Women are often burdened by personal body issues that arise, largely from various cultural attitudes and standards, however now, a growing number of experts are beginning to explore the impact of such concerns on the actual career trajectory of women. This new focus is giving way to radical attitudes and practices designed to deeply empower women by syncing mind and body in new ways. In the process, a bold, dynamic re-definition of success is being created that is helping female entrepreneurs use an innovative approach to get the jump in a male-dominated world.
Call it a movement. And it's a fascinating new cultural trend that businesswomen are leveraging by breaking with traditional, siloed thinking. Regena Thomashauer and her latest book and New York Times Bestseller, Reclaiming Pussy is just one example indicative of a larger approach that uses everything from deeper education concerning a woman's reproductive organs (i.e. "p*ssy power") to postural work to writing and visualization exercises to actually help a woman reach a zenith in personal fulfillment and business achievement by linking and unifying mind with body.
But does such a philosophy truly have any basis of merit?
Myth vs. Reality
Dr. Tara Well, Ph.D. and a professor at Barnard College, Columbia University says, "Feeling into one's body is an aspect of the self-care movement that is gaining popularity. To my knowledge, no studies have been conducted on how attention to one's p*ssy specifically increases the potential for success, however, research does show that women can increase their awareness of body sensations through such things as yoga, which in turn increases self-confidence."
Dr. Well adds that research shows that when women feel happy and confident, they have a positive attitude toward achieving their goals and are, therefore, more likely to reach them.
Dr. Rachel Tavel, PT, DPT, CSCS and a physical therapist at Physio Logic In New York concurs. "Ultimately, we are our strongest selves when our mind and body connect and work towards the same goal, " she says.
"Women are having a moment in the fitness/wellness industry right now," Dr. Tavel continues. She says that the trend has expanded far beyond looking good and burning calories, instead, it's about a completely new method of tapping into one's own inner and outer strength to reach new career heights.
According to Dr. Tavel, such routes to truly to tune into the body are different from, say, running or spinning. "This new level is about workouts that no longer just target the muscles -- they target the soul, " she explains.
Vessel For Success
Indeed, Shelter Island Pilates and its founder Suzette Smith are examples of such a focus via her wildly popular and new form of pilates which she calls a journey to the center of self.
The former professional dancer trained in New York City not only danced throughout Europe and later founded her own ballroom dance company in New York City, but also spent a decade working for the city's Board of Education in NYC teaching dance and choreography thanks to her Master's degree in education that included a specific focus on dance. But she is uniquely armed in another way to be an expert within the mind-body educational trend today.
A survivor of breast cancer since 1995, Smith found pilates to be an integral part of a healing journey that focused on mind-body awareness. She now applies much of what she learned and lived to her studio today via her own first-hand experience. Thus, her classes feature not only a pilates series but also body alignment and deep postural assessment and correction and connection with one's pelvic floor for an invigorating and healing session.
"It's all about the proper mechanics, "explains Smith. "Think about a car when it is out of alignment. It just doesn't work correctly. So this is about creating not only the alignment of one's own body but also the alignment of the mind with the body."
Smith's rigorous series of postural exercises and work on the Pilates Reformer machines are demanding yet somehow border on a guided meditation approach. She also focuses on breath work from the base of the inner groin to the top of the head and various other strengthening exercises during each session in order to deepen the experience and to re-connect the individual to her inner strength through connection with the body.
Since most of us sit at computers the majority of the week, we are often times disconnected from our bodies, even ignoring signals of slight pain and discomfort in favor of finishing that email or proposal.
"If you are in pain, you can't do your best deal, period," explains Smith. "The more connected to your own outer being you are, the more you move with awareness and confidence. Women who are fully present in the moment and show up in a strong body end up killing it at the office or at a meeting."
Everything In Moderation
Dr. Tara cautions those who are fans of this new mind-body space, though. "There can be a dark side to this self-focus," she explains. "Research shows that habitual self-focus decreases empathy and altruistic behavior." This means that we all need to keep the intent balanced. "Research finds that feeling good through self-focus and self-care is most beneficial as a means of contributing to the welfare of others, rather than as an end in itself," she adds. Thus strength in one's self and business with an eye toward larger social good, might be the mantra.
At any rate, women seem to be finding power through the avant-garde mind-body trend, and that strength is no doubt contributing to the collective sense of power that is evident in demands funding opportunities, inclusion on corporate boards and much more. Says Tavel, "In doing so, women are reclaiming the bodies that have been objectified by others for so long. Now they belong to us."