Introduction to Durga Series, Goddess of Protection, Yoga with Melissa 181 – Intermediate Yoga Class

by Melissa West on June 7, 2013

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Welcome to a brand new series on the Hindu Deity Durga.

Namaste-Yoga-181: Today I will introduce you to to the Mother Goddess Durga, I know her as the Goddess of protection and over the next 9 weeks we will get to know her different forms.

Durga in sanskrit means fort or a place that is difficult to overrun. Another name for Durga is “Durgatinashini” which translates as “the one who eliminates sufferings.” Durga is known to protect her devotees from evil and eliminate their adversities.

Durga has 8 or 10 hands representing the 8 quadrants or 10 directions in Hinduism meaning that she protects from all directions. She has three eyes – her left eye represents desire with the moon, her right eye represents action with the sun and her central third eye represents knowledge with fire.

Durga is seen riding a lion or a tiger which represent power, will and determination. The tiger reminds us that will, power, and determination is needed to overcome our egos.

Durga is a powerful Goddess. In her friendly form she is seen as a benevolent mother feeding people and animals. However, in her fierce form she is known as a warlike protectress who will reveal her destructive strength when the earth is threatened by demons.

She holds many things in her hands including a conch shell which symbolizes the sound Om. Durga holds both a bow and arrow in one hand representing control over potential and kinetic energy. Her thunderbolt reminds us to be firm in our convictions and confident as we meet our challenges. The lotus is of course symbolic of spiritual evolution amidst the mud of the material world. Durga holds a discus called a “sudarshan-chakra” as her weapon to destroy evil, allowing righteousness to prevail. Her sword is symbolic of knowledge – the kind of knowledge that will free us from all doubts. The tips of the trident that she holds symbolizes rajas, tamas and sattva (activity, inertia and balance). Durga can remove all three types of miseries on physical, mental and spiritual levels. Durga holds her final hand in the “Abhaya Mudra” to allay our fears.

Props Needed – one block

Yoga Asanas/Postures: 1/2 bow pose/ardha dhanurasana, Kapalabhati Pranayama/Breath of Fire, Vyaghrasana /Tiger Pose, ardha dhanurasana/1/2 Bow Pose from Kneeling, Eka Pada Rajakapotasana/Pigeon, surya namaskar/1 round sun salutation, Ardha Chandrasana/1/2 Moon Balancing Pose, Utkata Konasana/Goddess Victory Squat, Chair Pose/Utkatasana Revolved Chair pose/Parivrtta Ardha Utkatasan, Makarasana/Dolphin Pose, Bow Pose/dhanurasana, Dying Warrior, Child’s Pose/balasana, Mantra and Durga Mudra

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