down to just an hour. With the abundance of awesome female musical talent in our world today, I’m thinking there will be many more goddess playlists in my future.

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