This dancer and instructor brings acceptance into the studio.
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I’m sure, by now, many of us have heard that rather infamous quote that’s been circulating around. Although the author of the quote is not mentioned, it has still wildly resonated within our hearts and sparked inspiration in many of us. It says, “Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.” Why do those four short sentences carry such significance to us? I believe it’s because when it comes to knowing strong women, we don’t have to look far to find them.
Whether it’s the women who’ve raised us, the women before us, or the women around us—we can all find a woman that we admire who has also directly influenced the trajectories of our lives. So, in honor of Women’s History Month, we’re celebrating strong women—throughout history and in the modern-day – who inspire and teach us.
We asked our employees to tell us about these women. Here’s what they said:
I take in a book a week, but a book that I have appreciated most recently is “Lead from the Outside” by Stacey Abrams. She has appeared for me as a new model leader that is part public servant, part executive, part philanthropist, part community organizer and part matriarch.
Most of us try hard to place people in buckets. And what is surprising and refreshing about this book, and her work in general, is that it’s impossible to put it in any existing bucket. By using all her leadership identities, she has been successful in driving toward outcomes that many thought to be impossible. This is inspiring for me because I am certain that my leadership path is divergent and that I often call on a broad range of energies to achieve results. I used to think I was an outlier, and maybe I am. But Stacey affirms that if I am an outlier, I’m not the only one.
I’m inspired by Naomi Osaka because of her amazing character and the way she uses her platform to stand up and speak out about what she believes in. She has taught me what it looks like to have physical, mental, and emotional strength both on and off the tennis court. - Diane Dah-Young Hahn
My biggest inspiration has always been Surya Bonaly. I was always fascinated by ice skating when I was a child, but seeing a beautiful, graceful, dark-skinned woman pioneering in the space always thrilled me. Her ability to perform elements that no one else could and make them look effortless, whether judges awarded her points for them or not, drove me to do my best, whether I was recognized for my effort or not. Just like Surya, my success is mine and no one can take it from me or dull the shine.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg. What Ruth has done to foster and ensure representation, resonated with me at an incredibly early age. I learnt from her that each of us have a role to play in the improvement of our communities and society at large. Her public service is akin to so many, however, her gender allowed her to open dialogue and change laws that will continue to cause positive ripples for decades ahead the world over. I would like to see a world where our children go about their day with equity for all, and without limiting beliefs, to finally be at one with our fellow humans regardless of gender and creed.
There are many women to admire throughout history, and who are making history today. The most directly influential to me was my grandmother. A member of the first nursing class graduating Boston College, an Army Lieutenant during World War 2, and mother of seven; I admire her confidence and tenacious spirit. From the importance of being close to family, to the difference between passing judgement and setting personal boundaries, or how to make chocolate cookies – she taught me almost everything I know about the person I hope to be.
My mom inspires me daily. She is very caring and so selfless. She raised 5 children on her own while my dad commuted to work in the Silicon Valley. She always chooses her children. She's taught me patience, to always try your hardest, and to pick yourself up and try again if things do not work out.
When I think of all the amazing women throughout history (and there so many!), one who comes to mind is Maya Angelou. Her civil rights activism, along with her overall tenacity for optimism and hope throughout her life continues to inspire me each day. My favorite quote “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” is framed on my office wall as a reminder to see past the surface of what we see, hear and do and look deeper to understand, listen and connect with others both personally and professionally.
It’s hard to choose just one. Jane Fonda and her environmental activism is inspiring. Not many celebrities are willing to go to jail for their activism. Laverne Cox has been so strong and vocal in her representation of Black trans women.
Ruth Bader Ginsberg is also a favorite. I never got to meet her but her strength, and determination to make our nation a more equal one has always been an inspiration.
I had an opportunity to see Maya Angelou speak during my first year of college, and she really changed my life. She made me see that there was a lot of injustice in the world that I wasn’t paying attention to, and she was the reason that I decided I wanted to be part of the solution instead of part of the problem.
Debora Burgard, PhD, FAED (otherwise known as Dr. Deb) inspires me endlessly with her decades of body activism and work as a psychologist + eating disorder specialist. I admire her tenacity and perseverance in fighting for representation of marginalized communities within the movement. Her lessons are infinite!
A woman who inspires me is Ava Duvernay. She is a powerhouse in the movie industry as the first black female director to be nominated for a Golden Globe and the first African American woman to win the best director prize at the Sundance Film festival in 2012. As a community leader she uses her talents to tell the stories of the black experience and uplift the voices of black filmmakers. She is also completely unapologetic in her fight for inclusion and diversity for women in the director's seat by allowing up-and-coming female directors to direct episodes of one of my favorite TV shows Queen Sugar. Ava is a living example of how creating an environment for women to work together and be seen with the same equity, can spark a positive change.
I was trying to be thoughtful of who I admired (and not too cliche) and it came to me. Of course, it's my younger sister! Her name is Maki and although she isn't as well-known as Michelle Obama or Princess Diana, she's affected my life in ways I can't even name. She's the most thoughtful, resilient, purposeful, and intentional person I know. And whenever I've wavered on anything, all I need is her advice to know I'm headed in the right direction. She's 7 years younger than me but she teaches me so much about the kind of person I hope to be.
I’m inspired by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. I was first so impressed with her when she brought her newborn with her to The UN General Assembly. I used to go with my principal there every year in my past life, and I was so moved by the example she showed for working women, and hoped she opened a lot of men’s eyes. Prime Minister Ardern is proof that in countries where there is a woman leader, the response to Covid has been more effective. She is a genuine leader that stresses solidarity and is a shining example for all leaders everywhere.
If you’ve ever taken a hot yoga class, you know it’s always going to be one thing—outrageously hot. Not the “let’s hang by the pool and get that sun-kissed glow” kind of hot either. I’m talking that “I can't believe I have this much sweat in my body” and “I may or may not pass out” kind of hot. It’s nothing to mess around with, and after a year or so of not being able to go, it’s easy to forget just how serious that heat can be.
To get the maximum enjoyment and benefits out of your heated yoga classes, you need to prepare yourself before and take care of yourself afterward. Luckily, I’ve been taking some classes (sweating enough for the both of us) and I’ve listed my five favorite must-dos to help you readjust to your heated classes and get back to the hot yoga summer that we all want.
Heated classes are difficult in nature. The normal difficulty of regular poses is mixed in with the added challenges of sweating and dealing with the humidity and the heat (at times, I’ve seen the thermostat climb to 108 degrees—yikes!). Depending on what type of yoga class you’re taking (sculpt, Bikram, power vinyasa), the difficulty level and temperature are going to vary. It’s also important to remember that each person in the room is going to practice in a way that’s unique to them. Hours slept, hydration levels, food intake, and different lifestyles are all contributing factors that make our practices different. What you practice on your mat is your own––trust your body and only do what feels right to you. And remember, it’s okay to take breaks!
The rise in temperature mixed in with the humidity that we all know and love creates the perfect recipe for sweating—like A LOT. You go into a heated class dry and come out feeling like you just took a dip in the pool. Before heated classes, I had no idea it was physically possible to sweat that much. If you’re going to a heated class, especially after a long break, it’s easy to forget just how much you might sweat. Is it possible to lose that much water if you haven’t consumed it first? Trust me, going into your heated class super hydrated is going to make a world of difference and help you feel good throughout your practice. And don’t forget to take some sips of H2O while you’re practicing!
Heated classes are challenging, but I can’t stop going. Nothing quite compares to overcoming the challenge— and experiencing the cleanse my body feels after I’m done. It’s the perfect blend of hard and rewarding, but I couldn’t do it if my body wasn’t properly nourished. On the days I know I have a heated class booked; I like to make sure I am eating right. I make sure to take my vitamins and fuel my body with fruits, vegetables, and my favorite superfood shake. I hold off on food about an hour before my practice, so I feel comfortable. After the class, I like to replenish with a big protein shake (boosted with collagen to aid with muscle recovery and skin elasticity). There is no one-way path for properly nourishing your body but making sure you’re fueled for the challenge of a heated class is essential for getting the most out of your practice and feeling good on and off your mat.
Increasing and maintaining your water intake on the days you take a heated class is important, but sometimes you need something a little extra. If you’re sweating that much, you’re basically an athlete (at least in my book) and if you’re performing like a rockstar yogi, you need to hydrate like one as well. That means replenishing those lost electrolytes. Reward yourself and your body for the hard work and treat yourself to your favorite drink. I switch off between electrolyte-boosting drinks and coconut water depending on what I’m in the mood for that day. Adding these to my post-practice self-care routine has helped me feel more hydrated after and ready to take on the world again after especially sweaty classes.
Usually, a yoga mat is all you need for your practice––but heated classes are a different ballgame. I’ve gone with just a mat, and I’ve slipped all over the place. Let me tell you, there’s nothing worse than having sweat drip all over the place while you’re trying to hold a pose that makes you grip your mat for dear life (never again). Make sure you bring a towel to place over your mat, this will help with support and grip. Bringing a smaller towel is also a good idea. You can use the smaller towel to dry yourself off during water breaks or whenever you’re feeling just a bit too sweaty. This is a small step that makes a world of difference during those super-hot classes.
So, there you have it. Five of my favorite tips (more like lifesavers) that have helped me readjust to those heated classes I love so much. Getting back into it is a challenge for us all, so know you’re not alone. No matter where you’re at in your practice, remember to be kind and gentle to yourself––celebrating your health and your body’s ability to do what you love. We’re all just getting back out there, together.
Ready to jump back into your hot yoga routine? Browse Mindbody to find the perfect class for you.
While you’re at it, check out some Intro Offers near you that can help you get back to your cadence of hot yoga classes.