Woman Up!

Pump Iron, Bust a Move, and Meditate at Portland Monthly’s Woman Up!

In its second year, our weekend of wellness and empowerment will show you all kinds of ways to move, groove, and generally improve your current level of fun.

By Rebecca Jacobson April 27, 2018

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Liberation Barbell's Lacy Davis (bottom right) will lead a weightlifting sesh at this year's Woman Up! event.

Weightlifting. Dance. Meditation. Spin. Self-defense.

In one place? At the same time?! Better believe it—such activities (and more!) await you at Portland Monthly's second annual Woman Up! event, a weekend-long bonanza of wellness, empowerment, and other sorts of fun and inspiring stuff. (And also snacks and cocktails, because only monsters wouldn't supply such things.) For two days, May 12–13, we'll gather at Marylhurst University for female speakers and hands-on workshops, capping off with a pair of 5k or 10k races.

It's all part of how we bring our annual Oregon Woman issue—a look at some of the state's most dynamic female leaders and leaders—into the live, 3-D space (though we're sure it's only time before our magazine starts yammering and winking at you). Spoketh well-seasoned woman Kelly Clarke:

What’s this thing all about? I can’t really top the description from our editor in chief and honorary lady Zach Dundas:

Woman Up! channels the extraordinary transformative energy the magazine covers in its annual Oregon Woman issue, always a snapshot of the state’s most dynamic female leaders and thinkers. For Woman Up!’s IRL endeavor, our coverage comes alive to showcase the movements and people changing how Oregon looks, feels, and works, with an emphasis on health, wellness, and positive change. We all recognize that we’re living in extraordinary times. For all the relentlessness of our steamroller news cycle, a lot of good is being done, especially here in Portland. For one special weekend in May, you can plug into the power.”

While Saturday afternoon features art workshops, wine tasting, and tips on career domination (more on all of that here), the morning is all about health, wellness, and moving your body. We'll begin the day with yoga and breakfast, followed by a panel discussion called "What Healthy Really Looks Like." Then it's onto the breakout sessions, which is where you'll get to swing kettlebells, show off your fly dance moves, or, if that's all a little too much, sit in calm and mindful meditation. Here are a few highlights:

Lift weights with Lacy Davis, owner of Liberation Barbell, a feminist, queer-centric gym. We've been fans of Davis for a while—she wrote an illustrated memoir about overcoming anorexia and embracing body positivity in her own way (teaser: it doesn't involve weight loss), and she fights against bro vibes on the regular.

Franco Nieto of Northwest Dance Project will lead a mini-version of his Rock Your Body dance class—think contemporary-meets-salsa-meets-kickboxing, open to all levels and easy to follow, even if you didn’t spend your childhood in a leotard. Nieto isn't only one of the city's most arresting dancers, he's also a tireless, enthusiastic teacher, punctuating his soundtrack of Beyoncé, Adele, and Kesha with indecipherable yowls and yips of encouragement.

Ready for some kettlebell action? Tana Ross of Bleeding Hearts Kettlebell Club will school you (kindly and encouragingly!) in such movements as the hardstyle swing, the snatch, and the Turkish get-up. As the aforementioned Kelly Clarke wrote in January: "Ragtag, fun, and fiercely supportive, the gym’s name is no joke—it boasts both an intersectional feminist book club and a tractor tire spray-painted with the words 'TRUMP' and 'NAZIS' that members (from lesbian mamas to pastors with arms like hams) sometimes bash during class."

Hop on the bike with Jessi Duley, founder of PDX-born spin sensation BurnCycle. “What we do is so intense, you can’t think about anything else," Duley says. (Fear not: she adds that afterwards, “people feel empowered and victorious.") Duley recently launched the Lab x Burn in Southeast's Goat Blocks, which she calls "a test kitchen for innovative cross training."

Slow things down with Rena Satre Meloy, cofounder of Pause Meditation studio (a downtown haven where you can zone out, even amid the chaos of urban life). As we wrote in January, "The studio embraces a secular practice, presenting traditional Buddhist and spiritual teachings in a scientific light." Adds Satre Meloy: “While we draw from the ancient wisdom traditions, we’re heavy into neuroscience and science of wellness. Our goal is to invite people from all walks of life, whether you have a spiritual background or not.”

And that's only half of what's on offer—there's also a Barre3 workout, Kimberly Alexander and Melissa Sher of Point Gym and Kitchen, and self-defense with Carolyne Haycraft and Shaymaa Taha of EMERJ-SafeNow, "an equity-based violence prevention organization that promotes healthy lives and and safe communities." Rounding out the roster are Training Day's Megan Danielle Ursin, "who uses analogy and visualization to make the science of human biomechanics come alive for everyone she teaches," and MegaBurn Fitness, which employs a Pilates-esque machine for high-intensity, low-impact workouts. Find the full list here.

Pumped yet? We thought so.

Portland Monthly’s second annual Woman Up! event (May 12–13) brings together experts from across the city—and state—for a weekend of wellness and a celebration of the bold women shaping Oregon’s future and those who’ve paved the way. Get tickets!

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