Anahata Yoga Retreat celebrates the Hindu festival of Navaratri: the 9 Nights of the Goddess: Durga and incarnations of Lakshmi and Saraswati.
The celebration of Navaratri occurs twice-yearly in the Hindu calendar and is a nine-night festival that celebrates the divine feminine in all her incarnations and the triumph of good over evil in commemoration of the victory of the goddess Durga over the demon Mahishasura.
Under the Satyananda lineage at Anahata Yoga Retreat, we honour the Goddess Durga (and her counterpart Kali) followed by Lakshmi and finally Saraswati over this time through daily devotional mantra practice.
- Durga is the goddess of strength, power and protection. She is worshipped on the first three nights of Navaratri.
- Lakshmi is the goddess of abundance, wealth and prosperity. She is worshipped on the next three nights of Navaratri.
- Saraswati is the goddess of creativity, knowledge and wisdom. She is worshipped on the last three nights of Navaratri.
Each day we gather in the temple for daily chanting and every three days, a dedicated Havan (sacred fire ceremony) is held to open the connection to each new deity. Their unique Gayatri Mantra is chanted 108 times along with the Durga Path (32 names of Durga) 27 times – a practice that then continues over the subsequent days until the next incarnation is called in. The festival then concludes on the final day with a celebration of Ram and the triumph of good over evil.
The mantras core to the practice of Navaratri are:
DURGA GAYATRI: Om kaatyaayanyai cha vidmahe Kanyaakumaryai cha dhimahi Tanno durge prachodayaat
LAKSHMI GAYATRI: Om mahaadevyai cha vidmahe Vishnupriyaayai cha dhimahi Tanno lakshmih prachodayaat
SARASWATI GAYATRI: Om vaagdevyai cha vidmahe Brahmapatnyai cha dhimahi Tanno devi prachodayaat
PLUS the DURGA PATH (32 Names of Durga) which can be downloaded here.
Did you know Navaratri actually takes place twice a year in the Hindu calendar? The celebrations hold slightly different energy and are known as: Chaitra Navratri and Sharad Navratri.
- Chaitra Navratri falls in the spring season, during the month of Chaitra in the Hindu calendar. It is also known as Vasanta Navratri. It is associated with the beginning of the new year and the start of the spring season. It is a time to celebrate new beginnings and to set new goals.
- Sharad Navratri falls in the autumn season, during the month of Ashwin in the Hindu calendar. It is also known as Maha Navratri or Durga Puja. Sharad Navratri is associated with the end of the monsoon season and the start of the autumn season. It is a time to celebrate the harvest and to give thanks for the blessings of the past year.
WHY CELEBRATE NAVARATRI?
The Satyananda Yoga tradition emphasizes the importance of Navaratri as a time for spiritual growth and transformation. Swami Satyananda Saraswati taught that Navaratri is a time to awaken the goddess within us and that the nine forms of Durga represent different qualities of the divine feminine, such as strength, courage, wisdom, and compassion.
It is also regarded as a potent time when the yield of spiritual practice is amplified thousand fold so an opportunity for devotion for specific or universal cause. Durga supports us to overcome our challenges and achieve our goals.
- To invoke the qualities of the 3 Goddesses into our own life and release all that is standing in the way of our inner Goddess.
- Overcome our own challenges and to stand up for what is right.
- A potent time for dedicated spiritual practice that will be amplified 1000X over this period.
- To celebrate new beginnings. Navaratri occurs at the change of season so an ideal time to set intention and release the old.
- Community/Sangha and celebration – joining together for Navaratri is an opportunity to connect through the divine intention and celebrate.
HOW TO CELEBRATE NAVARATRI FROM HOME
To cultivate your own practice over this time, here’s some ideas to connect with the Divine Mother and Goddess within.
- If you can’t make it to Anahata Yoga Retreat to join the Navaratri Sadhana, we are offering an online option to tune in from the comfort of your own home.
- SELF-GUIDED MANTRA PRACTICE:
- Create a sacred mantra and meditation space with an alter. Place sacred objects, fresh foliage and a candle on the alter and anything else that feels important for you.
- Block out time each day for your Mantra practice, ideally in the morning.
- PRACTICE: Firstly drop in to your sacred space, finding a comfortable seated position and close your eyes taking 3 deep breaths. Open the space by chanting the mantra OM x3 times. Next chant the 32 Names of Durga x27 times followed by the Gayatri of the Goddess of the day x108 times. Once complete, meditate on the vibration of the mantra. NOTE: If you have a mala, we recommend using this to keep count.
- Perform puja, a ritual of worship, to Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswati. This can be done in a simple way or in a more elaborate way, depending on your resources and preferences.
- Read and learn more about the deities and what they represent and form an energetic connection to call upon.
- Offer seva, selfless service, to others. This is a way to honor the goddess Durga and to show your appreciation for all that she has given you.
YOGA ASANA FOR NAVARATRI
Cultivating the qualities of each celebrated Goddess can also translate into our yoga Asana practice. Try these poses for ultimate Goddess energy:
- Utkata Konasana (Goddess Pose)
- Virabhadrasana I (Warrior I Pose)
- Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II Pose)
- Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)
- Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)
- Padmasana (Lotus Pose)
Wishing you a beautiful Navaratri – What does Navaratri celebration mean for you?