Shakti Yoga

SHAKTI YOGA

Shakti is a prakrity, the nature and the existing force of the creation. The material life and cosmos is Shakti.

The five great elements is Shakti. The panch koshas( five sheaths)  are Shakti. The Ahamkara (ego) and buddhi (intellect) are Shakti. The nature is Shakti and the ever existing atoms and expressions is Shakti.

As a deity of Shakti, the mother Goddess, also known as Ambaa (mother), or Devi (Goddess) is considered to be the personification of Cosmic Energy in its dynamic form. It is believed that Shakti is the power and energy with which the Universe is created, preserved, destroyed and recreated (by the trinity of Hinduism Bhrahma, Vishnu and Shiva).

 

Tantric practices involving chants, gestures and yantras (geometric shapes) also govern the worship of Shakti.

Shakti means “power”; in Hindu philosophy and theology Shakti is understood to be the active dimension of the godhead, the divine power that underlies the godhead’s ability to create the world and to display itself. Within the totality of the godhead, Shakti is the complementary pole of the divine tendency toward quiescence and stillness. It is quite common, furthermore, to identify Shakti with a female being, a goddess, and to identify the other pole with her male consort.

The term Shakti refers to multiple ideas. Its general definition is dynamic energy that is responsible for creation, maintenance, and destruction of the universe. It is identified as female energy because Shakti is responsible for creation, as mothers are responsible for birth. Without Shakti, nothing in this universe would happen; she stimulates Shiva, which is passive energy in the form of consciousness, to create. Ardhanarishvara, a Hindu deity who is half male and half female, is an iconic representation of this idea. The deity is equally male and female, illustrating that the creation, maintenance, and destruction of the universe is dependent on both forces.

It is believed that the cosmic grand design is theoretically a triangular structure of equal sides. The three points of the triangle or the “trine structure of macrocosmic system” are occupied by three ultimate manifestations of the trinity: BrahmaVishnu and Rudra. The central point or the ultimate gravitational presence of the trine structure is occupied by “Shakti” which is self-born, and is unable to be created or destroyed by any other existence in the cosmos which motivates the trinity from the ultimate center. This ultimate indestructible gravity known as “Shakti” in its three transformative form is connected to the trinity separately. She is connected to Brahma through her creative motherly form with Rajas Guna; to Rudra through her destructive elderly form with Tamas Guna and to Vishnu through her neutral meditating form through her Sattva Guna. From Shaktisangama Tantra:

Woman is the creator of the universe, the universe is her form; woman is the foundation of the world, she is the true form of the body.

In woman is the form of all things, of all that lives and moves in the world. There is no jewel rarer than woman, no condition superior to that of a woman.

The issue of quality of life has to be seen from both material and spiritual perspectives. The material issue can be simplified by considering it as an expression of the spiritual perspective. Indeed the spiritual side of quality of life takes credit for the material one that becomes more of an attitude to material things. In own turn, the spiritual side of quality of life has to be seen from body and mind perspectives. The body issue is essential, as the harmonization of body is a solid base for addressing the mind that is the tool of extension, the organ or function through which we experience the world.

The Yoga Sutras of Paatanjali talks in Chapter III about various Siddhis (“powers resulting from Yoga’). It is an exposition of what a Drashta can do with his/ her abilities. Shakti yoga practice is also categorized in three levels. These style of practices dynamic in nature and including purifying practices, redirecting energy within yourself. It is the mind which assumes the form of that particular action or thing. All Siddhis are products of the mind. This is where most of us get confused to believe that the Siddhis are powers of creation or destruction that can be acquired by somebody and the role of God can be obtained. All Siddhis are powers of awareness, the holder is indeed an out of ordinary person able to extend own mind beyond unimaginable things for most of us.

In practical terms the body has to be cleaned of impurities, i.e. toxins, etc., for this a multitude of Yoga techniques are used. The reason is that the toxins in the body corrupt the perception in various degrees. It is the quality of perception that gives in fact the quality of life. Shakti Yoga pays a careful attention to body as the vehicle of experience and host of mind. The issue of mind is far more complex, it requires a certain degree of abstraction as the mind experiences are much different from body experiences which do end up ultimately as mind experiences. One of the major mind experiences is awareness. It can be said in simple words that in Yoga the quality of life is determined by the level of awareness (consciousness).

The technique of practice in this style requires high functional training, practical experience with a number of different strength elements, «skilled» endurance, lightning-like reaction and impeccable will control.

The Shakti Yoga practices increase awareness, which is of various forms. However, a more refined awareness comes from advanced practices. The preliminary stages of Shakti Yoga related to body, start with a gradual elimination of body toxins and renunciation to various addictions by the practices of Shatkarma ( Six internal cleansing process propounded by Maharishi Svatmarama in Hatha yoga Pradipika) , then the first fruits of practices come as awareness of  joy of the five senses. Other practices are the use of Pranayama (“lengthening of the breath”) by which the awareness of the lightness of the body is obtained. Shakti yoga includes unique basic Yoga techniques, everyone of it having specific awareness experiences.