Therapeutic application of Yoga on stress and the power of self expression

Luana Marini Bellisari

Yoga arrived in a fundamental moment of my life. Between the 39ies and the 40ies, during a time of luck of trust to what I could have done as a woman
With Yoga we break the puzzle of each doubt and troubled thinking and we arrive at the pure source.
and as a Human being.
During my first step in to the yoga practice I have had often the feeling in losing my strength, that’s because yoga got in to my sensitivity and in to my emotions so deeply that after each practice, special those I made alone with my master, I was always crying.
An unbalanced step of what I was plus what I was living, emotions that sere driving me not under my control, were bringing me close to a feeling of a depression mood. After that time, and during the days I could switch on and off my faith and my original love and passion inside of me.
In my memories the action of the movement of a single muscle could giving me a new perception and development of conscious that I have lost in my body memory, and each of that were really connected with my personal movements (passages) of my single life in that moment. I was starting to live in and with me, muscular connection, breathing drive consciously, were just a few of the many things and situations were happens and I was slowly discovering.
Yoga becomes, when arrives to catch the personal world of a human being, cardinal and it transforms and turn on a source of light and a strategy of art of living at the same time.
There are thousand of interconnections between the physical body and the mindful body like with the sympathetic (SNS) and the parasympathetic (PNS). The experience of yoga itself shows the practitioner how he/she lives it’s on life. During an Asana, establishing the forces, bringing the right, creative a beauty and focusing on a gaze, while breathing is the only sound that vibrating in and outsider, in a unique experience that’s to be in that moment.
What leaves yoga after a session, is a sense of grounding and full perception in who we are, a deep calm and a clarity; it gives to the practitioner or the yoga student the way to realize something more about him self. Yoga surprise us and suddenly we recognize the message coming from inside , that’s we couldn ́t hear before. Slowly and deeply we became aware to steps at decisions or transformations wherever they where sleeping inside of us.
In different moment of our life we live the conditions of stress or depression, or under pressing. Here below summarizes the ways stress can undermine health.
1- Unbalanced function of the Immune System; 2- Increased Cholesterol;
3- Increased Inflammation;
4- Increased Triglycerides;
5- Decreases bone density;
6- Increased Blood Clotting;
7- Problems with memory;
8- Impaired wound healing;
9- Unbalanced sense of Appetite;
10- Poorer Sleep;
11- Unbalanced weight gains;
12- Increased sensation of Pain,
13- Fat deposited in Abdomen;
14- More Fatigue;
15- Increased resistance to Insulin;
16- Worsening of Mood;
17- Increased Blood sugar;
18- Adoption of less healthy habits.
Yoga as medicine: a treatment against stress and consequent diseases
When we think about what illness caused by stress in our modern life, first coming on our mind heatheache or neuralgic, stomach-aches, and intestine aches, we use to know that are kept as symptoms that can be cured with antypain medicaments, and the pharmaceutic system has developed a various and numerous pills called pain killer, that while reducing the pain suffered from the patience, stimulate and increase dependence, and don ́t help the incidence that the acute or chronic symptom could become a serious illness.

What is stress?
Stress is a natural response or reaction of our body to troubles or ultimatum. The response is a balance between an impetus and the reaction that appear. This physiologic pathway, the stress, can be also positive, when is an incentive to reach some goals, but often is more negative, through the aspect of its chronicity, that not allow the body to maintain It under the level ́s alert. The responsible molecule is the glucocorticoid that govern the stress response, and not regularized and unbalanced provoke harmful, suffocation, depression and paralysis. The connection between the glucocorticoids, that works through the cortisol, secreted from the hypothalamus affect the metabolism like the mind. That ́s why for ex, under an high level of stress we can loose or gain weight. So depending of the subject response, cortisol can be a potent ant- inflammatory agent or over increased without balance the
create a disease. Cortisol’s ability to prevent the promulgation of the immune
first actor to
response , through the lack of its regulation and perception which determines
the proliferation of lymphocyte;
the individuals suffering from chronic stress is
highly vulnerable to infection.
Stress is unavoidable. Our bodies are designed to react to our environment in
an effort to preserve homeostasis or to stable a balance. Arming ourselves
with an understanding of the mechanisms, agonists and antagonists of the
stress response, however, positions us to minimize stress and its impact on
our minds and bodies.
The good news is that stress levels rest largely on our own behaviour and
decisions and that we can optimize our bodies responses to stress based on
how we live our daily life.
“Yoga slows down the fluctuations of the mind” Patanjali
What happen after the first yoga class experience, is a special turning down of mental loops, but also a deep relaxation of all the body. Joints and muscle, bones and tendons it seemed to be so relaxed that in Shavasana they wont move anymore connected deeply with the ground, and after we stand, instead a increasing energy flows in to our body, we are
The author of the Yoga Sutras (Patanjali) is teaching us here has to do with a
method of quieting the mind, which is a system of practices that leads us to
mental peace.

simply connected with all and our mind and our eyes are so open that we have another looking appeal. The facial expression change showing a deep joy and radiance. We have calm and deep power energy, not excitation just our vital energy that spread through the entire body. If we maintain our yoga practice, these feeling they awakening a constant calm place inside our heart and in different situation, extreme and stressful, we are more aware of a distant calm space that let us deal our busy routinely not that chaotic as it seems, so as it is, our modern life. Realizing it have a different look on it, helps to make it easy, with many things .
Since I started to teach Yoga I noticed that behind a choice of doing yoga there is fundamentally two important motivations; one is about the healthy/beauty body, one about the personal mental process that connected with the emotion let the person feel an outsider or uncomfortable and these feeling are one linked with the other ones.
Both of the motivations are supported each other in most of the cases where comes from practitioner into the same gender, often women. I guess our society still make women the focal point of what is consider to have a smart life or to be smart in general. So commercial advertising, push us to believe, that more we have a beautiful body, and a smart look, better we benefit, and of course, men believe that this is the icon of a woman to look for. This obvious snake that bit itself, provoke, an higher consume of products in the industry of cosmetic and fashion-women side, and conditions an other high consume, in the automotive industry and technology- men side
This mechanism brings people to generate a sense of frustration, that slowly bring to develop another series of dissatisfactions and often chronicizes a kind and disparate symptoms.
When a person decide to participate to a yoga class has for sure something that he/she tried to find out from him/herself without success, or already knows something is wrong, but is tired to try to resolve with the usual way and look for something alternative.

When we come out from a meditation or after a full, deep and intense yoga practice, we have a kind of awakening that is completely different from other situations we live in. That’s a pure and instinctive wakefulness; we resolve and arrive at our true nature.
We create involuntarily a kind of deconstruction of the mind, we break the puzzle of each doubt and troubled thinking and we arrive at the pure source: a state of calmness close to the consciousness of our inner peace and awareness and we reach instinctively the awaking of our vibrations and perceptions that align with the vibrations and soul of the earth.
My experiences in the last 7 years are that half of the person, find out the solution and start to change something or more of its proper life, a 30% found out what it ́s the problem and realize that yoga helps to support or encourage the process of changement, the 15 % has no idea of what happen inside since it starts to practice yoga, but for sure at the end of the class feels better, light and a sort of deep freedom, that any alcohol, food or drugs gave before; a 5% sees that the process is long, and often traumatic and decide to interrupt then course.

Sources – Books
The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali
The heart of Yoga: Developing a personal practice by T.K.V. Desikachar
Yoga as a medicine: The Yogic prescription for health and Healing, by T. McCall, MD hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal-axis/#.WmdzNq7nEW5.mailto


The divine union of Shiva and Shakti in traditional Indian Tantrism.


The divine union of Shiva and Shakti in traditional Indian Tantrism.

Article by Maya Swati Devi

“Devi, the same body is the temple; 

Jiva is the same Sadhashiva. 

Get rid of the withered flowers and loves ignorance with knowledge. 

So Ham, “I am he” 

Kularnava Tantra, Ullasa 9

The translation of the term Tantra is: “duality in unity “. Tantrism can also manifest in the physical body of a man and a woman, only if  the person  has been transformed into the androgyne manifestation. In this understanding resides the deepest mystery of Tantrism.
In India there is a symbol or figure that represents Shiva and Shakti in the form of half-man, half-woman, named  Ardhanarishvara. 

Ardhanariswara is ‘the symbol of Tantrism and means “half Shiva and half Shakti”.
This androgynous symbol is not hermaphrodite, and does not reflect ethnic decline as in the modern world.

In Tantra there is no mention of sexual preference but energies Prana (Positive pole) and Apana (Negative pole) which alternate within our subtle body.Labels are a separation that society creates  to control our lives with stereotypes and programs.A real tantrika refuse every label, every definition, and often are considered outcasts.
The Tantra aims to union and non-duality in every aspect of life and sexuality is exalted to transcend sex itself reaching mystical union. 

In every human being , if Shiva and Shakti dance together and are in balance , there is no difference between men and women as the principles come together and melt naturally.

One of the most important tantra sacred text ,  representing the union of Shiva and Shakti, is the Kularnava tantra, literally “ocean – the kaula bliss” ,Kaula means clan or family, is one of the most important texts of the tantric tradition Kaula Nath, and was written between the 10th and 15th century AD, which describes a dialogue between Shiva, the lord of yoga, and Shakti, the mother of the universe, and sets out the principles and practices of tantric path,  with the hermetic language  that characterizes most of the sacred tantric texts.

The Immutable Masculine and the Eternal Feminine

The mystic ndrogyny of  Ardhanarishvara is the symbol of a cosmic balance, where the masculine pole prevails sometimes the feminine pole and viceversa. On the metaphysical level this polarity game imparts the constant changes over the destinies of the world. In the universe  there would  be periods of absence or male concentration, followed by periods of presence or female expansion. The cosmic  male concentration  and absence of  fertilization , coincide with the decline of the dominant civilization.
Shiva, the divine seed, fertilized the entire planet in the golden era, during which reigned peace and unity, protected what is spiritually alive, respecting his function of destroyer. It is the diamond-thunderbolt (Vajra) coming  down from the cosmo.

Shiva is Bhairava that creates, protects, destroys, conceals, and his nature is revealed through the cycle of the world. The Lord Shiva, completely free (Svatantra), owns the diversity of forms of creation and destruction, by its very nature. 

The whole universe is Shakti, the energy that has the ultimate aim to recognize the nature of Shiva. 

Shakti is the personification of the universe, and her activity is to love, while Shiva shares the state of supreme consciousness. Shakti is fully and eternally complete. 

Shakti, the feminine, raises new sources of inspiration and Shiva materializes his seed through her.
Her radiance does not fade in light or in darkness, because all the light and the darkness is illuminated by the Supreme Consciousness.Shiva and Shakti are not aware of being separate , they are linked to each other as fire and heat.

Shiva and Shakti in Yoga

Yoga is the unity of all the dualities and opposites that creates lifeforce , it teaches us to understand and transcend duality, it is based on the harmonization of duality within us in a state of transformative equilibrium.

Shakti and Shiva, as the cosmic dual principles , are an intrinsic part of  Yoga, which is a natural process of integration and transformation. The recognition of the cosmic duality leads us to the practice of Yoga, which is theunion. The whole Yoga is a development of awareness of the two  opposites: Shiva, the seer of the state,  and Shakti,  its power to see, transforming the two forces from their lower manifestations to their higher reality in pure union.

Shiva is Pure Being and Shakti is the power to Become.

Each world has the nature of Shiva, higher Self or Spirit, and the  power or dynamic energy of Shakti.

Each creature has the nature of Shiva and Shakti.

Shiva is the intrinsic reality ,Shakti is the power of action. 

Shiva is beyond every action, while Shakti is the power of action at all levels. 

The divine presence has a tremendous power to act when the time is appropriate, which is the expression of his Shakti. Shiva is the underlying reality which is not manifested and Shakti creates its external appearance.

This duality of Shiva and Shakti, or being and action, also happens in the manifest realm. Shiva is reality or durability , while Shakti is the relativity, what is always fluctuating. 

All yoga practices aim to cultivate a calm awareness of Shiva and a corresponding dynamic force of Shakti. Shiva is reflected in asana’s calmness, Shakti is the power of flowing into it . Shiva is the nature of Prana in the state of  balance, Shakti is the power to develop  it. Pranayama is a inner energizing  Shakti practice. 

Shiva is the beginning of the pratyahara or withdrawal of the senses, the action of Shakti internalize our energies. Shiva is reflected in the concentrated mind and Shakti is the direct power of concentration. 

Shiva is the meditative mind and Shakti is the power of meditation. 

Shiva is the state of absorbption or Samadhi , the highest stage in meditation, in which a person experiences oneness with the universe, and Shakti is the power of bliss. 

The alignment is the balance of the union of Shiva and Shakti energies within. 

Shiva is the state of equilibrium; and Shakti is the energy of transformation that arises spontaneously from it. 

In our inner nature, we are Shiva and Shakti without limits, with an unlimited understanding and an unlimited capacity of creative actions.

While the energy of Shakti unfolds, it will bring to the state of total transformation which is the quietness of Shiva. Shiva is the Lord of Yoga and Shakti is the power in the practice of Yoga.. The whole yoga is Shiva-Shakti Yoga as the ultimate union.

Shiva and Shakti are present together reflecting each other in our lives at every level. Once you recognize this, all life becomes yoga.

The mystical union of Siva and Sakti in the traditional Tantric

Tantra is the practical application of the whole yogic wisdom, life, space and energy. If you approach it with the right intention, it can offer much more than the fulfillment of your desires, it can help you to achieve the ultimate goal of embracing the life of the whole universe into your own consciousness!

“From the meaning of Tantra (TAN) ” text or exposure “is derived the meaning of “which has proceeded “or “what has come down”.  Tantra is an extension or further development of the traditional teachings originally contained in the Vedas, the brahmanas, the Upanishads and the Puranas, claiming the dignity of a “fifth Veda.” The tantric sacred texts also state that only the techniques based on Shakti sâdhana are suitable and effective during  the actual time known as Iron age or Kali yuga , all others scriptures would act as a snake’s venom. ”

The duality, which originates in the divine couple of Shiva and Shakti, is  imprinted in Tantrism,  and it imanifest in the human expression of couple , where the man and the woman will live the myth of Shiva and Shakti on earth

The man who embraces the  tantric path (sadhaka) sees  Shakti in every woman as incarnation of Devi, whose fertile energies can play the role of the absolute experimentation.

Tantric intercourse leads to the reunion of the metaphysical dyad, the union of Shiva and Shakti , distroying  duality and revealing the fullness  as One. 

The male and the female are two opposite and complementary polarity. The “positive” pole (Prana) And the “negative” pole (Apana). During the mystical union of the Maithuna these two forces converge and create the experience of Samadhi,  in the expression of the thousand-petalled lotus (Sahasrara). 

In  Tantric union it is  important to direct the energy towards the point on the top of the head named Bindu ; which literally means “point” or  “drop” and is the nucleus from which the creation becomes manifest.

The Maithuna , Sacred ritual of the mystical tantric union,  might be the easiest way for the awakening  of Kundalini Devi or the Serpent Goddess, but few are adeguately prepared for this journey as the ordinary sex is not a mystical union. The body  must be first purified, both internally and externally, and  the mind must be free from emotions and needs. 

According to tradition, the practice of Dakshina marg , The way of the devotee, must be followed for many years, before reaching the Vama Marg,  In order to prepare the sadhaka to acquire Bhakti (Devotional attitude) toward the woman, and thus to Shakti.

Vama, in sanskrit means: “which is at the left hand side” and it refers to Ida Nadi  (subtle female channel),  located at  the left hand side of Sushumna Nadi (center channel) , and has the “lunar”, “female”, “aqueous” (kapha) character. During tantric rituals  the woman is seated “to the left” of the man, so is the woman who is “Vama” and she takes the leading role of the “Initiator”. 

Panchamakara , The ritual of the five M, practiced in the sacred ceremony  of Maithuna unfortunately has been missunderstood , reinterpreted and applied to the letter by Western Tantra, but the real secret of this ritual can only be understood by the initiated Sadhaka who perceive its symbolic value:
Madya – drink wine: is the divine inebriation
mamsa – eat Meat: is the physicality, the asanas (positions that they take with the body during the practice of yoga)
Matsya – eat fish: is pranayama (breath control)
Mudra – eating roasted cereal: is the mudra (symbolic gesture  or seal that allows the practitioner of yoga to develop
awareness of the currents of life energy within the body).
Maithuna – sexual union: is the mystical union (which has nothing to do with an ordinary intercourse).

In this expansion of consciousness a female humanbeing is transfigured into a living symbol and an earthly manifestation of the Divine Mother of the Universe (Adhi Shakti), while the man embodies the Masculine Principle or Shiva. 

This vision can be understood by knowing the  traditional tantric path:
Tantrism speaks about  the essence of the cosmo, the centers that radiate the divine realm, the astrology, the genesis and apocalypse , the spirit, the soul and the body, the  magic and the alchemy. The aim to embrace the yoga path depends on the circumstances, on the Dharma (vocation) and on the qualifications of one’s unconscious mind.

The tantric tradition considers Shakti a lifeforce that is dynamism and power, pure manifestation of the absolute action. The sexual expansion techniques aim to  liberation or Moksha, and to learn to move Shakti inside and outside of us, in order to escape from the limited experience  embracing the infinity. The Tantric path considers the woman a metaphysical center of the erotic relationship. The sexual act triggers a power that goes far beyond the physical pleasure, amplifying and expanding the sphere of desire, taking full advantage of the sexual power of love. Sexuality is the only way  to capture, magnify and interact with the process of the Cosmo. 


Tantra is,  and will remain,  a dominant force, not only in Indian spirituality but worldwide. While we recognize the popular New Age forms of Tantra as a point of entry into these teachings, it is important to recognize the wider vision and spiritual knowledge of the  authentic  and traditional Tantra.

Tantra is an inner revolution, it is to drop all the religious beliefs, morality, constraints, prejudices and create the space  within that to conceive the infinite and timeless truth. 

The moment where the mind is empty and adapts to what really happens in the present  , everything becomes union. The texture, the principle of life,  magically takes many different forms of infinite creativity. 

lTantra breaks taboos, beliefs and dogmas imposed by any religion.

If for Shiva grace , through Sadhana or the vibration of the Guru,  someone realizes the true knowledge of reality, which is the permanent state of Lord Shiva, final liberation is attained . 

This fulfillment is given to noble souls and is called liberation in life (Jivanmukti).

***Author’s notes: Some terms in Sanskrit have been rewritten to the ease of the reader’s  reading. The terms Shiva and Shakti are written in Sanskrit Siva and Sakti but for this article are written with the “H”. 

Maya Swati Devi 2018, All rights reserved.

It is forbidden any duplication or copy of this article without the permission of the author.



Italian Teacher of Traditional Tantrism, Yogini, dancer and author of  the book “The  tantric dancer”, published in italian by MIR 2016, founder of the first italian school of traditional Tantrism and Tantric yoga in Milan (IT) in 2007.

Maya’s  teachings  follows the principles of the Tantric ancient traditions: Kaula and Sakta ,  according to the sacred text “Mahanirvana Tantra” and the union of “Shiva and Shakti” of the Kaula ligneage, the inner shakti yoga, the worship of the Dasha Mahavidya (the Ten tantric wisdom goddesses) and the great Mother of  the  Sakta path and the principles of Truth , Simplicity and Love, the message  that Babaji Shiva Mahavatar left to the world.
Maya was initiated in 2000 to the Kaula tantrism by Swami Shri Anand Guptananda during her long stay in the Himalayan mountains in India. In 2007 she was recognized Tantra teacher and  student by her second  Master  Swami Shri Param Eswaran who initiated her to the Sakta  tradition. In 2014 she became a TANTRIC YOGA Certified teacher by Yoga Alliance.
She is been teaching  for many years to women about  DIVINE FEMININE, helping them to understand their femininity through the secret practices of  tantric yogini, Indian and mystical Sufi dances.
Maya is committed to spread  the tradition of TRADITIONAL  HINDU’ TANTRISM i  in Italy and abroad, through courses and annual training courses. She organizes spiritual retreats and tours in India and Indonesia and she is one of the few Western Tantra teachers invited to give seminars in India. Maya is  vegan since 1996  and  she uses natural  remedies and practices  to keep body and mind in good health, following the principles of nature and ayurveda.

LANGUAGES: ENGLISH, FRENCH, SPANISH, SANSKRIT (yoga knowledge), Hindi (speaking knowledge).

 To know more about  Maya Swati Devi and her school DEVI TANTRA YOGA please visit


Happiness is a journey not a destination Part 1

Happiness is a journey not a destination…..

(by Francesca Cassia & Roberto Milletti Odaka Yoga,,

Yoga is a means to an end and not the end

There is something that we all have in common; it is something that we all desire, no matter our story, our journey, our place in the world and our religion. This something is happiness. A feeling that for some may seem impossible to reach and for others it is so sporadic it is not able to define their life. There are not many words that are able to clearly define happiness, and yet, even if so elusive, it remains the number one objective for most people. Almost a distant mirage in an age where money, success and daily stress seem to have erased every possibility to reach this much coveted way of being.

Very often one thinks that to obtain happiness one must reach certain aspirations and crown dreams on a personal or a professional level. In reality, what often happens once one attains certain goals instead of happiness increasing, it decreases or actually disappears. At every conquest we realise that we are racing after another objective. One cannot reach real and long lasting happiness in this way, if not for a fleeting moment.

Happiness is a commonly used word and difficult to define because to describe it would be to limit it. It is such a generic and vague word that it has many interpretations. “To Be Happy” represents for most of us a key ambition in our life.But, if this is our goal, what do we need to do to reach it?

The first step is to recognise happiness as a state of mind, a condition of the soul that varies according to the person and not defined candidly

“For a long time I had the impression that life was about to begin – real life. But, there was always an obstacle in the way, something that needed to be resolved, a situation hanging that needed more time, or a debt to pay off. Once this was over, life would begin. In the end, I realised that these obstacles were my life. This way of understanding things helped me to understand that there is no road that leads to happiness. Happiness is the way.” – Alfred D. Souza

Every trip begins with a single step….and continues, step by step. Happiness is to savour the moment…and the next….until eternity.

If we do not lead a full and happy life now, in this moment, are we really certain that we will be able to do so in the future?

There is no better moment to be happy: now! To be exactly in this moment, doing exactly what we are doing without worrying about the result. [We must] hold dearly every single instant, knowing that this second will never return. This moment is life. And when it passes, it dies. There is no way to reach happiness. Happiness is the way to experience life, fully exploring everything that this moment has to offer.

To act in the present moment allows us take on any role. Always keeping in mind that happiness is in the journey. The requirement is to be grateful in the present – in the here and now – only in this way are we to enjoy every occasion with the purest and sincerest joy. To be, to listen, to love, to laugh, to share, to dream, to have joy, to act, to taste, to touch, constantly exploring consciously and present in the moment that we are living because it is unique and we chose it. Let’s defend out time! Let’s not allow the dream stealers that we encounter daily to steal our present. Time is the most precious thing we have. We can’t buy it and we cannot receive it as a gift. But, we can use it in the best way possible.