“Shiva without Shakti is Shava”
Tuesday night’s advanced yoga class with Christina Sell was a foray into forward bends and hip openers, culminating in my favorite peak pose Dwi Pada Sirsasana (a.k.a party trick variation) With a theme of balanced action, Christina talked about the need to cultivate both Shiva (masculine) and Shakti (feminine) energy. Shiva gives us the strength that defines the boundaries; Shakti gives us the freedom to fully express ourselves. We need both.
There is a saying: “Shiva without Shakti is Shava,” which means Shiva without Shakti is a corpse. Let us be clear here, we are not talking about the need of a man for a woman ~ though perhaps we could make that case in another post ~ but of the inherent need for the expression of both qualities in every individual. I read a commentary that said this philosophy gives equal importance to the feminine so much so that it makes it important for the existence of the other. “Like sun and its rays, like fire and its power to burn, like coiled snake and snake in motion these two are inseparable.” (Dr. C.S. Shah)
As we left class, I lingered in the parking lot to visit with Jessica Goulding, an Anusara Yoga Inspired teacher. Jess was my first introduction to Anusara yoga two years ago. When I think of her, it is with the awe one has for their first grade teacher, or that person who inspired a love of reading. No matter where you go or who you study with after that, you are always forever linked with gratitude to that first teacher who opened the door for you.
Jessica is a beautiful young woman, a former dancer, and a mother of two young toddlers. In addition to teaching at YogaYoga, Jessica writes a column for new moms. We hadn’t visited in awhile, and I asked her about her kids ~ a son now 3 and a daughter who just turned one. She excitedly shared that she’d just had just had her first tea party with one of her children. She told me the details of tea and teddy bears and how she’d exuberantly called her mother, “I thought I’d have to wait for my daughter to do this with, but it my SON. It was his idea!” There was such joy on her face and in her heart.
Shiva had found his Shakti and there was bliss!
As the mother of three boys, the significance of that moment was not lost on me. Girls just seem to offer up more of those opportunities to connect, those times that Moms so cherish. We somewhat expect it from our daughters, but not so much with our boys. So when a son gives his mother one of those surprise offerings, the moment is truly magical.
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Austin Goes to Kindergarten ~ First Day of School ~ 1994
Daniel (2 mos.), Bobby (3) & Austin (6)
The Images of the First Day of School
We have a tradition in our family that dates back to my childhood. We always take a photo on the first day of school just as my mother did with my sisters and me. In 1994, we took OUR first photo as we prepared to walk our oldest son to Kindergarten. We have continued the practice every year since, taking pictures by the same tree in our backyard. As the boys have gotten older, it takes a little more coaxing, but they indulge their mother.
Twelve years after that first photo, I snapped a shot of my now 6’2″‘boy’ beginning his senior year. I cried that morning with the realization it was his last “first day of school” photo (the first of many “lasts” to come that year!) As for Austin … well, you can see the sentimentality just oozing out of him in the photo below.
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Senior Year ~ August 2006
When school started back a year ago, we gathered in the backyard to take pictures of the boys once again, but with one less child to photograph. Austin was off to college preparing to start his freshman year at UT. The moment was bittersweet. He was gone from home, and my day-to-day mothering of him was done, but he was embarking on a new and exciting adventure. It was as it should be.
Two days later, classes began at the University of Texas. Austin called home that evening to report on his day. I was excited to hear from him and pleased he had thought to call me, but the real gift came the next morning. Rising early, I fixed a cup of coffee and logged on to my computer to check email. A message from Austin was waiting in my in-box, a message that came with an attachment. I opened it to find a photo ~ my son ready for his first day of college. He had gotten his roommate to take the picture ~ that all-important “first day of school” photo ~ and he had done it for ME.
Shiva with Shakti is indeed bliss!
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Austin Goes to College ~ First Day at UT ~ August 2007
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My 3 Boys ~ First Day of School ~ August 2008
The tradition continues … photos from earlier this week, and yes, he sent me another picture this year too! 😛
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Daniel (my baby) ~ his first Day of HIGH School
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Bobby at 17
He now DRIVES his brother to school!
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Hook ’em, Austin!