Adriene’s advice for young activists: “It’s a graceful fight.”
Adriene Mishler, 34, from Austin, Texas is a YouTube sensation. Her channel, Yoga with Adriene has almost 4 million followers across 115 countries. Her mantra is ‘find what feels good’ but she has social justice in her soul. She truly believes in the power of young women.
This is why Adriene is leading a yoga workshop at Plan International’s Global Girls’ Summit on 10 October. We asked her why she was drawn to this event and what advice she has for young people in the fight for gender equality.
Equip yourself with the right tools
“It’s very different sharing yoga online to sharing it in person with a huge room full of a thousand people or more which is why I’m honoured to come and speak and guide some yoga at the Global Girls Summit.
“If we’re smart, we can use the ancient philosophy of yoga - which is union and unity – to equip ourselves with the tools we need to make a meaningful contribution to society. And feel empowered. And kick some butt!”
Start with an honest intention
If we’re smart, we can use the ancient philosophy of yoga to equip ourselves with the tools we need to make a meaningful contribution to society. And feel empowered. And kick some butt!
“The first thing is to find something that you care about... and then dedicate yourself to that intention. Not to the goal and not to the outcome, just the intention within. If you’re coming from an honest place, no one can take that away from you.
“When I started, I knew that I wanted to create an opportunity for people who are getting yoga the least, rather than those who are getting it the most. For years, nobody paid attention. Nobody cared, truly. But I was consistent and I stayed true to my original intention.
“Young women - all young people - must cultivate a relationship with their own inner voice. It took me a while to figure that out. When I did, Yoga with Adriene began.”
“Self-deprecation is a defense mechanism. Women lean towards it. ‘Oh, you’re egotistical’ if you’re proud of that accomplishment. Or ‘you’re so vain’ if you look in the mirror. These negative thoughts made me, as a young person, so scared to love myself.”
“In the beginning I used a lot of self-deprecating humour and then about three years ago due to the state of the world, and [events] a year ago in my country, I decided that I just could not spare any expense when it came to helping people love and accept themselves. Not just their bodies, but their true selves.
“That’s when the “self love now” chant came out. I finally put my foot down and said: I’m going to do everything in my power, in the most creative and authentic way I can think of, to make self love cool again."
It takes a good listener to be a good leader
We need to remember the importance of being a good listener if you want to be a powerful leader or make a meaningful contribution to society.
“This is something we forget to teach young women early on. Because we can be angry, we can be caught up in the fight for equality, we get frustrated when things are not fair or when things get grim. In any country. And that’s natural. We need to remember the importance of being a good listener if you want to be a powerful leader or make a meaningful contribution to society.
“I say this to young women a lot, including those who aspire to be yoga teachers. You can’t show yoga, you have to share. It has to be a guidance. And that requires listening.”
Allies are important
“So many times I’ve stepped into a meeting or got on a conference call, and the person will start to ask my business partner Chris questions first. And because Chris is amazing and has respect for me, he’ll usually direct the question to me. But I find that instead of getting angry, I just go right back to my mission.
“Chris has been a huge ally. We have mutual respect and committed early on to teaching each other. And it shows up in the work. We have intentionally worked to position me not as an expert but as a friend. A humble yoga guide. And I think that that has made a big difference in the way our community has come together.”
Self-care for activists
“Yoga is so great for young women who want to be leaders, who want to make positive change in the world and who do not want to be shut down or oppressed.
“If you already have an established relationship with yourself, the confidence of knowing why you’re in the room, then you can stay graceful, you can stay on topic, you can stay poised.
“I always say “find what feels good” and people can interpret that for themselves but what I’m really saying is find the energy to do what it is you’re called to do. And if you’re being depleted of your energy for whatever reason, or you’re being oppressed by somebody else’s energy, it’s not going to work.
“It’s about being able to guide your energy in that moment to serve your original mission. It’s a graceful fight.”
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Girls everywhere are undervalued, undermined and underestimated.
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