Yoga is a complex physical, mental and spiritual discipline that involves more than a set of exercises to keep your body strong and healthy. One popular aspect of yoga is Shakti, which refers to a goddess who represents the feminine energy of creation, also known as the divine mother. The god Shiva represents the male energy of creation.
Shakti represents the feminine life energy that courses through everything in the universe. The earth, the heavens and all living things are made up of this creative energy as it mixes and dances with Shiva, the male creative energy. Shakti creative energy makes it possible to live, think and act by powering your mind with emotions, memories and desires. Shakti is also considered the essential energy needed for physical health and vibrancy.
Mental aspects of Shakti yoga involve simple everyday experiences and how you handle them internally. The ability to relax deeply when you want to and confront the stresses of life with confidence, strength and flexibility is important. Shakti energy strengthens your ability to take in all of life's positive energies while expelling all of life's negative energies. The creative energy of Shakti is an internal resource that you should devote to the growth and awakening of your consciousness and spirit.
Physical aspects of Shakti yoga involve linking your breathing with dynamic movements that are meant to awaken the Shakti energy within. Instead of the more static poses usually found in yoga, Shakti yoga includes flowing motions that open up your mind and body to release tension. One exercise that is considered important to Shakti yoga is the Sun Salutation, which is used to greet the new day with 12 invigorating movements.
Shakti yoga is different than traditional yoga, but it often incorporates poses and principles from other forms of yoga. Any experience you have with other forms of yoga will be helpful, but you may find different Shakti yoga instructors will teach their class differently. Your best option is to try out Shakti yoga sessions with several different instructors until you find a comfortable environment. Don't forget to consult your physician before beginning any exercise program, including yoga.
Scott Friedman is a writer based in Bend, Ore. Friedman was a technical writer for a USAID contractor and a community health system. He writes for various magazines and websites while running a proposal development firm, BDC International. He holds a B.A. in international affairs from George Washington University.