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Entries in Yogawoman (1)

Tuesday
Aug232011

Women in Zen with Yoga

By Patricia Glynn

Perhaps you think your membership wants yoga.

This might seem to be true, especially given there are upwards of twenty million participants in just the United States alone. But the reality is that it goes far deeper.

As illustrated by a new film, Yogawoman, clients don’t simply want yoga. They need it.

Mentioned in the August issue of CBI magazine, and scheduled to premier in various major cities next month, this wellness-centric documentary, narrated by actress and yoga devotee Annette Bening, is a two-hour long exploration of how women (who comprise 85% of yoga practitioners), in particular, have transformed, and been transformed by, this ancient tradition.

The film cites modern day stressors and a global body-image crisis as the impetus for women embracing the practice. Women, the filmmakers and its featured experts agree, are finding themselves overwhelmed by career and family concerns. Further, the film mentions alarming statistics - 90% of the female population, for instance, is dissatisfied with their appearance. One solution to these woes, as the film goes on to show us, is yoga.

And so we traverse from the hip studios of New York to the slums of Kenya, from hospitals to prisons, all the while watching a multitude of women nurture, and be nurtured by yoga.

According to one of the filmmakers, Kate Clere McIntyre, the relevancy of this project for our own industry becomes quickly apparent: “With yoga, you’ll find you’re able to keep clients loyal for many years. It’s a viable way of bringing them through many emotional pressures and the multitasking nature that is modern-day life.”

McIntyre notes that "in making Yogawoman, we spoke to scientists, doctors, teachers, yoga experts, and women off the street, all of whom shared the health and life benefits of yoga. Doctors, as one example, are advising yoga as a treatment for their patients, thus embedding it into mainstream medicine. Additionally, from the major football leagues to ballet companies, from runners to rock stars, people of all ages now practice yoga to enhance their fitness.

“Fitness industry pros need to understand its many benefits so they can be at the top of their game. Yoga is a multi-billion dollar industry and it promises to only keep growing.”

Kate Holcombe, a yoga teacher, as well as the founder and president of Healing Yoga Foundation (HYF) in San Francisco, California, was interviewed for the film and she offers what is perhaps an apt, succinct conclusion: “This yoga stuff actually works,” she laughingly proclaims. “Who knew!?”

In the end, Yogawoman urges us to unroll our mats so as to change our lives. It reminds us to “never underestimate the power of inner peace.” And it proves that down dog can, if you let it, turn your entire world upside down.