Cultivating feminine energy through yoga and meditation

Cultivating the Feminine through Meditation

Learning to cultivate feminine energy through yoga and a meditation practice focusing on Tara, the Bodhisattva Healing Mother.


You know, I’m always amazed at how quickly summer passes while winter always takes forever – especially in Montana! But time doesn’t really discriminate … we do. And so friends love to chide, it’s just me who has yet to discover the beauty of winter.

Seasons in life are kind of that way too, don’t you think?

During the start of a particularly rough patch, my meditation teacher, John Churchill suggested I develop a sitting relationship with the white Tara, the Bodhisattva Healing Mother. He offered me a guide, some of which I’ve excerpted for you below:

She is a beautiful woman sitting in lotus posture
amidst a giant rainbow lotus,
an inner light from the moon cushion and pearl essence in her heart.

Nothing in this description resonated so I was less than inspired. You see, as a mother, my love is fierce – but as my kids will likely attest, growing up, I was more of a toughen-up-buttercup kind of mum. As a counselor and teacher, I can be unapologetically direct. And my friends will likely admit (not in my presence), my habit of speaking up in a way that doesn’t always convey either a rainbow lotus or moon cushions.

Now, I have my reasons for needing to be strong in this way – but don’t we all? Still I was game. So sit with this Tara I did.

I can feel Mother Tara’s healing feminine presence radiate pure light.
She is complete perfection and embodies a profound loving power.

That year ahead was a long one. My asana practice remained long and intense, even as I prepared for a huge move from D.C. to Montana and at the same time, going through Menopause. Oh, and my dog died. Something would have to give – and it did. I dislocated my shoulder holding on to the back of a speed boat. And no, the irony isn’t lost on me. The very next day, I met Christine Hoar. The first of many loving women who would enter my life. The winter thaw began. I found a sister. I would find more later.

Mother Tara smiles and radiates her loving kindness at you.
You feel completely secure and protected in her presence.
Nothing is hidden from her and she smiles with complete acceptance.

A few months later, we moved to Montana. My body was changing – my life was changing – and so I tried to practice accordingly. But I was still confused – not to mention, ashamed. I had pushed myself. I knew better. Plus, I seriously questioned my own relevance in the age of social media, where ability and beauty is celebrated – but normal, every day? I only knew there had to be more.

Regretting all my negative habits and patterns that limit
and block me from emulating your way of love.
I bring them to you and ask your help and guidance.

My daughter stepped in to support me about this time. Of course, she’s an old soul and a much wiser woman than I – it was as if she were just patiently waiting for me to catch up to where she already was. Together, we practice every morning. We visited Mysore – twice. Rescued a few puppies. She teaches me daily that strength comes from the heart, not an arm balance. These days, Ashtanga Dispatch is as much her as it is me.

From the depths of my heart,
I enjoy all forms of joy and share with all beings.

Though here’s something important I realize now: female energy doesn’t just come from women. In fact, we all need a balance of both male and female energy. Straight lines and curves, the sun and the moon, steady and comfortable – it’s all about the relationship. Where both partners must be valued and supported.

And so I’ve also had a fair share of curvier men on moon cushions to encourage me on as well. No, it was me. In a culture driven by the masculine, embracing my feminine felt more like a weakness. Soft felt vulnerable and so I opted for tough. Yet one without the other is not whole. And I was not yet whole.

Freely share with me all your intuition and energy
So by mastering your art, I may recreate my whole way of being,
bringing healing to myself and in my world.

I recently spent a week with Dena Kingsberg in study and practice. She was at times, both stern and direct – letting me know, more discipline required! But then she was encouraging, not to mention both loving and supportive. After all, a Mother is that container, sturdy and yet giving. She told us to hold our own selves as we’d hold a baby – with both stability and comfort. Together, we chanted MA in celebration for the mothering qualities in us all.

The summer melt is now on. For as I sit, I feel her voice in my heart:

I am Tara, she who carries beings across the ocean of suffering;
a guiding star and the exemplar of maternal compassion and healing.