Yoga with Melissa 148, Shiva Series: Yoga for Calming Anger, Shiva and Kali and our True Self Beneath Ego Identification

by Melissa West on October 18, 2012

In today’s story, Durga is invoked to battle a demon called Taktabija and his armies. Durga comes to this battle with her feminine warriors called the Matrikas, also known as the Mothers. As the battle began, the Matrikas destroyed the armies of Raktibija, while Durga concentrated on Raktabija himself. As the legend goes, whenever Durga struck the demon, each drop of blood that would spill from him, dropped to the ground, and a new demon formed. In no time at all there were hundreds of Raktabijas that were multiplying at a rapid rate.

In the story, Durga transforms herself into Kali who drinks every drop of blood of Raktabija, saving the entire universe. In one legend there is fear that Kali will not stop there but devour the entire world. To deter her, Shiva smears himself with the holy cremation ash and lies down before her on the battlefield. As Kali moves through the battlefield, destroying and trampling she soon finds that she is standing with one foot up on Shiva. As soon as she notices she sticks out her tongue, pleased at the sight of Shiva and happy that the battle is over.

In this myth, Shiva is always able to calm Kali, no matter how angry she has become in her battle against evil and destruction of negative ego. In the tale, Shiva honours and submits to Kali’s divine energy. And as Thomas Ashley Farrand says, “Shiva is pure universal consciousness, devoid of any kind of negative ego.” Kali is able to stop her battle when she recognizes this pure consciousness.

What can we take away from this story? We can remember what it is that we are doing each and every time we come to our yoga mats. We are practicing yoga to reveal our True Nature. In this story Shiva represents pure universal consciousness. Kali battles to destroy our negative egos. Our yoga practice is also in pursuit of destroying negative ego from our bodies, minds, spirits, emotions, and energy.

In today’s class we will focus on opening up your hips and front of your thighs for Goddess Victory Squat and Natranjasana the poses of Kali and then Shiva and Kali’s Dance. We will also practice submitting our ego with Yoga Mudra Pose and preparing by doing some gentle chest openers.

Props Needed: Blocks

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