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Reclaiming Bodily Autonomy

Now, I don't want to exaggerate the power and potential of yoga. And I also don't want to appropriate the horrific situation that people with a long-term agenda for power have created for women's health in our country. However, the reason that Unfold remains in the yoga "business" is because we believe that by creating structure for people to have an opportunity for connection with their bodies, especially if there has been some dis-connection (like that which comes from trauma or stigmatization from society), is important.

It is important because each individual person is important, and each person has the right to access the personal agency and empowerment that comes from choosing what we do with our bodies. This enables us to not only live our lives day-to-day, but it enables us to process emotions effectively, move through healing, and create whatever comes next.

This matters societally because whatever comes next must be determined by groups of committed individuals. The most empowered citizenry is made up of individuals who know how to move when it's time to move, and rest when it's time to rest. It's made up of individuals who understand harnessing energy in themselves and one another.

Trauma, both individual and collective, can temporarily take away our ability to feel embodied. It often takes slow, mindful work to come back to our embodiment. And we believe that this is a human right. Self-determination starts on the most local level, which is within our own bodies.

There may be many ways to do this, but the way that we are most familiar with this is to show up for ourselves in a dedicated practice of learning to read what our bodies, our minds, our spirits want. We believe that by choosing how to move, or not to move, within these practices sends an important message to ourselves, saying - I know what's best, and I am in charge.

Our topic of the month for July is tapas, or heat, which can translate into many things, including - let's burn this mother down. But it can also translate into discipline, which can include the discipline to get out of bed and try once again. And it can also include the discipline it takes to practice resting.

As we are seeing this week, governments can take away rights. And they may take away more. But we can reclaim our bodily autonomy by refusing to be destroyed by it. We can use our bodies to harness our energy, our attention, our focus and our power. We can use our bodies to mobilize and hold each other up. Using our bodies is critical for what comes next. And they will not take that away from us.

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