Getting to Know the Goddess Kali: How to Dialogue with Your Wild Side | Kripalu
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Getting to Know the Goddess Kali: How to Dialogue with Your Wild Side | Kripalu

  • yoga
  • relationships
  • awakened living

You don’t always have to be nice to be a yogi. Goddess Kali can help you tap into your wild side.

“you have to find your kali side”, I told annie. you may know someone like annie; in fact, you might have an annie in your yoga class. she is a production manager at a local tv station, a single mom with a busy schedule, and a very nice person. She values ​​yoga as a gateway to peace and well-being, teaches it to troubled teens, and always emphasizes the importance of equanimity and other yogic virtues: non-violence, surrender, contentment, and detachment.

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but annie’s approach to yoga is like her approach to life: she’s so conflict-averse that it’s hard for her to even admit she has negative feelings. she rarely raises her voice and once she told me that she can’t remember the last time she felt anger. But right now, mired in family conflict involving stolen money, elder abuse, and shady lawyers, Ella Annie feels that her carefully cultivated tendency to seek peace over conflict isn’t helping her. she called me for advice: she wants to be told how to maintain the relationship with her siblings and still prevent her mother from being swindled out of her property. In other words, she wants me to give her a recipe to resolve her conflict in a pleasant, non-violent, yogic way.

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instead, what came out of my mouth is “you need to find your kali side”. I guess I could have put it another way. he could have told annie about that moment in the bhagavad gita when the god krishna tells the warrior arjuna to do his duty and rise up and fight. Or I could just have said that yoga is not just about being at peace; it’s also about being strong, wild and forceful. Yoga, I might have reminded him, includes Warrior II, which is basically the pose you take when you’re aiming an arrow at someone’s heart.

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but my intuition was that annie didn’t need a rational argument so much as an image, something to circumvent the cultural conditioning of her left brain dominated mind. annie, like so many yoga practitioners, had a semi-conscious tendency to confuse “being yogic” with being nice. It is not that kindness and equanimity are not essential yogic qualities. it was just that people close to annie often noted that her yogic calm seemed like a way to cover up difficult emotions, complicated feelings, and desires that felt dangerous, or at least not socially acceptable.

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