So much of yoga history is given to us from a masculine perspective. In it’s early history within the caste system, yoga was mostly accessible to wealthy men. The Brahmin caste was considered to be more suitable for spiritual development, and these families were often the wealthiest in classical Indian society. The Raja Yoga system that we study today was historically developed and continued to evolve according to the experiences of male practitioners.
The practice of yoga was solitary, all about cultivating an inner experience and slowly withdrawing the from the temptations and entanglements of the material world. The culmination of many yoga lineages is accepting the path of renunciation. Historically, yoga was practiced by retreating to the forest to sit silently in meditation on deerskin until samadhi was attained. Withdrawing from the senses and the pleasures of the world to cultivate a higher taste for spiritual pleasure, and ultimately achieve transcendence.
The material manifestation was considered tamasic, ignorant, full of darkness and illusion. It was like a veil covering our eyes from truth. It was something to be avoided and transcended by a disciplined practice of withdraw.
When we look at Shiva in the yoga philosophy, he is centered, concentrated, withdrawn, still, and strong in his will. The story of Shiva and Shakti’s union is one that tells of the potency of the Divine Feminine, as it was her devotional love alone that was powerful enough to pull Shiva out of his meditation and draw him to her. Their consummation is said be the birth of the material universe.
Shakti is Shiva’s potency, his energy, and really the two are inseparable from each other. Shiva represents pure consciousness, and Shakti is the chaos and movement that animates material existence. When we observe the material nature, we witness the quality of movement that is necessary to create: atoms and their subatomic particles wizzing around at rapid speeds to create different states of matter, rivers flowing, the ocean undulating, the planet rotating.
Divine Feminine yoga is an embodied path, rather than a reclusive path. She teaches us how to bring yoga into material life, rather than teaching us to withdraw from the material in order to attain yoga.
Most of the yoga available to us in modern times stems from the masculine approach: Patanjali’s 8 Fold Path being the standard structure of yoga practice that is studied in yoga trainings today. This path prepares us to attain Shiva-consciousness.
So, we at Paramatma School of Yoga & Complementary Healing would like to present a different perspective, a perspective that is not commonly taught: a Divine Feminine approach. Is yoga limited to a practice? How can we find yoga through engaging more with life? How can we find yoga in our everyday actions? How do we attain yoga while still living in the world?
It is through Union of Shiva-Shakti that true balance is struck. When we can accept and integrate both our embodied nature and our infinite consciousness, we can truly LIVE yoga in the here and now. Our mission is to help you discover what that dance of creation looks like and begin the journey of experiencing it for yourself.