(This was my favorite of the workshops. I love hearing about myths and using these amazing stories as inspiration for practice. I loved talking about samskaras these cycles in us and how we can use our practice on and off the mat to transform these cycles. Turning ash to gold. Just being with John makes me want to work harder, throw more of my tendencies into the fire so I may rise and shine brighter and so I may help others do the same)
Ma Durga (divine mother)
• Myth: There was a buffalo demon who meditated on Shiva. Shiva is very easily pleased and he likes it when you meditate on him. Shiva asked the demon what he wanted, and the demon asked for immortality. Shiva said I can’t give you immortality but I make it so no God or Goddess can harm you. Soon the buffalo demon started to take advantage of this and he was killing and terrorizing people. The gods and goddess got together and they created a new god, Durga. Each of her weapons was gifted to her by various gods: Rudra's trident, Vishnu's discus, Indra's thunderbolt, Brahma's kamandalu, Kuber's Ratnahar, Lakshmi gave a pretty face…Ma Durga went out to find the demon and once the demon saw her he fell in love with her and said “run away with me and lets terrorize the world together” Durga cut off his head.
• Durga helps wake us up to a higher state of consciousness.
• She is goodness in a fierce form, she cleans you of all samskaras.
• She rides on a tiger which represents the shakti that we are riding.
• Durga is connected to Shiva, she is a transformer.
Samskaras: Sam= complete or joined together, kara= action, causing or doing. Samskaras are mental and emotional patterns of things/habits/addictions that hold you back through which we cycle over and over again during our lives.
Samskaras (3 basic categories)
1. Sadness: we don’t see our self as full. We see our self as imperfect (depression, low self esteem, self destruction)
2. Anger/hatred: we see patterns. We notice and create separation, that person has dark skin I don’t like that, that person is tall I like that…This separation creates hatred and anger.
3. Fear: we are afraid of loss, loss of friends, and loss of our life. We think we need to control everything around us (money, time, people)
Ways to invocate Durga:
• Mantra bija sound: Dum
o Mantra: om dum durgahyei namaha
May I shine the light of awareness on these cycles within myself. May I look at my habits and my tendencies. John said that some of these habits may be deep seated but they CAN BE TRANSFORMED.
“I want to be a better person” “I want to change my habits”
When you are faced with your habit and you say NO. Friction happens which creates tapas (fire/heat). This heat can help transform our bad habits. Turning ash to gold.
• Yajna: sacrificing what is blocking your heart.
o That is blocking you from your greatness. You create a lot of heat for Yajna when you hold a pose. Much more then you would if you just repeated it a lot.
• It is in our tendency to react. We need to reprogram our self so we don’t react instead we choose how to
• Nadi Shodhana (alternate nostril breathing):a way to cleanse and see clearly. Close off the air to the left nostril (with the ring and pinky finger of the right hand) exhale and inhale through the right nostril and repeat.
• Sahita: inhalation/retention/exhalation in increments of 4. 4:16:8
o During retention the fire grows; don’t grip onto the holding instead practice 1st principle, inner body bright. This will build prana inside, like building light. “Feel yourself with light that is transformative”