By Sinead O’Connor
Early on in March I held a workshop on balancing Shiva and Shakti energy. As it is difficult to take everything in at a workshop I thought I would recap for this months feature. It also happens to be one of my favourite yoga topics.
What first sticks out in my mind when I think of Shiva and Shakti energy is Shiva being masculine energy while Shakti being feminine energy. However there is much more to it then that.
Shiva (also known as Purusha) penetrates or impragnates the act of creation. He infuses spirit with conciousness. Shiva is the steady and constant influence, he is our deep wisdom, the yearning to find out more about who we are, to learn the Truth. It is when our Shiva grows weary of the material world that we begin to “wake up” and we begin our search.
Shakti (also known as Prakriti) means Force or Empowerment. Shakti is the primordial cosmic energy and dynamic force that moves through the universe. It’s cosmic existence is liberation. She is the womb of the universe. She is mother earth, the moon, nature and all that lives.
Without Shiva there is no Shakti, without Shakti there is no Shiva. Together they are the duality of life; The Ying and Yang, the yes and no, the positive and negative, the push and pull, the sun and moon.
The Sun represents Shiva or masculine energy. The force of the sun gives light and life, nothing can exist without it just as nothing can exist without consciousness. The Moon is Shakti or feminine energy. She is subtle yet powerful and self illuminating. The Sun pushes while the moon pulls, magnetises, draws towards her. She is the power that influences the ocean’s, the tides and the menstrual cycle. She influences her Mother Earth, her Nature. The Sun provides motivation expansion. The Moon expresses this in her expression and her personality.
When we come to practice yoga asana (postures) we balance Shiva and Shakti. Shiva is the drive while Shakti is energy itself, the formation of the postures. Shiva is awareness of our breath while Shakti is the awareness of the body, the sensations we feel, the poise. When we lengthen our bodies to develop flexibility we are in the mode of Shakti. When we pull the energy back up towards our joints creating strength, we are in the mode of Shiva. Maintaining the constant steady flow of breath that we move to is Shiva, while the freedom and expression of our movement to that breath is Shakti. When we sit in meditation and focus on our breath we combine Shiva and Shakti. The breath of life is Shiva, Shakti is life itself.
Below are a list of Masculine and feminine energies taken from the Anusara Teachers Handbook.