Healsci Yoga Blog

DURGA, 11 Goddesses of Yoga

In her most superficial layer, Durga is the goddess of strength. In her deepest sense, she is the goddess of spiritual awakenings.

Durga_Goddess of Yoga Philosophy_Sarasota_Florida

Durga, Goddesses of Strength

Durga has piercing eyes. Her hair, given to her by the god of dissolution -Yama, is dark and wavy. She is depicted by eight arms holding various objects. In her left, she carries a bow, a conch, a flower, and a three-pronged spear. The bow represents concentration and focus (Dharana) required by those on a spiritual path. The conch represents the ability to express Creation through Divine Sound. The lotus flower symbolizes the ability to manifest. And the trident represents the ability to puncture anything that gets in the way. In her right, Durga carries a sword, discus, club, and mala. The sword represents precision and wisdom, as well as the ability to slice through all challenges. The discus symbolizes the cycle of birth, death and existence that make up the hero's journey. The club represents power, and the mala symbolizes prayer, devotion and reverence. The trident was given to her by Shiva, the god of elimination and the keeper of Yoga (the original Unit). The discus was given to her by Vishnua, the god of sustenance. The bow by Vayu, the god of wind. And the lion, which gives her strength, was given to her by Himalaya -the mountain god. Manifested out of need and protected by the Divine Masculine, Durga fights the worries, concerns, and fears of the finite mind of human, the chitta vrittis, and clears the path for continued spiritual awakenings.

The Story of Durga and Yoga

The story of Durga is one that you may be familiar with. Her tale represents duality and separation, that exists within our reality. For example, the feminine vs masculine, yin and yang, light and dark, solar and lunar. Neither good or bad. All equal in importance but distinct in their expression, and all coming from the original unit. The story also focuses on the separation of ego. When ego is separate from our identity, it destroys us. However, when it is yoked into our spirit it helps us accomplish our goals. As we unite the various aspects of ourselves, we move from judgement, criticism and shame, towards balance, love and peace. In this space, we recall the original source of everything, the memory of Ishvara Pranidhana. A practice called Yoga.

The Cosmic Queen

As a cosmic queen, Durga acts as a channel between the finite mind of man and the Infinite Potential. Connecting the messages of the Universe through heart center (Anahata) as feelings, and up to the mind for interpretation through words and symbols. Durga’s generosity is infinite, yet she will not cradle you. Come to her in struggle but call upon her when you are prepared to take action. She will present you with a plan. Providing those ready, everything they need to overcome. But she is a “no-nonsense” goddess so do not be alarmed if she looses her patience when you do not to take action. If you loose her, you will need to summon her once again, through devoted mantra and meditaiton. Durga knows the spiritual path is challenging, which is why she is ready to support you but you must tread the waters. If you do, she will provide you with strength, courage and power over and over again, as long as you act with persistence!

Radical Spiritual Awakening

Overall, Durga will help you face the parts of ourselves that are in the way of your evolution. In her most sacred and inward manifestation, Durga is radical spiritual awakening. She ignites the subtle body forever changing the way we think, feel and see the world around us. An internal morphosis that manifests as a rise in Consciousness through Shushumna (the central energy channel). Completely reorganizing our priorities, unlocking our creative gifts, and laying down the foundation for Svadhyaya (self-study). This experience can be subtle but will always be intense. Regular pracitioners will experience this rise of Kundailini energy many, many times during their lifetime. When Durga takes over, you see beneath the surface and experience deeper states of meditation. This will allow you to embrace depper connections to existence. Each time, accessing higher frequencies and sensing the Infinite in its most Creative form, you!

Durga's Mission

When Durga is expressed through you, she will help you overcoming addiction, troubling times, and diffulct tasks like changing careers and deepening your spiritual presence on Earth. When Durga expresses herself through community, she brings people together and empowers leaders. When she expresses herself Universally, she heightens pranic energy and inspires evolution.

Other Names For Durga

  • Ambika (little mother)
  • Katyayani
  • Vindhyavasini (dweller in the mountains)
  • Sheranvali (lion rider)
  • Bhagavati (blessed lady)
  • Mahadevi (great goddess)

Recognize Durga In

  • Strong winds
  • crashing waves
  • bravery in the service of truth
  • courage that comes from the heart

Invoke Durga For

  • strength in challenging situations
  • willpower to create positive habits
  • yoking the ego 


He Ma Durga by Donna De Lory

More Information

For more information read Sally Kempton's Awakening Shakti: The Transformative Power of the Goddesses of Yoga. For our 300-hour and 500-hour Yoga Teacher Training check out "What to Expect," and browse or YTT PAGE . You can also click on the contact us button below and ask us about our Yoga Therapy program. For information on our affiliate 200-hour program check out Amana Yoga Boulder and Lemon Bay Yoga Studio

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