One of the more enchanting, yet underutilized features of the Blue Osa resort is the Balinese beach-hut style meditation temple, directly facing the pool near the spa. Inside the orange walls, you will find a statue of Ganesha, the elephant god. Bring your yoga mat, a cushion, or just yourself, and invite the gentle sound of the waves in the distance to lure you into a meditative state. Perhaps you will bring a mantra with you and utilize the energy of this deity to remove obstacles in your life. “Gam Ganapataye Namah” is a traditional one that honors Ganesha. “I invite balance and strength into my life,” may also resonate.
The Great Balancer
Ganesha is the great balancer: steady, strong and grounded. He is directly connected to the root chakra, Muladhara, and his large belly represents hunger for knowledge, truth, and fulfillment of worldly pleasures. All songs and mantras to Ganesha basically ask that our root chakra become open and that we may remain grounded, steady, clear and strong. His huge elephant ears show that he is a great listener and counselor; he encourages us to align with our desired outcome and move towards it with conviction.
He is also known as the “Great Balancer” because he rides on a mouse. His ability to balance his huge body on this diminutive creature requires extreme discipline, skill, patience and attention. This teaches us to release and move past our old perceptions and challenges in life. We are invited to place more attention on our goals and the strategies to reach them, instead of concentrating on our setbacks and what is not working.
Remover of Obstacles
Even though he is known as the “Remover of Obstacles” it is not as if he simply rides in and clears away external roadblocks. Instead, he invites a change in perception: that we see obstacles as opportunities, and that sometimes the obstacle is the actual destination. These life’s challenges can act as a right of passage that have arisen as a beautiful opportunity to transform our minds and souls.
Ganesha is the lord of beginnings and you can pray to him at the beginning of an endeavor to ask for blessings and ease. In Hindu culture he is often honored at the start of rituals and ceremonies for this reason.
Yogi Aaron, Blue Osa’s owner and founder, chose Ganesha for the temple because he believes it is good to start your sadna (or yoga practice) by honoring him. As guests make their way around the grounds when they first arrive, just gazing on him allows them to pay their respects in a subtle way. Ganesha is also a really important deity for business, and acts as a protector for the property. Lastly, Aaron chose Ganesha for the temple because of the deity’s connection with the divine mother, and that Blue Osa experience is all about honoring and receiving the gifts of this incredible place on Earth.
Blue Osa’s Ganesha comes from Bali, and therefore some of the traditional Hindu details are different than those found in Indian depictions. Traditionally, Ganesha has a noose in his left hand, which is supposed to gently capture all difficulties. The axe in his upper right hand helps him propel mankind forward on the eternal path remove what is getting in the way. He usually holds a broken tusk in his lower right hand as a symbol of sacrifice, and in his other hand, a rosary, suggesting our pursuit of knowledge should be continuous. The snake around his waist represents energy in all forms.
Bring Ganesha Into Your Life
Often times we come on retreat because we need to shift something in our lives. Perhaps we feel overwhelmed about a big decision we need to make, are confused about our next steps, or just feel a general sense of discouragement. A yoga retreat can do so much to reinvigorate the soul. Ganesha is connected directly to our root chakra, our sense of security and of manifesting our earthly desires. Your entire retreat experience can be about reconnecting and grounding to the nature that surrounds you.
Use the symbolism of Ganesha as medicine. Some questions you could journal about during your time at Blue Osa include:
How can I change my perspective of this obstacle?
Can I shift my attitude and see it as an opportunity?
What do I need to do to feel more steady and grounded?
How can I think outside of the box?
Remember, Ganesha’s purpose or Dharma, is not just to remove obstacles, but sometimes to place them in our way to teach us important life’s lessons. Our challenge during these times is to see how we can move through these situations and remain balanced and grounded. Easier said than done, but our own happiness is ultimately a choice and the more we can get curious about our circumstances and determine our role’s in them, the more opportunity we have to learn.
Make a point to visit Ganesha in the meditation hut during your yoga retreat at Blue Osa in Costa Rica. You never know what kind of wisdom you may download after a good sweaty yoga class first thing in the morning. Ganesha’s wise, strong and steady presence may inspire some unexpected answers.
About The Author
Laurel Brauns is a travel writer, musician, and yoga life coach. She has lived in Costa Rica for the past two winters studying yoga and believes this country offers powerful transformative experiences to visitors who are looking to immerse themselves in nature and healthy living. She is a regular contributor to the blueosa.com blog. Learn more at lifecoachingwithlaurel.com.