Women’s Circles: What They Are, Why You Need One and How to Host
Women’s circles are a budding trend in New York, LA and everywhere in between. Whether you’re circle-curious, have never heard of them or have been to one and are now ready to host, here’s the who, what, why and how.
Who Should Attend a Women’s Circle
You and a group of like-minded women. Circle sizes may vary from small (five to 15 if you want to focus on sharing, deep conversation or making new friends) to larger (more than 50 if you’re coming together to meditate or learn from a guest speaker).
What Is a Women’s Circle
Gathering in community to learn, share and connect. You may pay for a learning experience at a yoga studio or other wellness-oriented boutique, you may attend a friend’s gratis or you may be ready to host your own!
Why Should You Join a Women’s Circle
Gathering in-person, with an open mind, open heart and a genuine desire to connect and learn is not only educational, it’s downright delightful. And according to one study, taking the time to build those social connections may even prolong your life.
As I chronicled in my book Where in the OM Am I?, women aren’t always nice to other women (see Vomiting Vicky, Phyllis and the mean girl gang in my yoga teacher training). So if you too have found yourself on the receiving end of girl-bullying, gossip, cattiness, exclusion or other mean-girl antics (and let’s be honest, anyone who’s gone to middle school, high school or even beyond has probably been a mean-girl victim at SOME point), attending a women’s circle can be an incredibly healing experience.
You may want to gather around a specific occasion (new moons are a popular theme), to learn or experiences something new or specific (I recently led a chakra-centered women’s circle meditation at WELL Summit Boston in April 2018), or you may just be seeking real conversation and deep connection in a world that is increasingly online and “filtered” in pursuit of social media perfection.
In fact, that sense of feeling less and less connected in an online world is what is driving many women to seek out IRL connection in women’s circles. But the need to gather in community (and the nourishment from doing so) actually dates back for centuries. If you read Anita Diamant’s The Red Tent, which just came out with a 20th anniversary edition, you’re familiar with the concept that women have been gathering in huts or tents to menstruate or give birth basically since time began.
In ancient cultures, wisdom was passed down orally, and in order to do that, you had to be together. WELL Summit speaker and celebrity doula Latham Thomas often talks about how women pass down wisdom within generations, cultures and communities.
Let’s face it: There is something fundamentally nourishing about gathering and sharing, whether that’s sharing wisdom, worries or even just a meal. So if you’re one of the many craving that sort of connection, let’s get to the how.
How to Host a Women’s Circle
If you want to simply attend a women’s circle, a quick Google search may turn up a local offering. If you’re ready to host, read on.
First get clear on what your goals are. Do you want to simply give your guests a chance to connect in-person? There is value in that. In fact, it’s been proven. A study by Harvard Medical School found that “Good connections can improve health and increase longevity.”
Perhaps you’re more interested in something a little more structured like inviting the ladies to get together to set intentions (and hold each other accountable, provide each other support). Maybe you’re gravitating towards the idea of meditating together? Or perhaps small-group learning is appealing and you’d like to invite in guest speakers to lead meditation, singing bowls, a drum circle, an astrology reading or any other topic that feels like it fits. The clearer you are on what you’re looking for, the likelier you are to feel fulfilled.
Second: Put feelers out to your crew. You may want to limit it to 10 to 15 women so that it feels intimate, safe to share and everyone has time to speak.
Third: Set a date. It may be quarterly on a solstice date, monthly on a new moon date or perhaps just a “First Friday” or “Second Saturday” sort of theme.
Finally: Get going! Whatever the specific angle, form or variety your women’s circle is, it will probably be fun and most definitely beneficial. But for the fact-loving folks amongst us, yes, that’s actually been proven. One Harvard study found, “Social connections like these not only give us pleasure, they also influence our long-term health in ways every bit as powerful as adequate sleep, a good diet and not smoking. Dozens of studies have shown that people who have satisfying relationships with family, friends and their community are happier, have fewer health problems and live longer.”
Now go forth and circle up—and know that the power of your intention will bring you what you need.
Want more info on how the moon impacts our lives? Read how to harness its power to reach your goals.