Are you feeling withdrawn from your practice or from the people in your yoga community? Feeling that you have outgrown the teachings? Feeling like you are better than others? Doubting your spiritual path?
Then you may be in Shakti Pad. This is a natural stage on the spiritual path. This is a very critical part as this is the fork in the road for many. Some will fall away from their spiritual practice here, others will stay here and then there are those that will transcend to higher stages.
Shakti Pad, as Yogi Bhajan taught is a stage where the student has gained some power from their spiritual discipline. This power could be deeper intuitive awareness, control over the subconscious mind, a stronger sense of yourself, etc. Now you are feeling like you made it. You think that you are a “Master.” This feeling is the glitter at the bottom of the ladder as Yogi Bhajan has said. You are very much caught up in how important you think you are, that you cannot see beyond your own limited self. This is where people can start to think they are God’s gift to yoga and that they are better than others. The teachings are much bigger than any one individual.
Every spiritual master has gone through Shakti Pad. It is an important step along the way. It is a major test too. Can we let go of ourselves to something bigger? When we think we know it all, then we shut ourselves off from new information. There is so much to learn and we can want to control the little we think that we know.
Remember when you first started your practice? Everything was fun, new and exciting. However there was no real responsibility. You can show up when you want to and don’t have to commit to anything. However like in any relationship, the honeymoon period ends. You begin to deepen your practice and everything isn’t so new and exciting. It is actually hard work. The deeper you go, the harder it gets because your awareness is that much greater. Your responsibility grows. Many get discouraged at this point because there is a misconception that the deeper you get, the easier it gets. If reality was easy, the world wouldn’t be running away from it.
With Shakti Pad comes the challenge of responsibility. You know and therefore you are responsible. When first starting out in the practice, a student is dependent on the teacher. Shakti Pad is the period where the training wheels start to come off. You now must trust in the teachings and follow through on them. What you have learned are no longer just “cool ideas” but have to be applied.
This is the stage where we have to remain committed and faithful in the bigger picture to our practice.
Yogi Bhajan gave a meditation to help get past Shakti Pad called, “The Complete Adi Mantra for Individual Meditation” which can be found in the Aquarian Teacher Training Manual.
Mudra: The hands are in Gyan Mudra with the thumbs touching the index fingers. The sides of the left and right hands are touching. The elbows are at the rib cage and the palms are around the heart center and facing towards the head.
Mantra: Chant the full Adi Mantra 3-5 times per breath.
The full Adi Mantra is:
Meditate for 11-31 minutes.
I feel that using a recording helps to deepen your practice and take your further into the Naad. It’s like a performance enhancing tool. There are two recordings you can use with your practice to help you chant along.
Sat Kirin Kaur Khalsa from Ignite Your Light
Ong Namo Guru Deva (11:10 minutes)
Ong Namo Meditation
Mantras of the Master – Santokh Singh