Lakshmi flow yoga is a dance with abundance.
Lakshmi is the Mother Goddess of Beauty, Wealth, Fertility, and Spiritual Purity.
She is the sustainer of pleasure and one you would call upon to bless your home, relationship or career with boons of fortune and good health.
One of the three Goddesses of the Tridevi—the Supreme Trinity of the Universe—Lakshmi preserves and protects the material realm. The cycles are Creation, Preservation, and Destruction. Each cycle is associated with a Goddess and God of the Hindu Pantheon.
Keep reading to learn Lakshmi’s origin story, themes, and ways you will benefit from Lakshmi Flow Yoga.
Table of Contents:
Why Call Upon Lakshmi?
“Soma was the drink of the gods, and supposedly it contained the power to give immortality. It was one of the substances churned up from the Milky Ocean, along with Lakshmi herself.”
— Sally Kempton.
Lakshmi is worshipped as the Mother Goddess of Abundance and Wealth.
Where Saraswati is the inspiration and the one who manifests the subconscious realm, Lakshmi is the physical manifestation of the concepts created through Saraswati. She breathes beauty into the world through material pleasures.
The subtle themes of Lakshmi are love, harmony, empathy and kindness in relationships.
She is one of the oldest goddesses to appear in sacred scripture. Lakshmi appears in the Rig Veda- the first of the four Vedas. Her other name is Shri, which means auspicious and captures the goddess’s loving kindness, fortune, purity, vitality, and radiance.
When you would draw upon the energy of Lakshmi:
To birth an idea, person, or relationship.
To develop an abundance mindset.
To bring beauty into the world.
To align with the heart’s language.
To approach an arduous situation with kindness.
To be blessed with a promotion or career shift.
To seek a new home or living space.
Lakshmi is known as the more domestic of the goddesses as she presides over fertility, homemaking, and tending to the needs of others. Her expression of compassion is softer than Durga and Saraswati. Durga is too fierce, and Saraswati prefers to be alone.
She is also known as Mahalakshmi and presides over 16 forms of worldly wealth.
16 Forms of Wealth: Fame; Knowledge; Courage and Strength; Victory; Good Children; Valor; Gold, Gems and Other Valuables; Abundance; Happiness; Bliss; Intelligence; Beauty; Higher Aim, High Thinking and Higher Meditation; Morality and Ethics; Good Health; Long Life.
Lakshmi bestows her gifts on those with a pure heart. She does not appear for those who do not resonate from the heart space in thought, word, or deed, She is fickle in this way, and only appears to those who move from the pure wisdom and compassion of the heart center.
Themes and Mythology of Lakshmi
“Lakshmi’s Shakti is life-sustaining both in the physical and subtle realms. She is, subtly speaking, the water of life and the subtle nectar that moistens the heart.”
— Sally Kempton.
Colors: pink and red.
Animals: elephants and owls.
Objects: lotus flower, gold coins.
The Goddess of Preservation, Lakshmi’s consort and masculine counterpart, is Vishnu the Sustainer.
Lakshmi sits atop a lotus flower and holds lotus flowers in two of her four palms. The other two palms toss gold coins. The lotus flower symbolizes Lakshmi’s spiritual purity and desire for absolute truth, whereas the gold coins express her abundance, generosity, and wealth.
Elephants are often depicted in the background splashing in the water against a clear blue sky. Wise, loyal and strong, elephants are also very lucky and point to the prosperity and happiness associated with Lakshmi.
Lakshmi has four arms to represent each of the four Purusharthas.
The Purusharthas are from Indian Philosophy and provide the pillars or foundation of how to construct a life. It gives one a purpose or goal to hold on to and may be treated as a guidebook.
The term Purusharthas comes from Sanskrit purush meaning ‘human, beingness,’ and artha, meaning ‘purpose, goal.’
The Purusharthas are mentioned in the Vedas, the oldest of Indian scriptures.
The Purusharthas are:
Artha – values, material supports
Kama – desire, sensuality and passion
Dharma – duty, one’s true purpose
Moksha – liberation, spiritual alignment
Indian philosophy holds that the individual must create harmony between the four pillars to lead a holistic and fulfilled life.
Beauty is a central concept of Lakshmi’s archetypal energy. Bringing beauty into the world is one of Lakshmi’s gifts. Like Saraswati, who provides artists with a muse, Lakshmi sparkles her charm and luxury through food, fashion, architecture, interior design, and all forms of creating a cozy and sumptuous lifestyle.
Listen to the podcast on how to dance with beauty with Lakshmi as your muse.
The Mythology of Lakshmi
Samudra Manthan (The Churning of the Milky Ocean)
Lakshmi’s origin story comes from the Samudra Manthan from the Indian epic, the Mahabharata.
Indra is the King of the Gods and governs the sky, storms, thunder, and war. He is responsible for protecting the universe from the Asuras (demons). One day, Indra is riding atop a grand white elephant when the Indian sage Durvasa, who is disguised as a beggar, offers him a beautiful garland.
The flowers fall from Indra’s fingertips, and the elephant tramples them to the ground. Durvasa, perceiving Indra as arrogant, assumes he threw the garland to the earth on purpose and curses him by saying that his kingdom will fall to ruins due to his pride.
From Durvasa’s curse, the crops dry up, and the animals die in Indra’s kingdom. The sweet nectar, the Ojas that gives life its luster and vitality, is also removed, so all life fades and wanes. Eventually, the people and gods suffer; minds are corrupted, desires run amok, and sensory pleasure overrides reason.
With the gods weakened by despair and lack of nourishment, the demons enter the kingdom and defeat the gods in battle.
The gods appealed to Vishnu, Lakshmi’s consort, for advice. Vishnu tells them to churn the Samudra Manthana (the Milky Ocean) to resurface the Amrit (the sweet nectar) that will restore the vitality to the kingdom. Churning the waters is a metaphor for the war between the gods and demons fighting for the kingdom.
Centuries pass, and eventually, the churning draws Lakshmi from the waters. She rides atop a lotus and provides Vishnu and the gods with the strength to overcome the demons.
The asuras and devas had to reunite and work together to bring Lakshmi back- they worked hard and devoted themselves entirely before she appeared to provide. This story serves as a reminder of Lakshmi’s persistence and perseverance. She bestows gifts to those who are pure, compassionate, and loyal at heart. She does not cast her boons on those who are undeserving.
Lakshmi Mantra and Meditation
Lakshmi is an ancient goddess. The Vedic singers praised her under her most ancient name, Shri, and sang the ‘Hymn of Shri’ (Shri Sukta) to bring forth whatever is glorious and beautiful in the natural world. Besides being a name of Lakshmi, Shri is an abstract noun that signifies all the qualities associated with auspiciousness: good fortune, lovingkindness, material prosperity, physical health, beauty, purity of motive, well-being, authority, energy, vitality, and every kind of radiance.”
— Sally Kempton.
Chant to Lakshmi when you want to shift your perspective from scarcity to abundance. We also chant to her when we want to birth something into the world–whether that’s an idea, project or child.
Aum Hrim Shri Lakshmi Bhyo Namaha
Meaning of the Mantra:
Aum – primordial sound that connects all beings
Hrim Shri – bija seed sound for Lakshmi
Lakshmi – the Goddess
Bhyo Namaha – I bow to thee; I adore you
Chakras to Activate Lakshmi’s Energy
Lakshmi provides to those who are pure and aligned in body, mind, and spirit. She listens and responds from the heart space- making Anahata (4th) the chakra for Lakshmi.
The heart can be a source of love and where we can connect to our truth. Love for ourselves is possible when we honor our truth and continue checking in with what serves us at any moment.
As the Goddess of Beauty, Abundance, and Spiritual Purification, Lakshmi only appears to those aligned with their heart’s desires and shows empathy, kindness, and compassion to others.
The heart chakra, Anahata, is also where we house our pain (i.e. heartbroken). Our physical and emotional ails may be transformed at the heart if we connect to our truth and explore what activities, communities, and relationships bring a sense of lightness and love into our being.
Anahata is the fourth chakra at the center of the seven chakras. It serves as a bridge to connect the lower chakras (1-3), which relate to our tangible connection to the earth, with the upper chakras (5-7), which relate to our consciousness and immaterial aspects of nature.
It is within our hearts that we can create harmony and balance between our internal and external worlds. The heart is where we discover a state of ease, compassion, and serenity. The fourth chakra themes include love, forgiveness, sadness, and grief.
The element for Anahata is air. Our breath is our life force and vitality and is one of the critical indicators of how we’re feeling emotionally. Tightness or shortness of breath is a sign of stress or can indicate we are holding pain in our chests. When our breath is smooth, slow, and deep, we are in a state of ease. When we are at ease, we can interact with our environment and other people with more integrity.
The chakras are segmented into three different groups: the lower chakras (1-3), heart chakra (4), and upper chakras (5-7). The second chakra and sixth chakra express a polarity. Regarding placement, the second and sixth chakra directly oppose each other. Each work together within the context of their integration and affect.
The saying, ‘as above, so below is used to describe chakra polarity.
Hermes Trismegisto was the first to use the phrase. An Egyptian Sage noted to have created alchemy, Hermes Trismegisto is mentioned in occult literature and combined the knowledge of the material and subtle realms. His words are recorded in the Emerald Tablet and express that that which is below directly corresponds to that which is above and that the two accomplish the miracles of the One Thing.
Lakshmi breathes life into situations – making the unmanifest ideas and intentions appear in the tangible realm. She takes what Saraswati creates and presents it in physical form. She rises from the ocean to provide for all those who devoted themselves to the greater good.
Anahata chakra, when fully expressed and opened, is limitless. The potential at the heart center resonates with each beat.
The electromagnetic field of the heart’s rhythm extends three feet or further from the body. Through intention, working with Lakshmi and Anahata, the fourth chakra, the heart’s language touches all who come within its reach.
Yoga Classes to Embody Lakshmi
In this yoga class, you’ll build heat with leg balancing, chaturanga push-ups, and warriors to strengthen the abdominals, glutes, and inner thighs. Move into arm balancing with crow pose, and close your practice with a grounding meditation.
Element: Water and Fire.
Strengthens biceps, triceps, trapezius, rhomboids, abdominals, adductors and glutes.
Lengthens the frontline with the chest, shoulders, abdominals, hip flexors, and throat.
Benefits those seeking a challenge to build strength, heat, discipline, and focus.
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In this yoga class, you’ll flow through a rhythmic practice with creative transitions from side plank to floating tree and fallen triangle pose. Leg balancing and heart opening create a sense of stability and spaciousness in the body and mind.
Element: Earth, Water
Strengthens abdominals, obliques, erectors, quads, hamstrings, and biceps/triceps.
Lengthens the side body, shoulders, chest, frontline, hip flexors, and quadriceps.
Benefits those seeking a smooth, flowy, and playful class that keeps you guessing where you’re going!
Four Ways You Benefit from Lakshmi Flow Yoga
Vinyasa yoga focuses on the transitions between the poses. There is as much emphasis on the postures as the movements that carry you from one shape to the next.
The overall effect is a rhythmic, fluid, dynamic sequence that guides you from standing poses to savasana.
The Lakshmi Flow Vinyasa classes on Practice with Clara feature Prana Flow Yoga style sequencing founded by Shiva Rea. There is an emphasis on moving with the breath; each inhale and exhale to a movement.
4 Benefits of Flow Yoga:
Develop a deeper breath to stimulate the movement of Prana (energy).
Enhanced awareness of the body as you focus on poses and transitions.
Stimulate the subtle muscle groups – the stabilizers – to increase strength.
Shift from the sympathetic to the parasympathetic nervous system to complete the stress cycle and connect to a deeper state of calm in body and mind.
Questions to Consider for Lakshmi:
What is my current relationship to abundance?
In what ways do I express abundance?
What do I experience as beauty within me? Around me? In others?
What is my relationship to wealth?
In what ways do I share my wealth and boons? To my loved ones, to the community?
What material values do I uphold regarding career, money, relationships, and homemaking?
What are my deepest desires? Are they aligned with my life’s purpose?
What is my life purpose? How do you serve the greater good of humanity?
Where do I discover spiritual bliss? What are the activities?
How do I work with the shadow side of Lakshmi?
Where do I see an imbalance of Lakshmi in the world? What can I do to bring balance to your immediate environment?
Embracing the Shadow of Lakshmi
The shadow symbolizes the unmet needs and unrequited desires of the subconscious. It represents our most basic, instinctual needs that are repressed. It’s part of the unconscious mind that develops in response to what is not culturally or socially accepted.
To understand the shadow, look at this blog post.
Lakshmi’s shadow is expressed through greed, corruption, disregard for moral and ethical values, ignorance of the greater good, lasciviousness and preference for pleasure over reason, and addiction.
Activities to bring Lakshmi’s shadow into balance:
Spreading your time, resources, and wealth to others.
Sharing material pleasures and beauty with those you love.
Working toward a shared goal or project.
Spending time in nature, with children, or with animals.
Mantras that foster affluence and beauty.
Aparigraha is one of the Yamas from Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras and translates as ‘greedlessness.’ Embracing Lakshmi could be a practice of Aparigraha through not taking more than what is necessary and sharing resources when you have enough.
According to Jungian psychology, Melancholia, angst, overwhelm, and confusion may all be served through awareness of one’s own shadow, though not through over-identification.
The Powerful Presence of the Archetypes
“As with any powerful symbolic form, the Hindu deities represent, and in my experience actually can uncover, helpful psychological forces. They personify energies that we feel but may never have thought to name or invoke.” — Sally Kempton.
Archetypes allow us to develop a strong point of focus through the embodiment of qualities, emotions, and behaviors that empower. Each archetype’s unique and precise characteristics create a foundation to explore qualities that foster growth, receptivity, and acceptance.
Working with an archetype may assist with the release of stagnant/blocked memories, ideas, thoughts, and emotions. It may also support revealing the individual’s innermost desires, goals, needs, and expressions.
Saraswati is a potent figure to work with to harness creative energy, refine attention to language in verbal and written forms, and enhance all aspects of learning, communication, and discernment.