“Hello, sun in my face. Hello you who made the morning and spread it over the fields…Watch, now, how I start the day in happiness, in kindness.”  ― Mary Oliver

As we blow away the cobwebs of winter and open the shutters to Spring, and as a few corners of the world start to safely reopen, we are optimistically excited to be back to in-person trainings, with our first cohort soaking up the incredible landscapes of Lake Atitlán in Guatemala as they complete their 200 Hour Sacred Earth Yoga Teacher Training. Come be transported to a world away with their snapshot below that is sure to inspire you join us in November! (Use APRIL2021OFFER to enjoy $500 off if you register this month!)  


Speaking of fresh Spring winds, we were blown away by the responses to our inaugural International Women’s Day Scholarship, when on March 8th we asked our community to share with us how they will rise up to meet their personal challenges this year for the chance to enrol in our 50-hour Holistic Birth Educator Training – where students will explore the healing potential of yoga and holistic birth support as therapeutic tools to empower the birthing journey from pregnancy to motherhood.

We asked:

How will you choose to challenge yourself this year?
To celebrate women’s achievement. To raise awareness against bias, to examine our own limiting patterns and beliefs. To take action for equality.

Our thought-provoking entrants were happy to share their reflections with you, and we hope their responses inspire some wider reflection too. 

Please find our winner Janelle’s entry below, along with some highlights from our entrants’ reflections.



How I choose to challenge myself this year has been a question that I’ve been committed to answering for quite some time. Each day I become stronger and more confident with understanding the power of surrendering and allowing my gifts to guide me. This year I’ve decided to put my passion for helping women of color and the LBGTQIA+ community into action. I am honored to be a member of both of these communities. On my own  journey of wellness I’ve seen the disparities among women in these groups when it comes to quality and  access to birth education, yoga, and other holistic health opportunities.

I have decided that I will no longer only think of and talk about creative ideas but  be the catalyst for change so members of these communities not only receive better care, but the same quality of care as their white counterparts.

This spring I am honored to be a part of the Prenatal and Doula training with Awakened Spirit Yoga. I want e to provide the women and families that I serve quality care throughout their birth journey.  With my degree in Health Education I will utilize this training to enhance my ability to provide holistic care. As our world begins to find its way back to the new normal I want to ensure that deficiencies in health care that we faced before the pandemic are not forgotten. Offering comprehensive education and holistic health services will greatly impact the mortality rate, mental health, and overall health outcomes of women of color and the LBGTQIA+ community. This training will help end the systematic barriers that I and other members of these communities have faced for so many years.


“I am challenging myself to learn, widen my horizon, and do my part to contribute to change. –

I am challenging myself to educate myself more, to listen and carefully and continuously challenge my beliefs to recognize biases that I might not have been aware of.

I am currently reading “Skill in Action” and am thinking about how to integrate tools and knowledge about bias and white supremacy into my yoga classes.” 


.. I choose to challenge what society has engrained into our belief system over the years around empowering women’s natural & home birthing rights.

I believe a women’s body has the innate wisdom, strength, resilience and power to birth our children Earthside and there should be far more awareness & support around selecting this as their path, and move towards a society that eliminates fear, judgement & criticism around women choosing this journey to birth the next generation.

… I am also on this journey myself currently trying to conceive my first child to for the last 12 months & wholeheartedly wish to support women who have experienced challenge, stigma or trauma to be seen, heard & acknowledged for the powerful beings they are.


Using the tools of awareness and reflection I have cultivated through yoga to observe my physical patterns and then my mental patterns has helped me to realize the ripple effect that comes from leading by example, interaction with others, and connecting them with forgotten knowledge. I believe the possibilities are endless when we shed layers of limiting beliefs and patterns that are holding us back. This is mostly why I consider myself a work in progress because as I learn more I can see these patterns more clearly.

… I will challenge myself to learn more tools to support others through the process of pregnancy, birthing, parenthood, and beyond – because I believe this is how we get to the root of things, an impactful way to heal personal wounds and step into your forgotten strength, and where it all begins for future generations… 

When my son is born next month, I will also make sure these are things that he knows. Women are strong and vulnerable, I will remind them if they have forgotten, and support them on this journey. 


This year to challenge myself I am working on finding stillness in chaos, moments of peace during all the challenges that arise. By breathing and centering I can make space for my classes and myself. The demands on my time and stress from being in an unfamiliar place and having extra responsibilities requires daily meditation and practice. I allow time to simply breath. 

 I live in South Korea and I want to challenge myself by building my practice and expanding those whom I can serve. I will learn how to cue in Korean and continue to expand my outreach to the local community.  

I also will challenge myself by expanding the types of yoga is available to military members and families on base. Currently there isn’t pregnancy, birth, and postpartum support available. I would like to be able to offer a more holistic support for this transitional change so far away from familial support. We have also experienced loss on base and I have been able to offer grief yoga to help members of my community cope with loss and use movement and breath to bring peace.

Yoga is instrumental to mental health and resilience


My goal is to merge my passion for teaching yoga with the calling I have to be of service to soon-to-be or new mothers through the role of their doula. My own mother taught natural childbirth classes in our home once a week and it was there that I started to understand the many layers of what it is to be a woman and a mother. I was inspired watching as women in these classes (along with their partners) guided and celebrated one another while also holding space simply to support each other during what is such a mysterious and miraculous part of the human experience. 

I want to show that same support and celebration to women and their children being brought into this world with the hope that the experience will be a beautiful one that will shape the rest of their lives together. 

Scholarship aside, I appreciate the exercise of stating how we can celebrate, raise awareness against bias, examine our beliefs and take action for equality. It has given me a lot to consider while walking onto this new path. What you are doing at Awakened Spirit looks incredible and I hope I am able to learn more from you in the future.

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