What's in Yoni Śakti: Table of Contents

Star web woman

Yoni Shakti is over 250,000 words long (that's twice as long as Mother's Breath and Teach Yourself Yoga for Pregnancy put together) - that's about seven hundred pages of fascinating reading!  It is written in a range of contrasting voices - each presenting a different type of information. The topics range from history, philosophy and cuntlovin' radical feminism, to poetic meditations, gorgeous fairy stories, tantrik rituals for contemporary women, yoga nidra practices and loads of vivid case histories and personal testimonies. The list of contents below gives you a sense of the range and scope of this remarkable book…

She's a pretty impressive constellation of bright ideas - a bit like the very beautiful Star Web Woman who is above on this page, who was created specially for this site and for Yoni Shakti by the wonderful artist, poet and and singer-songwriter, Ingrid Andrew.  Thank you very much Ingrid!

To start reading, you can access the introductory material, all of chapter one, and excerpts from chapters four and five which are available for download by donation in the Yoni Shakti resources page. 

 

You can also download a pdf of the full table of contents.

To whet your appetite, here is the

Table of Contents of Yoni Shakti: A woman's guide to power and freedom through yoga and tantra

Foreword by Alexandra Pope

Author’s preface – Opening practice: an invocation to yoni śakti  

Introduction

Welcome home

Who needs YoniŚakti

What is wombyoga and do I need a womb to practise it? 

Old roots 

Womb ecology and the spiritual dimensions of femininity

Yoginīs as agents for global justice

How to use this book

What is a yoginī? 

Strong language: a cautionary note on tone and terminology 

Saturday night on the town

Questions and reflections

 

PART ONE: FOUNDATIONS 

Foundations of womb yoga: thirteen gates

Chapter One - From exclusion to initiation:

Men teaching women, women teaching the world 

So many women

Western women learning yoga 1890–1960

Adapting the teachings: Western women sharing yoga inside and outside traditions, 1960–2010 

Stories from today’s studios:disempowerment of women in yoga through discouragement, disrespect, disregard and disconnection

Empowerment of women’s yoga practice through exploration, welcoming, open sharing, honouring and re-connection

Watching the tide turn: guidelines for a practical feminine yoga consciousness

For women doing yoga now

Questions and reflections 

Further reading and research 

 

Chapter Two - Women in the pre-history and early development of yoga

How did we get here? Considering the roots of yoga; exploring the routes of yoga

Histories of yoga: the development of haṭha yoga

‘No women please, we’re yogīs’. Was classical haṭhayoga for boys only? 
Herstories of yoga: ‘Are there any girls in here?’ Looking for women in the pre-history of yoga; goddess worship and the global matriarchal network of nurture

Female voice and presence in the Vedas

Tāntrik yoginīs: were the women teaching men? 

Bhakti yoginīs: devotion as a direct line to spiritual authority 

Questions and reflections 

Further reading and research 

 

Chapter Three:  Female siddhis;

Intuited origins for a new perspective on yoga 

Angela Farmer’s ‘legend’: another way of seeing it

Pārvatī and Śiva

An invitation to a radical new perspective  

Magical mysteries in yoga: siddhis, the supernatural powers in haṭha and rājā yoga

Female siddhis

Female siddhis: the original inspiration for yoga? 

Questions and reflections

Further reading and research 

 

Chapter Four : Awakening to the feminine energy of the life force:

Prāṇa śakti and the foundations of womb yoga                                                                                                                                       

Welcoming the power of life   

Circle of flowing breath: welcoming the rhythmic breath cycle

Full yogic breath: widening the circle, inviting the guests to linger

Victory and surrender: the ocean–golden thread combination

Opening the lotus to prāṇa śakti: integrated sound, breath and  hasta mudrā (hand gesture) meditation                                                                                          

 

Chapter Five:  Greeting the womb with love:

nine core practices of yoni namaskāra 

Reconnection

Heart-womb river: the channel of energy between love and creativity

Yonisthāna cakra: placing the womb between earth and water

How to use these practices ǀ  A note on breath and mudrā

Heart-womb river sacred greeting gesture: river-lotus form (inner) 

Heart-womb river sacred greeting gesture: river-lotus form (outer) 

Heart-womb river sacred greeting gesture: lotus-ocean form

Heart-womb river meditation

Head-heart sacred gesture meditation

Womb power sacred gestures sequence

Hiraṇya garbha: golden cosmic womb

Yoni śaktipūjā: honouring the power of the womb 

Seed–flower sequence

Womb elevation bridge sequence

Extended heart space twist pose

 

Chapter Six; Honouring the feminine energy of the life force:

nine practices of prāṇa śaktipūjā 

Magical river in spate – fullness flowing in the heart-womb river, hṛdaya-yoni nāḍī

More on mud: yonisthāna and the special place of the womb

Mud in the scriptures: yonisthāna and other references

Practices to unlock power and honour the feminine energy of the life force: śakti bandhas and prāṇa śaktipūjā                                                                                               

Bhava or inner feeling 

1   Womb pilgrimage: mill grinding (cakki calanāsana)

2   Womb-honouring rhythm

3   Lotus feet breathing

4   Full butterfly womb pilgrimage

5   Snake circles the womb

6   Standing womb pilgrimages

7   Standing heart-womb river sacred greeting gestures

8   Full hands womb energy pilgrimage

9   Eternal fountain of energy invocation

Note on pāda bandha and mūla bandha in these practices

 

Chapter Seven: Embodied spirit

Experiencing yoniśakti with womb yoga

Elemental consciousness in yoga and the Taittirīya Upaniṣad 

Table of fives: pentads in Sāṁkhya and yoga

Five dimensions of being sequence with gesture and sound

Śakta tantra: the floods of bliss and beauty (Saundarya-Laharī) and teaching on the wisdom of the union of the individual soul with universal consciousness (Vijñāna Bhairava Tantra)

Honouring the elements with sound and gesture

Tattva yantra

 

PART TWO: LIFE CYCLES AND THE WISDOM GODDESSES

Chapter Eight: Kālī  

Cycles and circles of female siddhis

A twenty-first century note on women’s rhythms and cycles

The whole circle: a pattern of interconnection

From bud to seed: cycles and circles  

Wombs / rooms

Sixteen cycles

Goddesses and siddhis

The ten great wisdom goddesses (Daśa Mahāvidyās) and the female siddhis

Mahāvidyā and siddhi: wisdom and power 

Mahāvidyās in the cycles of women's lives

Living with the Mahāvidyās 

What to expect in this part of the book

Questions and reflections

Further reading and research

 

Chapter Nine: Ṣoḍasī 

Celebrating menarche: yoga and girls’ initiation into womanhood    

Mahāvidyā and siddhi: wisdom and power at menarche

Limitations: cultural expectations

Freedoms: yoga perspectives, techniques and awareness for breathing, moving and being

Writing a letter to your younger self

Yoga practices

Yogic remedies and responses 

Feed the wild yoginī: a ritual to reconnect the placenta with the earth and a ritual to re-vision your own menarche

Questions and reflections 

Further reading and research  

 

Chapter Ten: Tārā 

Honouring the cycles of the moon within: yoga, menstruation and fertility

Mahāvidyā and siddhi: wisdom and power

Limitations: cultural expectations

Freedoms: yoga perspectives, techniques and awareness for breathing, moving and being

Yoga practices

Feed the wild yoginī: menstrual blood pūjā 

Yogic remedies and responses 

Paramparā, or the yogic tower

Exegesis

Questions and reflections

Further reading and research  

 

Chapter Eleven: Kamalātmikā 

Freeing the śakti: yoga and full spectrum feminine sexuality 

Mahāvidyā and siddhi: wisdom and power

Limitations: cultural expectations 

Freedoms: yoga perspectives, techniques and awareness for breathing, moving and being

A note on sex in neo-tantra and tāntrik yoga

Yoga practices 

Yogic remedies and responses

Feed the wild yoginī: juice and honey

Questions and reflections

Further reading and research 

 

Chapter Twelve: Mataṅgi 

Manifesting theśakti: yoga and creative expression    

Mahāvidyā and siddhi: wisdom and power

Limitations: cultural expectations

Freedoms: yoga perspectives, techniques and awareness for breathing, moving and being

Yoga practices 

Yogic remedies and responses

Feed the wild yoginī: lucid dreaming ritual

Questions and reflections

Further reading and research 

 

Chapter Thirteen: Bhuvaneśvarī 

Nourishing the golden cosmic womb: yoga, pregnancy and birth    

Mahāvidyā and siddhi: wisdom and power 

Limitations: cultural expectations

Freedoms: yoga perspectives, techniques and awareness for breathing, moving and being

Yoga practices

Yogic remedies and responses

Feed the wild yoginī: on the lap of the cosmic mother

Questions and reflections

Further reading and research

 

Chapter Fourteen: Chinnamastā 

Thanksgiving, grieving and healing: yoga and postnatal recovery

Mahāvidyā and siddhi: wisdom and power

Limitations: cultural expectations

Freedoms: yoga perspectives, techniques and awareness for breathing, moving and being

Yoga practices

Yogic remedies and responses 

Feed the wild yoginī:

radical ritual recycling 1  – drink your own breastmilk and

radical ritual recycling 2 – give the placenta back to the earth 

Questions and reflections 

Further reading and research   

 

Chapter Fifteen: Bagalāmukhī 

Stepping into the unknown: yoga and perimenopause  

Mahāvidyā and siddhi: wisdom and power

Limitations: cultural expectations  

Freedoms: yoga perspectives, techniques and awareness for breathing, moving and being

Yoga practices

Yogic remedies and responses

Feed the wild yoginī: self-anointing for acceptance

Questions and reflections

Further reading and research

 

Chapter Sixteen: Bhairavī 

Embracing our power: yoga and menopause

Mahāvidyā and siddhi: wisdom and power

Limitations: cultural expectations 

Freedoms: yoga perspectives, techniques and awareness for breathing, moving and being

Yoga practices

Yogic remedies and responses   

Feed the wild yoginī: radical ritual recycling 3 – drink your own amarolī   

Questions and reflections

Further reading and research 

 

Chapter Seventeen; Dhūmavatī 

Living our wisdom: yoga and the crowning of a woman’s life 

Mahāvidyā and siddhi: wisdom and power 

Limitations: cultural expectations  

Freedoms: yoga perspectives, techniques and awareness for breathing, moving and being

Yoga practices

Yogic remedies and responses

Feed the wild yoginī: encounter your own death 

Questions and reflections 

Further reading and research  

 

PART THREE: FURTHER PRACTICES OF WOMB YOGA

 

Chapter Eighteen: Yoga nidrā:

An inner ritual of healing and homecoming     

 1    Starry night pure yoga nidrā: the fundamental practice of awareness (Kālī) 

 2    New beginnings: menarche, innocence, trust and power (Ṣoḍasī) 

 3    Cyclical wisdom unfolding: menstruation, cycles and seasonal turnings (Tārā) 

 4    In the wild garden, joyous freedom to flow – sexuality, creativity and juice  (Kamalātmikā andMataṅgi)                                                                                                           

 5    Nourishing growth: nurturing the capacity to support new life (Bhuvaneśvarī)              

 6    Thanksgiving and grieving: postnatal recovery, transformation and adaptation  (Chinnamastā)

7    Being with not knowing: perimenopause and the inevitability of change; becoming the seed at the heart of the fruit (Bagalāmukhī)                                                                         

 8    Self-anointing ritual: embracing power, menopause and the confidence to speak one’s own truth; empowered by nature to be your true self (Bhairavī)

 9    Out of the smoke: touching power close to the bone (Dhūmavatī)

10   In the yoginīs’ temple: resting and healing to live in wisdom and power; full constellation of yoginīs

Further reading and resources 

 

Chapter Nineteen                                                                                                                                        

Intimacy: mind and breath 

Meditation: welcoming inner silence, connecting with the inner teacher (antar mouna) 

Breath dances (prāṇāyāma)

     Golden thread breath

     Peaks and valleys breath

     Triangle breaths and psychic alternate nostril breathing  

     Balancing breath (padadhirasana) 

     Sonic massage (bīja mantra massage)

     Humming bee breaths (bhrāmarī prāṇāyāma

     Cooling breaths (sīthalīand sītkārī)

 

Chapter twenty                                                                                                                                           

Energy locks and seals (bandhas and mudrās)

Awakening the feet and hands (pāda bandha, hasta bandha)  

A note on terminology: pelvic muscles and the myth of the ‘pelvic floor’ 

Vaginal root lock for use with empty womb (yoginī mūla bandha)  

Menstrual and pregnancy root lock for use with full womb (garbha mūla bandha)   

Uplifting lock with root lock (uḍḍīyāna bandha with mūla bandha)   

Horse gesture (anal squeeze) (ashvini mudrā)   

Psychic gesture (urethral squeeze) (sahajolī mudrā)  

Urine drinking (amarolī)  

Five elemental hand gestures (hasta mudrā)

Further reading and research   

 

Chapter Twenty-one

Support and nurture: security and uplift for the pelvic organs  

Applications             

Integration of pelvic organ support and positive posture into daily life   

Healing breath: lifting up to heal and energise   

Semi-supine practices:   

     Explorations with a flat lower back (counter-nutated pelvis) 

     Explorations with an arched back (nutated pelvis) 

     Explorations in decompression of pelvic organs 

     Combined explorations with decompression and arched back   

     Explorations in foot arch support (pāda bandha)for vaginal lift (yoginī mūla bandha), pelvic lift and pelvic organ support  

Inverted practices:

     Pelvic tilts with feet against wall  

     Rolling pelvic lift with feet against wall  

     Supported restorative pelvic lift with feet against wall and in Butterfly pose 

Standing practices:            

     Standing cat with agnisara kriyā               

     Pelvic tilts exploration and rolling pelvic lift with back against wall  

     Dynamic taḍāsana (mountain pose) for pelvic organ support   

 

Chapter Twenty-three

Nurturing and freeing energy

Breast care and energy nurture practice (Deer exercise)   

Complete liberation of energy series (pūrṇa pavanmuktāsana or PPMA):  

     A: From Stick pose         

     B: From Butterfly pose     

    C: From Cat pose   

     D: From kneeling

     E: From Easy cross-legged pose   

Poses to unblock the life force energy (śakti bandhas):

     Pulling the rope    

     Dynamic spinal twist         

     Rowing the boat  

     Pumping water (easy version)  

    Pumping water (deeper version)   

     Greeting squats  

     Rocking and twisting mermaid (sacro-iliac joint-stabilising practice) 

Cleansing practices (kriyā):    

     Essence of fire cleansing (agnisara kriyā)   

     Shining skull breath (kapālabhāti)    

     Being in the cycles / the dance of life 

Further reading and research    

  

Chapter Twenty-three: Integrations    

Sequenced poses with gestures(āsana-mudrā-mantra-vinyāsa): 

Full moon salute (pūrṇa candra namaskāra)

Moon phase salute (candra namaskāra)   

Swaying palm tree with womb greeting sequence (taḍāsana vinyāsa with yoni mudrā)

Postnatal sun salute         

Feminine strength: spiritual warrior dance  

Balancing poses:                

Fierce goddess and lord of the dance vinyāsa (śiva/śakti: devījai utkaṭāsana-naṭarājāsana vinyāsa)                    

Half moon pose: easy version    

Further reading and research

 

Chapter Twenty-four

Spirals and snakes     

Sequences from Cat pose and kneeling:

     Circles and spirals                               

     Kneeling salutations (vajrāsana namaskāra)

     Rising snake series (kuṇḍalini vinyāsa, śaśāṅkabhujaṅgāsana)

    Snake pose variation  

Twists:                                                                                                                             

     Standing twist (katicakrāsana)  

 

Chapter Twenty-five

Nourishment        

Inversions:              

Half shoulderstand flow (viparīta karaṇī mudrā)

Supported poses and restoratives, part 1:     Wall as teacher sequence     

Supported poses and restoratives, part 2:  

Simple and super deluxe five-star corpse pose (savasana)

Supported side-lying 

Open flower (supta baddhakoṇāsana)

In the golden cosmic womb (Queen’s pose) (hiraṇya garbha /supported supta baddhakoṇāsana)                                                                                                                                

Hare pose (śaśāṅkāsana) with fists and blankets 

Supported forward bend

Surrender and worship (praṇāmāsana)  

 

Chapter Twenty-six                                                                                                                                   

Connection and flow

Suggested sequencing for practice and classes  

     For uplifting spirits and energising 

     For calming and grounding 

     For reconnection and self-acceptance 

     To nourish and strengthen

     To get unstuck and move on

     To become cool, collected and quietly energised 

     To build sexual and creative energies 

Menstrual and fertility mālā: circle of practices to promote a healthy menstrual cycle and to support fertility                                                                                                                     

 

PART FOUR: EXPANSIONS

Chapter Twenty-seven

World as womb: womb ecology, eco-feminism and yoga activism: a powerful force for change                                                                                                                                 

Resources for yoga and eco-feminist activism Further reading and research

Running to ground, going home to the earth, the story of the birth and death of Sitā  

 

Chapter twenty-eight

A womb-friendly yoga manifesto 

Part 1: the need for womb-friendliness in the yoga world

Part 2: the information  

Yoga and womb life: special times 

At a glance table for womb-friendly yoga practice 

A voice from the womb  

Sharing this information

Revealing the cosmic gateway 

 

Chapter Twenty-nine

Conclusion and beginnings: śakti circles 

Closing ritual: greeting women’s power in a śakti circle

A note to male readers    

A note on yoga lineages and traditions

 

Afterword

Genesis, gestation and birth of Yoni Śakti: learning to be fearless 

Acknowledgements

Trainings, retreats and learning resources

Notes on pronouncing Sanskrit words 

Sanskrit glossary of terms 

Select chronology: 50,000 bce to 2003 ce

Bibliography

Permissions

Index of therapeutic applications and life experiences

Index of practices  

General index 

About the author and illustrator                                                                                                           

 

Appendix

Ten Mahāvidyā yantras: for meditation and contemplation

 Commentary and reflections by Nirlipta Tuli, illustrator                                                       

 

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