Here at Yogamatters, we encounter inspirational women all over the world everyday who are working out what it means for them personally to live well as a woman. We therefore felt it was time to acknowledge and pay tribute to all those women out there who are empowering and inspiring one another every single day. It really is when we come together as women that magical things happen and so we asked 70 influential women who live and breathe wellbeing to share with us all what for them is the key to living well as a woman.
We hope that you are as inspired by their thoughts, mantras, suggestions and quotes that form the foundation of their daily lives as women as we are. There are some great ideas in here to try out in our own lives. And remember, what works for one woman will not work for another. We are all different. Experiment. Discover what works for you, what brings you health and happiness and an increased sense of wellbeing. We wish you well on this wellbeing adventure that we call life.
Caroline Shola Arewa – The Energy Doctor
For me it is all about Energy! Living well involves identifying your unique Purpose and Passion so you can live a fully Energised Life! When your Energy is in alignment, you will experience greater wellness and over-fulfilment in life.
Alicia Roscoe – Founder of &sister
My realisation is that the key to well-being is balance: knowing when to RISE to a challenge and when you need to withdraw to RESTORE.
Camille Pierson – Managing Director of The Float Spa
For me, it is essential to take time out for yourself. Every day, I take myself away from my husband, kids, work, laptop, phone and every form of stimulation and spend 5 minutes away to just be, meditate and breathe. This time allows me to focus on the important things as opposed to being bogged down with ‘everything’. We get caught up having to be ‘switched on’ and superwoman all the time – it’s incredibly important to stop and calm down.
Jenny King, Media contact at British Wheel of Yoga
Don’t sweat the small stuff!! And make your yoga class a priority. For me, that time for myself can make the difference between everything getting on top of me or keeping things in perspective.
Denisa Nenova , Founder of MahaDevi Yoga Centre, London
For me, the key to living well not only as a woman, but first and most of all living well as a human, is to cultivate connectedness to your true essence daily which organically leads to harnessing a Knowing of your potential and how to use this potential for the benefit of humanity.
Anna Ashby, Yoga teacher
To be anchored in a sense of self-worth, knowing the texture and feel of wholeness as a basis for living in recognition of the inner felt experience – all is One.
Paula Hines, Founder of U Can Yoga
“When in doubt, get still and listen – really listen – to your gut instinct and trust it. It won’t steer you wrong.”
Sunita Passi, Founder of Tridosha
If you want to improve your life and are feeling a little stuck, my motto is ‘Your mind is like an adjustable mirror. Move it, improve it.’ Seeking a fresh perspective on life or work can often bring in new energy and help you grow to your happiest, wisest self. Along the way, connect with people who inspire you and support you to be the best version of yourself.
Donna Noble, Founder of Curvesome Yoga
Trusting the process and simply going with the flow has changed my life in ways I could not have imagined.
Alice Asquith, Founder of Asquith Clothing
Meditation, yoga and kindness to others. Being open, giving and sharing. Women are amazing connectors and so generous to other women
Emma Newlyn, Yoga Teacher
For me, the key to living well as a woman is respecting change, living intuitively, and having the courage to be 100% authentic.
Kino MacGregor, Yoga Teacher
The secret to living a good life is all about having the right goal. Happiness is as much about releasing resistance as it is about achieving something. Orient towards worldly goals and things and you’ll always be searching and striving. But orient to the timeless space of the Divine and you’ll find peace and freedom.
Stella Raphael Reeves, Founder of Tribal Spirit Arts
Every morning, I wake up and am grateful for all that I am. I live by my values which are to be kind to yourself and others, eat well and look after your body. Embrace every precious moment, dance until you can dance no more and love with all your heart.
Victoria Cunningham, Founder of StretchBodyMind
For me, the key to living well as a woman (particularly a woman with Bipolar Disorder) is that life is best when it’s balanced. My life balance looks like healthy food AND chocolate; morning meditations AND America’s Next Top Model marathons. My work balance looks like stretching myself mentally, but not overwhelming myself by becoming a course junkie; and training my students, but not overwhelming myself by taking on all their problems. It’s definitely about boundaries!
Sonia Sumar, Founder of Yoga for the Special Child
Despite all happenings around, Love is still a powerful way for Keeping your inner Peace!
Sarah Raad, Founder of Simple Happy Life
I feel the key to living well as a woman is to understand that the secret to happiness and wellbeing is simply gratitude and that you can hugely boost your happiness by taking time each day to develop a gratitude habit.
Liz Lark, Liz Lark Yoga Art
4 words: Self care Self respect. And then this: Smash the Cinderella Myth !!
Karen Alexander, Nutritionist & Founder of Nutritious Roots
For the body to efficiently digest and draw nutrients from food, we need our nervous system to be in a parasympathetic state, also known as the rest and digest system. One of the best and easiest ways to do this is taking 5 slow deep breaths before you take the first bite.
Jess Horn, Yoga Teacher
Every day before the rest of the household wakes up, before I switch on my phone or even have a cup of tea, I sit. I take some time, close my eyes, take some deep breaths and have that moment of stillness and connection. Sometimes this might be 20 mins – sometimes 5. It sets me up for the rest of the day and if I miss it, I can really feel the difference. I set an intention for the day (sometimes I work with the same one for a couple of weeks). I always have a journal handy as sometimes I get ideas or clarity on something and it’s useful to make a note of it! I find the faster we move during the rest of the day, the more we need to schedule time and space to slow down and find stillness.
Ella Oliver, Transformational Breath(R) Facilitator
Harnessing the power of my breath, the most significant interaction I have with life in every single moment; a daily practice brings energy, clarity & focus along with the awareness to be able to change my experience wherever I am, physically, mentally and emotionally with just a single breath.
Jaime Amor, Founder of Cosmic Kids Yoga
“Dance with your feelings. Even the difficult ones.”
Lorraine Close, Edinburgh Community Yoga
The key to living well as a woman is to accept the person that you are. Don’t spend your time wishing you were different. Keep doing the things that make you feel like your truest self. Be grounded, breathe deeply and take one day at a time.
Becky Pell, Rock n Roll Yogi
The key to living well as a woman is self-trust. Your higher Self, your inner teacher, your wise woman – she always knows what you truly need for your wellbeing. The secret is learning to quieten your mind and pay less heed to the cacophony of others’ opinions, so that you can hear the voice of your own divine feminine intuition.
Dr Sara Kayat, NHS GP & TV Doctor
Know your value and what you have to offer, and never settle for anything less than what you deserve.
Jessica Komes, Prathana Yoga
This quote by Clarissa Pinkola Estés: ‘When women’s lives are in stasis, ennui, it is always time for the wildish woman to emerge; it is time for the creating function of the psyche to flood the delta…It means to establish territory, to find one’s pack, to be in one’s body with certainty and pride regardless of the body’s gifts and limitations, to speak and act in one’s behalf, to be aware, alert, to draw on the innate feminine powers of intuition and sensing, to find what one belongs to, to rise with dignity, to retain as much consciousness as we can.’
Corrie Ananda Preece, Yoga Teacher
For me one of the keys to living well as a woman is the practice of cycle awareness: knowing the seasonal changes of my hormonal cycle and aligning myself with each unique phase.
Catherine Annis, Yoga Teacher & Member of the Teacher Advisory Committee at Triyoga
As women, we are often guilty of taking on too much, giving out our energy and not taking enough care of ourselves. Spending time on one thing that you love, regularly, – whether it’s enjoying a daily cappuccino in your favourite cafe, or keeping a camera with you to nurture your creativity – can help redress the balance.
Nadia Narain, Yoga Teacher
Being grateful for who you are and what you are on a daily basis even when it’s challenging. This was a game changer for me when I really understood what it meant to be grateful on a day to day basis. I feel happier and healthier and I go to bed each night peaceful.
Lisa Sanfilippo, Yoga Teacher
For me, living well as a woman in my 40s means defining the aspects of womanhood that let life feel exuberant and allow me to flourish, finding and doing what I was put on earth to do.The girlish tomboy gave way to the supergirl smartypants work-warrior woman, and later in my life, I’m embracing the receptive aspects of femininity. My yoga has changed radically with this, and become more internal, interoceptive, and healed years of trauma to find new space and playfulness. And as a result, I’ve started to do the things I was always longing to do but was too scared to do- namely narrative writing, and not surprisingly, my publishers are strong and sensitive women who similarly feel a desire to serve.
Michelle Nicklin, Founder of Sandstone Yoga & Pilates
The mantra I live by is not to lose your connection. There is definitely a hand greater than mine guiding my life. I make all the right decisions both professionally & personally when I meditate daily. When I feel I am creating my own destiny with divine intelligence on my side and I am connected to that, my business blossoms. In this space, I creatively draw opportunities to me that bear fruit. I feel abundant. In fact, I am abundant. When I feel otherwise, it is a sign to get back on my yoga mat. A simple physical practice followed by meditation is a chance to supercharge my inner flame again & anything is possible.
Juliet Lundholm, Yoga Teacher
Remove the word ‘should’ from your vocabulary. This little insidious insert into our daily language can be the cause of a huge amount of guilt, resentment, and self-loathing. Disguised as a motivator, ‘should’ does not bring with it the encouragement and motivation we often assume it does, but rather it forces us very firmly out of the present moment and into a state of judgement, negativity and shame. A ‘should’ also disempowers us from identifying solutions in a positive and proactive way: for example ‘I should exercise more’ reinforces the thought that we are not good enough to achieve the goal. Reframing the sentence with ‘could’ or ‘would’ – ‘I would like to exercise more’ – implies we do have the ability to do so and gives the brain a chance to search for the solution to make it happen. Removing ‘should’ from my vocabulary has been a transformational step towards greater self love and greater self care.
Vicky Fox, Yoga Teacher
“Do Less – relax more” It’s taken me to my mid forties to appreciate that sometimes, less is more. Through my yoga practice, I can observe what it feels like to be in my body at that moment and often I’m aware of how depleted I feel. So I adapt my practice to my energy levels and find huge benefits in practising Viparita Karani (legs-up-the-wall), a hugely energising pose by allowing the legs to drain and the mind to empty. The breath is the fastest way to impact your nervous system, so I combine this pose with controlled breathing like Sama Vritti (equal breath) counting my breath as I breathe in and breathe out and I start to notice my anxieties and stresses ease away as everything starts to slow down. My mantra is this: “Look for the good in the bad, the happy in the sad and what makes you grateful not hateful’.
Christina McGrath, Founder of Swell Fit Living
“The key to happiness is maximizing each day. So if you are unhappy, there’s a simple prescription. Live harder.” Laird Hamilton
I love this quote. It’s simple to the point and life is too short to not live it to the fullest. Taking care of myself and being present is in the forefront of every morning routine, this way I start with intention and follow through the whole day.Ten years ago, I completely flipped my life upside down and dove into being happy for me and looking around with my eyes wide open.
I’m not saying to go out and quit your job, break up with your boyfriend and become a yogi/surfer traveling the world like I did. But go to a yoga class, mediate, clean up your desk, eat an awesome healthy breakfast, and shine all day long. Live present, stress less, and love more.
Julie Montagu, Yoga Teacher
She needed a hero so that’s what she became.’ This quote/mantra has been on my wrist bracelet for 5 years now. For me, it represents the notion that despite what life throws at me, I have a choice – to let that life experience break me or make me. I always choose the latter. I make me.
Joanne Hare, Director at Jasmine Yoga
Throughout my life, I’ve both heard and given lots of advice to support a happy and healthy life, something I’ve come to really cherish is a sense of connecting to both the natural environment around us and developing stronger bonds to the local community. In my role as a yoga teacher, I have aspired to welcome women of all ages, experiences and abilities to the yoga mat. We are lucky enough to practice every day in a beautiful beach location with expansive views of the sea. Breathing deeply in the fresh sea air has remarkable powers for cleansing your mind and helping you to feel connected to the world around you.
We’re privileged to have the choice to practice indoors or out on a large roof terrace. Respect for the local environment and heritage of Tynemouth is an important part of our practice, and indeed my yogis’ lives. We take every opportunity to nurture a sense of well being afforded by yoga practice in the open air, with the sounds of the waves in the background. Often women arrive at the mat feeling fraught from their daily caring and career. responsibilities I endeavour to ease them into a balanced, calm state using yoga breathing and stretching as well as importantly, by inviting them into a beautiful thoughtful environment, with detailed attention to music, candles, poetry and comfortable surroundings. The sense of inner calm we all feel as we gaze out to sea is very powerful. Discovering a place that helps you to feel connected and grounded yet also inspired and invigorated is so important for a happy and healthy life.
Helena Byles, Founder of wearewellness
BALANCE: Once I realised that obsession was rife in wellness, that it was being glamourised as dedication, I realised what and who I needed to avoid to be healthy mentally.
Pagan St Blaize, Yoga Teacher
Every morning I sit in stillness. “If there is no stillness, there is no silence. If there is no silence, there is no insight. If there is no insight, there is no clarity” – Tenzin Priyadarshi.
Normandie Keith, Yoga Teacher
One thing I think is important to live a happy, healthy life is to wake up each day in gratitude. To open your eyes and be born into a new day in appreciation for the next 24 hours ahead. When I wake each morning, I take a moment to give thanks for one of the simplest and most important things… my breath. I allow myself to inhale deeply and fill my lungs and body with the gift of life and exhale my gratitude for it. To take a few moments to consciously breathe, awakening the body and the mind to being great and full, the perfect set up for an extraordinary day. I teach a wake up ritual at YogaGlo online that guides one through 15 minutes of waking up to your best day ever.
Tori Boughey, Health Coach
“Be kind, always. Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.”
Bonnie Parsons, Founder of Seen On Screen Dance School
I think it’s super important to set boundaries in life, but sometimes we can struggle to do this, because we don’t want to offend someone or we simply don’t know how to communicate them. This quote by Brene Brown really simplified things for me: “Boundaries are not division, they’re respect. Here’s what’s OK for me, and what’s not”
Ruth Voon, Transformational Coach
Create time daily to do something that connects you to your heart. For me, this could be a gratitude practice, listening to a dharma talk, being with an animal, appreciating nature/beauty, smiling at a stranger (especially kids), chanting my mantra, connecting with loved ones. It doesn’t matter what it is as long as it takes you there!
Pippa Richardson, Founder of ‘the girlness project’
Years ago one of my teachers said to me “Everyone is doing the best they can, with the tools, resources, love and self-awareness that they have in this moment.” It has always stayed with me. It has helped me develop a deep sense of compassion for others and myself. I think if we can remember this and return to it often, we are likely to be more accepting and forgiving individuals, something that benefits all of our relationships.
Dr Britt Cordi, PhD, Founder of Britt Superfoods
I discovered that there are five simple steps that happy people take each day before getting out of bed: Feel your gratitude, set your intentions, breathe, smile and forgive
Implementing these into my routine has allowed me to wake up with a happy, positive mindset and allows me to achieve much more throughout my day!
Cheryl MacDonald, Founder of Yoga Bellies
I practice yoga at 5am every morning and have done since before my son was born. I know that this has made me into a ‘morning person’ – from someone who used to struggle to get out of bed for 8.30-9am. I know it can sound torturous, but it’s honestly the best and easiest way to wake up!
Yoga is invigorating and healing no matter what time of day you practise, but there are so many benefits to practising especially in the morning. Starting your day with a yoga practice means that you are starting your day cultivating breath awareness. When you do this first thing in the morning, you are very likely to keep your breath on your mind for the rest of the day. You may have a million things going on, but by setting the tone with your morning practice, you are more likely to tune into your breathing for the rest of your day. They say that the slower and deeper you breathe, the longer you will live. If you start your day by calming your body and your mind through yoga breathing and practice, you will have a calm mind throughout the day.
Charlotte Newton, Senior Marketing Manager at MINDBODY
The biggest thing I’ve learned from both working in the wellness industry and training to be a kinesiologist is that everybody is different and what works amazingly for one person’s body, might not work well for you. I followed what I thought was the ‘perfect paleo diet’ for years and wondered why I was always tired and bloated, before I learned my blood type thrives on grains and veggies. Likewise, lifting big weights and lots of cardio works for some body types, but I look and feel my best doing yoga and barre. Without sounding like a cliché, it’s so important to embrace our individuality and ignore what everybody else is doing if it doesn’t feel right for us. Even if half of Instagram is telling us we should be eating coconut oil and smothering ourselves in turmeric paste – just do you!
Francesca Oddie, Astrologist
I think that the most important routine I’ve implemented is turning my phone off for two hours before bed: instead reading, writing, drinking tea, lighting candles and making sure technology, distractions and temptations are OFF. I also have to make sure I’ve eaten enough and don’t need to get up for a midnight feast! As a fire/air type, I tend to work until I burn. Knowing myself and pulling the plug on my bad habits has transformed my life. I’m now a morning person!
Dr Melody Moore, Founder Embody Love Movement
Living well means committing to source self-love from the inside. I delegate a lot of tasks and jobs, but not my lovability, nor my worth. Choose to see yourself as sacred, as worthy of celebrating, as whole without the completion of a title, a lover, an income, an addiction, a status. From that inner sense of completion, everything else is already available or on its way. Bottom line: don’t outsource your self love!
Sally-Anne Sweeney, Founder of Yoga Light Vibes & Yoga Teacher
Living well as a woman is all about following your intuition, trusting yourself, and making time for all the things that make you feel alive, inspired and connected to that innate female wisdom that is within all of us!
Dr Morgaine Gaye, Food Futurologist
After decades of working to understand my own health and also trying to help other people manage all kinds of health issues, it has become more apparent than ever that wellness is much more than a balanced diet. Gut health, microbiomes, micro-nutrient dense foods, a largely plant-based diet – yes, these are all critical. However, stress, lack of sleep and unhappiness cannot be cured by diet or exercise alone. Sleep more. Make changes to get yourself to a happier place, whatever it takes – these things are the keys to a healthy life.
Polly Mason, Founder of The Retreat Club
BE KIND TO YOURSELF. It took me a long time to understand this concept and put this very important idea into practice. Often, we are our biggest critic and I’ve learnt that taking time to show yourself the kindness, sympathy and forgiveness that we are often quick to show others can transform your life.
Katy Bateman, Yoga Teacher + Studio Manager, Union Station Yoga
The quote I live my life by is from the inspirational Maya Angelou. It reminds me the the most important thing in life is to be kind, loving and respectful. It helps me remember that every interaction we have is precious and impactful- be it for a second, a day, week, year or lifetime. “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, Physiologist and Sleep Therapist
For me, and at this stage of my life, one of the keys to living well as a woman is to be compassionate with myself. If I do this, then all sorts of other things fall in to place – I allow myself to ask for help and turn to friends when I need to. I allow myself to rest. I tell myself ‘it’s good enough’ and nip my perfectionism in the bud. I give myself early nights and long soaks in the bath. I allow myself a good old cry when I watch my mother aging and my daughter growing up. I give myself a break from hard exercise and allow myself a gentle stretch on the yoga mat. I spend time making myself my favourite cup of Darjeeling tea in my favourite mug and I savour it mindfully and I look at myself in the mirror and acknowledge my beauty even when I see the jawline starting to sag a little and a few more lines appearing. Most of all, with compassion, I allow myself to do none of these things, to mess up and ‘get it wrong’ without constantly beating myself up and carrying the guilt around on my shoulders.
Fran McElwaine, Health Coach & Founder of Pruv
To my mind, the single most important thing to bear in mind is the almost infinite capacity for wellness that is written into our DNA. Our cells are changing on a second by second basis in response to the environment around us and the choices we make, working in concert to make the most of the raw materials we provide – food, air, water. Given the optimum raw materials and the right lifestyle choices (which are slightly different for each of us), anything is possible. The power is within each of us to work out what exactly are the best choices for us as unique beings, so we can harness our boundless natural healing power. Once we do that, all those tiny little cellular changes that happen every second throughout our bodies are moving us towards ultimate wellness and happiness and away from pain and fear. Everything is possible.
Mel Wells, Health and Eating Psychology Coach & Author of The Goddess Revolution
For me, it all comes back to self-love. Just loving and accepting ourselves unconditionally is the kindest thing we can do for our mind, body and soul.
Laura Rua, Health & Wellness Influencer
Stop comparing myself to others and start doing what works for me was the key to finding my own balance.
Palma Michel, Author, Mindfulness & Happiness Coach
Accept the things you cannot change. If you are unhappy about a situation, try to change it. If you cannot change it, walk away or accept it – anything else just creates suffering for yourself and others.
Suzanne Gribble, Iyengar yoga teacher
Be in touch with yourself, your inner and outer being. Yoga gives you the tools to do this.
Alina Ghost, Blogger
It’s about a well-balanced life. I’m not only talking about a good meal with plenty of veggies, but about having balanced physical activities like exercising and stretching as well as mental tasks that stimulate your thought, from a great book to an inspirational art class. I think remembering that nature exists among this world of technology is also key to it all!
Hannah Cluley , Yoga Teacher & Blogger
As someone with a chronic injury, you learn fast to find gratitude in the little things: in the nuances of our bodies, in the quirks of our personalities. We need to stop looking at things with critique or negativity, but look for the good in every single thing we encounter: in our physical bodies, in our emotions and just more generally in our lives. I truly believe it’s the only way to really live life to its fullest.
Elena Brower, Teacher and Author of Practice You
“Be a student till the end.” Best advice I’ve ever received from my teacher Yogarupa Rod Stryker.
Sally Lovett, Director, Stretching the City
Don’t take your phone to bed at night. You’ll sleep so much better without the sleep-disrupting ‘blue light’ glaring from your screen and you’re guaranteed a much more gentle, mindful start to the day if you aren’t reaching for your phone upon waking.
Su Dodd, Founder of From Clothing
Banish Your Negative Self. I use to imagine my negative self as one of those toilet gremlins, the sort you’d see flushed away on TV adverts.
It used to sit on my shoulder whispering in my ear (actually sometimes it use to SHOUT that I wasn’t good enough), but after reading Eckhart Tolle, I started physically ‘flicking’ it off my shoulder and immediately countering its every negative thought with a positive one. Over time it re-trains your mind to be more respectful of yourself.
Holly Ann Johnson, Founder of Lavender Fingers Studio
A game changer was when the gift of essential oils entered my life – supporting myself physically, emotionally, spiritually, & environmentally, creating financial abundance and location freedom.
Emi Takahashi Tull, Dharma Yoga teacher
Keep the mind positive and happy.
Helen Redfern, Author & Yogamatters Writer
For me, it’s about allowing myself to be unapologetically me, whatever that looks like – being the unique person I was created to be and living that adventure to the full!
Dami Olonisakin, Blogger
Always make sure that you get enough sleep. There’s a misconception among some that if you work non-stop, you’ll reap more rewards. However, sleeping is essential and allows your productivity to increase. So as well as working hard and smart, give yourself time to charge up.
Mags Sorrell, Founder of Breathing Space
My passion is taking responsibility for your own wellbeing, listen to your heart and your body, and practise gratitude.
Georgina Jones, Osteopath and Founder of Bathing Beauty
As a mother of three teenagers, practising osteopath and founder of Bathing Beauty, I juggle a lot. I also have a lot of dependents, if you include our patients and team, which I do. I find I make the best decisions and respond the best from a position of calmness, no mean feat. In order to control my over active mind and tendency to wind myself up, I try to bathe before bed, during which I make a mental tour of my body, detecting areas of tension, and encouraging my body to let go. Once in bed, I make a mental tour of the house, and further afield if necessary. I surround everyone with a golden force field ( very Star wars), and then do the same for myself, it helps me to control my maternal worry!
Genny Wilkinson Priest, Yoga Manager at Triyoga
Learn how to say no. The demands placed on women in the 21st Century are many and we find ourselves saying yes to everything – giving our teenage son a lift to the tube when he can walk, helping out a colleague and working late, picking up our partner’s dry-cleaning. These are all acts of kindness and in and of themselves, lovely things to do for others. But do we actually have the capacity for it all? When we are constantly doing something for others, what are we doing for ourselves? Say no – just once a day -and perhaps you’ll create more space for yourself and stress a little less.
Twanna Doherty, Managing Director of Yogamatters
“Nobody but nobody makes it out here alone. What really matters now is love. I mean, that condition in the human spirit that is so profound it allows us to rise. Strength, love, courage, love, kindness, love, that is really what matters. There has always been evil and there will always be evil. But there has always been good, and there is good now.” – Dr Maya Angelou.