For years, Lauren Barber repressed her feminine energy – now she sees it as a superpower, the font of her creativity, health, power and sexuality. She offers some powerful and liberating exercises, so you can reconnect with your feminine energy and become the goddess you are...
Apart from a few years during my late teens, I have spent my whole life believing I was unsexy. I wasn’t elegant or poised – I was messy and chaotic. As I strived for success in a business I created, I shut off my emotions to appear strong. I was fiercely independent and the fact that I was a woman didn’t even cross my mind. The world told me I needed to switch off my femininity and switch on a linear and consistent outer shell. When I turned 30, after punishing my body in the gym and restricting my food intake in a bid to achieve the ‘perfect’ body, I was anxious, exhausted, without a menstrual cycle, in a relationship that was falling apart and with a damaged disc in my back. I was so disconnected from myself that I pushed through workouts in agonising pain.
Emotionally, I was empty; depleted of life force, sexual and creative energy – the things that I now see as innate superpowers. There was a void, something missing, but I couldn’t work out what it was. I ventured into what I call a journey of remembering. I used practices such as womb yoga, a deeply feminine form that is all about working with the female anatomy and energy, listening to my body’s wisdom and intuition and understanding my sexual energy as more than about sex but as a font of creativity. I began to connect deeply with my body in a nourishing and gentle way that felt both alien and familiar at the same time. It was like an ‘unlearning’ – as if something within me remembered, and had lived this instinctive way before, but had forgotten it. I felt my spark return. I rediscovered an inner confidence and was more trusting of the path my life was taking, despite huge challenges. I started to love my body beyond appearance, and I felt alive. There is not one area of my life that has not been affected by this. Eventually, I trained as a yoga and meditation teacher and a sex, love and relationship coach. Self-love, self-connection and self-intimacy cannot be fully reached without a sense of embodiment. Our minds will only take us so far. What follows are some of my favourite practices to help you reconnect with your feminine energy.
These practices are nurturing, nourishing and replenishing – designed to support the nervous system and guide you to your female essence. This is an outline, so feel free to experiment. We are all unique, so if something doesn’t feel good, leave it or tweak it...
1. WOMB, SPACE AND BREATHING
WHY? This is a beautiful practice to help you fully reconnect with your womb space. From soothing discomfort, rebuilding trust after difficult circumstances or tapping into your feminine creativity, this practice can support a range of different struggles that we all face. I use the term ‘womb space’ because even if you do not have a physical womb for various reasons, there is a powerful energy in this part of the body. It is an area that may be encompassed with shame, grief and all manner of darker emotions, so it is easy to become disconnected from it. During my own healing journey from a place of ignoring the needs of my body and punishing it relentlessly, I found this simple practice helped bring awareness to a part of me that had been forgotten.
- While lying down or seated, bring the palms of your hands to rest over your womb space.
- As your hands lie there, start to take a few slow, deep breaths and imagine the breath travelling all the way down into your womb space.
- Focus on the rise and fall of your hands as you breathe and simply let your attention rest in this space. I like to ask my womb space ‘what do you need?’ to guide me.
- For a soothing practice, try taking a few breaths morning and evening when you are in bed before you rise or drift off to sleep.
2. BREAST MASSAGE
WHY? Breast massage, used in many ancient traditions, including Taoist and Ayurdevic practices, creates a soft, loving connection with the body and opens the heart space. It is also a wonderful way to get to know your breasts intimately, which will allow you to notice any irregularities. When we are connected to our heart and allow this space to be open and expansive, we can be more loving, kind and compassionate towards ourselves and others. This practice can be performed using energy, while not touching the breasts, and can be done over clothes or on bare skin. If you are doing breast massage on bare skin, it is nourishing to use an unscented oil, such as coldpressed rapeseed, coconut or almond. If you have had a mastectomy, this practice can help build a loving connection with the breast area. If you feel sensitive in this part of your body – particularly if hormonal or breastfeeding – it is beneficial to do it without touching your skin. If you have any unhealthy breast tissue, only do the first version of this practice.
- Create a sacred place where you feel warm and safe. Perhaps light a candle or diffuse some incense.
- Warm your hands by rubbing them together gently, then bring your hands to rest over your chest and take some deep, relaxing breaths. Spend as much time here as you like. l When you are ready, use the palms of your hands to gently massage down on the outside of the breasts and up on the inside – this is a releasing direction which helps free energy that needs to be cleared. You can do this with both hands at once or, if you have larger breasts, one breast at a time.
- Perform the breast massage for a few minutes to begin with, but you can build up to five to 10 minutes.
- Come back to rest your hands on your heart space before switching directions to go up on the outside of the breasts and down on the inside. This is an energy-building direction. If you have unhealthy breast tissue, continue with the original direction.
- If you are doing this without touch, imagine a flow of energy moving out from your palms into your breasts.
- If you don’t have much time, do this practice during your daily shower.
- “When we are connected to our heart and allow this space to be open and expansive, we can be more loving, kind and compassionate towards ourselves and others.“
3. STANDING HIP CIRCLES
WHY? We store a lot of stuck energy in the hips and pelvis that can create a stagnancy and reduced sense of vitality. In yoga, the hips are known as the ‘junk drawer’ of our body where many emotions are held. This practice can boost sexual and sensual energy which often has a positive impact on creativity and confidence. It also eases stiffness.
- Stand in bare feet at least hip-distance apart.
- Begin by rocking your pelvis back and forth in a circular motion.
- Once you have done this for a few minutes, start to move your hips in a clockwise circle for a minute or so before changing direction.
- Next, make figures of eight with your hips.
- Then, allow your hips to lead in any way that they wish for a minute or so at the end of the practice. Trust your body to guide you.
- The purpose of this movement is to connect with a juicy, delicious and liberating movement that feels good. It isn’t about forcing or pushing although, in the beginning, if you are not used to moving this way, it can feel a little awkward. Keep going!
“Dancing is one of the most liberating movements – but we have been told how to dance and that it must be polished, pretty and perfect.“
4. WILD WOMAN DANCING
WHY? Dancing is one of the most liberating movements we can make. But we have been told how to dance and that it must be polished, pretty and perfect. It is empowering to find a piece of music that activates a feeling of abandon within and let yourself dance like a wild woman. Dancing can allow you to connect with your whole body. You can stomp your feet, wave your arms and shake your hips. It can be playful or sensual, fast or tender – it allows us to express all versions of ourselves.
- Find a piece of music that has a beat or tune that makes you want to wiggle.
- Press play… loudly if you can.
- Dance like nobody is watching! If resistance comes up, dance with it and move it through the body. I was nicknamed heffalump at school because I was the most ungraceful dancer– so this is definitely not only for those who ‘can dance’. Everyone can dance if we allow ourselves! When I share these practices, it is never about teaching, it is about remembering. Our feminine powers are ingrained but they are often buried. It is an excavation – an unlearning and a reclaiming. We are coming home.