Ganesha: Remover Of Obstacles

 Om Gam Ganapataye Namaha. I call on Ganesh to bless my journey.  Lord Ganesha, the elephant headed deity, is considered the remover of obstacles. It is often said that nothing of importance should be begun without first asking Ganesh for his blessing. 


It's not easy to start something new.  If you are anything like me, you know the struggle of getting a great idea, feeling awesome about it, maybe even taking the first steps like Googling "How to start a business..." and then, BLAM-O! Obstacles.

Obstacles can come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes they are small, like when you need to study for a test, but can't possibly learn anything until you clean your house...  Sometimes they are much larger.  Money, for instance, can and often is an obstacle so huge and daunting many of us are afraid to even deal with it. My yoga career has been littered with some of the most frustrating obstacles any active person can face: injury.

I completed my teacher training while living in Seattle, and though I loved teaching my classmates, felt mentally ready, and was encouraged and supported by those around me, deep down, I didn't believe anyone would hire me.  There are already too many teachers in this city, I thought, No one wants a green teacher. A week later, I tried to jump over a river on Mt. St. Helens, fell, and knocked my talus out of place in my left foot.  I could hardly stand without pain, let alone ground through all four corners or find any moment of balance. Any small amount of confidence I had before was now gone. I let myself be defeated.

From then on I was full of excuses.  I was out of practice. No one wanted me to assist. I couldn't find a studio I fit with. I wanted to loose a few pounds first. We moved. I was too busy with my new job. 

After saying I wanted to teach here in Bozeman for months, I finally taught my first class on a Wednesday evening, and the very next Sunday, I fell face-first while skiing. I lost both my skis, tumbled gracelessly down the hill, and cracked a rib. GAhh! Just as I step forward into the life I want to live something new knocks me back down. I can’t practice yoga or demo in class.  Simply moving into a forward fold elicits random profanity, which doesn’t really induce peace and equanimity.  But I am done with excuses.

Every obstacle you face has something to teach you. Like bosses in a video game, you walk away from each battle with new skills, more prepared for the next level. My challenges have made me stronger.


What is less known about Ganesh is that he is also the placer of obstacles. 

Is it not often one in the same?  So many of our obstacles are put there ourselves and only we can remove them.  The dirty house didn’t get that way on its own.  Your fear of failing keeps you from trying. And while I would not say that I purposefully injured my foot or my ribs, I had laid the groundwork for things to go wrong and was easily deterred, because I didn't believe I was worthy of teaching.

Slowly I am getting better at not standing in my own way, and as I release the belief that I am a victim, stopped in my tracks by an "unfair" challenge, I find the path ahead looks less difficult.  I know that any rock or wall or broken bone that lies before me can be rolled aside, climbed, and healed with time.  My broken rib has given me the time to focus on meditation and work on my website. Without the ability to demonstrate, I am becoming a stronger teacher by instructing with only clear words.

Himani Shukla

Himani Shukla

When I chant to Ganesh each morning, asking him to bless this new beginning, I am not praying that an elephant god will swoop down and bring me new students or hide extra money in my coat pockets.  I am growing the light inside me, which can handle any obstacle that arises.  I am feeling into the part of myself that knows the truth.  My ego places obstacles of self-doubt, shame, and fear in my path, but my true Self can melt them away.  The path is mine to travel, come what may.