The yoga tradition is filled with a myriad of Hindu goddesses who symbolize various aspects of our human (and divine) selves. It’s believed that these powerful deities hold shakti, or divine energy, that can deeply transform your life. You can invoke a particular goddess depending upon what kind of energy you’re in need of in a particular moment, and you probably resonate with one or two of them because you tend toward their particular characteristics and personalities.
Invoking the yoga goddesses can be done in a number of ways. Some yoga teachers might theme a class around a particular goddess or two (Read more for the 5 Qualities of a Good Yoga Teacher.). You could contemplate upon one of them before delving into your own home yoga practice. Then, of course, by meditating with a particular goddess’ mantra and using a mala as you chant, you can easily bring them into your consciousness. If quiet and contemplative prayer works for you, feel free to pray to one or more of the goddesses in times of need or whenever you wish. You’ll find that the more you take the time to call in their energy, the easier the practice will become and the more familiar you’ll get with each divine feminine energy.
So, let’s take a look at the goddesses of yoga and see which one relates to you.
First, there’s Lakshmi.
She’s one of the most well-known goddesses in yoga. Her mantra is:
Om Shreem Mahalakshmiyei Namaha
Chant this mantra 108 times every morning and evening to call upon her feminine powers of love, beauty and wealth.
Lakshmi represents abundance in all its forms and, as her name rhymes with the word “luck,” she’s said to bring luck in to your life when you invoke her. Lakshmi brings wealth and prosperity to your life; so, if you want to feel more abundant, on both the material and spiritual planes of existence, then you’ll want to meditate upon her often. It’s said that chanting her mantra on Fridays at dusk is extra helpful. (Learn more about The Auspicious Goddess Lakshmi.)
Next, we have Parvati. As the wife of Shiva, Parvati represents love, devotion and even fertility. She’s the goddess of family and also the mother of the beloved Ganesh – the elephant-head god. (Read more in Ganesh: Hindu God of Good Fortune.) As such, Parvati is the mother god of yoga goddesses. When you need to call upon your inner mother, call upon Parvati. If you wish to conceive, meditate upon her image as she’s said to be the protector of pregnant women. As the mother goddess, Parvati embodies many goddesses, and two of the most popular yoga goddesses she embodies are also two of the most beloved: Durga and Kali.
Durga is a truly fierce form of Parvati. Dressed in red and riding a lion, she is a symbol for the destruction of evil. In her hands she holds weapons, which have the power to annihilate all ignorance and evil. Durga fights demons; so, when you need to ward off evil or even destroy it, you’ll want to call in the goddess Durga for support on the battlefield – wielding the weapons to fight anger, separation, guilt, blame, shame, betrayal, greed…the list goes on. (Learn more about Invoking Durga Within You.)
Durga is your inner warrior. She’s the one to invoke when you need to get fierce – especially if that’s not your common modus operandi. To call upon Durga, you may wish to chant the following mantra:
Om Dum Durgayei Namaha
As Kali, Parvati takes on yet another fierce form – one of death and destruction. Kali’s name means "the dark one." It also represents dark time. She’s the principle of deep time, in which the past resolves and the future comes forth. She’s the goddess of endings as well as new beginnings. Her divine feminine energy is the one that sustains and resolves the various cycles of our individual lives. Calling upon Kali’s dark energy can be deeply liberating. If you’re averse to conflict, but need to deal with a particularly difficult situation, you may find that Kali gives you the strength to face a confrontation that is unavoidable.
You can invoke Kali with the mantra, Om Kali Om, one of the most simple and direct mantras to bring the force of Kali to empower you and bring forth the lessons that you might need in order to dissolve the old and move into the new.
Finally, we have Saraswati. She’s the aspect of the divine feminine that represents the arts and learning. She’s the goddess of music, wisdom and all forms of knowledge. If you need to bring forth more creativity into your life, you might want to invoke Saraswati to help you with a creative project. She’s typically depicted as dressed in white while sitting on a white lotus flower - symbolizing light, truth and knowledge. You can invoke Saraswati with the following mantra:
Om Shreem Hreem Saraswatyai Namaha
As you can see, the yoga goddesses are quite different from one another. Call upon each and every one of them to empower you with divine, feminine energy.