Shiva Takes a Stand (On You)!

Written by on February 27, 2018 in Conscious Evolution, Conscious Living, Meditation with 0 Comments

Shiva NatarajAs a professional yoga teacher, sometimes it’s easy to forget how strange some of the Hindu statues on display around yoga studios can appear to people unfamiliar with them. But each statue tells a story and invites us into a deeper relationship with ourselves and in a way that adds depth to the yoga postures. Understanding these statues, like the Shiva Nataraj, can helps us understand ourselves and our own conscious evolution.

I often ask students if there are any injuries or requests before practice so I can be sensitive to the needs of my students. Once a woman raised her hand and asked, “I don’t have a pose to request but . . . um . . . why is that guy standing on a baby?” pointing to the five-foot statue of the Shiva Nataraj, the Royal Dancer, on the altar of our studio.

I replied that the statue represents the dance between us and the cosmos as we uncover the secrets of our hearts to evolve into our highest beings. And since we are on the topic, how about we put in Natarajasana or Royal Dancer’s Pose into the mix of our practice. 


Shiva represents the creator of the universe. Like many statues representing Hindu gods, he has many arms which depict his many tasks, each one with an invitation or admonition guiding us along our own personal evolution. He is the god-amalgam of consciousness and movement, of order and chaos. He is grinning as his hair is literally on fire, riding the wave of chaos in the universe.

In his first hand, he is holding a drum, creating a vibration which is the heartbeat for the entire universe. In his second hand, he is displaying the abhaya mudra, the compassionate and sacred gesture that holds and sustains us on our path. With his third hand, he is holding a flame suggesting that we don’t get too comfortable with things because as soon as he creates it, he will also destroy it.

Now, why is that Shiva standing on a baby, again? It’s actually not a baby but an impish being called the Apasmara who represents the ignorant or unrealized version of ourselves. Shiva is literally taking a stand for your higher, most divine self. He’s squelching the old version of you and with his other leg, his only remaining limb, inviting you back into the dance of birth, growth, sustaining, destruction, and rebirth, but on a new and more enlightened level the likes of which you couldn’t not imagine in your old way of being. That’s why he had to burn the old you to a crisp.

The statue depicts Shiva looking compassionately but directly straight into your eyes with a fierce imperative that says, “This is your destiny to discover the mysteries of your heart and grow into what I know you to be. Come and join the dance!”

Perhaps this statue represents an invitation to you to join the dance and step up to the next stage of your own evolution. Perhaps there is something inside of you that is sensing or needing a change. Are you embarking on a new stage of life? Are looking to make a bold move in your career or your relationship? Would you like to discover or reignite the flame of your calling in life, your heart’s gift to the world, and learn how to boldly share it? Sharing your heart’s gift to the world is your ultimate life’s work.


This is your invitation, just like the statue. I’m asking you to step up, connect to your heart, and courageously make your next bold move. It’s not easy. There’s work involved but I’m confident that as you connect body, mind, and spirit, you will grow into the next stage of your life with confidence and presence. 

Scott Moore is a senior teacher of yoga and mindfulness in New York City and when he’s not teaching or conducting retreats, he writes for Conscious Life News, Elephant Journal, Mantra Magazine, and his own blog at scottmooreyoga.com. Scott also loves to trail run, play the saxophone, and travel with his wife and son. Check out his yoga retreats to places like Hawaii and Amalfi Coast and his Yoga Teacher Mentor Program

 

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