Some of you might have heard of this before, some of you not. In the middle of a class, maybe in a Uttanasana (forward fold) or Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior 2) and the teacher says "... on your next exhale, invite a little Shakti Shake". Ha! I remember first time I heard a teacher saying that in class. I was like; '.....what am I gonna shake?!' If you've experienced the same - this one's for you!
Let's start from the beginning. This will be a brief description of where the 'Shakti Shake' comes from and what it actually is on the yoga mat in most modern day studios.
You are probably familiar with Lord Shiva. With it's heritage from Hinduism, Shiva is the creator and the destroyer of the Universe. The supreme being who creates, protects and transforms the world. Shiva symbolises consciousness and is dominant by masculine energy. Shiva is pure consciousness, the ultimate observer. Shakti, on the other hand, embodies the active feminine energy of Shiva, showed through power and energy. When power gets active, Shakti is working. The two balances and are manifested in feminine and masculine energy - not as a man or a woman. Shakti and Shiva, in a the spiritual aspect, is the union of the human and the divine consciousness. Shiva and Shakti exists within all of us.
Shakti, as explained above, means energy, power, movement, change and nature, It's the feminine energy that offer nourishment, warmth and security. But also the energy that carries and nourish the inner child that lives inside of us. So with Shakti being the energy that's often manifested in a physical form - movement. Keeping in mind that everything depends on each other and that there is no Shakti without Shiva and the other way around. It is the movement of the energy in the body that is Shakti, which is what's often mentioned in class.
So when teachers are inviting you to explore a 'Shakti Shake'. It basically means just to shake it off. Or in? Shake your body, fast bringing the awareness inwards, getting the kundalini (energy) flowing, working with your Prana (breath), loosening up and finding Dharana (concentration) again. Like goosebumps that just arrives in your body without any explanation, a Shakti Shake often takes form without any heads up.
There is obviously so so so much more to Shiva and Shakti and the energy movements in the body. If this is something that interest you and is something that you want to bring your awareness to when practicing, I would highly recommend to read into it further. It gives you an understanding of the balances of your body. Like a tree, the information grows, and can be further connected and explained through ex. Yin & Yang, the Chackras and of course Kundalini. The most common form of awaken Shakti energy through 'Shakes' is practicing Kundalini focused dancing. Which I've never tried, but that I do know is available in some London studios if you would be interested.
So next time you hear about a Shaki Shake in a class, at least you know a little bit more about it!