Ganesha – remover of obstacles
For a long time I went to yoga classes, finding new teachers or going back to see the ones I studied with over and over again, my head full of questions. I desperately, aimed at being “fixed” in one way or another. And no matter how enjoyable the class and how relaxing the Savasana, I often returned home with my questions unanswered and a certain sense of frustration. My questions would be answered by another set of questions, and I could never get a yoga teacher to give me a straight answer and a magical sequence of poses that would fix me or bring me closer to my truth. With time and patience and closer listening it has dawned upon me and (yes it has been repeated to me many times, only it’s just starting to sink in…) That : “The answers lie within each one of us and our inner teacher is the one we should be listening too” … And so a few years down the line, I no longer go to yoga workshops or classes with a list of questions to be answered (or the list is slightly shorter….), I don’t blame the teacher for not answering them directly and I try to listen more closely to my own inner dialogue and sensations in my own body. So when I came accross this quote a few days ago, it suddenly hit home like a loud “tingsha bell”: 
“You have to grow from the inside out. None can teach you, none can make you spiritual. There is no other teacher but your own Soul”. 
≈ Swami Vivekenanda ≈
Today’s theme was around removing obstacles and the yogi symbolism around that is GANESHA (the elephant God). One of the principals of yoga in the way it has been taught to me by my Anatomy teacher Leslie Kaminoff (who is a student of TKV. Desikachar, son of Krishnamacharya) is that Yoga is not one more thing that we add to our already long “to do list” as a means of reaching a happier state in our life. The fundamental principal of yoga is tuning into our bodies, minds and hearts and releasing tension where needed to create balance and alignment, aiming towards less suffering and more happiness. So if we can approach yoga as a tool we can use to undo the tensions that exist and remove the obstacles that  have come in our way, then yoga is no longer something we “do” and “work at” but merely a way of un-obstructing and clearing the road blocks on our path to wellbeing. By using the same approach in our physical practice and the more challenging poses, I have realised that by allowing myself to open and release more into the more basic poses, more challenging poses have come to me with less effort than expected. 
We started our morning practice with a poem from the “Warrior of the light a Manual” by Paolo Coelho.

A warrior of the light studies very carefully the position he wishes to conquer.

     However difficult his objective may be, there is always a way to overcome the obstacles. He verifies the alternative routes, sharpens his sword, and seeks to fill his heart with the perseverance necessary to face the challenge.

     But, as he advances, the warrior realizes there are difficulties he had not foreseen at the outset.

     If he waits for the ideal moment, he will never move from his position; he sees that a little madness is needed for the next step.

     The warrior uses a little madness. Because – in war and in love – one cannot foresee everything.

≈≈ Paulo Coelho (Warrior of the light Manual, Manuel du Guerrier de la lumière) ≈≈

Un guerrier de la lumière étudie
avec beaucoup de soin la position
qu’il prétend conquérir.
Aussi difficile que soit son objectif, il y a
toujours un moyen de surmonter les obstacles.
Il vérifie les chemins alternatifs,
aiguise son épée, et s’efforce d’emplir son
coeur de la persévérance indispensable
pour faire face au défi.
Mais à mesure qu’il avance, le guerrier se
rend compte qu’il existe des difficultés
qu’il n’avait pas envisagées.
S’il lui faut attendre le moment idéal, il ne
bougera jamais ; un peu de folie est nécessaire
pour faire un pas de plus.
Le guerrier use d’un peu de folie. Parce
que – à la guerre comme en amour – il
n’est pas possible de tout prévoir.

Our physical practice had the aim to give us the: 
Willingness to release and move past obstacles in our lives and within us. 

We sat and enjoyed the Ganesha Mantra : 

Rough Translation: “Om Salutations and Prostrations to Lord Ganesha”

 that was interpreted beautifully by Deva Premal:
We then sang this together for 3 minutes before slowing down into silent meditation for 12 minutes. 

When you sing  any mantra it brings ClarityFocusStrengthgrounding – empowerment.

The mantra doesn’t need to be in sanskrit, any positive affirmation will have an affect on the mind and t the body because: The mind is powerful so much so that WE ATTRACT WHAT WE FOCUS ON! 
The Ganesha mantra resides in Muladhara chakra (1st chakra), the foundation chakra. This is the principal origin from which the manifesting energy of “Shakti” resides in each of us. 
Shakti is the the sacred force and empowerment. It is the symbol of feminine creative power. The dynamic force that moves through the universe. 
When we awaken the energy that open the chakras, we active a strong sense of Self, Divine Love and we can communicate clearly. We connect with our intuition.
“This mantra invokes the Lord Ganesha to remove every impediment in your life and in your works. By constant meditation on this mantra, all obstacles and blocked energy in your physical and astral bodies are released.
He brings writing and knowledge. But he is most often known as the “Breaker of Obstacles”. This does not mean that if something blocks your way to success that appealing to Ganesh will result in your thundering through your opposition like some great juggernaut (a word derived from the name of a Hindu deity Jaganath). Rather, Ganesh breaks obstacles by working around them. He may not help you fix a relationship, but He might help you find a new one. He might not get you a raise at work, but you might get a job offer from another company for more money. Ganesh is a warrior, but is not into fighting for fighting’s sake. Indeed, that is why he lost his head and it had to be replaced with the head of a elephant. Rather, He helps you find other ways of overcoming obstacles. The real obstacles He breaks are those which prevent you from recognizing alternative solutions.”
“Ganesha mantras are siddhi mantras . Each mantra contains certain specific powers of Lord Ganesha. When chanted with the proper pranayama (rhythmic breathing) and sincere devotion, they will yield good results. In general, Ganesha mantras will ward off all evil and bless the devotee with abundance, prudence and success. Evil spirits dare not enter the home or the mind of the devotee where Ganesha mantras are recited.
“This is a mantra from Ganapati Upanishad. One may always use it before beginning a journey, a new course in school, new career or job, or before entering into any new contract or business so that impediments are removed and your endeavor may be crowned with success.”

You can find another cool blog on Ganesha here:
We started our session with an upbeat modern version of Ganesha by MC Yogi, because Yoga can be practiced in a traditional and modern way, which ever rocks your boat! 
+ Ganesh is Fresh (Feat. Jai Uttal) by MC Yogi
And then we listened to this playlist:
Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions:  they become habits.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; they become your DESTINY…
≈ The Upanishads ≈
Thank you to all for sharing your amazing energy in class.
yours truly,