Shelly Prosko interviews Dr. Uma Dinsmore-Tuli, yoga therapist and author of ‘Yoni Shakti: a Woman’s Guide to Power and Freedom Through Yoga and Tantra.’
In this W.O.W. Chat, Uma talks to Shelly about what ‘real freedom’ means for females of all ages and how we can access this freedom for empowerment. The message ‘be who we really are’ and stop pretending to be someone or something we’re not (or like we have everything under control), can open up to real freedom, more energy, creativity and power. This is a ‘must watch’ for girls and women of all ages and those who love and care about women and want to better understand women! Watch the full 10 min W.O.W. Chat for free HERE. If you prefer to read, the full transcript is below:
Shelly: [00:00:56] Welcome to my W.O.W. Chats! Words Of wisdom with people I honor, love and respect and whose work is worth making this world a better place. And I have here with me, Dr. Uma Dinsmore-Tuli. You are a yoga therapist, you’re an educator, and you have several books and you talk a lot about our Yonis — Shakti Power. Your recent book is really about gaining power and freedom. We just had a lovely lovely dinner; and with Leila Stuart who is recording for us. Thank you Leila. The Three of us had some very beautiful chats especially about women’s health and empowerment. Can you just give people your thoughts and Words of Wisdom on: does more power give you more freedom? Does more freedom give you more power? What does power and freedom really mean for us women? Does that make sense?
Uma: [00:02:19] Yes that does make sense. Because the point is I think people misunderstand what freedom is — it’s just the freedom to ‘do whatever you like whenever you like.’ With no respect for consequences. But my sense of real freedom comes from a deep sense. Especially for women, being in the kind of connected relationship with reality, with the earth, with other people around us, with all the creatures, with life. And if you’re in a relationship with life that’s respectful, and honoring how she moves through us as women, then that’s a huge power. Not power that you get a hold of to make it do what you want to do and achieve your ambitions, whatever, no matter what; that’s a pretty linear idea of taking hold of the power. Whereas I think for women, a part of living in a female body is that there are cycles and changes. These things are powerful and they can make us feel like we’re not free, because that power is unpredictable sometimes or difficult to handle or inconvenient. Or not how it seems; it’s messy. And actually, when we let that power move through us and respect us, that’s real freedom. Because then we’re free to be who we really are, so we don’t have to pretend that we’ve got everything under control! And then you get a little more energy. Because another word for Shakti means energy and power. So it’s like when you let go this massive tension that every woman on the planet lives under, which is like somehow we’re not right, not good enough, and we do the wrong thing and that our bodies are a messy and bloody and they leak and they change — and just when you’ve got a handle on it, BANG along comes menopause. Or just when you think you got a handle on it like “Oh my cycles are like this” then it changes to something else.
[00:04:09] So when we acknowledge the huge force of that power and we let it move through us — like, there’s grace there. And then there’s real freedom because we don’t have to pretend to be like we’re another. We get to be who we really are. It’s almost like when you do that: “ah phew! I can relax! I’m just me! I’m just like this! This is what it’s like to be in this female body.” And there’s a million different ways to do it; I’m not saying to be like one thing or another. Just saying that when we see those cycles are always going to be there, then it’s like you let go of fighting that battle; think of all the energy we have! Instead of always trying to pretend to be someone else …… “I’m sorry today, it’s not that way.” It doesn’t mean you’re a flake or you’re unreliable. It means you’re honest.
Shelly: [00:05:01] I love how you bring power and freedom together. That’s beautiful.
Uma: [00:05:04] Because how can you be free if you’re disempowered? Yet if you think you’re free but actually, in fact that freedom is some sort of construct, it’s really not actually who you are, you’re free to be somebody else. You’re free to be like, you know, the girl next door, or the man up there, or whatever kind of corporate vision of your work partner or career or family life…that’s not freedom at all. If you think you are empowered by using your power to control everything about yourself so you never let your side down, then that isn’t freedom either.
Shelly: [00:05:56] Yeah, cause I think we do that.
Uma: [00:06:01] We do. Because it’s like “I’ve got everything under control.” That’s why maybe it’s so attractive to people to have certain kinds of contraception that eradicate the menstrual periods altogether. That’s no freedom at all because you miss the highs and you miss the lows. You miss the deep sexy kind of arousal that comes at ovulation and then you miss the deep surrender into vision that comes at the other end and you’re just like occupying something that isn’t free at all because it has no power. It’s like you’re just in a holding pattern that cuts you off. It’s fundamentally about reconnection. And, it’s not our power. You learn to get out of the way. She’s always right –that kind of power. Get out of your own way; like when I see big powers moving through women like birthing powers or menopausal transitions or adolescence or something like that. You can see that if you try and fight that stuff, you get worn out by it. She’s gonna win anyway. Like, you’re not gonna NOT bleed as a girl. Those things are going to happen to us.
Shelly: [00:07:07] And that’s such a yogic concept.
Uma: [00:07:08] Ya. And surrendering into allowing that power to move through you. It’s not all about birth. But birth is a really big thing that happens to some women and what you see there is this incredible way of understanding about what happens when you resist power. Because the baby is gonna get out at some point. So you go with that; and you allow that power to move through you. And that power empowers you because you’ve let her move through. Like creativity. It’s the same thing. You can’t get a hold of it and be creative every day of your life. It moves in cycles.
Shelly: [00:07:50] It sure does!
Uma: [00:07:55] Some days you wake up and you’re on fire, ‘like I’ve got a million ideas and I’ve got to write it down.’ You look at the moon cycles. Even if you’re not talking about menstruation, just talking about the creative process. The freedom to be truly creative is actually allowing that power to move through you without hanging on to it. You can’t turn out the same thing every day. You can have a routine of trying to write; but, you know, some of it changes and you need to do different things.
Shelly: [00:08:22] I love it!
Uma: [00:08:22] I don’t know if I have anything more to say about power and freedom.
Shelly: [00:08:22] That’s good! This is perfect.
Do you have a practice to help embrace or cultivate that empowerment or freedom?
Uma: [00:08:51] Ok. The simplest and the most profound bridge between the mind, emotions and the body, is our breath. If you’re alive, you’re breathing. So we all have breath. So that’s a really classic simple way, wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, you’re having to breath. So bring your conscious awareness to the breath. Notice what the breath is doing. Sometimes you notice, “I’m really anxious” or “I’m in a balanced place.” And I just think cultivating a balance in breath…and people do it in different ways…you can count. I’m not big into counting. So I often put a little mantra on the breath. Or just an affirmation, “Yes the breath is going out now” (about 6 seconds), “Yes the breath is coming back in now.” And I use mantras that allow me to connect with power. I breathe in: “Om Namah Shivaya” up to here; I breathe out down to the earth: “Aum Para Shakti Namaha” I honour the supreme power of life itself. And if you’re in pain or it’s not a good day, you just take 3 or 4 breaths and if you can do like a few minutes of that conscious breathing, something as simple as that makes all the difference. You’re not gonna stop breathing. And you’re not getting a hold of it and handling it. You’re just gonna let the breath come and you are just in conscious awareness with it. And everything changes.
Shelly: [00:10:38] And you can do that anywhere any time and no one has to know you’re doing it; you can even just repeat it silently to yourself.
Uma: [00:10:41] It’s a secret power!
Shelly: [00:10:41] Words Of Wisdom: Uma Dinsmore-Tuli! I love you! This is fabulous! Thank you so much.
Uma: No problem. I love you toooooo!
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For more phenomenal W.O.W. Chats with many other people Shelly admires and respects and whose work is in line with making this world a better place, please check out the full W.O.W. Chat playlist here on Shelly’s YouTube channel: HERE