Maha Shivaratri: a Deep Dive into the Heart.

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The Potency and Potential of Transitions

Dawn and dusk, equinox and solstice, full moon and new moon—all of these times hold the power of transitions. One thing turns into another and there is a place of opening into which you can dive.

There are many times of transition where the veil thins and when you can easily feel the fundamental connection between who you are as an individual, and the essence that pulsates as the Spirit in us all.

Maha Shivaratri is one of these times, and a very special transition indeed. This is the Great Night of Shiva, which happens only once a year on the 13th moon.

As the sliver of the crescent moon dissolves into darkness, the mind can become fully absorbed into the heart—the veil thins and allows you to more easily enter into your truest essence of being.

It offers both potency and the opportunity to enter into a deeper relationship with the divine.

Before I continue, I’d like to say that, though this tradition comes from Hinduism, it offers any sincere practitioner a clear path to the heart. You can use mantra, intention, and celebration to deepen your own understanding and relationship with what you personally believe—that which you already know in your heart.

It is said that your prayers and mantras are magnified 10,000 times on this powerful night of Maha Shivaratri.

The potency comes from the place of transition, in this case the total surrender of the moon into the limitless potential of the night. An opening occurs that allows penetration into the universal. Entrance into oneness.

Transitions happen in every breath, as the inhale and exhale turn into one another. They occur in every pose of your yoga practice as you flow with moment to moment awareness in the true meaning of vinyasa.

These transitions are times to pause and feel, to receive inspiration and set intention. Through these gaps in time and space you can enter total awakening and liberation.

When you come into meditation and are open, your intention has incredible strength. When you combine this with times of power, such as the transition of Maha Shivaratri, you plant a potent seed into the nurturing darkness.

The dark holds unbounded potential.

If you think about it, creation and the deepest transformations happen in the dark. Ideas form in the darkness within. We heal and restore while we sleep. Babies are conceived and grow within the nurturing darkness of the womb for nine months…

So to enter the darkness of this night with a heart full of devotion and love is incredibly healing!

Om Namah Shivaya is the mantra repeated at gatherings and in solitude the world over as people celebrate Maha Shivaratri.

Om Namah Shivaya calls to the essence of who you are. It says, “I honor the essential goodness of myself and the Universe.”

As you chant this mantra, it is a form of self-love on every level. It helps you remember that you are a good person, that your very essence is goodness, and that the same pulsating energy that breathes you and illuminates your life is present in all that is.

Self acceptance and love takes courage. It challenges you to soften your judgments and allow the truth of yourself to shine through.

From this place of accepting who you are now, you are more able to align with divine nature and creatively express yourself as who you want to be.

Through mantra, meditation, song, and any other practice that is right for you, you can become absorbed into the oneness through your devotion and focus. You can find true unity, and its unspeakable beauty and joy.

What are your prayers and intentions? 

Send them out into the universe and deep into your heart. Take the potency of this transition and plant seeds of goodness.

Om Namah Shivaya. May I be a good person. May I be happy and healthy. May my loved ones be happy and healthy.

Om Namah Shivaya. I am pure. I forgive. I clear all mistakes. I am love.

Om Namah Shivaya. May all beings be happy and peaceful. May children all over the world laugh and play together.

Om Namah Shivaya. May all the shadows of my life be transformed into the light. May the troubles of the world be dissolved in the illumination of goodness and beauty.

Om Namah Shivaya. May you who are reading this be blessed with love, joy, and peace.

What are your intentions right now? Leave a comment below to share and inspire others!


Editor: Brianna Bemel

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Katrina Ariel

Katrina Hokule’a Ariel is the author of Yoga for Dragon Riders, and singer/songwriter for her mantra album “Gratitude.” She also has a sprawling yoga blog.
She likes to do yoga in random places, cartwheel on a whim, and hug trees pretty much anywhere. Her life’s ambition is to be a sage-soul-singer-seeker-of-truth and use her considerable talents to help others realize how incredibly magnificent they are—that and curl up by the fire reading a good book. She describes herself as “part cat, part elf, and part hobbit,” though she occasionally admits that she is also human. You can find her on Facebook here

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anonymous May 7, 2012 2:15pm

[…] give it to you straight: I was a difficult teenager. Many of you out there are them, or have them. Shiva help you both. If there was one moment I saw my mother question her faith, it was during that time. […]

anonymous Feb 28, 2012 3:45am

[…] Maha Shivaratri: a Deep Dive into the Heart. […]

anonymous Feb 21, 2012 5:24am

Om NamahShivaya… May the light within each of us shine through the whole humanity, may we all notice the holliness, happiness inside ourselves. May we all live in peace and harmony together. May the light of compassion heal all our wounds and may we all be free… NAMASTE

    anonymous Feb 21, 2012 10:27am

    So sweet. A pure, powerful offering. Thank you.

    Om Namah Shivaya

anonymous Feb 21, 2012 3:16am

I am quite delighted to find your interest & dedication with ancient Indian culture & civilization Yoga, and also the Rev. deities like Shiwa. I am a student of Yoga and a researcher, and have found deeper meanings associated with Shiwa's trident, 3 trips & middle dot on the forehead, Moon crescent, Damru the double cone drum, Shiwa0Shakti duality etc etc. All this uphold the laws of modern physics and much more that is yet to be revealed & understood with the perception of higher consciousness. If one goes beyond religious and boundaries of beliefs the one can feel that such symbols also speak about the higher knowledge of the ancient civilization. Sanskrit Mantras have some remarkable evidence of possessing infinitesimally small units of sound and their sequential arrangement to produce physical effects. In fact what the modern physicist & cosmologists are presently struggling for was already wellknown to the earlier gurus. I would be quite happy to learn more from the seekers of such knowledge. My email is [email protected]

    anonymous Feb 21, 2012 10:26am

    Thanks for contributing Dr. Singh. I agree that these subjects can be studied much more deeply and continually reveal more wonders. I also like that you speak here about the fact that sound has mass, which brings intent into manifestation. You didn't say that exactly, but this is something I have found in places elsewhere and in my experience with mantra and voiced intention. I also appreciate the idea of going beyond religious beliefs and past imagined boundaries to discover what these practices and symbols of wisdom hold for each of us, aligned with whatever we believe in our own hearts.

    Om Namah Shivaya

anonymous Feb 20, 2012 12:35pm

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!. peace be with you. Focus. to grow and heal, Blessings. Not able to attend yoga centre today so looking fwd to personal practice tonight. OM Namah Shivaya

    anonymous Feb 20, 2012 10:14pm

    Om Namah Shivaya. And you are most welcome!

anonymous Feb 20, 2012 12:17pm

For the love that I have finally grow with this… to grow fully into myself and make all around me glow with love. Devotion, loyalty, ever growing love.

anonymous Feb 20, 2012 10:50am

[…] If we dedicate this day to Yogeshwara, and chant, “Om Shivaya Namah, Shivaya Namaho!” our practice delves more deeply from practice to sadhana, honoring the spiritual master of Yoga… […]

anonymous Feb 20, 2012 10:12am

Beautiful! I especially love recalling that as the moon is the element of the mind (which loves to be active), when we focus on stilling…the moon, the mind, we can indeed be aware of awareness itself. And it becomes boundless stillness! Thank you. Barbra Brady, Contributing Editor, Yoga Modern.

    anonymous Feb 20, 2012 10:13pm

    Lovely Barbra – thanks for posting your perspective.

anonymous Feb 20, 2012 10:09am

And, this is balanced with what is still celebrated in Tamil Nadu — Pongal (for the Kumbha Full Moon) — the full moon of late Feb/early March (roughly) — Kumbha means ‘earthen pot’ signifying the womb that holds Shakti energy… This event is really worshipped by anyone — mainly women steward this event, though — I was in India in Tamil Nadu when this was happening… At a certain time…all women start making sweet rice…they prepare kolum (drawings on the hearth of their home) to welcome in the moon… And, they focus to set their intentions for the coming year… All these things are offered up to the Goddess Mother… (info from Maya Tawari’s book ‘Women’s Power to Heal’

    anonymous Feb 20, 2012 10:12pm

    Thanks for sharing Lindsay – I haven't learned anything about this before now.

anonymous Feb 20, 2012 9:50am

So beautiful!

Posting to Elephant Yoga on Facebook and Twitter.

Tanya Lee Markul, Yoga Editor
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    anonymous Feb 20, 2012 10:12pm

    Thanks very much Tanya! 🙂

anonymous Feb 19, 2012 10:59pm

Beautiful piece Katrina and so poignantly timed in this deep time of transition. I have shared it with my fan page, many of which are in India. 🙂

Blessings to you and Maha Shivaratri!

Namaste- Jeannie Page

    anonymous Feb 20, 2012 10:11pm

    Thanks Jeannie! I really appreciate you sharing this. Love ripples out. 🙂

anonymous Feb 21, 2012 10:27am

Thank you for taking the time to read and comment here. Om Namah Shivaya. Ripples of blessings to you and all.