It is with great joy that we at Yogacinsello are happy to announce a new chapter in our journey. On March 7, 2023 YogaCinisello transformed into The Cultural Association Soffio di Durga ETS.
The Cultural Association Il Soffio di Durga ETS has been established for the purpose of developing activities for the physical, psychophysical and spiritual well-being of each person. These objectives intertwine seamlessly with the ideals of YogaCinisello. This new Association symbolizes a significant stride towards holistic growth and impact.
The goals of the Association mirror those of the YogaCinisello courses started by Nicola Bianchi. It all began with Nicola founding the first meditation group 12 years ago. Later, we added Hatha Yoga courses, a discipline that we have always presented in its various facets.
Since then YogaCinisello has expanded its offerings to include:
- group practices and individual paths
- yoga philosophy meetings at the Pertini library in Cinisello B.
- practices at the North Park
- intensive weekends on Lake Orta
- evenings of reading and study of the classic texts of yoga
- evening dedicated to Indian art with Cinzia Pieruccini, full professor at the State University of Milan
- laid the groundwork for a trip/retreat to India...
- mantra chanting meetings
- Yoga Nidra courses and retreats with the collaboration of Daniela Bovo, psychologist and naturopath
- weekly practices and online courses of asana, pranayama, meditation, yoga nidra
- vipassana meditation courses facilitated by Nicola, Gabri and Pat
- monthly practices at Kailash in Milan
- La Voce dei Maestri listening on demand section
- Vegan Creativity group
- monthly retreats in Montallegro
Nicola's innate desire for sharing, the commitment of course participants, involvement of external contributors, and the support of a friendly community together represent the essence of the Breath of Durga. I would also like to express my gratitude to the Association's co-founders, Ilaria and Gianluca.
As we go forward in this new reality, new projects and collaborations will arise. I am pleased to invite you to a propitiatory meditation that shares some curiosities about the name. All the details below.
The Association is dedicated to our friend Nicola who left us on March 7, 2022 but who is always with us on the mat.
Om shanti, Rossana
The Breath of Durga
curiosity about the name
The word “soffio” in Italian refers to the breath. Breathing is the essential part of every yoga practice and is considered the main tool through which we grow…. and Durga, who is she?
Durga is a prominent female deity within the rich pantheon of Hindu worship. In Hinduism, divine figures mediate between the earthly and otherworldly realms, they are incarnations of powers and forces present in every human being. When a deity is invoked, the intention is to awaken and harmonize certain latent powers within us. So which specific powers is Durga commonly associated with?
The literal translation of Durga is “inaccessible, unassailable, impassible”: it is the one that is difficult to reach, to conquer; in the masculine it means "fortress". Durga is the one who cannot be conquered.
The rich Indian imagery vividly portrays different sides of the goddess Durga. She appears in ten versions, each highlighting a unique aspect, from fierce and wild to composed and calm. In mythology, Durga is both a warrior and a nurturing mother – strong and determined in destroying demons, yet maintaining her grace and not losing her composure or her feminine dignity
Durga embodies all of the gifts and qualities that make every woman a thousand women . Most notably, she engages in battles and emerges victorious, never showing signs of being "disheveled."
In Hindu iconography Durga moves through space riding a lion (later became a tiger because there are few lions in India), a symbol of personal power, majesty, courage and ardor. Durga, riding the lion, shows that she is Queen.
It is said that her form was of a blinding beauty, and that each divinity gave her a special gift: her face was sculpted by Śiva (who is none other than the erotic ascetic), her chest by the god of Thunderbolt (Indra), her breasts from the Moon (Chandra), her teeth from the Creator (Brahma), her buttocks from the Earth, her thighs and knees from the Wind (Varuna), and her three eyes from Agni (the Fire). She has a golden body with ten arms.
Each god also gave her their most powerful weapon: Śiva gifted the trident, Visnu the discus, and Indra the vajra – a weapon from which lightning springs. These are just a few of the attributes present in the hands of the goddess, who has 10 hands. Among the arsenal that Durga wields against her enemies in the air as she confronts them, are mace, sword, shield, spear, bow and arrow. Along with the weapons, she also holds pacifying objects such as the shell – symbolizing the power of sound – and the lotus flower – emblematic of perfection and purity.
Her 10th hand, when not engaged in blocking demons to strike them with multiple weapons, adopts the Abhaya mudra. This gesture, known as "fear not," serves as a symbol of offering refuge and safeguarding souls.
In short, Durga is the portrait of a cosmic superheroine who probably has her origins in tribal rituals outside the orthodox circuits of the Brahmins. These rituals
are closely linked with the hilly regions of central India, the home of savages, who honor her with offerings of flesh and blood.
Durga is the goddess who is not afraid to look into the depths, and who is capable of recognizing the inner demons and destroying them from within.
The goddess Durga is pure power, she is the eternal shakti, and her victory is over the ego. Durga lets out every form of attachment,' every ‘I' and 'mine', every repulsion, every fear. The goddess, with iron determination and regal detachment, sets her gaze on the target, draws the arrow, shoots and wins… she always wins.
Durga is feminine at its peak, she is a warrior and a mother, she embodies the destructive power and the creative power, strength and control of strength. Her smile is sweet, indeed very sweet, like pure honey. A smile that gives comfort like a light in the dark. She is the feminine capability of falling into the dark without being touched by the dark. Despite all the weapons with which she is equipped, Durga is never dark: she is a motherly and comforting deity. Even when she fights she does it with peace in her heart and therefore even when she is engaged in epic battles, her face is not angry but instills peace, tranquility, security and a sense of protection. Durga's combativeness is dictated by necessity, never by cruelty.
Her courageous, aggressive and intransigent being is justified by the desire for peace. Defeating the inner demons so that one can live in peace, this is her task. This is her and our power. Durga reminds us that conflicts and battles take place within us. That our demons live within us and that these enemies return to us in disguise whenever we give them a chance. This is the reason why it is necessary to act with determination and strong resolve.
Summoning Durga means creating an inner bond with the inner qualities necessary to win the battles against the attacks from the ego. Evoking Durga means calling into awareness our innate courage, combativeness, dynamism, steadfastness, dignity, and the will to not let anyone, absolutely anyone, discount us. Never forgetting that even when we take up arms to battle our enemies, that we do it with mercy and our maternal smile.
As for external conflicts that sometimes involve us, Durga bestows a sense of honor, royalty, profound respect and the nurturing smile of a mother, leading others to yield.
I like to imagine that Durga sometimes breathes life into us, inviting us to engage in battles. Through her breath, she guides our path by revealing the demons and enemies we must confront. She provides us with the right weapons for each battle and nurtures the remarkable feminine power within each of us.
Translation by Miguel Baguer