Yoga Myths – Shiva Lord of the Dance.

“For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.”

-Cynthia Occelli

For the last couple of weeks we have been exploring transformation by inviting in the energies of Shiva and Shakti. Shiva is the yang to Shakti’s yin, the masculine to Shakti’s feminine. Both energies exist in all of us, and both are needed to bring about transformation.  Sometimes transformation doesn’t come easily. To change means to let go of old ideas, patterns, and ways of acting that we’ve held for so long, they seem embedded in our personality. Sometimes we work to change on our own when we realize that we are repeating negative cycles. Albert Einstein sums this up nicely, “We cannot solve  problems with the same mindset that created them.”

Sometimes transformation is brought on out of the blue by a loss, an illness, an unseen change. These are the ones that feel like destruction, the ones where it can sometimes take years to recognize the growth. We might never look back on it and say, “hey, I’m actually glad that happened.” but maybe one day we notice how we grew, how our heart expanded, how we got stronger, and how we started taking more risks that were beneficial for us then we did before. This turbulent transformation shows up in the masculine as Shiva, or in the feminine energy Shakti, in the form of the goddesses Kali or Durga. Like in a forest struck by lightning, what we often see is only damage and loss, but if we look carefully we see that new life emerges out of the charred ground.

'Green Tara' by Zeng Hao. (Dun Huang Art Studio). Not a "Hindu" Goddess but a Goddess of Tibetan Buddhism. She is a female Bodhisattva in Mahayana Buddhism and who also appears as a female Buddha in Vajrayana Buddhism. She is known as the "Mother of Liberation", and represents the virtues of success in work and achievements. In Japan she is known as 'Tara Bosatsu', and is little-known as 'Duōluó Púsà' in Chinese Buddhism.

This week we focused on Shiva, the Lord of the Dance.  As I describe Shiva, keep in mind that there seems to be as many interpretations of the meaning of his pose as there are individual yoga practices. In class, we went from the traditional way we see Shiva and transitioned into Dancers pose. Shiva is seen dancing on the demon symbolizing ignorance, his leg lifted playfully as he dances. One palm is open to the sky holding a flame to burn through ignorance and old conditioning, and the other palm faces towards us warding off fear. Shiva is encircled by a ring of flames symbolizing our samskara’s (etched patterns, ruts, continuing cycles that we can deem as positive or negative). Shiva’s attitude is playful, detached from ego, unresistant to change, he invites us to let go of the habits that hold us back (samskaras) and to join his dance.

Evolved Living

Source: Kerri Neild – Westcoast Hot Yoga Teacher / White Rock

Categories: Wisdom Wednesday