What is Shakti?

What is Shakti?

yoga teacher trainingBy Faye Martins

In Kundalini Yoga schools, the term shakti is used often. It refers both to feminine divine energy and a goddess. The definition of shakti means sacred empowerment. It is the sacred primordial dynamic energy that pulsates throughout the universe. Shakti is also the Hindu personification of the divine feminine energy that animates all living things. She is known as the divine mother in Hinduism. She is not only an agent of creation, she is also a catalyst for change. Shakti is said to exist independently, while being interdependent with the entire cosmos.

The Goddess Shakti is also know as Lord Shiva’s consort. It is said that unless she and Shiva unite, the potential of the universe is nullified. A wonderful story out of Hindu mythology that illustrates this point is as follows. One day, in a remote mountainous area of India, Shankaracharya refused to believe in the existence of Shakti. He adamantly only prayed to Lord Shiva. A few days later, he was completely spent, without any energy at all. He lay down on the ground like a dead man. He was unable to move at all. He was quite dismayed because he was a great devotee of Lord Shiva.

Eventually, he began to pray for respite and the Goddess Shakti appeared. She told him that it was she, and only she, who gave him the energy to move through the world. With the bestowal of her grace, Shankarcharya was able to move again. He was not only able to move again, Shakti led him into the depths of his own heart, the hub of all sacred places.

Shakti and Shiva are two sides of the same coin. Shiva is the masculine energy of the power of creation and Shakti is the female energy. Shakti is the energy that breathes within you. She moves through you and pulsates in every cell of your body. Shiva and Shakti are like the moon and the stars. They are like the light and the flame of a fire – Inseparable, yet unique in and of themselves. They are present in both the manifested and absolute aspects of existence.

The term shakti is used to describe both a Hindu goddess and a creative, feminine energy. The Goddess is referred to as the great mother in Hinduism, because it is only from her essence that the universe is able to manifest. The underlying creative, pulsating, vibrant, feminine energy of the universe is also referred to as shakti.

Yoga training has many faces and the majority of our students tend to be interested in Yoga as a physical exercise. If you are a Hatha Yoga instructor, the above mentioned information may be interesting to you, but students in physical classes tend to be more interested in movement. Therefore, depending on your school, you may decide to present any information about mythology, philosophy and theory in a workshop setting. 

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