Tag Archives: chanting

Ganesha : The Master of New Beginnings

Happy 2014 Yogis! A time to celebrate sweet endings and exciting new beginnings.

Who is Ganesha? Ganesha is one of the celebrity gods in Hindu philosophy. He is the destroyer of vanity, selfishness, pride and is the remover of obstacles. He clears the obstacles in your life, so there is nothing stopping you between you and your ideal life. I feel Ganesh is a kindred spirit to me because he loves sweets, and he loves to dance!

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He is half boy, half elephant, and the son of Shiva and Parvati. The head of Ganesh represents the Atman (ultimate reality), while his child’s body signifies the earthly realm of human beings. In his upper right hand Ganesh holds a whip or goad, which seems harsh but helps him propel mankind forward(like cattle) remove obstacles from the way. The noose in Ganesh’s left hand helps him capture and restrain all difficulties.

In his lower right hand is a writing tusk he broke writing the Mahabharata, one of the two major sanskrit epics. The Mala beads in his other hand represents the endless pursuit of knowledge and being a student of life. The candy he holds in his trunk indicates that one must discover the sweetness of the life, he loves sweets! The snake that runs round his waist like a belt represents energy in all forms. He travels by mouse!

On December 31st I took my last yoga class of 2013. The teacher asked us to close our eyes and consider the question, “what would you do if there were no obstacles stopping you from your ideal life?”

Not enough time, not enough money, not enough energy, not enough this or that…. These are excuses we use all the time. In this time of new beginnings, let’s get really clear on our 2014 intentions by letting Ganesh demolish our obstacles and excuses and not waste another moment of 2014!

Ganesha’s Mantra. Ganesh resides in our firey root chakra, the foundation of our being, and we can ignite him by chanting his mantra or silently thinking it during meditation. “Om Gam Ganapataye Namaha,” which can be loosely translated to “Yo! Time to wake up Root Chakra! Let’s get the energy of transformation moving so I can kick my obstacles’ ass and live my ideal life!”

And now for all of you auditory learners, Ganesha’s story through the immortal words of MC Yogi!

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FEEL THE MUSIC

I’ve been going a little crazy over Kirtan style music recently. When I was training at the Baptiste Institute, there was no music during practice at all. I understand- for some it can be distracting and take away from their experience going inward. I was going a little bit insane. For me, music can only ADD to my yoga experience, it gets me out of my head and into my breath. Making and listening to music is such a natural instinct of being human, it awakens some powerful, joyful emotions in us that nothing else can.

Music is so powerful. I’ll never forget the song that played at my grandfather’s funeral, the song that played during my first middle school slow dance, or any of the words to the songs in The Lion King. There is nothing I love more than flowing through my Sun A’s and B’s with a nice beat vibrating through my being. I’ll never forget the Led Zeppelin theme class I took at Urban Yoga Spa, when our practice was finished with a harmonium lullaby at Brooklyn Yoga School, or the Go W/ The Flow music based yoga tour in Seattle.

A little bit about Kirtan & Sanskrit. Kirtan music is a Sanskrit chanting/repeating style mantras in song. Sanskrit is the oldest language known to man. It’s based on vibrations, the root sounds. A Sanskrit word is not a word chosen to name something, but an actual reflection of the inherent ‘sound’ of that object, concept or phenomena.  Perfect pronunciation of Sanskrit words can replicate the exact nature or essence, of that which it is referring to. So what? you say, I don’t know what they’re saying anyways. I think of it like an orchestra. You hear the violins, and even though they’re not speaking words or a language you understand, it still feels very emotionally charged and registers as something beautiful.

For teachers: In my class, I play the ‘Omstrimental’ versions of MC Yogi songs, which include the chants and music with no other words, it’s perfect. You can find all of his songs wordless on iTunes.

I will write very soon all about Sanskrit Mantras, but for now I wanted to share with you some of my favorite ‘remixed’ Kirtan songs. I’m apparently the last Yogi to hop on the Krishna Das bandwagon, but now I can’t get enough of him.

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