Home Indian Culture The Hindu roots of yoga: Shiva

The Hindu roots of yoga: Shiva

The Hindu roots of yoga: Shiva


Shiva, in keeping with a 2021 PEW research on faith in India, is the god Hindus mostly really feel near, making his affect unquestionably huge in a faith containing some 1.2 billion adherents.

However what if I instructed you there are lots of (and I imply many) extra around the globe who’re being influenced by him whether or not they’re conscious of it or not — sure, together with those that don’t think about themselves Hindu? 

In case you follow yoga, you’re one among them.

What has now develop into a multi-billion greenback health trade engaged in by roughly 300 million individuals worldwide, yoga is authentically a part of the Hindu custom, and reveres Shiva as Adiyogi, or its originator and first instructor.

As a result of he’s a god who’s undisturbed by life’s dualities (like sizzling/chilly, ugly/lovely, and ache/pleasure) he’s all the time in a deep state of meditation, or absorbed in reference to the Divine. Yoga, that means “union” in Sanskrit, is accordingly a religious follow firstly, designed to calm and focus the thoughts so we will look inwards to the Divine actuality that exists inside us.

And so even for individuals who follow yoga strictly for its bodily advantages, each time they carry out a yoga asana (posture), they’re connecting to a practice that owes its existence to Shiva, making them a recipient of his immense compassion.

To thus honor Shiva — because it’s by means of appreciating his compassion we will get probably the most out of our follow — let’s study somewhat about three asanas attributed to him, and the highly effective meanings behind them.


Time, in keeping with Hindu texts, isn’t linear, however cyclical in nature. The universe is subsequently stated to be in fixed flux, going by means of a steady strategy of being created, maintained, and destroyed, very like the waves of an ocean that rise, fall, and crash, solely to be pulled again by the ocean to rise as soon as once more.

Although such crashing may end up in violent disarray and chaos, it’s in the end half of a bigger course of that’s coherent and structured. What we see as a wave is basically the interplay of power within the water, brought on by wind with the underlying mattress of the ocean. Steadfast, secure, and peaceable, Shiva is very like this mattress, supporting the shakti, or power, that causes the wave’s existence. The pull and push of the swells alongside a seaside therefore has a rhythm to it that may be likened to a dance — the actions of which appear unpredictable and random at instances, but all the time in final concord with the beat of a drum, or the enjoying of music.

As such, the common course of can also be described as a dance, one which sees its climactic crash on the time of cosmic renewal, when Shiva, who is named Nataraja, or “Lord of the Dance,” performs a divine dance of transformation, paving the way in which for creation to start anew.

Impressed by this dance, Natarajasana is a difficult place by which an individual stands on one leg, and whereas conserving the chest out, reaches backwards to seize the foot of the opposite. 

Demanding sturdy steadiness, the pose attracts on our capability to face agency as we let go of our destructive feelings, in order that we will discover the internal peace required to domesticate the optimistic ones crucial for religious development.


Following Shiva’s dance of transformation, Brahma, the architect of the universe, is believed to reconstruct creation, after which Vishnu, the god of preservation, assumes the position of its upkeep — earlier than Shiva brings an finish to it but once more, because the cycle repeats.

Working, subsequently, in concord to facilitate a cycle that serves and advantages everybody, all three gods play equally very important roles within the common course of.

However in keeping with a Hindu textual content known as the Shiva Purana, Brahma, pleased with his place because the creator, as soon as thought he held probably the most energy and significance, a lot in order that if he needed, he might carry out even the work of the opposite two. In such a temper, he thus started flexing his talents, emulating a few of Shiva’s prowess to the purpose of encroaching on his duties.

Although tolerant at first, when Shiva realized Brahma had no intention of subsiding, he ultimately misplaced his endurance. Unwilling to take anymore, he eliminated a nail from his finger and threw it to the bottom, producing a horrible and fearsome being named Bhairava, who upon manifesting, headed straight for Brahma and swiftly lower off one among his 5 heads, famously leaving him with 4. 

Completely subdued, Brahma understood the error of his methods. Humbled, he prostrated himself earlier than Bhairava, expressing his deep gratitude for the lesson, and the promise to maintain his ego in verify, remembering that Divine energy is just nice to the extent it’s used for the selfless service of others.

Devoted to Bhairava, the frightful facet of Shiva who cuts delight, Bhairavasana is an acutely potent side-plank with one leg behind the pinnacle, requiring intense focus because it combines steadiness, power, and adaptability.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here