Chi is constantly circulating through our meridians but the vast potential of Shakti lies dormant in the first chakra at the base of our spine. The relationship between chi and Shakti can be likened to the liquid and solid wax of a burning candle. All the chi presently circulating through the body is like the liquid wax rising up the wick and being burned. The solid wax of the candle is the sleeping Shakti energy being held in reserve.
In traditional language Shakti is said to be sleeping. But sometimes Shakti awakens and infuses us with the energy needed for new or powerful events. A sexual orgasm, the growth of a fetus, and the incredible transformations of puberty are all manifestations of something more than chi, they are manifestations of a partial awakening of Shakti.
The sacred power of Shakti is vital to the tantric yogi. Practicing asana and breathing exercises can harmonize the flow of chi in the meridians, but to open the chakras requires something more than chi— it requires energy of greater strength and subtlety. Shakti must awaken and add her energy to our efforts. Shakti is awakened by intensely focusing our chi into a chakra, bandha practices help to achieve this.
Excerpts from: Yin Yoga: Principles and Practice — 10th Anniversary Edition by Paul Grilley.
Paul Grilley: A well-known master of yin yoga, Paul brings a thorough grounding in Hatha and Ashtanga yoga as well as anatomy and kinesiology to his teaching, which integrates the Taoist yoga of martial arts master Paulie Zink and the Chinese meridian and acupuncture theories of Dr. Hiroshi Motoyama. Paul’s book, Yin Yoga: Principles and Practice, explains how yin yoga can teach us to relax, be patient, be quiet, and focus on the skeleton and its joints—a necessary counterpoint to today’s more ubiquitous muscular yoga.