Femme Friday – Rachel Lanzerotti, Femme Yogini

A while back, I wrote a post about notes I take on little pieces of paper, some of which make sense when I find them later, some of which do not. Happily for The Total Femme and for the wider femme community, the note I took about Rachel was absolutely golden! When I reached out to her, she was enthusiastic about being a Friday Femme, and generously shared the below with us.

Deep gratitude to Rachel for her dedication to healing spirit, mind and body, for honoring embodied femme presence, and for sharing these loving practices with all of us femmes.

Hi femmes and friends! I’m honored to offer you a guest post about femme identity and yoga, as a Yoga Therapist (MSW, C-IAYT) and 20-year practitioner. Interesting, it was 20 years ago that I last wrote and spoke publicly about being femme. So aging and time are part of this too.

One gift of Yoga, and especially the meditation and mindfulness practices, is waking up to presence. What some would describe as learning to be comfortable in our own skins. Or maybe I should say in and beyond the skin, holding this body and its identities lightly and yet with acknowledgement, appreciation and at times reverence. In practice, there is aliveness and embodiment with movement + breath + awareness.

With embodied femme presence in teaching and as a Yoga Therapist, I often call upon the energy of the Great Mother, or a fierce and wise Dakini (female embodiment of enlightenment), or Guanyin (bodhisattva of compassion) and other goddesses, witches and archetypes. And Femme is central without being centered.

Here are three yoga tips for inner femme beauty, nourishing practices that I want to share with you.

Take a load off, sweetheart!

            Yes, femmes can get it done. After all that doing, surrender the weight of the world for a little while in this restorative posture, and nourish your deep energy source.

Basic supplies: chair/couch or ottoman, pillow, blanket. Nice to have: eye cover, timer.

How to:

Find a place and time where you can be relatively quiet, warm, and undisturbed for 10-30 minutes. Put your legs up on the chair (backs of the knees supported at the edge), find a comfortable position for your head/neck with a pillow, and cover up with a blanket for warmth. Set a timer for 15-20 minutes. Cover your eyes, and rest.

Lanzerotti Restoraitve 2

Sense our divine bodies.

            Daily body sensing keeps us connected to our aliveness, creativity and sensuality. Even the places that feel a little sticky or dull light up in the divine nourishment of our kind attention. The practice is related to rotation of consciousness in yoga nidra, and also is widely used in practices like Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).

Basic supplies: A place to rest (lie down or sit), attention + body.

How to:

This one is harder to narrate. If you email me here, I will link you to an audio file for body awareness meditation. This practice can be done in the restorative posture from above, seated, in the bed upon waking or before sleeping. You will rest your body and move your attention to each area of the body, and simply notice sensations— for example tingling, dullness, pulsing, warmth, coolness, pleasant, unpleasant and neutral feelings. Move the attention with compassionate curiosity, noticing and not getting stuck in stories about the body (e.g., likes, dislikes, history or plans). Generally, I start at the sole of a foot and move toward the crown of my head, but you could go both ways! Stay with the feeling, and go with it if the body relaxes when you bring attention— although we’re not trying to do or undo anything in particular as we move into the felt sense

Invite a whole and multifaceted being.

Hand gestures (mudra) symbolize and activate our deepest intentions. To invite the core qualities of integration and non-duality, or nonbinary being, explore myriad postures of the hands such as the dharma chakra mudra. Statues of the prajnaparamita (perfection of wisdom and emptiness, the Great Mother) depict the goddess making this teaching gesture. This hand posture also, according to mudra teachers Joseph & Lilian LePage who inspired the variation I’m suggesting here, cultivates an overall sense of wholeness and well-being.

Basic supplies: heart + hands

How to:

Join the tips of the thumbs and index fingers of both hands to make the “OK” sign.

Turn the left palm inward toward the body

Turn the right palm outward

Touch the tips of the thumbs and fingers of both hands together, extend the other fingers.

You may experiment with hand placement, with this gesture over the solar plexus or the heart, relaxing the shoulders.

Prajnaparamita

Femmes, may we touch true joy in living and loving awareness.

IMG_4215

Rachel

FiveRiversYoga.com

Every Friday, I showcase a queer femme goddess. I want to feature you! Write to me at thetotalfemme@gmail.com and let me shine a spotlight on your beautiful, unique, femme story!

 

At the Total Femme, my intention is to post three times a week: Meditations for Queer Femmes on Monday, Pingy-Dingy Wednesday on Wednesday and Femme Friday on Friday. Rather than play catch-up in a stressful fashion on those weeks when life prevents posting, I have decided to just move gaily forward: if I miss a Monday, the next post will be on Wednesday, and so on. Thank you, little bottle of antibiotics for inspiring me in this! (“…if it’s almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Don’t take a double dose to make up for a missed one.”)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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