Through our own challenging times, and possibly perplexed foreheads, we too gain the strength, love and wisdom to persevere. Yoga teaches us that we cannot always control what is happening around us but we can control our reactions. The strengths that we gain while practicing on the mat, transfer to internal strength off of the mat.
July is my favorite month! Maybe it’s because it’s my birth month and I absolutely love the heat which reminds me of the Sanskrit word, Tapas. Tapas literally means austerity and is one of the Niyamas, or moral observances. Tapas is as much a part of yoga as are asanas or poses. Tapas can also translate as burning through the heat, conquering resistance and therefore transforming.
Along with the heat of summer, the heated fact that I’m getting older is upon me. Lately, when I look in the mirror, I see my mother’s reflection looking back at me. At times, its it’s surprising and quite frankly, a bit scary, and at other times, I’m in acceptance and through her reflection, I have learned to love my mother EVEN more, as well as, my self.
Me, my mother and my grandson
Maybe it’s the heat, but lately, I’ve been hearing how challenging peoples lives have been, and it’s been the same for me as well. It was one of those months with a lot of praying on my knees. My salvation came through not only my daily practice of yoga but also the through the grace of opening up my concerns to my own mother, and to meditations focused on inviting the energy of the Divine Feminine into my heart.
One meditation in particular that helped me was a healing meditation with a focus on the Hindu Goddess Kali. At first glance, Goddess Kali looks quite frightful as she stands on her husband, Shiva, while wearing a necklace of skulls; however, after learning more about this picture, one sees the beauty in Goddess Kali.
I first learned about Goddess Kali while simultaneously going through, my second divorce, a child custody battle, severe chronic pain and the death of my younger sister. Whew…it’s amazing I made it out with some sanity. Since I was in the midst of a divorce and Kali appeared to have won a battle while standing on top of her husband, I was particularly enticed by this Goddess 😉 I later found out that Her necklace of skulls are actually the Sanskrit alphabet and represent Divine Wisdom
Her husband is at her feet, because she was in a battle which took over her and once her husband threw himself at her feet, she saw him and realized her actions and was able to stop fighting.
In the Hindu pantheon of Goddesses, Kali is considered to be one of three aspects of Goddess Durga. The different aspects of the Hindu Goddesses are said to represent the different parts of ourselves. Kali was said to have emerged out of Durga’s forehead when Durga was trying to fight demons that kept multiplying and coming back at her. In Durga’s moment of frustration, she creased her forehead and out came Kali. Kali then is said to have licked up all of the demons and ate them! I believe we all are familiar with that crease that happens in our foreheads when we are perplexed.
Goddess Kali, is known as a dark goddess because she shows us our shadow selves, or she lifts Maya, veils of illusion, and allows to to seek deeper into our truth, she takes us further into our own power and transforms darkness into love and light.
The work of transformation through the energy of the dark goddess’s is not easy work, but each time I do this work, my heart catapults deeper into my own true essence, which is in the heart of each of us as the pure, peace and love of the Holy Spirit.
Ram Prasad, the nineteenth-century Bengali poet, sings a song to Kali and describes her as being our universe.
“O Mother! Thou art present in every form.
Thou art in the entire universe and in its tiniest and most trifling things,
Wherever I go, and wherever I look
I see Thee, Mother, present in thy cosmic form.
The whole world – earth, water, fire, and air-
All are thy forms, O Mother, the whole world of birth and death.
O mother, who can understand thy Maya?
Thou art a mad Goddess; Thou hast made all mad with attachment.
Such is the agony caused by the mad Goddess
That none can know her aright.”
Ram Prasad also says, “All sufferings vanish if she grants her grace.”
Blissful Yoga has some new offerings to help each of us with the practice of letting go, from weekly meditations, to workshops, Yin Teacher Training (which is an absolutely transforming experience and not just for yoga teachers), and my own daughter, Abigail Purcell will begin teaching Zumba!
In Love, Service & Wisdom,