Yogi Practices and Sivaratri
Having participated in an all-night meditation and chanting session in honor of Sivaratri, gave me plenty of time to reflect on and wonder about Siva energy. (And when I say “all-night”- I mean from 9pm – 6am)!
First, let me explain what Sivaratri is and why I participate in this annual “night of Siva.” Siva (also spelled Shiva) is often described as the ultimate yogi in deep meditation. He is painted with long flowing hair (of the river Ganga) and coiled snakes embracing him. Stories about Siva portray him as both a devoted ascetic who renounces the world and then with Parvati and their child, Ganesha.
I’ve had a love/hate relationship with Siva, I admit. And I’m gonna guess that many yoginis out there will admit the same! But I attend Sivaratri to reestablish my love for this energy, which is also a part of my life in yoga. And having a life in yoga is not a clearly defined path.
There are months when, for all practical purposes, I am an ascetic. During these times I am celibate, focused on my daily yoga practice and keep my social calendar very low-key. I enjoy this as I feel I am gathering my energy for the purpose of my studies and devotional practice. I’ve learned to rely on these times when I am deep in an artistic or scholarly project.
Then there are other times when I am ecstatic who attends all parties with bells on my toes. I dance, I drink and eat lavishly, I fall in love, I stay out all night, I travel, I see all my friends’ plays and concerts and …I love every minute of it.