Continuing on with our series of Ganesh classes this class explores how our yoga practice brings us closer to our True Selves. The legend associated with Durva goes like this: Long, long ago, a ruthless demon named Anlasur was a really, really bad demon. He was so terrible that the earth would tremble by his voice and his eyes used to emit fired. He created havoc around the world, not even the Gods were spared. Indra tried to control Anlasure several times by engaging him in battle, but Anlasur was even beyond Indra's control.
Panic ensued and all the Gods went to Lord Shankar for help. Lord Shankar told them only Ganesh could help them. Since Ganesh had a huge pot belly, he could actually swallow Anlasur because there was enough space in his belly to accommodate the demon. All the Gods prayed to Ganesh to rescue them from the terror of Analasura. Pleased by their prayers, Ganesh agreed to help them.
Ganesh took the form of a small boy and started war with Analasura. Analasura's eyes oozed fireballs and destroyed Ganesha's surroundings. A tough battled ensued, but eventually Ganesh swallowed Analasura. Unfortunately the heat in his stomach began causing agony to Ganesh. He became so restless he could not even lie down. Indra tried to give Ganesh the moon to wear on his head to cool him off, but that did not help. Vishnu gave Ganesh his lotus, but that did not help. Shankara removed a cobra from his neck and tied it to Ganesha's hip, but even that didn't help. Varuna, the rain God showered Ganesh with plenty of water, but that didn't work. Ganesh continued to suffer from the heat.
At that time 88. 000 sages came and each one performed archana over Ganesh with 21 Durva grass each and miraculously Ganesha was cured. The word Durva is derived from the words duhu and avam. "Duhuavam" means that which is far away and means that which brings closer. According to this meaning, Durva is that which brings the distant pure spiritual particles of Ganesh closer.
In our own practice today we will focus on how our yoga practice brings us closer to our True Selves. We will practice a dramatic re-enactment of the story with hip opening postures and postures focuses on the watery second chakra. We will practice half moon balancing posture, crescent moon, full moon, dark moon, lotus, cobra, sitali breath (cooling breath), and walking meditation on the grass in our bare feet.
Melissa West is a yoga instructor who helps people to surrender to peace in their lives by connecting to the vital energy within their body through breath, cultivating optimal functional movement by harnessing the power of gravity and increase overall mobility by creating more suppleness in the spine.