wild women


Girls at any age
seeking to live life with volume & verve,
to be outrageous & offkey,
mismatched & mischievous,
breathless & bold,
cosmic & clever,
brazen & boundless,
with a passion for the possible.
Wild Women make it happen,
gathering to celebrate
the secrets of a sisterspirit.
Are you a Wild One?

Pam Reinke, 2004

I’ve always been a Wild Woman, “contrary to ordinary, even as a child” as Jerry Jeff Walker sings in his song of the same name. As my astrolger told me, I came out of the womb wanting to get out of the box. I’ve had many nicknames over the years (including “Kozmic” when I was a young hippie chick), and “Loba” is one of them. A friend gave it to me because he said “wild women and wolves have always been misunderstood.” Ain’t it the truth? “Loba” is the Spanish feminine for wolf. Maybe that is why I am drawn to the Hindu goddess Kali because she is misunderstood by people who don’t know her full story, they only see the demonic side of her.

When I found the Wild Women Creed in a hip little boutique, I knew I had to have it, and it’s displayed where you can see it immediately when you walk into my house. So when I read the Daily Om today and clicked on the Daily Om Library, I knew that I have to get this book…check out the excerpts…

The Daily Om

Wise Talk, Wild Women
From “Wise Talk, Wild Women” by Gwen Mazer, with portaits by Christine Alicino.
Posted by: DailyOM
“…In the community where I grew up, I experienced older people who were not encumbered by age. One such person I was especially fond of was a…woman (who) must have been “old” when I was a little girl, but she practiced yoga, meditated, traveled, and told tales of fascinating places…

So much emphasis, especially in advertising, seemed focused on the value of youth and the need to appear young by any means possible. Young women worried about being old at thirty, just when they were gaining the tools to create meaningful lives. I looked into the cultural mirrors held up to women my age in television, advertising, and cartoons, and I saw elders, crones, fearful seniors, women fading invisibly on the edges of life. I did not see myself in those mirrors. On the contrary, I felt excited, vibrant, sexual, and curious, with rising energy for the quests of this new phase of my life….

(In this book)…Each was her own individual. Each danced to her own drum. Even if she had tried to force herself into a cultural mold, her individuality and need to create kept popping out. Each one needed to create a life and an identity, an expression in the world, and each one seemed to find her own purpose, her own center. They could not be damped down. They were wild women in the truest sense.

One of the most crucial things the women shared was the ability to operate from intuition, and many believed this to be more and more important as they grew older. Many felt their spirituality and their intuition to be entwined. There is a difference between the inner voice, which I like to describe as a quiet whisper, and the loud voice of the mind or ego that is chattering away with opinions and ideas, what we did and what we didn’t do, what we said and what we didn’t say. When we begin to discern between the two, our minds can clear. The sediment settles to the bottom, and we start to see the wisdom we’ve gleaned from our life experience. Inner listening-and trusting and following what we hear-is the most important skill we can cultivate. The wise woman within will never lead us astray…” (Emphasis added.)

I’ve been getting lots of messages from the Universe lately. Due to the nature of these messages I feel like the Universe is kicking me squarely in my yoga butt (the one I’m supposed to get in ONLY 20 MINUTES A DAY!) to indeed listen to my intuition and to act on certain things, like my own line of yoga clothes. I am also hearing whispers about starting my own yoga teacher training program, but that won’t be a few years yet, all things manifest when they are ready. My intuition is telling me to take it to a new direction, that is must somehow be connected to social action. Time will tell.

I attended a workshop by Max Strom yesterday. He was awesome and I highly recommend taking a workshop if he is in your area. The title of the workshop was “Yoga: An Act of Remembrance” and he started out talking about memory. He asked us to remember when we heard a song that we deeply connected with, or a place that when we arrived it seemed so familiar to us even though we had never been there before (like India instantly was for me), or a book that when we read it we said to ourselves “these are my words, I could have written this.” He said that these experiences are coming from deep within our cellular memory, that we have lived these things before, that these experiences were not learned in this lifetime. He said that is the reason why some of us connect so deeply and passionately with the totality of yoga, not just the physical part of it, but the total package of asana-pranayama-spirituality.

When Max talked about memory, it hit me that whatever I am feeling now, whatever I have been intuiting at this stage in my crone life, I have been here before. For whatever reason, the seeds could not sprout earlier, or else they sprouted too early and then died, as a baby plant sometimes does for no apparent reason. The feeling in my bones is that the seeds are being watered now for manifestation in this lifetime.

I also had an aura photograph taken over the weekend, which turned out to be a little freaky, in a good way. When she first saw it, the aura photographer (who is also an energy worker) let out a little gasp and told me that I have some “biggies” guiding me right now. My aura was mainly blue and violet with a large splash of green on the right side, but it also had five white “globes” surrounding me. My guides? Angels? Who knows, but she said that they’re guiding me to follow my own path. She told me to enlarge the photo to 11X17 to it’s highest resolution because then I might be able to discern faces in these white globes.

“Inner listening – and trusting and following what we hear – is the most important skill we can cultivate. The wise woman within will never lead us astray…”

reader warning: yoga rant!

My birthday yesterday got me thinking about aging yoginis….me in particular, but in general the use of youthful yoga images in the Western media to sell a product…yes, let’s admit it, yoga in the West is mass-marketed and a brand name in some cases.

Feminists say that the older woman, that is, a woman over 40, is invisible in modern society. I’ve read more than a few articles about how older Hollywood actresses believe that there are few good roles for the aging actress in a culture obsessed with youth and Botox.

I will throw the question out there: is Western yoga culture guilty of the same offense? Think about the covers of your favorite yoga magazines and the pictures that accompany the stories inside. Think about the ads for yoga products. How many wrinkles can you count? Indeed, how many rounder bodies do you see, the more zaftig, Rubenesque forms?

Vanity Fair has a slide show on famous yogis and yoginis (thanks, Marilyn!) and while the photos are fabulous and I was glad to see master teachers like Desikachar, Jois, and Iyengar, I noticed that there weren’t many older women. Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa was featured, and I’m assuming that Trudie Styler is over 40 since Sting is in his mid-50s, but where are all the older women? Surely Vanity Fair could have found more than two…or am I just being overly-sensitive? And if I am being hyper-sensitive about it, so what?

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m getting tired of seeing the young, skinny, cellulite-free bodies in Yoga Journal and other yoga magazines. I want to see people in my age group and older featured in the articles, and not just in articles about “senior yoga” in chairs or yoga in nursing homes! And I certainly don’t want to see a 20-something yogini demonstrating the asanas in an article about yoga for menopause! I want to see older yogis and yoginis as cover models, wrinkles, saggy breasts, and softer bellies included. But I guess we’re not the right demographic age group — after all, it’s all about who buys what.

I plan on practicing and teaching yoga the rest of my life and the current collection of popular yoga magazines just don’t appeal to me anymore. I used to read Yoga Journal cover to cover and save each and every issue — now I barely skim it and it gets recycled very quickly. At least the YJ interview in the latest issue (ahem…on the last page) features Patricia Walden, an “old” yogini. My favorite yoga magazine is ascent, founded by Swami Sivananda Radha — you can count lots of wrinkles in that magazine!

You may have seen the movie Calendar Girls where “old” Helen Mirren and her “old” friends take off their clothes for a fund-raising calendar. If someone somewhere would do a calendar like that featuring us older yoga bodies, honey, sign me up! Sing the Body Electric!

I Sing the Body Electric — Walt Whitman, 1900

“…This is the female form;
A divine nimbus exhales from it from head to foot;
It attracts with fierce undeniable attraction!
I am drawn by its breath as if I were no more than a helpless vapor—all falls aside but myself and it…

Hair, bosom, hips, bend of legs, negligent falling hands, all diffused—mine too diffused;
Ebb stung by the flow, and flow stung by the ebb—love-flesh swelling and deliciously aching;
Limitless limpid jets of love hot and enormous, quivering jelly of love, white-blow and delirious juice…

Be not ashamed, women—your privilege encloses the rest, and is the exit of the rest;
You are the gates of the body, and you are the gates of the soul…”