Celebrating Yoga Women on International Women’s Day
We’re celebrating International Women’s Day with our pick of inspiring yoga women; dedicated activists, bossing it in business, non-profit and on the yoga mat #InternationalWomensDay #PressForProgress
by SOPHIE CHITTOCK and LUCY EDGE
8th March 2018 marks International Women’s Day, a day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women. This year there’s a strong call-to-action – to #PressforProgress in gender parity – motivating and uniting friends, colleagues and whole communities to think, act and be gender inclusive.
We’re joining in with our pick of the most inspiring yoga women in the yoga community. Women whose #PressForProgress includes championing sustainability and leading yoga activist campaigns from the USA to India and beyond. Fantastic in their diversity, they are united in their intention – to transform lives – looking after our planet, our people and our animals.
The first of our International Yoga Day yoga women is a boss at multitasking – working as an author, fitness model and cover girl. Beginning her career as a varsity synchronised swimmer, she soon switched water for the dance floor enrolling at Peridance International School of Dance, until finally finding her calling with yoga.
“She feels that without weakness there can be no strength and without acceptance there can be no healing. Her classes are challenging yet accessible, and provide her students with the knowledge and courage necessary to carry their practice out of the yoga studio and into their daily lives.” (eleonorazampatti.com)
As a survivor of domestic violence, Eleonora took her experience and created a project to help other women in need: Ode to the Moon Project. Born in 2014, Ode to the Moon is a non profit organisation devoted to being a space for women to talk about domestic abuse and break the silence through movement, yoga, visual artists and musicians. Empowering women all over the world, the project previously raised funds across New Jersey, New York and Europe. We envy Eleonora for her strength and confidence and support and salute her work going forward in helping many more women in the future.
For more information on the project head to: Ode to The Moon
An internationally celebrated yoga teacher, Seane is an impressive yogi activist who has earned her place on our International Women’s Day list. Known for her impassioned communication, unique self-expression, and inspirational style of teaching, Seane is a powerful voice, even appearing on Oprah.com. In 2007, she began training leaders of activism through her co-founded organization Off the Mat, Into the World and now utilises her national platform to bring awareness to global humanitarian issues.
“A long time activist for social and political change, in 1998, Seane created the yoga program at “Children of the Night,” a shelter that houses and educates adolescent prostitutes in the Los Angeles area. As a result of her work with sexually exploited children, by 2004, Seane went on to became a dedicated champion for YouthAIDS, whose mission is to raise funds, provide services, and spread national awareness about the global emergency of HIV/AIDS affecting our children worldwide. Within a year, in service to YouthAIDS, Seane created the ‘Off the Mat, Into the World’ campaign, with the intention to use her international platform to generate outreach within the yoga and wellness communities. She was soon after named National Yoga Ambassador for YouthAIDS and has helped raised significant funds by creating benefit products with grass root businesses and hosting benefit events and concerts.” (seancorn.com)
Another international wonder woman, Kathryn Budig makes our International Women’s Day list of incredible yoga women. Known for her accessibility, humour and ability to empower her students through her message ‘aim true’. Graduating from the University of Virginia before moving to LA, she found her calling for yoga training at YogaWorks under the mentorship of Maty Ezraty and Chuck Miller.
Founder of Poses for Paws, Kathryn created the charity as a way to repay the love that animals bring into our lives. Their mission is to raise money through yoga to donate to shelters and organisations providing a loving life to those less fortunate. They’re currently donating to the Sammy’s Place – a senior dog sanctuary.
To donate to Sammy’s, click the link: Sammy’s Place
To learn more about the organisation and Kathryn, click the link: Kathryn
Inspired by Nobel Peace Prize Recipient Dr Muhammad Yunus, Kayoko founded Yoga Gives Back in 2007. Being a dedicated yoga practitioner, she realized that for the cost of a yoga class an impoverished woman in India can start a business and a child can go to school. As yoga has its roots in India and as yoga practitioners we have so much to thank Mother India for, Kayoko wanted to give back.
“As a middle aged woman, feeling my life being so enriched by the practice of yoga, I felt a strong need to use all my resources to help others. I learned a lot about Dr. Muhammad Yunus’s revolutionary micro financing while working on a documentary about Social Entrepreneurship featuring Kiva.org. I was struck by the incredible impact which micro financing could bring to alleviate generations of poverty. And 25 dollars can make a fundamental difference on somebody’s life in India. As a happy and healthy yoga practitioner, I realised that I could contribute a little to India’s poverty issues. I hope to invite everyone who benefits from yoga to join in our campaign by giving back and making difference together.” – Kayoko
Next on our International Women’s Day list comes a pair; our very own Makers – Trina and Charlene Solomon from Solosol Movement. They are a testimony to the belief that yoga gives you the courage to find your true self and reach for your dreams.
Picture by vijayphotography.nl
Amisha Ghadiali is formidable yoga woman – a yoga teacher, designer, writer and speaker on all aspects of conscious and sustainable living. Her background is in Sustainable Fashion, Politics, Social Entrepreneurship, Tech and Design. Says Amisha, “Every one of us has ideas and personal experiences to share that can lead us to a brighter future. Our global future is created by all of us, together. My podcast, The Future Is Beautiful, a space for deep long conversations about things that matter. On this show we explore the weave between politics, spirituality, creativity and sustainability. The people, projects and ideas we meet here are challenging the dominant world story and creating a beautiful future. We share a new interview every Thursday.”
This show takes us out of the mainstream narrative, into deep, long, authentic, unedited conversations. Amisha sits down with her guests face to face so that we get that level of intimacy that you can’t get on a video call. She alternates every week between and a male and a female guest, and over time she hopes to bring real diversity to the show, both in terms of people from different cultures and backgrounds as well as people that you have heard of and unsung heroes you have not.
Next on our International Women’s Day list is Urban Goddess founder Marlene Smits. Unable to find feminine, fashionable and organic yoga clothes, she decided to make them herself.
The clothes are made in fair certified factories that produce her collection using GOTS (global organic textile standard) fabric, using only organic fabrics and recycled packaging for the poly bags.
And Marlene is a big fan of recycling. “We have a collaboration with the Salvation Army that helps us to recycle old Urban Goddess clothes. The clothes that are still wearable go to people in need, the ones that are not wearable any more, go to a fabric recycling facility which help produce blankets for homeless people, for instance. We also partner with Yoga Gives Back (micro finance for women in India) on special projects.” – Marlene
Paige Elenson is the living embodiment of #PressForProgress. She lives and breathes the creed of service and self-empowerment that she teaches. A native New Yorker, Ashoka Fellow, Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Global Citizen 2017 award recipient, Paige has been teaching yoga for over a decade.
Paige’s incisive skills as a businesswoman, spiritual activist, and social entrepreneur inspired her work with the Africa Yoga Project organization. In 2007, Paige moved to Africa and co-founded the AYP organization, a movement that empowers the youth of Kenya to learn, contribute, and change their lives through the transformative power of yoga. With the support of Baron Baptiste and his community, the AYP organization facilitated the first yoga teacher training in Kenya and now employs local youth to teach full-time in their own communities. AYP programs offer free classes to over 6,000 students per week, simultaneously building schools and funding education, critical operations, and environmental endeavors.
Since 2007, Paige has partnered with leaders in politics, philanthropy, design, and entertainment to broaden the AYP organization’s empowering reach. Whether working alongside Donna Karan’s Urban Zen Foundation, UNICEF, or Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Initiative, Paige creates unique opportunities for community involvement and transformation. At home in Nairobi or reaching students around the world, Paige’s dedication to positive global change is infectious and inspiring.
Next on our International Women’s Day list is one of our very own yogi entrepreneurs – Veroniek of yoga jewellery brand Silatha. Veroniek left her corporate career behind to self-fund Silatha. She began by commissioning the transformation of the Dorje, an ancient mediation symbol, into ten handcrafted necklaces. Each necklace is set with a different gemstone that nurtures an inner quality – from Love to Compassion, from Wisdom to Transcendence.
Secondly, to make meditation easier to practice in everyday life, she developed the Silatha Meditation Course App – a 21 day series of 15 minute guided meditations with different techniques to help you connect with and nurture your chosen inner quality.
Natalia Zawada is an activist designer, whose earned her place on our International Women’s Day list through her commitment to sustainability. She wants to inspire people to live freely, bring awareness to the ethics behind clothing production and change the way conscious people feel about fashion. She sees yoga as central to that freedom and consciousness raising – that’s why she’s also training to be a Traditional Hatha Yoga Teacher, so she can co-teach community classes with our brand ambassadors.
While studying traditional printing techniques at the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts she was working in the stylist department of a leading luxury lifestyle magazine. After relocating to London in 2008 she got some work experience at Alexander McQueen which inspired her to follow the master and sign up for a fashion degree. She chose Traditional British Tailoring techniques at the London College of Fashion. That’s where she got to explore sustainable materials and learned more about ethics behind fashion.
Happy International Women’s Day! Please nominate your yoga women. Join our #PressForProgress!