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...
I am actively committed to inclusivity and diversity across all areas including but not limited to our LGBTQIA+ community and people of colour to the best of my knowledge, understanding and ability and it's something that I don't just do to look 'woke', to meet a quota or to fall in line but because it's really bloody important to me that everyone feels welcome.
To provide context - I worried when I first started going to circles 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 btw but it got me thinking about how many others might be feeling the same!).
Experiences from my youth of being cast out because girls felt 'uncomfortable with the bisexual' ran deep. I've never felt archetypically feminine and often feel fairly androgynous but this work isn't about being archetypically feminine or biologically female and it feels important to me to make that clear.
This work explores aspects of the female sex yes but it also explores the Feminine with a capital F which is innately inclusive.
So when I had a request from a transwoman to join our circles and then a gay woman asked me if it would be ok I realised I needed to make it explicitly clear!
And so this policy began to be created and it is a dynamic piece of work that is far more than just words on a page. This 'policy' is my heartfelt commitment to this life. To create spaces which are as accessible and inclusive as they can possibly be! A space where I'm working towards everyone feeling welcome.
Yoga classes, retreats and womxn's circles
Where a class, womxn's circle or retreat is aimed at womxn it is open to all who identify as womxn 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.
Menstrual Mentoring Work
Not all people who menstruate are womxn and not all womxn menstruate and as such this work is not limited to just the female sex 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/womxn 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 womxn's circles are something that everyone should have access to and so am constantly trying to find ways to offer my work as cheaply as possible.
I currently offer regular free online womxn’s circles, offer a Suspended Yoga programme to provide free yoga to those in need, offer 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 Womxn only Work
Creating a space where womxn 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 womxn 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 womxn, life stages and cycle phases. So whether pregnant, lactating, nurturing small babies or children, with or without a womb, with or without a monthly bleed cycle, 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 womxn 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 moon lodges and gatherings 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.
Womxn and Non-binary People
As mentioned above 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.
You do not have to tell me before attending unless you would prefer to do that. There is no hierarchy of womxn 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. Whenever I'm offering female sex specific cues I will always endeavour to accompany them with cues that are inclusive.
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 or 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 other womxn 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 but perhaps bringing something to keep them occupied so that you can fully dive into the practices might be helpful.
Please do get in contact if you have any questions, comments, feedback or suggestions.
Womxn - any person who identifies as a woman, any expression or identification of femininity as well as non-binary gender expressions.
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
Showing my work and being held accountable when it comes to my commitment to anti-racism and inclusivity more broadly via a regular inclusivity and diversity update
'Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.' ~ Maya Angelou
Show my work updates...