The word Yoga means Union, or Unitary Consciousness.
Yogis recognize that we are all expressions of the one unitary consciousness.
This is a non-dualist view.(as distinct from the view that God or Self is separate, which is a dualist view).
Shiva is one of the representations of the one universal consciousness.
A physical representation of the one that we all are. A fully human fully spiritual being. (In Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, my understanding is that this is known as Purusha).
A reminder that this is OUR very nature as well.
There are other ways to represent the Self, or God, or Source, of course. You can have any religion and practice and explore the whole of what yoga is. You can be Christian, in fact many of our yoga community here at Waverley Yoga Studio are, and practice yoga to its full extent. You can be Buddhist. And so on. You can also have no religion and also explore a yogic path.
Having said you can have any, or no religion and do yoga, it is fair to say that yoga originated in India and followed on from the Vedic writings and the Updanishads. Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, one of if not the first writings about yoga and how to get to an experience of union, comes from India.
So having representations of Shiva and other deities in the room acknowledges yoga’s roots in Indian culture.
Shiva as a Hindu deity represents many things, one of which is the destroyer – getting rid of the old to make way for the new. And also concealment, revealment, and much more, in other words, those very aspects that the cycle of life constantly shows us.
|Nataraj - Dancing Shiva|
Shiva reminds me of the universal self, the oneness that we are.
The particular aspects of the ‘destroyer of old forms’ is just part of this oneness.
Shiva also graces our studio in his dancing form, as Nataraj. And Ganesha, Shiva’s mythical elephant-headed son, represents the removing of obstacles.
Sarasvati, well she only appeared after my spiritual name was bestowed, she represents wisdom, learning, also music and the arts.
There are many more gods and goddesses we can explore and honour as different aspects of the One Self that we are.
Not freaky at all.