Inspired by the Indian female goddesses, shakti yoga is a powerful form of yoga. From poses to benefits, here’s everything about shakti yoga!
Hey all! I’m mesmerized by the fact that there are so many types of yoga. While the basic ideology remains the same, the ways they are practiced are different. I have been a yoga student for almost 6 years now, but I still feel there’s so much to learn and explore.
When I started writing about different types of yoga, I thought there might be five or six different variations of yoga. But I was so wrong. From the classic hatha yoga to prana yoga, from the newer aerial and power yoga, the list is endless. And of course, each time I write or read articles on yoga written by my SlubTeam mates, it not only amazes me but also motivates me to try them.
Now whosoever complains that yoga is boring or plain or bland, I suggest you all to take a look at our yoga series. I bet you’ll be surprised. So, coming back, I’m writing about shakti yoga. As interesting as the name sounds, this form of yoga has a few interesting facts, too! Let’s check out!
What Does Shakti Mean?
In Hindi and a lot of other Indian languages, shakti translates to power or energy. According to Hinduism, Shakti is also the name of a goddess (Lord Shiva’s wife), which refers to divine feminine power and is referred to a goddess.
What is Shakti Yoga?
Shakti translates to power in Hindi. It is believed to be the basic element for any change in the universe and also in the creation. Shakti yoga revolves around sun salutation or suryanamaskar, sitting and standing poses.
Philosophy Behind Shakti Yoga
Shakti symbolizes the feminine energy that is drawn from Indian god, Shiva. According to Jeff Migdow, MD, the former director of the Kripalu Yoga teacher training program, and current director of Prana Yoga teacher training in New York City, “Shiva is the embodiment of the destructive/transformative aspect in the universe,”
Migdow also states, “He is a male energy or deity, one of the most revered in Hinduism due to his transformative nature. It is said the void that exists before the physical universe is created is the essence of Shiva. He is said to be the father of yoga.” So, Shiva is responsible for the destruction of ego.
Shiva’s wife, Shakti, represents feminine energy that fills the universe. She’s also the divine mother. Basically, she’s the female version of Lord Shiva. In ancient times, people used to chant as “Shiva Shakti”. So, shakti yoga is a combination of both characteristics of Lord Shiva and goddess Shakti.
Who is Shakti Yoga for?
Shakti yoga is recommended for women of all ages. It can be practiced by anyone. Expecting mothers should consult doctor before practicing it.
Benefits of Shakti Yoga
1. It improves blood circulation of the body. Due to active breathing in and out of air, lungs are ventilated and the blood is oxygenated.
2. When practiced at a faster rate, it aids in weight loss just like any cardio session.
3. Shakti yoga is based on feminine energy and helps to promote regular menstrual cycle.
4. Sweating it out detoxes the blood and benefits skin and hair. One can retain beautiful skin even in old age.
5. It stabilizes the thyroid glands by reducing anxiety and induces calmness.
Can Shakti Power Yoga Help with Weight Loss?
Shakti yoga, when combined with other forms of cardio exercises and by maintaining a proper diet, will be helpful for weight loss.
Shakti Yoga Poses
The sun salutation or suryanamaskar defines shakti power yoga. Sometimes, a few more poses are added along with, depending on the instructor. Suryanamaskar has 12 steps and you need a yoga mat to practice it. You can practice indoors or outdoors, too! Let’s check out the poses of suryanamaskar. Also, watch the video for shakti yoga for a complete workout session.
1. Prayer Pose
Stand at the edge of your mat by balancing your weight on both legs. Relax your shoulders and bring both your palms together in front of the chest to prayer position. Concentrate on your breathing, too.
2. Raised Arm Pose
Inhale and lift the arms up and backward keeping the biceps close to the ears. And stretch your body from heels to the tips of your fingers.
3. Hand to Foot Pose
Exhale and bend forward from the waist. Bring your hands down to the floor beside the feet. Make sure your legs are straight.
4. The Lunge or Equestrian Pose
Inhale and bring your right leg as far as possible and the knee to the floor and look up while exhaling.
5. The Slanting Plank or Stick Pose
Inhale and take the left leg back and bring the whole body in a straight line. Keep your hands straight.
Gently bring your knees down to the floor and exhale. Make sure the hips are slightly hunched and the two hands, two feet, two knees, chest and chin (eight parts of the body) should touch. Hence, it is called as saluting with eight parts.
7. Cobra Pose
Slide forward and raise chest up looking forward into a cobra posture. Try to keep your shoulders away from the ears and relaxed. Breathe in and push your chest forward. Breathe out to push the naval down to relax. Stretch as much as you can, without forcing or overstraining yourself.
8. Mountain Pose
Lift the hips and the chest downwards to make an inverted V pose. Try to keep your heels on the ground so that the tailbone is pushed upwards by stretching.
9. Equestrian Pose
Again perform equestrian pose by bringing the right foot in between both the hands, left knee down with hips pressed.
10. Hand to Foot Pose
Breathing out, bring the left foot forward, keep the palms on the floor and your legs straight.
11. Raised Arm Pose
Breathing out, straighten your body and bring the arms down.
12. Prayer Pose
Relax and bring your hands in front of your chest to prayer position.
Shakti Yoga Wear
Tee shirt with yoga pants or leggings are ideal for practicing shakti yoga. You can also go for a sports bra with yoga pants.
So, that was all about shakti yoga. Hope you found it helpful and inspirational. Are you gonna try? Let us know by tweeting @shilpa1ahuja!
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