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What Śrī REALLY Means

Carrie Williams, 500 RYT, ERYT, Thai Yoga Therapy Practitioner

During the month of April, we’ve had an opportunity to explore the concept of Śrī (“shree”) in our classes at Be Yoga. First, let’s start with an explanation of Śrī. One of the most beautiful descriptions I’ve heard that deeply resonates with me is this:

“Śrī is the life-affirming pulse of Consciousness… an invitation to step fully into life; to embrace the full spectrum of duality – joy and sorrow, likes and dislikes, ideals and compromises, love and fear.  It is a calling to turn toward the world; to shift our attention to the present moment; to give voice to the deepest urges that live within us.  Śrī is the power of grace that awakens us to our fullest potential to love, feel, heal and create.” ~ shriyogapa.com

In my teaching as well as my own practice over these past four weeks, I’ve experienced an evolution of my understanding and experience of this concept that I’d like to share with you. Perhaps you can relate?

Week 1: At the beginning of the month, I experienced Śrī as a fairly nebulous concept: mostly beautiful words and associations on a surface level, without a real, personal connection. Yes, I’m a generally happy person, and yes I happen to be living the life of my dreams (I get to help people feel great in their bodies and live with more joy and purpose- truly awesome stuff!), but for me I need to actually feel an experience in my body in order to feel a soul-deep connection with it (doesn’t everyone?).

Week 2: Enter in the second week of the month, when I had experience that I could only describe as Śrī. Since I tend to experience emotions in a very tangible, tactile way, I knew it was Śrī because I felt it. What happened is this: I had a moment of such intense exhilaration and gratitude that I literally had trouble breathing. My heart felt so full with abundance that it literally felt as if it was expanding beyond the confines of my chest. Intense, right? And I thought to myself: “oh, so that’s what Śrī feels like.”

Week 3: The following week, I came to understand that Śrī is not all positivity all the time. As explained in the quote above, Śrī embodies both light AND dark, positive AND negative, opening AND closing. I had the opposite experience of emotion in my body on the third week: tightness, contraction, turning inward. And I thought to myself: “that’s what Śrī feels like, too.”

Week 4: Now, in the final week of the month, my understanding of Śrī has expanded to encompass all of its many faces as essential parts of its whole nature. Not either/or, but both/and. Easeful AND challenging. Each of its many aspects are integral pieces of the full spectrum of human experience, equally valuable and intended to be embraced just as fully.

I’ll leave you with this:

“Your hand opens and closes, opens and closes. If it were always a fist or always stretched open, you would be paralyzed. Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding, the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated as birds’ wings.” ~ Rumi
Thank you for hearing me out, friends. If you have any thoughts you’d like to add to the discussion, please post a comment and let us know what you think. And if you’d like to stay in touch, hop over to my website, where I write FREE weekly content designed to help you feel great in your body and living with more joy: www.CarrieWilliamsYoga.com

Be well,
~ Carrie