Stand In Your Power

A blog post by Stephanie Bersh, Yoga Teacher at Simply Bee

This past month I had the opportunity to lead the first STAND IN YOUR POWER (SIP) workshop with my co-worker Beth Dostal.  Check out our video tribe to these powerful and strong young girls.

The SIP workshop was created to teach tween girls how to stand in their power when dealing with friendship drama cliques, and relational aggression. Girls learn tools to cope with challenges such as gossip, sharing secrets, exclusion and general "mean girl" dynamics.  When we created this workshop, we knew it would be a powerful topic for girls. However, we did not anticipate the raw emotion of how these girls connected and supported each other.

This workshop demographic was aimed at middle school girls as this is where we tend to see friendship circles change.  Girls get caught up in meeting new friends and old friends get left behind. Instead, the majority of the girls that signed up were age 10.  Elementary school girls were dealing with the same issues as tweens; friendship drama, mean girl dynamics, and exclusion.

Our goal for the workshop was to set a safe space for the girls to connect, and feel comfortable talking about their own friendship drama or experience with exclusion, and to learn tools to help them navigate these situations.

After connecting with each other and sharing stories, Beth lead the girls through a role play activity to teach girls how to stand in their own power.   As participants bravely made their way into the circle to roleplay a randomly selected social situation, I found my heart beating wildly, remembering my own tween years. I watched Beth give these girls tools and words to stand up for themselves and for what mattered to them.   She taught them to recognize how a real friend would act and to have the confidence to walk away from someone who is not being supportive like a true friend. When one girl struggled with her role play, everyone rallied around her offering support and encouragement. As I witnessed all of this, I realized how these tools would have been invaluable in my own tween years. Learning these skills at a young age could have changed my own trajectory with friendships.  As a grown woman, I might not have to worry about where I sit at the lunch table, but navigating friendships, exclusion, and standing tall in my own power can still be a challenge.

As we moved into the yoga portion of our workshop, the girls learned coping skills using breath and movement. We practiced breathing to create calm and reduce anxiety. We learned how breath can help change how we react in situations. We worked through group yoga poses to show what happens when we support each other and what happens when we don’t (imagine human dominos...). We moved into poses that showed us how strong we can be inside and out and we found a way to celebrate every girl in that room.

What we experienced in this workshop was incredibly powerful.  There was a notable shift in these girls from feeling alone and small to opening their hearts to others and standing tall. There was empowerment in the stories they shared and the tools they learned.  The outpouring of encouragement and working together to support and hold each other up is something we will never forget.

We know leading these 26 girls in SIP was just the beginning.  Later this month, we will have the opportunity to share this workshop with 60 tween girls in a school assembly.  Our vision is that every tween girl will have the tools to know how to STAND IN THEIR OWN POWER.

For more information on how to bring SIP into your school or private friend group, contact us and check out our SIP page.