by guest author Swami Karma Karuna, Anahata Yoga Retreat
The Tantric view of creation is that there are two forces called Shiva and Shakti representing the male and female aspects of creation, which exist within each and every person.
Shiva, also called Purusha, is the masculine force and is pure ‘consciousness’.
Shakti or Prakriti is the feminine force that is pure ‘energy’. One cannot exist without the other and both are within each of us.
This duality is also described in the word ‘Ha’ ‘Tha’ Yoga. Originally Hatha Yoga was not just twisting oneself into knots and standing on the head, but signified the two great forces within every human being.
The purpose is to balance these forces and awaken a third force, the spiritual energy or Kundalini Shakti.
‘Ha’ represents the sun energy flow or Pingala Nadi; active, hot, logical and external in nature related to the sympathetic (fight or flight) nervous system.
‘Tha’ signifies the moon energy; internal, cool, creative, intuitive and connected to the parasympathetic (relax and digest) nervous system.
This duality is seen in the Yin and Yang of Chinese philosophy, the two poles of a battery that make our car drive and our flashlight work. Positive and negative, winter and summer, day and night, sun and moon, hot and cold; are all a part of our everyday experience. It is also expressed in the way we think through the left and right brain, which have predominate expressions considered to be more masculine or feminine.
Each of us contains both of these masculine and feminine principles within us and they underlie all of creation.
However, one or the other dominates the majority of people limiting our expressions and functioning. The masculine dominated expression is aggressive, logical and active but lacks the ability to go inwards and connect to the intuition and creativity.
On the other hand, the expression may be more feminine in which qualities such as creativity and intuition dominate but perhaps the person is unable to speak up or rationally approach a problem. In either case an imbalance exists.
Sometimes, people are able to access both types of qualities, but not usually simultaneously, so there is still a limitation. Many women have had to override the softer qualities to get ahead in a business setting and equally many women feel trapped in a lack of ability to assert themselves.
The ultimate purpose of yoga or “union” is to balance these two forces, so that we are operating with the whole brain, not dominated by one expression or another.
In yoga, the aim is to operate equally with attention to external and internal, with logic yet creativity, to be able to run when needed, but likewise to relax. In exploring the sacred feminine, it starts by observing the self. Ask yourself which expressions feel more natural for you.
- Is your nature more extroverted or introverted?
- Do you put more attention on creativity or is it about logic?
- Is the sympathetic nervous system in gear, with stress and anger, over activated?
- Or are you sleeping your life away rarely acting or expressing?
- Is there enough energy to do your tasks or are you lacking in energy?
- How is your health reflecting the different types of qualities you are expressing?
There is not a right or wrong, but simple honesty in analyzing the self.
When thinking about mental and physical health as women, look for what we seldom express or acknowledge, and bring it into the light for review. Also, analyze that which may be overexpressed. Many health issues are related to repressed or overexpressed thoughts or energy.
- If there is not the ability to express ourselves freely, the blocked energy can be the root of depression or anxiety.
- If there is resentment, it can come out, as anger, which over an extended time, puts pressure on the adrenal glands and the cardiovascular system and can be a seed for high blood pressure and heart conditions.
- If there is a sense of insecurity, extra weight may be held on the body to protect the self or unhealthy relationships may be sought out as the attention temporarily creates a sense of security.
If there is a longterm habit of body or mind, for example holding the shoulders curved inwards which protect the heart, there is a physical and energetic affect on the body.
In this case, the lungs are not getting proper expansion; the breath becomes limited, which creates oxygen deficiency, so that the cells and brain are not properly nourished. Also the thymus gland situated in the centre of the chest does not get adequate blood supply, which has an affect on the thymus function that is related to the immune system.
Each and every habit and expression has a positive or negative influence on the mind and body and over time the ways in which we act, speak and think begin to create the reality we experience.
In order to create good health and positive experiences, the first step is starting to understand ourselves, our ways of relating to life, family, work and gradually put positive habits in our lives and drop those which hinder the balance.
Masculine energy is wonderful and necessary for our existence. Yet, in the world we live in today, we experience excessive amounts of masculine energy and without the balance of the Sacred Feminine, we can potentially end up trying to achieve ourselves to death.
We have a driving desire to achieve, that is not balanced with adequate rest. We all know people that have needed to quit their jobs or have ended up in the hospital because they were doing too much. Because we value achievement more than rest, we make ourselves ill.
It’s all about finding the balance in life. See upcoming articles for practices to enhance balance at the physical, mental and energetic levels.
About Swami Karma Karuna
She is a founding member and director of Anahata Yoga Retreat, New Zealand, and a dedicated, intuitive yoga teacher with years of experience working with a wide range of people. From an early age, she traveled exploring diverse spiritual traditions; finally dedicating herself to the yogic path, guided by Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati, world-wide head of the Satyananda Yoga Movement.
Swami Karma Karuna has received yoga training in Nepal, India and Australia. She spends 3 months each year living and teaching in India at the home and sadhana place of Swami Satyananda.
For more information on these guided yoga retreats to India and the World Yoga Convention in Bihar click here.
She also travels internationally part of the year, committed to sharing Yoga Solutions for Life™ – simple & powerful techniques for transformation. Swami Karma Karuna specialises in women’s health. By blending yogic lifestyle and Sannyasa tradition with motherhood, she brings a unique and practical approach, inspiring the integration of yogic principles into everyday activities.