Hello from Bali! Yogis if you ever have a chance to make it out to Bali DO IT! It’s so beautiful. I’ve already felt the energy shift of being here AND I’ve only been here a little over a day. It’s pure magic. Since I am in Bali I figured it would be wise to teach Ganesh Mudra today. Statues of Ganesha abound all over Bali! Some covered in moss or lichen, others adorned with flowers or mala beads, some with incense and offerings at their feet. It’s lovely. This is my third trip to Bali. Each time my energy shifts and obstacles seem to drop away…. Ganesh at work!
Mudras are shapes that you make with your hands to guide and direct the flow of prana and your awareness or intention. They’ve been around for ages and across cultures. Typically, they’re practiced in meditation, but some lend themselves well to an asana or pranayama practice.
Ganesh (also interchangeably called Ganesha), the elephant god, is the remover of all obstacles. Not only does Ganesh help us overcome life’s challenges, his mudra is for confidence and courage on our yoga journey.
Benefits of Ganesha Mudra for Courage:
Ganesh mudra helps activate the root, navel & heart chakras. Practicing this mudra for courage helps us to trust our foundation. When we feel supported it’s that much easier for us to step into our personal power, while staying aligned with the energy of the heart. Ganesh Mudra activates the fire element and can help you act with confidence, courage, self-esteem, compassion and openness. Ganesh mudra, just as with Lord Ganesha himself, helps dispel fear, so we can achieve our hearts desires. On a physiological level this mudra releases tension in the muscles of your chest and may also stimulate activity of the heart and open the bronchial tubes.
To practice Ganesha Mudra:
Bring your left hand in front of your heart and turn your palm away from you (your thumb pointing down) and fingers bent. With your right palm facing toward you hook the fingers of your right hand with the fingers of your left hand. Elbows pointing out toward the sides. From here, with an exhale breath pull the elbows away from one another while keeping the fingers locked together (don’t let them separate). You will feel the muscles of your chest and upper arms engage. On your inhale breath release the tension. Repeat up to 8 times. You can use this mudra daily OR as needed; like when you’re feeling self doubt, fearful, or closed off from others.
Try this, come into a posture that makes you feel small and closed off, just pause here for a moment and notice the shape of your body, notice how your energy shifted. Now, sit tall and bring your hands into Ganesh Mudra and gently pull your elbows out to the side, just like described above. Then bring your awareness again to the shape of your body and how you feel holding this powerful mudra. Pretty amazing, isn’t it?! Try to become aware of how you carry yourself throughout the day. If you notice your posture becoming rounded (like when you’re at your computer or on your phone) and take a few moments to shift your energy. Give yourself a little Ganesh power up!
Incorporate This Mudra For Confidence Into Your Yoga Practice
This mudra is easy to incorporate into a yoga practice too! Since it instills confidence and courage, I like to incorporate it into powerful poses like Crescent Lunge, Warrior 1, and Warrior 2, especially if we’ll be doing a strong balancing sequence later in class!
Amplify Your Connection with Ganesh by Adding a Mantra
I love combining mantra with my mudra and meditation practice. One of my go-to mantras is “Om gam ganapataye namaha” which essentially translates to “salutations to the remover of obstacles”. You could chant this mantra when you’re starting a new project or have a big, seemingly impossible task ahead, or even when you’re just having a rough day. If you would like to learn more about Ganesha, his origin story and significance in Hinduism, here is an approachable blog post about him.
If you would like to learn more about mudras or need a little inspiration for your meditation practice, I invite you to check out my book The Little Book of Mudra Meditations or join me for a live class on Zoom or an in-person yoga retreat or teacher training!
Let me know how your meditation practice is going and as always, reach out with questions.
Love and Light,