We’re deep diving into feminine mysticism today as we uncover the ancient tradition and meaning behind the Shakti symbol. You may have heard your yoga teacher encourage you to channel ‘Shakti’ when you’re deep in goddess pose with no sign of relief, but, like whaaat? What does it mean?
The energy of Shakti is truly present in all aspects of yoga. Kundalini yoga in particular honors the power of this divine femme through mantras, mudras and more.. In this article, learn all about the divine power of Shakti and how to channel it in your yoga practice.
What is the Shakti Symbol?
The Shakti symbol in yoga is a personification of dynamic energy. Shakti is considered a Mahadevi – or great goddess – in the Hindu tradition, and she’s one of the 7 kickass Hindu queens who embody eternal #goals 👑
This essentially means that the Shakti goddess is a culmination of all other goddesses. She is divine feminine power at its very core. As such, she can take many forms and many names. She can be a loving mother, a fierce warrior, or a dark goddess of destruction.
Some popular forms of Shakti are Parvati, Durga, and Kali. In her forms of Durga and Kali, she is a fierce and ferocious warrior. As Parvati, she is the faithful wife who symbolizes fertility, devotion, and happiness.
If this all already seems like too much to grasp, just think of Shakti as a powerful female figure, whatever that looks like for you!
Since Shakti is seen as the mother goddess, she has many names and forms with numerous origins and adventurous stories.
We can look at the root of the word Shakti – the Sanskrit shak – which means “to be able.” In this regard, the energy of Shakti is present in every living thing. Shakti is the life force that allows everything in the universe “to be able” to exist. In addition to her strong, feminine, physical incarnations, Shakti is also seen as a dynamic force that moves throughout the entire universe.
The history of this goddess worship has been traced all the way back to 9,000 – 8,000 BCE in central India. There in the Son River Valley, representations of the goddess have been found in stones and yantras from ancient civilizations.
Adi Shakti Symbol Meaning
As you may have noticed, there’s much more to this Hindu deity than just female energy. Shakti is a universal power and a form of divinity found all throughout existence. Though it’s true that Shakti represents the feminine, her essence is found in everything – even in Gods.
In the Hindu tradition and lore, every God has Shakti, or the supreme, creative energy force. Shakti is not merely a personified woman, she is the entire concept of creation. The most powerful God in the yoga world, Shiva, would be nothing without his Shakti!
Although her essence is beyond this physical world, her embodiment here on Earth includes the creative potential of women, the nature of reality, and the magic of nature.
This great goddess is also responsible for creation and is worshiped as a great bringer of change in Hinduism. Shakti represents the power and potential of a new beginning, but also the need for death and rebirth. Through our own individual creative power, we all have a little bit of Shakti in us.
Traditions that Honor the Shakti symbol
Since Shakti is a universal energy force, her form is found across different religions and traditions, not just in Hinduism. Sakti symbols often take the form of a goddess or a powerful woman. Not only does she have her multiple forms of body throughout Hinduism and India, but she also shows up in other traditions. She is the energy of Mother Mary in Catholicism. She is the great Gaia in all pagan and earth-based spiritualities. She is Binah, the third Sephira on the Hebrew Tree of Life.
Shakti is manifested and personified in countless ways throughout the history and traditions of spirituality. And as such, she can be called upon for support in so many different ways. Even outside of spirituality and philosophy, her energy is found in women – and people – everywhere.
Significance in Kundalini Yoga
When we look at the yoga philosophy specifically, the significance of the Shakti symbol and the energy of this goddess is paramount to the Kundalini yoga tradition. Through the teachings of Yogi Bhajan and Kundalini yoga, we’re taught that Kundalini Shakti is this powerful, yet often dormant, energy of the universe. It is a mysterious, psychospiritual force that lies coiled at the base of our spines, near our Muladhara (or root) Chakra.
When we do these Kundalini practices, we learn how to tap into Shakti energy as a way to awaken the goddess and bring inspiration and energy to our lives. When we can tap into this amazing, cosmic energy we bring about an awakening in our lives. We start to see things as they truly are, and we become more connected to our higher selves. In this way, we awaken our own inner power.
Practices to Channel Divine Feminine Energy
If you’d like to start honoring the creative power of the goddesses in your everyday practices, there are many ways to do it! Any time you honor and prioritize your creativity, you honor Shakti. Of course, if you desire to worship the great goddesses in a more intentional way, try one of these ritual practices.
Bhajans and Mantras
Bhajans are informal but devotional songs sometimes dedicated to a god or goddess. Mantras are universal codes encased in repetitive chants. With both practices, the power is in the energetic & audial vibration of the words. In general, mantras and bhajans help us to gain a deeper understanding of our life force and the power of the cosmos.
Mantra is a big part of Kundalini yoga, and the Adi Shakti mantra in particular is practiced to call upon divine manifestation. Through the energy of the Shakti symbol, the divine mother power, we tap into our own personal power. The Adi Shakti mantra is special in that it connects us to the creative power and dynamic forces of the universe. This powerful mantra is a tool for enhanced creativity and personal power.
Mudras are “seals” or hand gestures we make for a specific energetic intention. When we use mudras – or significant hand gestures – we are infusing a deeper level of intention into our practice. Try these mudras for connecting to the power of Shakti:
This mudra is great for beginners, but it also has the ability to channel powerful energy within the body. From mental clarity to sexual liberation, there is a lot of untapped potential in this simple gesture. This mudra is done by interlacing the four central fingers and leaving the thumbs out.
This mudra relates to the pelvis, uterus, womb, sexual organs, and the entire female reproductive system, increasing fertility and helping with menopause. To practice the yoni mudra, press the tips of the thumbs together and bring them in front of your pelvis. Bring the tips of the index fingers together and point them downward, creating a triangle-like shape. Interlace the rest of your fingers and focus on your breath.