Rekha Govindan Kurup is a Transpersonal Women’s Spirituality Life Coach and Ritualist, Creative facilitator, Women's Moon Circle Facilitator & Trainer, and Expressive Arts Therapist. She is also, the co-founder and director of The She Stands Tall Project LLP (STTP) that offers a diverse array of workshops that support Women and Girls to Stand Tall in the Knowing, Embodiment and Expression of Body, Sexuality and Self - wholly, naturally and sacredly. She facilitates Women’s circles, Authentic Self explorations, Shakti Woman journeys, Women’s Rites and Wisdom learning containers. Her work is founded in facilitating a unique transformative learning model based on a whole person philosophy that addresses six areas of human development namely the physical, emotional, intellectual/psychological, relational, creative and spiritual such that a living spirituality, the creative arts, the body, and the participant all become part of the transformative exploration. Her expertise is in women’s life-cycle spirituality, creative arts integration, indigenous matriarchal wisdom, ritual making, polarity work and circle wisdom.
The pedagogy of her work is founded in her Master of Arts degree in Women’s Spirituality from the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology (ITP) in Northern California. The program gave her the unique opportunity to locate, create and express the sacred arts from creative writing to drumming, from visual arts to embodied movement and ritual creation. It also, supported her to learn from scholars and foremothers of women’s spirituality who were also, activists, spiritual leaders and practitioners, shamanic healers, and women with business backgrounds whose expertise covered a wide range of subjects spanning different cultures, spiritual and religions traditions, and indigenous practices. As part of her Master’s thesis, Rising Daughter, Silent Mother and Fading Grandmothers - a study of female sexuality within the matrilineal Nair community of North Malabar, Rekha interviewed and archived oral her-stories of grandmothers within her near and extended matrilineal Nair ancestry. Her work has been presented at conferences across the world and received great appreciation. It also, laid the foundation for She Stands Tall Project.
What started as women circles in early 2011 in California to bring the wisdom from her M.A program to women has became a global phenomenon. In 2013, Rekha Kurup ended 15 years of her life in California, and moved to Bangalore to establish STTP LLP in partnership with her mother. Today she is focused on bringing alive a diverse array of workshops and programs to women across the world through the integration of the women's circle, creative arts, experiential embodied work as well as scholarly exploration. The unique models and techniques of STTP promote individual and collective healing, reflection, and self-authorization for its participants and their communities.
Incorporation of Visual Arts, Movement, Improv, Story making in combination with transpersonal women's spirituality is at the heart of Rekha Kurup's work. Rekha was first introduced to movement at the 5-Rhythms community studio in Mountain View (California) where she was a regular. Thereafter she had the opportunity to participate in a doctoral dissertation research study of Dr Valerie Sher titled Women's Embodiment of the Feminine through Movement at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology. It had a profound impact on her life, and also, propelled her to enter the transpersonal Women's Spirituality M.A program which integrated the Sacred Arts with Embodied Movement. Another project which contributed to deepening Rekha's relationship with her body and sexuality was being a participant in the research study of Robin Ruth titled Ecofemography: Photographing Women in Nature and the Inward Movement of Beauty.
Rekha also, has a versatile background of working across corporates, non profits, universities, schools and with a diverse population ranging from kids to the elderly. As a volunteer with the Art of Living foundation, she hosted and facilitated stress-management workshops, inter-faith seminars, community dialogue forums, peace concerts in Milpitas and San Jose, California. In 2006, she chose to end her decade long IT career to focus on working in the non profit community. She volunteered for 2 years as a leadership mentor for youth at the local university and high schools in San Jose and Milpitas respectively. In 2009, she took up the official position of West Coast Regional Youth Director of YES! For Schools, a youth development and educational initiative of the International Association for Human Values. Under four years of her leadership, the program taught life skills and breathing techniques founded in the yoga philosophy to thousands of youth, educators and parents across the public and private schools of San Francisco Bay Area. Today, Rekha Kurup has been an instructor with the Art of Living Foundation for more than a decade. She teaches the Happiness Program for adults, YES! program for youth and ART Excel for children.
Meet Rekha Govindan Kurup. Founder - The She Stands Tall Project
"My personal spirituality is deeply rooted in the earth-based indigenous oral traditions, and my knowing is deeply influenced by the spiritual wealth of my beloved motherland, Bharath (or India) and within her, my matriliny from Kerala. Both have deeply influenced, infused and inspired my spiritual values with their many colors, forms, flavors and tastes. In the last seven years, I have led various workshops and speaking engagements, hosted community cultural rituals, held numerous women circles, organized - led and participated in several women and youth empowerment initiatives, presented at various conferences, published my first book and moved back to India - among many other things.
His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (http://www.srisriravishankar.org) is my deepest inspiration, and also, my spiritual Guru. He has given me the experience of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (One Universal Family) at the deepest cellular level. I am a practitioner of yoga, pranayama, breath-work and meditation through the Art of Living Foundation. The transformation I have experienced through these practices have propelled my spiritual growth and direction. I also realise that there is not one way but many to get to a destination. And Living Life is about Celebrating that journey of getting there."
MAY EVERY DAUGHTERRESPOND TO HER INNER CALLINGFEARLESSLY
"My life has been my GREATEST Teacher. Feels like I have lived many lives in this one! Professionally I began my career as a Computer Engineer with a decade of working experience. Then shifted fields to just follow my heart - worked, volunteered, mentored in a variety of areas (school, universities, non-profits, senior centers, government offices, companies, businesses) engaged with different age groups, diverse population of people. Every experience has taught me and made me who I am today. One thing I have learned is that - it is not any skill or degree that allows us to follow our heart but faith & courage - because when we do follow our heart - every skill follows. My favorite role is that of a boundary weaver - a word gifted to me by one of my professors of Women's Spirituality, Dr. Dianne Jenett. That place where opposites intersect, meet, stand together, exchange energy and transcend beyond the two to experience the One - that space of inter-sectionality inspires me, moves me, teaches me, expands me, shakes me, pushes me, pulls me, uplifts me"
Additionally, Rekha Kurup is a creative facilitator trained with Peggy Sue and Charlie Murphy of the PYE Global. She incorporates several tools into her group facilitation work. She also, is deeply inspired by Natalie Rogers Creative connection and person-cantered philosophy that interweaves all the expressive arts -- movement, sound, drawing, painting, writing, and guided imagery -- to tap into the deep wellspring of creativity within us. In 2015, she also, completed a year long certification in Expressive Arts Therapy from EAST-WEST School of Psychology and Women’s Christian College in Chennai. Recently she also, transformed her passion for sacred drumming to become a Community Drum Jam Facilitator with Arthur Hall. Her women's circle's often incorporate drumming.
Rekha Kurup is a recipient of the Vital Voices Fellowship for 2015. She has also, won several awards from the city of Milpitas and Santa Clara County for her contribution to schools and the community.
Rekha Kurup is also, one of the 51 Indian Women featured as part of the the #MyIdentityMyPride series by acclaimed photographer Somsubhro Sarkaar.
Her hobbies include traveling to sacred sites, gathering indigenous tools, cooking, sacred arts, writing poetry, facilitating and interviewing grandmothers.
There is more to the Woman that is Me, You and Her than We allow ourselves to See!
There is more to the Body that is Me, You and Her than We allow ourselves to EmBody - Be!
There is more to the Sexuality that oozes through My, Your and Her Nourishing Breasts, Foundational Hips,
Birthing Womb and Sacred Yoni than the roles, rules, sacrifices - We are Bound To & By!
There is more to the Red Blood that flows from Me, You and Her than the Shame We feel for it!
There is more to the Darkness that is in Me, You and Her than the Fear We have for it!
There is more to the Mystery that is Me, You and Her than We give ourselves the opportunity to Discover!
There is more to the Magic that is Me, You and Her than We allow ourselves to Remember and Re-member!
There is more to the Power that is Me, You and Her than the Force We Fight with - Alone, Away and Afar!
There is more to the Me Holding Space With You and Her - In Sisterhood than
the Separation We Embrace so Willingly!
There is more to the Me Healing with You and Her - Shamanic-ally than
Any Healing inside any organized institution!
There is more to the Religion that is in Me, You and Her Nature-ally Earth-ly in 'Rtu than
Any that we practice so obediently!
There is more to the Strength that is Me, You and Her Collectively than
Me Against You and Her warring Havoc on our Bodies, and our Lands!
There is more to the Every-thing that is Me, You and Her than
We ever give ourselves the choice to know, to Discover, To Be, To Embody!
It is time - to Wake up from the Deep Slumber of Spirit!
The Ancient Mother-line is beckoning us to Remember, Re-member Who We Are!