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The Nine Nights Of The Goddess – Navarātri

Yoga and tantra provide maps and paths through the maze of complex existence. They aim to transform the body-mind from raw, mundane states of existence to refined, exalted states of experience and realization.

Within many yogic and tantric traditions, certain seasons, months, and times of the day are given special importance.

They are ‘auspicious’ times when cosmic energies are heightened and, as such, support psycho-spiritual practice. These auspicious moments in time assist us in achieving positive results. For example, dawn and dusk are said to be ideal times for yoga and meditation.

The festival of Navarātri or Nine Nights (‘nav’ is nine and ‘rātri’ is nights) is one of the great ceremonies in the lives of Hindus in India. The exact time of this celebration varies according to the lunar calendar. It begins on a dark moon in the Indian autumn (in the month of Ashwin, usually in October) and ends ten days after. In 2018 Navaratri started on the 8th of October (depending on which part of the world and time zone you live in).

This period of The Nine Nights is devoted to invoking The Great Mother Goddess, The Divine Creative Power, or Shakti, the creator and supporter of the universe. She is most closely identified with Durga, an exquisitely beautiful goddess who rides a lion, and who wields in her many hands’ awesome weapons, including the ‘shul’ (pike), ‘chakra’ (wheel), ‘parashu’ (ax), and ‘talvar’ (sword).

Durga is said to be the manifestation of the power of all the goddesses that, long ago, faced a terrible and irresistible demon called Mahishasura.

Mahishāsura is a mythic representation of the human ego in its demonic form

Many yogis do not see Navaratri as a religious process, but rather as a psycho-spiritual one, and a unique opportunity for yogic practice. 

They adopt certain practices and rituals to understand their psychological shadow and to confront their egos.

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Hope: How Yoga Heals the Scars of Trauma

We are pleased to announce the arrival of a new and important book on how yoga heals trauma by Swami Ahimsadhara (Helen Cushing).  Swami Ahimsadhara will teach a course on this topic through Big Shakti’s education platform in 2017. (Register your interest below).

Yoga for Trauma Recovery

Yoga is a powerful and efficient system for changing the brain. This is exactly the need of people suffering from post-traumatic disorder (PTSD). Not all trauma survivors develop PTSD but for those who do, life becomes unbearable, just as the trauma was. Devoid of hope, suicide can feel like the only way to freedom from physical pain and mental anguish. Yoga offers a vital seed of hope.

Although PTSD is generally treated as a psychological disorder it is increasingly recognised as a condition of the entire organism. Hence, body inclusive therapy has an important role to play in full recovery. The need is to heal the nervous system, reset the brain and learn methods for relaxation, mind management and putting the past to rest. As the symptoms of PTSD reduce it becomes possible to re-establish fulfilling relationships with loved ones and interact comfortably with society.

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Science of Yoga Psychology – Chakras, Tantra, Elements Of Mind, Koshas, and More

What you’ll learn in the Yoga Psychology and Yoga Psychotherapy Seminars

RECORDINGS OF THIS SEMINAR AVAILABLE IN OUR STORE

How do you get your chakras to wake up and shine with their inherent power to overcome psychological and emotional issues?

How can you expand your awareness through the koshas; the sheaths that make up the human existence?

What are the elements that make up the mind?

The seminars will present an overview of yoga psychology and yoga psychotherapy and to describe the four main Indian philosophies that illuminate the nature of human existence and provide a unique perspective on the human mind. It is from an amalgamation of the insights found in these philosophies that a cogent system of yoga psychology can be constructed.

I will describe how I view and use yoga psychology in my medical and psychotherapy practice and will describe a few of the practices that I find most useful in supporting clients to manage physical and psychological illness.

Understand the power of your mind

The intention of the seminars is to support your understanding your mind as an immensely powerful force that you are well-advised to make your friend, and to give it the time and attention it deserves. Yoga and meditation practices facilitate a structured approach to fostering a strong and healthy mind that you can use to create a better and more fulfilling life.

The science of the subtle body

Yoga psychology is the science of the embodied relationship between consciousness and mind. It is also the science of the subtle body.

The subtle body is composed of elements, energies, chakras, archetypes and universal forces.

Yoga psychology and psychotherapy enable you to tap into and connect with your subtle body, the part of you that takes you beyond social conditioning into the universal and powerful parts of you.

Yoga psychotherapy and illness

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Genetic Stress is Proven – Here’s How You Can Reverse It

Science has proven through epigenetics that we inherit stress from our ancestors and that we absorb our mother’s stress in the womb. It has also proven that what we do today has an immense influence on our genetic expression, whether it develops into wellbeing or disease.

Both stress and relaxation are frequently misunderstood. It is often thought that stress is a minor problem, similar to a light cold, and that relaxation is simply an escape from work through recreation. They are much more than this.

Stress is deeply embedded in the body-mind from birth. You carry the cellular memory of the deep past; the trials and traumas of your ancestors, and the worries and tensions that your mother experienced while you were in her womb.

True relaxation is a skill that inhibits negative genetic expression and triggers positive genetic expression. It short-circuits your predisposition towards disease.

When you understand and practice relaxation you take significant control of your biological and psychological processes. You disrupt both the everyday stresses, and the deep tensions that you’ve carried since birth, and which have formed who you are. This enables regeneration of the body-mind on a cellular level.

Choosing how your genetics express

You had no choice or control over your ancestral inheritance, nor did you have a say in what happened to you in the womb. You inherited strengths and weaknesses from your ancestors, and you developed strengths and weaknesses while you were growing in the womb.

It is our weaknesses that cause us daily stress and, if not managed well, prevent us from dealing with ongoing accumulating pressures. This is what we all are obligated to address if we want a healthy, disease-free life. We have to learn how to use our strengths to manage our weaknesses and if we become skilled enough we can actually transform our weaknesses into strengths.

From a young age, you have made lifestyle choices that have had a positive or negative impact on your life. How well you feel today is a result of how successful you have been in reducing your accumulated daily stresses and combating the stress of your genetic inheritance.

Fortunately, you can still make choices today that will have a very positive impact on the rest your life, and that will alter your genetic vulnerabilities.

You are more powerful than you think

It is crucial to appreciate the immense power you have over your own genetic expression.

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Is Meditation Dangerous?

And How Long Should You Meditate For?

One of our students recently wrote to us asking our thoughts about the possibility that meditation is dangerous. She quoted an article that describes the experience of people who had reported that engaging in mindfulness-based meditation resulted in the following negative experiences:

  • strange, persistent and obsessive thoughts
  • the sense of depersonalization
  • extreme sensitivity and vulnerability
  • a feeling of being exposed
  • anhedonia – the inability to experience pleasure
  • lack of meaning and joy
  • loss of direction

Like anything in life, meditation can cause problems when it is misused or misunderstood. If you don’t approach meditation with the correct preparation and attitude, you can become excessively introverted and psychological disturbed. It’s also possible to develop physical symptoms such as digestive problems, joint stiffness, muscle pain and metabolic imbalance.

Yogic perspective on the dangers of meditation

From a yogic perspective, these symptoms are described as excessive activity in the ida nadi, the left-hand channel that runs along the spinal chord, which carries mental energy. There are three energy channels running along the spine: ida nadi carries mental energy, pingala nadi carries physical energy and sushumna carries spiritual energy.

For meditation to be successful it’s important to balance ida and pingala nadis, the mental and physical energies, otherwise, your brain and mind can become over-stimulated, and depleted.

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