“You are so much stronger than you can even imagine.” If I take away anything from my afternoon at Johanna Hector’s lecture and workshop (and I can assure you I’ll be taking away so much more than that), I hope this is the phrase that sticks.

I’m the very first person to stand up and call myself a feminist. I love being independent and self-reliant, and I use every opportunity I can find to try to empower myself and other women. So it should come as no surprise that I took part in Johanna Hector‘s lecture Accessing the Feminine Power and workshop Global Yoga: Pussy Power Flow. In fact, I had been looking forward to these two events at the Berlin Yoga Conference since I saw them on the schedule.

I’m so glad I attended, because they both turned out to be the highlight of my weekend.

Feeling the Shakti energy

Johanna helped bring attention to how much we as women like to be in control, and perhaps more importantly, helped us to let go of some of that control. Her lecture was enlightening as to how we can use the feminine Shakti energy to complement the masculine Shiva energy we have both in yoga and in our daily lives. What it all boils down to is balance. As with all things, balance is key. Being in control of your life is good, but don’t let your life become so controlled that you’re afraid to feel your emotions.

It can be difficult as a woman to feel that you’re being taken seriously, and to give up the control of “I can do everything myself!” Life is messy, love is messy, feeling things is messy… but that’s part of the beauty of being human, and it’s important to embrace this sometimes-messy-always-awesome feminine energy that runs through all of us.

Using the Shakti energy

Yoga classes are a place where I’ve always loved to be in control. I’ve always felt that discipline and control were important parts of the yoga practice, and that my yoga mat helped act as a boundary to protect me from the chaos of the outside world. What Johanna helped me to realize, though, is that a yoga class is the perfect place to fully experience the feminine energy.

To say this class was life changing would not be an understatement, I don’t think, though it’s not something that works overnight. This is a class that I’ll be thinking about for a long time to come. I’m still processing what we learned in the workshop and could probably speak about it more eloquently in a week or so, but in 90 minutes we all went through the full gamut of emotions: from joyous to introspective, from cautious to rambunctious.

Yoga can be a place where we can dance, sing, laugh, play, build strength, experience pleasure, work, and end it all with a spontaneous and heartfelt group hug. We can grow and learn to be better humans and wiser versions of ourselves. All it takes is letting go of what everyone around you thinks and repeating the phrase “you are so much stronger than you can even imagine.”