Get Your Goddess On: Navaratri

On the yogic path, the fall season is initiated with a holiday called, Navaratri meaning “nine nights”. During this time we celebrate the innate power of the divine feminine within ourselves and each person in the form of the 3 Goddess energies. These goddesses act as symbols and mirrors reflecting back to us our own unique power and strength.
 
During the first 3 days (this year 9/29, 9/30 & 10/1), the goddess Durga is honored whose name literally means “the fortress.” This speaks to the yoga practices we do both on and off the mat that fortify ourselves and make us stronger so we can withstand the challenges of life. Cultivating qualities such as centeredness and calm, like the eye of the storm, is what this archetype speaks to as in yoga mythology, she fights and wins many battles with her equipoise and groundedness. One can repeat the “mantra, mind tool”, om dum durgayei namaha during this time to cultivate the qualities and empowerment she represents.

During the middle 3 days of this holiday (this year 10/210/310/4) we honor Mahalakshmi, the goddess of abundance, beauty and love. She is worshiped as a form of the Devi, the cosmic divine feminine energy, who lives within each one of our hearts and holds the qualities of our inner beauty, intrinsic goodness and radiance of the Self. She is the Supreme Shakti who manifests in the outer world as anything considered auspicious and full of good fortune such as the smile of a baby, the kindness of a friend or the spontaneous sighting of a deer in the forest. She is born out of the churning of the ocean of consciousness and she rises up on a perfectly open lotus flower which symbolizes her boon of bestowing spiritual knowledge. In her lower left hand, coins generously emanate, signifying her blessings of material abundance known as “Artha”. Her lower right hand is in Abhaya Mudra meaning, “fearlessness”, and is linked with her energy to “Kama”, signaling that when our desires and creative energies are in alignment, fruit will be born. Her upper left hand reflects the reminder to follow our “Dharma”, right action, that supports the integrity of the whole while “Moksha”, liberation, is embodied in her upper right hand. In the Puranas, Mahalakshmi is the consort of Lord Vishnu, and is considered the shakti of Lord Vishnu—the sustaining power of the Universe. Thus she can be invoked with prayers to enhance all aspects of life that sustain us such as optimal health and mental well being. Her nickname is “Shri” meaning auspiciousness, and when we as seekers practice seeing the world through her lense of beauty, grace and gratitude, her qualities of harmony and generosity in turn bless us many fold, for this is her way. One can repeat the “mantra, mind tool”, Om Hreem Shreem Kleem Maha Lakshmi Namaha during this time to cultivate the qualities and empowerment she represents.

During the last 3 days of this holiday (this year 10/510/610/7), the goddess of the arts is celebrated, Saraswati. Her name means “full of waves” which reveals her connection to music, vibration and sound. One can think of the muse in the Greco-Roman traditions and how since time immemorial, writes, painters and musicians alike have invoked the energies of a force seemingly outside of themselves to ultimately feel that energy of inspiration well up from inside of themselves. She is the spark of insight that seemingly arises from no where and the initiator of new projects that serve this world. In iconography, she always transports herself on a swan who glides on the river of consciousness with poise and presence. She is the energy within of order, patterns and organization, qualities when cultivated, birth great creativity and refinement. One can repeat the “mantra, mind tool”, Om Sahasaraswatyai Namah during this time to cultivate the qualities and empowerment she represents.

Kilkenny Tremblay, is the owner and director of Sanctuary Yoga & Mindfulness (E-RYT 500), one of the East Coast’s most influential yoga studios that is leading the way with meditation, mindfulness and alignment based yoga. She has been steeping in the practices of yoga & meditation since the age of five. Growing up learning from some of the foremost asana, philosophy & meditation teachers in the world gives her teaching layers of deep profundity and richness on the levels of body, mind & heart.

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