Inclusivity and Diversity
It is important to me that Moon Forest Flow has at its heart an attitude of welcoming, inclusivity, non-judgement and non-discrimination. The cultural landscape is ever changing so any suggestions as to how I might make this work more inclusive and diverse are always welcome.
I am open to accepting the limitations of my understanding and in such situations seek to educate myself to ensure I am always learning, growing and including.
A note for anyone who has ever not felt welcome...
When I first started going to circles I worried whether it would be strange as a non-heterosexual woman to attend a women's circle, I worried if the women would be uncomfortable if they found out.
OF COURSE not thank goodness or at least not that I could sense or see.
Experiences from my youth of being cast out of changing rooms or social groups because some of the girls felt 'uncomfortable with the bisexual' ran deep.
I did sometimes, however, feel that my experience in class and in circle wasn't being represented.
I remember class intros about 'the husband' being offered as a way of connecting to the class (rather than as personal experience which is obviously ok!) but it left me feeling disconnected and whenever relating was mentioned it was in the context of a heterosexual relationship.
And even though that is my current relationship structure it still didn't feel as though it was seeing all of me.
I am not sharing this to criticise because I know I have fallen short and will continue to do so. It's very, very hard for one person to capture the lived experience of every single person in the room.
Rather I am sharing because I know when others have shared it has helped me to become more inclusive.
Each time I don't see my experience reflected I take it and learn from it, remembering how important it is to think outside of my own experience and address my language, bias and blind spots.
It took a long time for me to make peace with terms like 'The Divine Feminine' and to feel comfortable in groups of women and I see now it was because I hadn't yet allowed myself to expand outside of what society had shown me 'feminine' meant or my limited views of what was encapsulated within the label of 'woman' or 'femininity'.
I am so grateful that this is changing and more and more women are finding their way to women's work without feeling that they need to fit into a certain group of characteristics or biological functions.
I've never felt archetypically Feminine yet I predominantly work with women and this is because being a woman and exploring Femininity isn't about being archetypically Feminine, having a womb, bleeding or being assigned female at birth. The Feminine with a capital F is innately inclusive and that is what I'm here for!!
The moment my circles became more diverse in their expressions of Femininity the more at home I started to feel and what I take from this is a lesson in making sure I'm doing the same for others.
I sincerely hope I can do more and more work to ensure that trans women, non-binary folks & Black, Indigenous & People of Colour from our community feel seen and represented.
This policy is a dynamic piece of work that is far more than just words on a page.
It is my heartfelt commitment to create spaces which are as accessible and inclusive as they can possibly be! A space where I'm working towards everyone feeling welcome.
My work is inclusive of but not exclusive to those with wombs and periods. You don't have to have a womb or periods to practice with me or join a circle but if you do I'm here to accommodate that.
The Feminine with a capital F is innately inclusive.
Yoga classes, retreats and women's circles
Where a class, circle or retreat is aimed at women it is open to all who identify as women without question. I value diversity of expression, experience and perspectives.
Explorations of the Feminine are inherently inclusive and as such open to all including any person who identifies as a woman, any expression or identification of femininity as well as non-binary gender expressions.
My classes are inclusive of but not exclusive to those with wombs and periods.
You don't have to have a womb or periods to practice with me or join a circle but if you do I'm here to accommodate that.
Menstrual Mentoring Work
Not all people who menstruate are women and not all women menstruate and as such this work is not limited to those with wombs and can be approached without a biological cycle with adaptations.
I have chosen to use the word people with periods instead of and as well as woman/women depending on the context in this work for this reason.
This work is open to all people with periods or any person interested in cultivating a relationship to cyclical living and wildness, though some aspects may have more relevance to those with a biological cycle it can be adapted.
Not all people with periods have the same experience and as such I felt it important to share some links below to different perspectives on periods such as people of colour and the trans experience.
I believe that every individual in our community should be treated with dignity and respect and be free from barriers regardless of age, class, physical disability, mental disability, gender identity, gender expression, gender assigned at birth, sexual orientation, contraceptive choices, pregnancy, race, colour, religion or belief.
I feel very strongly that yoga and circles are something that everyone should have access to and so am constantly trying to find ways to offer my work as accesibly as possible.
I currently offer a Suspended Yoga programme to provide free yoga to those in need, sliding scale pricing and donation based classes.
It's not always possible to offer these options when being hosted at studios but will always be the case for my own work.
Read more here: www.moonforestflow.com/respecting-the-traditions-of-yoga
I am aware that although I'm trying my best to be as educated as I can there may be blind spots to my capacity to be completely inclusive. I am committed to always learning and growing, so please feel free to get in contact to share your experiences, comments, feedback and suggestions. I truly value diversity of expression, experience and perspectives.
My Women only Work
Creating a space where women feel fully seen, heard, felt and held is my aim for these circles. It feels crucially important to cultivate this safe space to explore the regaining of trust in our bodies, minds and emotions. It is for this reason that some of my circles, classes, retreats and gatherings are women only.
I do not wish to create separation but rather offer safe spaces for women to relearn how to trust and love, so that we might be better able to trust and love in our own intimate relationships, families, friendships and wider communities. My aim is that this leads to better integration and connection outside of our circles.
Open to all Ages and Life Stages
No person should be excluded from practice on account of bodily function and as such I will always make every effort to accommodate, honour and support women through all life stages and cycle phases.
So whether pregnant, post-natal, lactating, nurturing small babies or children, with or without a womb, with or without periods, transitioning, peri-menopausal, menopausal or in the wisdom years, all are welcomed and supported to the best of my knowledge and ability.
In times past we would have shared so much more of life with each other than we do now and this would have included the raising of children. They would have been welcomed into our communities and raised communally, garnering the invaluable knowledge and wisdom of the ebb and flow of all things.
This inclusive and open environment feels crucially important to the rewilding of life and as such my classes, retreats and circles are open to women of all ages, circumstances and life stages and are always inclusive of children.
We all have our own unique wisdom to bring and stories to tell.
This passing down of wisdom through the generations is an ancient practice without which we suffer. The reinstatement of the inclusive nature of our spaces seeks to provide an invaluable space of healing, learning, nurturing, rest, retreat and replenishment. The pace of our modern lives makes the cultivation of these spaces feel more crucial and essential to our wellbeing than ever before.
Women and Non-binary People
As mentioned above explorations of the Feminine are inherently inclusive and as such open to all who identify as women including our trans community, any other expression or identification of femininity and non-binary people.
Non-binary people may or may not be drawn to work exploring the Feminine but it is important to me that the door is clearly open.
You do not have to share your gender identity before attending unless you would prefer to do that. There is no hierarchy of women and I don't ask anyone about their genitals or sex before they attend a circle so why would this be any different.
Should you wish for it to be known of course that is also welcome. It is entirely your choice.
Lactating people are welcome to feed/express during the classes, gatherings or retreats or suitable spaces can also be provided if preferred where possible.
Menstruating, premenstrual, post-natal and menopausal people are always welcome, will never be excluded and will be offered the option of appropriate practices to honour the time of life or cycle they are experiencing.
As an active practitioner of Menstrual Cycle Awareness it feels important to mention that moods and emotions across the full spectrum of our human experience will always be welcome. Always feel free to share your need for space or support.
Children and Babies
Children and babies are always welcome in classes, gatherings and on retreats. It feels very important to me that we do not miss out just because we are raising the next generation. I will do my best to support you and your little ones and I have always found the others in the circle to be supportive of this decision.
If you are bringing children or babies I just ask that you are happy to be fully responsible for them at all times, to understand what that means in terms of your participation and to ensure they are kept safe. I don’t expect reverent silence in class or circle. You know your little ones temperaments and whether the particular event or class would be suited to them.
Please do get in contact if you have any questions, comments, feedback or suggestions.
I am committed to making sure I don't...
Tell you that you're safe - I cannot define your parameters of safety as we do not have the same lived experience
Tell you what you're feeling - I cannot possibly know what it is you are feeling and whilst there are some crossovers and archetypal themes our human experience is not universal
Take lightly the theme of letting go - letting go is not a simple putting down of a suitcase and I will not approach it as such
Ask you to forgive - some things are unforgivable and forgiveness takes time and is a process that cannot be rushed or forced
Ask you to manifest - Rachel Rice words it perfectly - '[the law of attraction] is not an ideology of liberation — financial or otherwise. It actually relies on and replicates systems of domination in which unsuccessful people are such because of personal mindset failures'
Ask you to push through - you are in charge of your experience and I refuse to take away your autonomy or your right to feel what you feel without shame or judgement
Speak generally - again I cannot speak on behalf of your experience only you can know what you are experiencing so I will only ever speak from my own perspective
Proliferate a love and light ideology - I believe in facing the darkness and feeling the challenging feels, I don't believe in bypassing challenge with phrases like 'good vibes only'
Culturally Appropriate - I'm committed to educating myself on cultural appropriation and ensuring I offer a practice that both honours the history and origins of the practice and celebrates its evolution in a respectful way
I am committed to...
Listening, learning, growing and making change
Challenging myself and our community on our unconscious biases, ideas, our privilege, judgements and the stories we have about ourselves and others
Educating myself and those who come to my classes on the origins of yoga and being committed to cultural appreciation as opposed to cultural appropriation
Admitting my mistakes, apologising and recommitting to doing better
Making sure me and our community are fiercely committed to speaking out where we see discrimination
Moving with heart, integrity and intention and not just fire and reaction
Reviewing my financial investments and collaborations to ensure I am investing in and working with a diverse range of businesses and people
Identifying the barriers to my work and actively work to dismantle them to the best of my ability
Be fiercely committed to speaking out where I see wrong and encouraging this community to do the same
Cultivating a rehabilitative culture in our community whilst holding each other accountable and accepting discomfort as a part of that work
Showing my work and being held accountable when it comes to my commitment to anti-racism and inclusivity more broadly via a yearly 'show my work' update
Educating myself about Black history
Education helps me to feel confident to address racist comments and engage in constructive conversations around race and racism
Education helps me to have context and a deeper insight and understanding
Feeling discomfort as it arises and letting it teach me, feeling the pain and letting it strengthen my solidarity
Elevating the voices of people of colour
Continuing to dialogue for change through questions, contemplation, the seeking of resources and the holding of space for and elevating Black voices and the voices of people of colour
Showing up consistently to my responsibility to be of service and stand in solidarity
Asking the yoga studios I work with for their plans and ensuring they are aligned with my values and committed to anti-racism and inclusivity more broadly
Following up with the plans they outline and holding them to account as I am holding myself to account
'Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.'
~ Maya Angelou