~ Guest blog by Sophie Jane Mortimer ~
My most eye-opening moment in the Awakening Women Leadership Training was learning about the ‘Goddess hormone’ oxytocin, and the science behind the healing bliss of Women’s Temple.
Chameli began her oxytocin talk by explaining that up until about twenty years ago, all stress research was done on male subjects. The female body’s hormones fluctuate so much that it is challenging to measure hormonal responses, so researchers simply didn’t include them in their studies. Thankfully, a group of pioneering researchers embarked upon a ground-breaking study. What they found could have a potentially radical impact for women, especially women who are engaged in a healing journey of any kind.
Their studies show that the typical ‘fight, flight or freeze’ stress response isn’t necessarily true for women. The female body tends to respond to stress with a flush of different hormones, including Oxytocin, which instead creates an attitude of ‘tend and befriend’ .
In times of stress, women don’t move to run or fight ~
they reach out to protect and connect.
Oxytocin is a woman’s natural de-stress mechanism. It helps our muscles to relax, and reduces blood pressure and cortisol levels. It increases pain thresholds, has anti-anxiety effects, and it promotes healing. Hugging a friend, cooking a meal for someone you love, petting your dog, even giving yourself a 30 second shoulder rub all release oxytocin, and its host of healing effects.
As a Women’s Temple Leader on a long-term recovery journey from chronic health challenges, I am hugely curious about this ‘Goddess hormone’. Could the oxytocin-inducing friendship and bonding within women’s circles have tangible, measurable healing effects for chronic health problems?
The statistics about chronic health conditions are shocking – women make up nearly three quarters of the people who experience them:
5 million people with Fibromyalgia (80 – 90% women)
1 million with Chronic Fatigue (66 – 80% women)
30 million with IBS (66-75% women)
So, my colleague Frances and I have decided to run an experiment. We have launched a new venture called Women’s Wellness Circle to explore whether gathering women with chronic health challenges together, in supportive, nourishing, connection-filled circle can have lasting healing impact.
In our online immersions and retreats, we’ll also share the tools and practices that most supported our healing, including Restorative Yoga, Emotional Freedom Technique, Neuro-Linguistic Programming, guided meditation and relaxation and feminine embodiment practices from the Yogini tradition of the Awakening Women Institute.
Is the ‘Goddess Hormone’ Oxytocin the female body’s natural key to healing? Let’s find out…
Sophie Jane Mortimer is a Yoga Instructor (RYT200), who specializes in Restorative Yoga. She is a Women’s Temple Leader and feminine embodiment practitioner in the Yogini tradition established by her teacher Chameli Ardagh at the Awakening Women Institute. She is also a Holistic Therapeutic Massage Therapist and Thai Massage Therapist.
Learn more about her offerings here:
Circle photo: Bibbie Friman
If you’d like to join one of the Women’s Temple Group Leadership Trainings offered by Chameli Ardagh & the AWI team, click here for the details.