How to Invoke Saraswati in Your Yoga Practice
Goddess of music, art, speech, and knowledge, inventor of Sanskrit, eponym of an ancient river, and wife to not one but two famous god-husbands—this is Saraswati, from whom creativity flows like water.
This powerful goddess is mentioned throughout ancient texts and is celebrated today in festivals like the Saraswati Puja (first day of spring) and the celebration of Navaratri. She’s often called upon by artists prior to a performance or creative effort, and by students before an exam. You can call to her, too, from your yoga mat.
There are thousands upon thousands of yoga poses and variations, not to mention breathing, cleansing, and meditation techniques. With so much variety, yoga encourages creativity, and that’s Saraswati at work.
She shows her light when you’re in the groove, and she shows her darkness when you’re feeling afraid, unable to communicate, or full of self-doubt. The light and the dark are both tools, if you recognize them. That dark side is Saraswati’s personal invitation to turn on a light and quit stumbling around.
As you practice this month, call upon Saraswati for guidance and watch for her in both the sunlight and the shadows. Yes, we’ll tell you how. Here it goes:
Fire Up the Svadhisthana Chakra
The second chakra on your way up the chain is svadhisthana, or the sacral chakra. It has a lot of big-time responsibilities that center around creativity, both in the sense of creating new human beings and creating in general. Svadhisthana, like Saraswati herself, is associated with water, so it lends itself to the flow of life.
When this chakra gets blocked, we stop flowing. We don’t feel creative, we don’t want to move, and we struggle in our relationships. Bummer!
To keep this chakra open and the creativity flowing, try this practice to take you from the stability of the first chakra to the creativity of the second. Follow it with a meditation on those two energy centers.
Saraswati governs speech, so use your voice! Mantra opens your throat and paves the way for clear communication, which Saraswati would be very proud of. It also has a host of other benefits: it helps you relax, alleviate stress, and more. There are so many beautiful mantras to choose from, each of which has its own energy and purpose.
Saraswati’s own mantra is Om Aim Saraswataye Namaha, which is essentially saying, “greetings to she who brings the wisdom and creativity.” You can use this mantra before your yoga practice to invite her onto the mat with you or anytime you undertake a creative endeavor.
For a simple but powerful mantra to keep energy flowing through Saraswati’s nearest and dearest chakra, svadhisthana, chant vam. This is the sound associated with this chakra; use it to ignite your creativity.
Call Out Your Self-Doubt
You don’t have to do it out loud, but do pause to mentally consider what you’re feeling in a specific pose. Do you doubt your ability to hold that warrior II any longer? Do you feel afraid when lifting into a headstand? Are you thinking, “Not in this lifetime, not on my mat” when you see your teacher float effortless into scorpion pose?
That’s a not-so-gentle dark nudge from our friend Saraswati. She’s calling you to step into your potential. That doesn’t mean you’ll nail that scorpion today, but it does mean you’ll practice the preparatory poses. You’ll hold space for the possibility that your body may find its way there someday. And you’ll be okay if it doesn’t.
Can you hear her? You will if you pause and listen. She’s kinda loud when she has to be.
Decorate Your Altar
You might select a Saraswati statue or painting for your yoga space, which may show the goddess wearing white, sitting on a lotus. In the absence of her likeness, you can call her energy with a picture of a peacock or a peacock feather—the bird is often depicted as her assistant.
Likewise, small musical instruments, artistic elements, or water features are ideal for inviting the creative Saraswati to the space.
Try New Poses and Practices
Choosing a new online class every day keeps your time on the mat creative and inspiring. It challenges you to hold poses a little longer than you might normally do while also offering you permission to listen to your own body. It exposes you to new teachers, new philosophies and approaches, new yoga vocabulary, and new poses and transitions. Trying new classes also helps you build your personal asana, pranayama, and meditation bank so you have more to draw on when you’re practicing alone.
To honor Saraswati, choose poses that work on your svadhisthana chakra. There are many: butterfly, forward folds, low lunge, and, perhaps not surprisingly, goddess pose all tap into that creative energy.
Bring Saraswati to the mat with you. Your practice will blossom and your creativity—and confidence—will soar. Follow us on Instagram for more inspiration!