Thursday, July 21, 2011

Goddesses Don't Stress???

Demeter Mourning Persephone by
 Evelyn De Morgan

Around 10:30 in an otherwise awesome yoga video Katherine Budig encourages a yogini in Utkata Konasana to "Channel your inner goddess while you're there….And then again goddess pose. Goddesses don't get stressed out. They just look good all the time. Ok. So open it up. Smile. Find that space."

I’m all for grinning and finding space in my yoga practice, but the idea that goddesses don’t get stressed out is ridiculous. Not just ridiculous. Offensive. Katherine Budig is an awesome yoga teacher. I thank both her and Yoga Journal for offering free videos and podcasts. Free yoga rocks! Trivializing goddesses does not.

Millions of men and women across the planet worship and revere goddesses. From Quan Yin to the Virgin Mary, from Shakti to Persephone, goddesses continue to inspire and empower people in very real, meaningful ways. Even outside the realm of worship, storytellers, psychologists, artists, businesswomen, and parents “channel their inner goddess” to tap into the strength and creativity that goddesses embody. And while art traditionally portrays goddesses as “looking good,” these ancient archetypes aren’t meaningful because they’re beautiful or perfect. On the contrary, goddesses inspire because their stories teach us to rise above adversity, both in smiling serenity and teeth-gnashing fury.

A statue of Sekhemet
at the Brooklyn Museum
Was Demeter stressed when her daughter disappeared into the Underworld? Most likely. Was Sekhemet worried about looking good as she rampaged across ancient Egypt punishing heretics? Hell no! Goddess stories are full of heartache and triumph. They reflect the daily struggles of women on a superhuman level. When women work with these legends, they “find that space” to feel and to act uninhibited beyond the limitations that argue femininity means being perpetually polite and polished.

Without the space to stress and sweat, goddess become archaic fashion models. They look pretty and keep their cool, but fail to inspire. They exchange their stories for lipstick smiles. Fuck that.

So next time you’re dropping beads of sweat onto the mat or sobbing in savasana, embrace your inner goddess in all her furious, luminous, tragically transcendental, bi-polar glory….and keep breathing.

1 comment:

  1. I just love this post! Couldn't agree with you more. So important for women to embrace ALL aspects of the goddess, including your inner Kali Ma! So when the going gets tough, don't be all perfect and beautiful .. stick your tongue out and vent!! Thank you for posting this, it really made my day :-)