In order to support my great teacher, Sianna Sherman, along with Yoga Journal, who are kicking off the #yjgoddesschallenge, I wanted to take some time to share a little bit more about the focus of today’s challenge as well as make the most of an opportunity to share how goddess meditation & practice has been helpful in my life. Today’s challenge pose is Astavakrasana and in this challenge is dedicated to the fierce and loving goddess, Durga. I offer my thanks to Erin for playing with the poses with me this afternoon at Shine. We laughed our way through this challenging arm balance and then created a modified pose to share that could be a nice alternative to embodying the qualities of Durga.
My personal relationship with the goddess energy has been one of the highlights of my spiritual evolution. Growing up in a strong Catholic household, spiritual practice was familiar from the start. We said our prayers, went to church, and took religion classes in Catholic school. As a child I found comfort in believing that God loved me, would support the good, and punish the wicked. It was hard to experience the dissolution of that viewpoint as my awareness of the world around me expanded. I developed healthy questions and began to wonder why I felt disconnected from spirit. I’m grateful for the world religion classes that we were exposed to in our Catholic religion classes. Even though I didn’t share my excitement with my friends, I secretly loved learning about the buddha and experienced the liberating revelation that there are many paths to soulful living. I appreciate the great wisdom that is passed down through the diverse spiritual traditions and particularly resonate with the traditions who celebrate life and spirit in a more universal, rather than patriarchal system.
For me contemplation on different aspects of life, symbolized by the various deities (goddesses & gods) has allowed me to be more accepting and appreciate of the diversity of life. By taking time to look more closely at different aspects of life, we ourselves can learn to embody certain qualities in order to bring greater harmony into our lives and into the lives of those we share our space and time with. Over the years my understanding of the goddess energy continues to evolve as I both learn more from others and take time in meditation and practice to get to know the energy of each goddess.
If you are newer to goddess practice, you will quickly see that many of the deities share names and that many goddesses take different forms throughout the literature that has been passed down over time. Today’s goddess ~ Durga who also manifests in the form of Kali ~ holds a special place in my heart though for me I resonate more with Durga in the form of Parvati. Durga/Parvati embrace life both as a mother and as a spiritual warrior. Durga is fierce and loving, filled with the courage to do what is in service of the greater good no matter what the challenges are that arise in her path. For me Durga/Parvati is the ultimate earth mother. Fully awake and alive in the world, Durga asks us to dive deep into the ocean of our hearts, to remember what it is that feeds our soul, and to make a stand for love to take root in our lives.
If you are looking for some more insight into Goddess Yoga Practice, check out Sianna Sherman’s blog post on Yoga Journal here…. http://www.yogajournal.com/yoga-101/what-is-goddess-yoga/