Beginning on the first new moon in early autumn, there is an Indian celebration of the Divine Mother, Durga.
Durga represents shakti, or female Divine energy and purity. She is the goddess of war, the one who fought against the daemonic forces that threatened peace, harmony, prosperity and Dharma.
Durga rides either a lion or a tiger, and has 10 arms carrying her weapons. The 10 arms symbolize how the Goddess protects in all 10 directions: 4 cardinal directions, 4 ordinal directions and up and below the living realms.
Each weapon has a special meaning:
Lion represents courage
Trident, or trishul, has 3 sharp heads represents the 3 Gunas: tamas, rajas, sattva, as well as time periods (past, present, future) and universal cycles (creation, preservation and destruction)
Conch represents happiness
Wheel, or chakra, represents righteousness
Sword represents bravery, authority and power
Bow and arrow represents character
Lotus represents liberation through knowledge
Club represents loyalty and love
Snake represents consciousness
Fire/Agni represents the transformation of the gross to the subtle
In yogic tradition, this holiday is a time for spiritual practices, meditation and discipline, honoring the Divine. Yoga, meditation, and philosophy, helps us to step more fully into our inner strength, harness our qualities, and go for opportunities in life. Durga is the ability to confront our fears, go to battle with our ego, and stand more upright in worthiness, and wisdom.
Navratri meaning nav (nine) and ratri (nights), and the celebration, rituals, and honoring of Durga continues throughout these 9 days and nights, ending today on October 5th on a special day called Dussehra.
Some simple ways to think about Durga in your yoga practice and daily life:
Practice "Kapalbhati" pranayama.
Enjoy a campfire and embrace mindfully the power of Agni.
Incorporate hip opening, forward folds and arm balances to your yoga practice.
Take steps to protect Mother Earth.
Take up a 30-day cleanse by eating healthy locally grown food and taking sufficient water.
Go for a hike and acknowledge your body’s strength.
Commit to a 30-40 day sadhana practice or work on incorporating a habit you have been waiting long to add to your life.
Take up a Mantra Practice. Chant the mantra “Om Dum Durgaye Namaha” 108 times every day for 21 days.
On Sunday October 9th (8:15am), during our Mantra & Meditation practice, we will chant the Om Dum Durgaye Namaha mantra together. Join us online or in-person at Studio Satya, free for all to join.