Ganesha Workshop Information

Nirvighnam kuru me deva sarva-karyeshu sarvada

“May he with a curved trunk and massive body, with the radiance of ten million suns, make me free of obstacles in all my endeavours at all times.”

The deity

Ganesh/Ganseha/Ganapati, the ‘remover of obstacles’, the ‘lord of new beginnings’, and the ‘guardian of wisdom’. A Ganesha Saddhana helps the Sadhaka (practitioner) to rise up and meet themselves in a place of challenge. To know when they are both the placer and remover of obstacles and how to use challenge as a catalyst for growth and an opportunity to observe, witness and expand a limited perspective.


The myth

Once upon a time, there was a a small boy with an elephant’s head, called Ganesha, or Ganapati, and, like many of the dieties, he rode around on his Vahana, his vehicle, which happened to be a mouse called Musaka.

One day, Ganesha is riding along upon Musaka, underneath the full moonlight, and stops at a Bakery. Being a young boy, he loves to eat, and particularly the sweet things – in inconography, he often has a tray in one hand, which has modica on it. Modica is whatever it is that you really really love. The sweet drops of nectarian ecstasy, walks in nature, yoga, whatever is sweetest to you in life.

As he’s riding along, with his plate of sweets, a snake crosses his path. The mouse, being a mouse, is terrified and squeals and rears up, causing Ganesha to spill his boon. The moon has been watching the whole time and bursts into laughter. Ganesha is offended and reacts by snapping off one of his tusks and hurling it at the moon, which then fractures into the 16 cycles. The one moon, fractured into the diversity of the many – just like the one spirit comes to be expressed through all of life.

This broken tusk keeps reminding him of how he reacted and he feels a bit stupid about it. It’s a scar that brings him back to the parts of himself that he’s not so proud about. The parts that keep biting him on the big elephant’s bum to remind him that he’s not good enough. That he’s stupid. That he can never be as good as all the other Gods.

Some years later, the great Sage, Vyasa is about to narrate the greatest epic of all time – the Mahabarata – which is 80,000 verses long. In order to narrate it, he needs a scribe. Someone deemed to be smart, intelligent, full of inquiry and able to write this down. Immediately he thinks of Ganesha. and so he asks him, and after a little negotiation, Ganesha agrees. It as at this point that he realizes that the broken part of himself he has been carrying around with him all this time is the one thing that can become his greatest resource and the means by which he can bring beauty and inspiration and teaching into the world. So he takes his broken tusk and a big well of ink and dips his tusk in and begins to scribe the Mahabarata.

So, this is the story of yoga as transformation. There’s always going to be parts of ourselves that we feel are broken, but if we really accept ourselves fully and accept what arises, including our past mistakes, we will find a way of turning our broken places into our empowered places and the means by which we can make our offering into the world.

By committing to a 40 day Ganesh Saddhana you are bringing awareness to the obstacles you place in your path. You are shining a light on the deep conditioning that keeps having you repeat the same mistakes again and again, as the broken parts of yourself remain hidden. By uncovering them and taking them into your hands, you can transform them into your greatest resources. They can become you teachers and the means by which you can move past the obstacles that have previously prevented you from being all that you can be.


The symbolism

The elephant’s head represents unmatched wisdom and gaining of knowledge through reflection and listening
The elephant has big soft ears so he can listen to the greater sensitivity within
He has one broken tusk, which represents the energy of breakthrough and meeting ourselves in a place of challenge
He is often placed at the door, keeping guard and allowing the right wisdom to pass through at the right time
His vehicle is a mouse, which represents the removal of obstacles of all sizes – from a mouse to an elephant and the ability of Ganesh to control even the most unpredictable creatures and situations. It also symbolizes both the groundedness of Ganesha and is lightness and playfulness.


“In the beating of his pulse and the rhythm of his respiration, he recognizes the flow of the seasons and the throbbing of universal life.”
B.K.S Iyengar

Saddhana means ‘spiritual discipline’ and comes from the verbal root sadh ‘to go straight to the goal’. A saddhana is a daily practice that will support you in your intentions, stabilize you inwardly and ground you in your soul’s journey.


Mantra is a ‘sacred sound, word or phrase’. Mantra connects you with the power of vibration and comes from the verbal root man ‘to think’. In Sanskrit, manas means ‘mind’ but also ‘heart’ whilst tra means ‘instrument’ or ‘device’. Mantra is therefore a tool of the mind that helps us to cross over into the more subtle dimensions of being.


Mudra means ‘seal’, ‘gesture’ or ‘mark’. It is the sealing of energy for the flow of prana, or life force. Typically, mudras are formed with the hands. We communicate a lot from this place in daily life, speaking, healing, comforting and connecting with each other and the world around us through touch and gesture. Just as yoga poses have different effects on the body, mudras assist with our emotional and mental clarity. They can raise our energy when we’re tired, calm us when agitated, build confidence, open the heart and empower us with courage. They call us home to ourselves whilst taking our yoga practice into a more refined dimension.


Meditation is the path to self-realisation, where we come to know our true nature by cultivating an intimacy that reveals an abiding presence within. It is a moving beyond thought to flow with consciousness and deepen the space where insight and meaning become coherent.


Asana means ‘posture’ or ‘seat’ and is the sacred movement of yoga that celebrates the body and honours our embodiment. Asana is the seat of the yogi in moving meditation and the seat that the yogi takes in body, mind, heart and voice. Asana integrates body with mind using the breath as a bridge between the physical and the subtle, bringing awareness to the network of fascia, muscles, bones, organs, glands, nerves, fluids, enzymes and systems that keep us alive. The whole body is strengthened, purified and rejuvenated, sculpting alignment in form and opening to the inherent vibrational pattern within that form.


“The experience of the Self is an experience of pure being. It is an experience of awareness: the Self knows itself. It is witness to its own existence as well as to everything else. And it is an experience of bliss, for the Self is joyful, loving.”
Sally Kempton


This suggested saddhana can be extended or shortened, depending on the time of the day. You might keep the asana short and sweet and allow yourself more time in meditation, for example. If you are practicing in the evening, you might not want to do kapalabhati. Use this as a base but once you have found your version of the saddhana, stick to it for 40 days. And, remember, if you miss a day, you have to go right on back to the beginning.


Earth to Sky Pranayama (standing with arms rising and falling on breath)
Kapalabhati x 3 OR Nadi Shodhana x several rounds
Ganehsa Mantra x 108 using a mala
Meditation 5-30mins
Danda Pranam

Light a candle, ideally at your altar
Meditation – 5-30mins
Journal – contemplate the gifts and insights from your day


Find a space in your home where you can offer up your daily practice. Having a dedicated space marks your commitment, calling you back and stabilising your intention. It doesn’t need to be ostentatious or obvious. It can simply be a vase of flowers with a candle but also feel free to adorn your altar with incense, sage, mala beads, flowers, candles, an image of Ganesh or a teacher or family member who supports and inspires you.


Decide what is right for you with your asana practice. This is a simple, short sequence that will prepare you for sun salutations or more dynamic work but let your breath and your body guide you. Put some music on and let yourself move on your mat. See what happens and enjoy the unfolding of a home practice, if that is something you would like to evolve.

Side stretches – wide legged chair pose – Malasana squat – Down Dog – Plank to Down Dog waves – Cat Cow – Thread the needle – Anjeneyasana (low lunge) pulses – Pranam Namaskar or Sun Salutations – move into core work and then cool down, if you have time


Inhale deeply, powerfully exhale while contracting the abdomen
Allow the inhale to come in naturally
Do 80 rounds and repeat upto 3 times


Lightly place the thumb on the right nostril, index and middle finger on the third eye, and ring finger on left nostril
Close left nostril, inhale through right for 6 counts
Close right nostril (so both nostrils are closed) and hold for 6 counts
Exhale through left nostril for 6 counts
Inhale through left nostril for 6 counts
Close both nostrils for 6 counts
Exhale through right nostril for 6 counts
Rest your awareness in the space between each breath and continue for 2-3 minutes


Chant the root mantra of Ganesha 108 times, using a mala. Cultivate loving awareness with each repetition.

Om Gam Ganapathayei Namaha (Om gum guh-nuh-puh-tuh-yey-nahm-ah-ha)


Take a comfortable seat, sit tall and relax into your own essence nature. Scan the body for any tension and then begin by inviting an inhale through the crown of the head, down the front of the spine and into the earth. Exhale from the earth, up the spine and through the crown. Do this for a few rounds, until you have settled into your seat. Sit for up to 40 minutes and no less then 5.


A full body prostration, placing the entire body on the earth, face down, with arms and hands in prayer. Set your intention for the day and repeat it inwardly three times before taking Savasana.


Any questions? Just get in touch!

holly@yogahero.co.uk // 07743513225