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What Is Shakti Yoga?

author image Andrea Cespedes
Andrea Cespedes is a professionally trained chef who has focused studies in nutrition. With more than 20 years of experience in the fitness industry, she coaches cycling and running and teaches Pilates and yoga. She is an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer, RYT-200 and has degrees from Princeton and Columbia University.
What Is Shakti Yoga?
Shakti is an energy related to the chakras. Photo Credit Elenarts/iStock/Getty Images

Shakti doesn't refer to a specific type of yoga; rather, it's a reference to feminine divine energy -- epitomized by the goddess, Shakti. Many studios use the name, but offer a range of classes often in the style of vinyasa, a practice that flows breath and poses together.

A studio might use the title, "Shakti," to communicate a specific energetic vibe. Shakti is known as the divine mother in Hinduism, so a studio might want to convey comfort, warmth and dynamic power.

Shakti's Many Sides

As the mother energy, Shakti is about creation and destruction. Ultimately, it's the source by which we achieve our dreams and desires.

Shakti energy exists within you and in the environment that surrounds you. Para-Shakti describes the cosmos — the turning of the planets and the heat and light of the sun. Jnana-Shakti exists within your mind; it's your thoughts, wisdom and life experiences. Iccha-Shakti refers to your intentions and actions, while Kriya-Shakti is about creativity and inspiration.

The most notable form of Shakti is Kundalini-Shakti. It radiates through nature as electricity and magnetism. It also refers to the base of energy that exists at your spine according to Kundalini theory. It's believed this energy at the base of your spine radiates upward through your chakras to balance your emotional, physical and spiritual health.

Read More: Yoga Poses and Chakras

How Shakti Manifests in Your Practice

A Shakti yoga practice might just borrow the name of this divine energy, but it also might have a very specific purpose: to awaken the Shakti energy within you.

A class can sequence poses to stimulate your chakras, for example. The intention is to raise the level of your vibration to enhance creativity, will, self-esteem and self-worth. Attention to the second, or Sacral, chakra is especially valuable in heightening your Shakti energy. Warrior II, Low Lunge, Reverse Warrior and Frog pose are all ways to stimulate this chakra, which is connected to sexual energy, creativity and self-confidence.

Reverse Warrior can stimulate feminine Shakti energy.
Reverse Warrior can stimulate feminine Shakti energy. Photo Credit fizkes/iStock/Getty Images

Studios with the name "Shakti" are Hatha-based, meaning they teach the physical poses. However, some may incorporate meditation and chanting to help awaken Shakti energy within you.

Shakti Yoga Studios

A number of yoga studios in the Seattle area bear the name "Shakti Yoga." These studios are the brainchild of Lisa Black, a well-known instructor who works with Baptiste style vinyasa yoga. The studios feature a number of different styles of class, most based on the style of notable instructor, Baron Baptiste.

Signature Shakti yoga classes engage students with multi-directional and circular sequencing to convey a "wave-like" fluidity.

Read More: 11 Yoga Poses to Detoxify Your Body

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