Yoga Blog

Getting to Know Ganesha: The Meaning of Our Altars

Here at Prana Yoga & Wellness, we take pride in creating a beautiful space for you to settle into your practice. This includes setting the space with blessings and good karma from a few meaningful deities!

You’ve likely already noticed the beautiful statues of Ganesha, Goddess Lakshmi, and Goddess Saraswati around the studio, but did you know there is actually much more to these idols than a beautiful decoration?

Follow along to discover the meaning of each of our studio alters and learn how you too can take part in honouring the energetic space held for each and every one of us at the studio. 

What is an Altar?

An altar is traditionally a place of worship for many different religions. However, altars for yoga and meditation are built to infuse the space with beautiful energy from your practice. 

To understand the significance of this energetic setting, you can imagine an altar as a physical manifestation of your inner spirituality. These arrangements are filled with images and objects that are meaningful and powerful for spiritual practice. They then provide an opportunity to reflect while in the space. 

Each altar will look unique based on the creator. Here at the studio, the beautiful energy and spiritual power of the altar is set for everyone to share. 

As kirtan musician Sean Johnson said, “an altar is a mirror of the heart, a reflection of the energies and attributes and love that you carry inside.

Who is Ganesha?

On our main altar, you’ll find Ganesha featured in all of his glory. 

Ganesha, much like many other deities can take on many different names. However, Hindu tradition tells us that Ganesha is the son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. 

We recognise Ganesha by his large belly and beautiful elephant head. You may also notice the hands of Ganesha are held in a very distinct way. 

Ganesha’s large belly represents generosity and total acceptance. His elephant head symbolizes wisdom and understanding. Along with this, his large elephant ears let us know that Ganesha is listening with acute attention. 

His raised hand is a symbol of protection where his lower hand offers endless giving. 

Lord Ganesha is the remover of obstacles in our lives, however, he does place obstacles back in our path when we haven’t yet learned the lessons intended. Ganesha teaches us to keep an open mind, think prudently, and reminds us to continue in our quest for knowledge through this lifetime. 

Goddess Lakshmi

Along with Ganesha, we also have a few smaller statues throughout the studio. One of these beautiful idols is our beloved Goddess Lakshmi.

Ganesha-Explained-Prana-Yoga

 

We recognise Lakshmi as a beautiful woman with four arms resting on a lotus flower. Her arms represent each of the four goals of humanity: Dharma (ethical, moral life), Artha (wealth), Kama (love and emotional fulfilment), and Moksha (self-knowledge and liberation). 

The lotus flower is a powerful yogic symbol in itself. You may already know that the lotus grows from the depths of mud, representing the growth of something so beautiful from the dark and ugly place. 

Goddess Lakshmi offers teachings of hard work, perseverance, and purpose and offers many blessings in the form of good luck, fortune, love, beauty, joy, and prosperity.

Goddess Saraswati

Goddess Saraswati is our other beautiful Goddess, watching over the studio and all of our yogis and yoginis. 

Saraswati is the Goddess of knowledge, music, and art as we can see depicted by the musical instrument in her arms. This generous Goddess blesses us by endowing humans with the power of speech, wisdom, and learning. 

Like Lakshmi, Saraswati also has four arms, however, her arms represent the four aspects of personality in learning. These include the mind, intellect, alertness, and ego. 

We find her sitting on a lotus flower gently playing her music as a symbol of light, knowledge, and truth. 

As you can imagine, the symbolism on each of these statues is endless and helps us not only feel empowered but begin to see similarities and relationships between the deities and ourselves. This allows us to understand that while we are students of this life, we are also the beautiful gods and goddesses within ourselves. 

How You Can Take Part

Now that you know the meaning and reason behind each of these altars, we would love you to take part in honouring and adorning these altars with beauty and love. 

To respect and honour the deities in each of our alters, these areas should be kept free of any clutter or personal belongings such as cell phones, drink bottles, or handbags. Because these altars are sitting on the window ledge, we ask that you please keep your items off of this ledge to keep it clean and beautiful for our goddesses. 

If you feel called to, please feel welcome and encouraged to offer your own elements of beauty to the altars to amplify the studio space and reflect the spiritual landscape of your own practice.

You can do this by simply offering elements such as flowers from your garden or a place you love or contributing a candle to the setting. 

Of course, you do not need to contribute in order to experience the energetic properties of each of our altars. Simple know that they are there watching over you while you practice bestowing their gifts upon you when you are ready. 

The Altars at Prana Yoga & Wellness

Now that you know the significance behind our altars, we hope you feel connected and blessed in our Dromana studio. No matter where you are in your journey or what brings you to yoga each class, we are so pleased to have you as a member of our studio and wish all the blessings of the deities upon you. 

Have more questions about the Altars or want to get involved? Get in touch with us to learn all about the heartfelt purpose of the studio and become a part of our yoga community. 

About us

We offer a safe and authentic yoga experience, and our caring teachers will ensure you work at your own ability. With plenty of options for beginners and experienced students alike, we want to empower everyone to discover their individual path to a happy and healthy life.

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A beautiful space to nurture your soul.

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