Clear Your Obstacles With Ganesha

It’s a new year, a fresh start, and perhaps a great time to remove obstacles from your path. Ganesha is one of my favorite characters from Indian mythology.  He is the elephant-headed son of Shiva and Parvati, and widely known as the obstacle-remover.  The Sanskrit word “Ganesh” comes from the word “vighna,” which means obstacles or hindrances.  Ganesha’s elephant head symbolizes purification of the ego. Ganesha is the Lord of fortune, peace, and spiritual success.  He represents wisdom, knowledge, and the ability to overcome setbacks. During Hindu ceremonies, Ganesha is invoked first to clear the path.

Ganesha rides around on a rat. Some say this rat is symbolic of Ganesha’s ability to overcome hindrances.  Whenever I think of Ganesha’s rat, I think of the rats in the New York City subways lurking around in dark, underground tunnels. Those tunnels are much like the challenges of the unknown we face in life.  The mere fact of going into the depths of darkness can be unsettling for anyone, especially when the ego is talking us out of moving forward. The ego likes to be in control, but if you let it take over it can keep you stuck in space that you don’t really want to be in.  If you look deep, oftentimes, it is not a particular obstacle, but rather our own ego-inspired thoughts getting in the way.

To get through these dark places of our own mind, we can invoke the energy of Ganesha to clear the way, change our thoughts, and open to something new.

The mantra for Ganesha is Om Gum Ganapataye Namaha.

As you chant this mantra to Ganesha, bring to mind a particular obstacle or challenge standing in your path. Using the sound currents from the mantra, imagine yourself breaking through that obstacle with superpower Ganesha energy.  Visualize a strong, beautiful elephant clearing the path ahead of you, bringing in sunlight, and making way for something new.

Aim high, but do not be attached to the results turning out in any particular way.  Jai Ganesha!  May 2019 bring health, happiness, and prosperity to all.

Bringing Love to Yoga

2014-11-17 11.46.23
Vrindavan, India

In Sanskrit, one translation of the word Bhakti is love. The path of Bhakti yoga can be described as the path of love. Neem Karoli Baba, a 20th century saint and teacher of Bhakti yoga, inspired his yogis through unconditional love. One of his messages perfectly encapsulates this beautiful tradition. He simply said, “love everyone.” At first that may seem like a tall order, especially in regard to people that get under our skin.

But the truth of the matter is that at our very core we all want to be loved. We want to be appreciated and feel like we belong. Think about how kind gestures and heartfelt compassionate words can make you feel, whether it comes from a child, parent, friend, lover, or pet. Love has the power to heal and strengthen. It is a tremendous force and can leads us to serve and honor one another. When we initiate our actions through a place of love, we have the ability to open to a more peaceful existence not only for ourselves, but also for everyone around us. Love loosens the ego’s grip and allows us to see the divine in all living beings.

So why not take a big courageous step and start seeing ourselves in each other and give out to the world, what we would truly want for ourselves? As my yogi friend says, “love is never the wrong answer.”

Set your intention on dedicating your yoga practice to someone you love. Turn each pose into an offering for that love. Let it inspire each of your movements and notice how it can change the energy of your practice.

Missing You

I loved when
I could smell You in my hair.
I loved when
I could melt into Your soul.

It is better to feel Pain,
than to feel Nothing at all.
Pain cracks open the Heart,
and unlocks the Gateway.

There is something mysterious
In the depths of our darkness.
Do not hide from the Night.

Embrace and accept the Pain
With a gentle heart.
Be kind to your soul.

As the Pain releases its grip,
Beauty unfolds.
She was always there,
but it was heard to hear.

Photo by Anthony Rodriguez

Radiance Sutra #34

Photo by Anthony Rodriguez

The air I am breathing was exhaled in ecstasy
By an ancient Sun.
This Earth I am standing on
Was born of cosmic fire.
The blood flowing through my veins
Is as salty as the primordial ocean.
The space permeating my body
Is infinite as the space all around.

Above, below, to all sides, within,
The elements of the universe
Are engaged in their ceremony of delight.

This is my religion-
The attraction between suns
Is the same
As the love pulsating in my heart.

- Radiance Sutra #34, translated by Lorin Roche