The Sacred Marriage of yoga and mysticism

The body is the living site of the presence of the Spirit.

by Andrew Harvey and Karuna Erickson — 

During these challenging and stressful times, we need healing practices that can help us respond to difficulties with faith and courage and which can empower us to act with more compassion and wisdom. Yoga is such a practice.

Practicing yoga with heartfelt devotion means opening up your entire self — heart, mind, soul and body — to the vision and experience of the universal mystical vision of the Sacred Marriage. The Sacred Marriage is the dynamic dance of seeming dualities that are secretly interconnected: transcendence and immanence, absolute and relative reality, light and matter, masculine and feminine, mind and heart, soul and body. It is this ecstatic dance, say the mystics of all traditions, which is ceaselessly birthing the universe and manifesting in every cell of the body.

By embodying this Sacred Marriage through the practice of yoga, we can experience the union of the radiant body with the awakened heart. From this union, great joy and peace are born.

In the vision of the Sacred Marriage, we begin to see with joy, wonder and reverence that the whole meaning of our being here is to experience this sacred dance of dualities in the tiniest particles of our bodies and for our bodies to be transformed ever more deeply into light-matter. We are here to “embody the transcendent,” as the Dalai Lama has stated.

The body is the living site of the presence of the Spirit. By virtue of that presence, in the tiniest particle, the body is the most holy of temples. It was this recognition that flowered in the sacred architecture of Egypt, ancient India and Asia, and medieval Europe.

These temples transmit the experience of the reality of the body’s great task of embodying the living presence of the Divine. This great work of embodiment births, in every part of us, a divine force of compassion. We become embodied flames of the great fire of the Sacred Marriage.

The true aim of yoga is not only your own transformation, but the transformation of all the unjust and oppressive conditions of the world that create suffering. Allowing yourself to be permeated by the full significance of the Sacred Marriage will help you dedicate your yoga practice to the happiness and liberation, not only of yourself, but of all beings. Yoga offers a way of responding directly to the deepest needs of our times, as well as a way of meeting those needs without stress — in a state of surrendered joy, compassion and wisdom.


Andrew Harvey, mystical scholar and author of over 30 books, and Karuna Erickson, longtime devoted yoga teacher and psychotherapist, are co-authors of Heart Yoga: The Sacred Marriage of Yoga and Mysticism. and

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 29, Number 4, August/September 2010.


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