by Kelly Seiz
Women's Power Space is a new initiative in Poughkeepsie that uses yoga, arts, and collaboration to create positive mind-body connections.
They're looking to create a community based on feminist, LGBTQ, and anti-racist principles, to eventually become a physical space where people are comfortable practicing yoga, collaborating on projects, or open a dialogue on marginalization.
“The initiative tends to be for and by women of color....but it’s really inclusive of everyone," says Abby Nathanson, the executive director. “You could say it’s for historically marginalized people.”
Right now, Women's Power Space is working with Poughkeepsie schools, the Repair Café, the Mobile Farmer's Market, and a pizza shop. Since their message is so all-inclusive, they're virtually unlimited when it comes to spaces to promote it.
For example, they have yoga pizza parties.
"You do your juice cleanse, you wear the Lululemons...there's very much an image of yoga," Nathanson explains. "We have yoga pizza parties...where we nourish our bodies with yoga, and nourish our bodies with pizza."
Their message is summed up by their Identity Consciousness Initiative, which specifically "advocates mindfulness and activism around issues of race, gender, class, and sexuality," according to their website.
In the long term, Nathanson wants to create specific programs under the initiative, but for now, she says, it permeates everything they do.
For example, they hand out consent cards in all of their free yoga classes. They encourage transparency with identity and the influence it has on their everyday lives.
They're currently working on Video Dialogue Project, a video series on "insightful and critical dialogues that radically re-shape narratives about identity." They're also working on conducting yoga classes alongside the Mobile Farmer's Market trucks.
With all of these projects underway, Nathanson says, curiosity is being stoked and interest is being voiced.
"It's just a matter of harnessing all of that energy into something that we could make happen together."