About Jennifer Sundeen
A resident of Harvard, Massachusetts, Jennifer Sundeen is a yoga instructor, spiritual teacher, healer, poet, activist, community architect, and the mother of three daughters. She is the founder of several organizations that support girls, women, spirituality and the earth including The Durga Studio, Durga's Red Tent, Goddess Pilgrimages, The Lalla Project, and The Harvard Farmer's Market.
Jennifer was five years old when she met her first two yoga teachers, Hannah Greenberg, who introduced her to Hatha yoga back in 1974; and an ancient beech tree, who taught her about rhythms, cycles, the earth, and Oneness. These connections to body and nature deeply affected a young Jen and immediately found a place in her heart. Since that time she has spent her years pursuing the yogic path in many varied and beautiful ways.
Over the past 20 years, Jen has tried to find as many ways possible to celebrate the Divine Feminine; she is committed to bringing awareness to this aspect of our consciousness in order to heal our Earth and Ourselves, so very necessary in our current day and time.
The Durga Studio is a reflection of that devotion and is in truth a Goddess Temple without walls. The business model is circular, one of inclusion rather than hierarchy, and supports the idea that we all hold inside of us an inner healer and artist, and to that end welcomes the gifts our community has to offer. The more we embrace each other, the wider our circle of Love will grow. Durga has many arms after all.
Jen has studied and practiced with many beautiful and inspiring teachers throughout the years. She has been particularly drawn to Tantra, a practice that teaches us how to live fully, joyfully and in full Presence each and every moment. She has been inspired by a yoga practice called Prana Flow, which has its roots in tantra and aligns us with universal rhythms; she has been training with its founder ~ Shiva Rea ~ for many years. She also bows in gratitude to her teachers of ancient ritual: Kali priests Shivachariar Bhairavji, Swami Satha Sivom, and his daughter Harsha Sivom, a true embodiment of the Goddess.
Jennifer is dedicated to imparting her yogic philosophy to everyone: To find connections with all people, to cherish the earth, to live healthy lifestyles, to find beauty in the everyday moments, to rediscover the rhythms of the universe, to find the divine being that resides in all of us, and to shine who we truly are.
ABOUT GODDESS DURGA
Durga is the name given to the Divine Mother Goddess. Worshipped since ancient times, she has been portrayed as a gentle mother, a loving bride, as well as a strong warrior who battles demons. She symbolizes the battle of good over evil, of love over ego, and the eventual victory of light over the darkness. This is her story:
Once upon a time, there was a demon named Mahishasura. A great warrior, he was granted several gifts by Lord Indra: brilliance, beauty, invincibility in war, and the inability for a human, demon or deity to kill him. Born with the head of a buffalo and a human body, these new powers led Mahishasura on a path of destruction: He attacked heaven, defeated the gods and the demons, and made them his slaves. He raged across the earth, stomping here and there, muddying the waters and blocking the sun with dust. In other words, he had a nasty temper tantrum. Darkness reigned.
Lord Brahma and friends, unable to stop the monster of darkness, appealed to Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. The combined anger of these three gods (known as the Trimurtis) sent fire from their eyes, and from that fire the Goddess of Light was born, as brilliant as the light of a thousand suns. In awe of this radiant Goddess, the Trimurtis bestowed upon her eight arms their own weapons: Shiva’s trident, Vishnu’s discus, Varuna’s conch, Agni’s spear, Yama’s cudgel, Vayu’s bow, Surya’s arrows, Indra’s vajra, Kubera’s mace, Brahma’s water pot, Kala’s sword and Vishwakarma’s axe. She was given a tiger as her mode of transport.
Durga recognized that weapons alone were not enough, nor was any one deity enough to take on the Demon of Darkness. And so she gathered together the strength of the other Goddesses: Lakshmi, Kali, Saraswati. Only now, with the power of many, was she ready.
A great battle took place. Durga assumed a terrifying form, and eventually overcame the demon. She pinned Mahishasura down with her foot, pierced his neck, and cut off his head with her sword; after all, a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do to protect herself (and her universe). And in that instant, the waters cleared, the dust settled, and light reigned once more.
The moral of the story: When people join together as One in the name of love and light, we can indeed change the world.
Om Dum Durgeyei Namaha