View Shakti's recently published work: "The Face of God: Musings of a New Mother," in Evolving God-Images edited by Dr. Patrick Mahaffey.
This collection of reflective essays explores spirituality and its changing relationship to culture, individual identity, and society in our increasingly globalized, postmodern world. Born out of a doctoral seminar at Pacifica Graduate Institute entitled "The God Complex" the essays provide a personal understanding of diverse and conflicting worldviews and attitudes about religion, secularity, nature, and the purpose of human existence. With a rich range of perspectives, each offering provides a powerful testament to the interdisciplinary study of myth, religion, and depth psychology as a means for revisioning one's understanding of the divine.
Of Shakti's contribution Mahaffey writes:
"As a yoga teacher and new mother, Rachel Shakti Redding muses on the mystery of the existence embodied by her daughter. The birth of her child, she tells us, deepened her contemplative sensibility and experience of love. Her own mother believed in the divinity of Jesus and that God is love. Just as she received love from her mother, she transmits love and compassionate values to her daughter within the Hindu tradition she has come to embrace. Her bhakti-inflected version of Hinduism is pluralistic and affirms that religious experience is the living source of all traditions. Redding values Jung's concepts of individuation and wholeness, but no the Kantian epistemology that confines divinity to the God-images constructed by the psyche. For Redding, the divine is an independent being or beingness that pervades everything, what Hindus describe as Brahman, which is present, too, within the lotus of the human heart as the atman. This all-pervasive Reality is her transcendent God-image—something that can be experienced, she maintains, in the stillness of contemplation and meditation. Like her own mother, though from a Hindu rather than a Christian perspective, she affirms that the nature of this divinity is love."
Evolving God Images is available on Amazon.com.
photo: D'Antonio photography
So, I am deep in the research and weaving ideas for school when my mind demands a break. Generally, my favorite diversions include an outdoor excursion and/or playtime with my kid. But Marley is gone and it happens to be raining (or is that snow?). So instead of stretching into a second yoga asana practice for the day (or eating a second breakfast), I decide to watch the latest episode of Once Upon A Time. Sometimes a good movie or television can inspire the flow of creative nectar.
The season finale is premised with time-travel. Our heroine, Emma Swan, gets pulled into a portal to the past and must find her way back home. It isn't long, of course, before Swan's actions trip a chain of events that radically effect her future. Dun...dun...duuuuuun!
Stories of time travel have always made me dizzy. I love the way they provoke the imagination, but they often present annoying affronts to Physical Science. Not to mention that they generally accompany a super spotty plot. Perhaps I am too geeky (or not quite geeky enough) to truly appreciate them.
And the laws of karma, well...they have often left me feeling the exact same way. Attempts to explain the phenomenon can be overly presumptuous or else they render the otherwise rich concept flat, bland and meaningless.
But this popular television show brought it all together in a way that I thought might be worth sharing.
Karma essentially is action in action. It comes from the Sanskrit root kr, which is found in words that connote "doing something." It is often confused with the law of destiny. That isn't it.
Instead, karma is simply the fact that whatever you do has a consequence.
So, imagine you fall into a time-travel portal to a situation that happened ten years ago, or even yesterday.
Whatever you do in that experience, will effect your life NOW. If you make the slightest change, even with positive actions, it will potentially alter your current/future situation.
But the real power of karma is realized when we recognize that each of our actions in this moment effects us both now and in the future. Tomorrow is our future now. And, if you believe in reincarnation, those things that we do today effect our next life, just as if we had traveled in time to our past life, today!
Are you dizzy yet?
Even if you don't believe in reincarnation, the world will continue to spin when you are gone. The choices you make—the impressions you make on the world—will impact the lives of our children and their children. It actually IS simple. Simple, but not meaningless. In fact, it is incredibly meaningful, and yoga calls us to enter our actions and decisions mindfully. I can see why someone might be tempted to retreat to a cave somewhere, and do "nothing," in order to preserve an untainted future.
One of my favorite lessons from the Bhagavad Gita, however, is that it is better to act than to "not act."
In fact, in this world of cause and effect, even retreating to a cave has its repercussions.
So, do stuff.
Do beautiful stuff.
Paint, dance, sing, laugh, play, rejoice, tickle, study, learn, kiss, empower, decorate, engage, eat, sleep, bathe, watch t.v., and blog about it...
and, all the while, remember that it—all of it—is contributing to the beauty of the future.
Webinar Series in three parts. 6:00-7:00 p.m. MT
I am so excited to be offering my first ever webinar series in three parts on Yoga Psychology for Mamas.
My PhD program in Mythology and Depth Psychology has completely transformed my approach to yoga and after 12 years of teaching, I feel more inspired than ever.
Inner Power Yoga programs offer an opportunity to honestly examine the personal myths that influence your life: your beliefs, behaviors, and ultimately your experiences. This first Inner Power Yoga webinar series addresses one of the most complicated challenges and joys on the planet; the adventure of being a mother.
Over three sessions in 6 weeks, you will explore your current personal motherhood myth. Whether you are a seasoned mother, a brand new mom, or a mama to be, you have a story that begins before you were even born. Does your story empower you? Does it inspire you? Or perhaps it really doesn’t serve you as much as it could. By the third session of this webinar series, you will have had an opportunity to revision your story as a mama—in a manner that is truly authentic and personal to YOU. NOV. 6 PART ONE:
Our first session will be a fun and illuminating introduction to four mother archetypes (or universal images) that speak to you and through your psyche. NOV. 20 PART TWO:
In session two, we’ll dive deeply into four common and limiting myths that constellate mothers today; including the contradictory voices of “I am the only one who can care for my child.” and “I’m the worst mother ever.”DEC. 4 PART THREE:
Our third session will be a time to recreate and rebirth our myths of motherhood.
You may be surprised to discover how powerful you truly are. ALL THREE SESSIONS ONLY $25 WHEN YOU REGISTER BY NOV 1. ($45 after 11/1)
(REGISTERED PARTICIPANTS WILL RECEIVE ACCESS TO RECORDED WEBINAR) REGISTER NOW!!
What is an inner guru?
Unlike English words, which generally objectify, Sanskrit words describe the essence of something. The essence of “guru” is associated with many different ideas: master, weighty, large, respectable, great, serious, parent, teacher, valuable, venerable, and difficult to digest. Guru is associated with heaviness in the stomach and is used to express pregnancy or a pregnant woman. The guru principle, in yoga, refers to the teacher that guides one’s awareness towards the Infinite. According to the Siddha Yogis, the guru principle is “The universal power of grace present as the inner Self of all beings.”
When we speak of the Inner Guru in Inner Power Yoga®, we are talking about the quality of consciousness within. This is the source of one’s unique and authentic inner vibration which includes emotions, thoughts and inspirations when these are pointing toward a deeper or higher truth—beyond ego absorption. The Inner Guru is the Soul. It is the source of the Soul. AND it is the creative spark that turns an everyday human into a Soul Artist.
The Inner Guru is the voice you hear from the stillness of the lotus heart, when all obstacles and limitations are removed and you listen. What is an archetype?
Archetypes are observable aspects of the mysterious universal vibration that unifies humanity as a deeply connected tribe of individuals. Archetypes occur as images, symbols, thoughts, patterns, expressions, motifs and ideas that have gathered from the collective unconscious and may be recognized by personal awareness.
Throughout the years in his study of the inner-workings of the human psyche, Psycho-analyst, C.G. Jung conceived archetypal components which play important roles in the psychological and social development of each individual. These unconscious personalities are the soul images of the ego, persona, shadow, anima and animus. They accompany and inform the attitudes and behaviors of a person throughout the stages of his or her life. They serve as the guiding force into the nebulous world of the unconscious; the realm that Jung recognized as “the Unknown which immediately effects us1.”
What is a guru archetype?
When these two terms are used together as “Guru Archetype,” they may be considered the conscious and unconscious patterns that inform one’s personal, inner teacher. These particular symbols, ideas, and energies inspire the teachings that resonate with a particular person as they recognize them arise. The Guru archetypes may present themselves from within the still center of meditation, or from the chaos of a dance party. They may be found on the movie screen or in a novel. Guru archetypes are living energies that “haunt” every day life. When they are identified as the motivating factors that inspire a particular Soul Artist, that archetype (and its teachings) become even more accessible.
When you know your guru archetype, you may hear the voice, see the beauty and discover the meaning in everything around you. Four guru archetypes.
The same archetypal energies that have informed the world's greatest mysteries throughout history, also empower the authentic expression of your own deepest truth. Explore these mythic characters as they radiate, vibrate, soar and roar from the collective unconscious and within you. Let the qualities of your inner guru amplify your heart's desire, reveal your life's purpose and illuminate the beauty of your soul.
There are many many archetypal patterns for the Inner Guru.
The Guru Archetypes workshop series offers introductory insight into four re-occurring archetypal patterns that may be of inspiration for you. LEARN MORE
Sacred Sanskrit for Yoga Training Immersion
Nov. 30/Dec. 1, and DEC. 14/15, 2013Yoga Off Broadway, Eagle CO.
Learn the basics of the Sanskrit language within the sacred traditions of Yoga. This course is an oral and written introduction to the Sanskrit alphabet (devanagari), Roman transliteration, and elementary Sanskrit grammar. Mythology and Philosophy weave the Sanskrit terminology into personal meaning for a deeper practice. For teachers and yogis of all levels.
$275 includes study materials.
(counts as 25 CEUs toward 500 hr. Yoga Teacher Training.)
Who is your inner guru?
The same archetypal energies that have informed the world's greatest mysteries throughout history, also empower the authentic expression of your own deepest truth. Explore these mythic characters as they radiate, vibrate, soar and roar from the collective unconscious and within you. Let the qualities of your inner guru amplify your heart's desire, reveal your life's purpose and illuminate the beauty of your soul. Fri. 10/25 Agni!
Tending the Sacred Fire
Let your practice inspire!
6-8 p.m. Sat. 10/26 Shiva/Shakti
Dancing with the Gunas
Find your natural vibration
1-3 p.m.Sat. 10/26 Krishna Five Flavors of Love
Set your heart free!
6-8 p.m.Sun. 10/27 aniMA Devi
Honoring the Mother Goddess Within
$30 each workshop or $100 for the 4-part series (if registered by 10/1).
Register today at EVENTS
A Reflection on the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad
If Spirituality is an innate quest residing in the depths of every human heart; then the Upanishads are certainly one of the first comprehensive sets of written answers to that questioning: Who am I, Why am I here, and What do I do now? Upanishad
translates from sanskrit to mean: “to sit down near.” It refers to the manner in which the wisdom of the Veda was presented by sitting near to one’s teacher, the Self-realized Rishi. The Upanishads correspond with the Vedas and were written to expound their wisdom into something personal and accessible as “inner fire ritual” so that a direct experience of Infinite Reality may be realized. While the Vedas offer explanation of incantation and performed ritual rites, the Upanishads present philosophical teachings on the relationship between Infinite Source and manifest Creation. Through understanding of their wisdom, one may realize their True Nature as one with Infinite Source.
The teachings of the Upanishads is called “Vedanta,” which means the end of the Veda. This “end” could refer to, not only the completion of the Veda, but the end result of it’s teaching. In the sense of answering the question: “To what end?”
“To what end do we study?”
“To what end do we meditate?”
“To what end do we practice?”
“What do we come to know in the end?”
The principle teaching of the Upanishads—in the form of prose, poetry, and dialogue—present the Atman, or individualized spirit, as one with Infinite Source. Through the Upanishads, we come to know that we are each an authentic expression of the Most High. With this experiential knowledge, we may celebrate the beauty and purpose of our unique and interconnected lives.
The Inner Power Yoga® 200 hr. Teacher Training includes a study of the Upanishads and their practical value for our modern lives. Each STF creates a personal reflection project to express their relationship to the texts.
Below is the beautiful musings on the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, as written by Inner Power Yoga® STF, Tina Williamson:"Since I am a product of a small family, the experience of leaving this worldly life has been very traumatic for me. Also, making this journey for me especially traumatic was that all of my loved ones ironically left this worldly life within short periods of time between them; a few years. I read this book of the Upanishads several times and each time it was very emotional and not dry eyed."I think when it comes to that point in our lives when death is knocking at our door, we are all on a level playing field which Yajnavalkya was trying to convey to his wife. It matters not the amount of wealth, material possessions, children, or how important one thinks that he may be. One must be one with the Self and the Imperishable.
I also believe that there is a state that is a twilight in between life and death, or shedding the physical body, and moving on to the next phase of the soul moving onward. When my mother was in the process of passing, she began talking in her basically unconscious state about meeting up with Doty, so they could be together and meet. I did not really know who this was and I did not ask my Dad because he was very distraught. I asked my paternal Grandmother because she knew all sorts of family history. Her answer sent chills through me because Doty was my Great-grandmother’s brother who had been killed as a child by being kicked in the head by a draft horse. My maternal Grandmother had not know Doty either. If he had been alive he would have been over 100 years old. That conversation with Doty transpired two days prior to my Mom’s passing.
If there are any words that can bring closure, or solace to death, it was this book of the Upanishad. I like to think that my mother is still with me in heart and soul. My brain is still wired the “American” way, and I still do have attachments. Being an only child I was very close to my mother, and now my daughter and I are the same way. I am trying to practice more Eastern philosophies; however, when it comes to family and people it is a little more difficult. This was by far, the most beneficial/comforting book for me."
To see visual art interpretations of the Upanishads, visit the IPY TRIBE Art Gallery.Also read the reflection from Christina Marino from the Inner Power Yoga® blissipline tribe at Tadasana Mountain Yoga in Nederland CO. : Is the Whole World a Lie? We feature two of my favorite copies of the principal Upanishads in our Amazon Bookstore. Order yours today!
Who is your inner guru? The same archetypal energies that have informed the world's greatest mysteries throughout history, also empower the authentic expression of your own deepest truth. Explore these mythic characters as they radiate, vibrate, soar and roar from the collective unconscious and within you. Let the qualities of your inner guru amplify your heart's desire, reveal your life's purpose and illuminate the beauty of your soul.
Sundays 2-4 p.m. $30 each workshop or $100 for the 4-part series (if registered by 9/15). Register today at EVENTS or at Mayama Movement Studio in Lyons, CO.