Ganesh's association with the first chakra means he's connected to the seat of one's primordial force and is the manifestation of its Divine energy. In Kundalini yoga, Ganesh is said to reside in this chakra. In this way, he is the foundation and support for all of the higher chakras.
In Hatha yoga, there are three asanas associated with activating the root chakra and connecting with Ganesh's energy:
- Sukhasana (easy pose)
- Balasana (child's pose)
- Trikonasana (triangle pose)
Ganesh’s elephant head symbolizes his wisdom and the knowledge that can be gained through listening and reflection. He is often portrayed with his vehicle, a mouse, which is said to symbolize Ganesha’s ability to overcome desire and selfishness.
There are many stories about how Ganesha got his elephant head. One of the most popular stories says that his mother, Parvati, created the boy to guard her door while she bathed. Upon returning from battle, Lord Shiva tried to enter the bathroom, but was stopped by Ganesh. So Shiva cut off Ganesh’s head with his sword. After learning what Shiva had done, Parvati was very distressed. To appease her, Shiva sent his warriors to fetch the head of the first creature they found. This happened to be an elephant, so Shiva attached the elephant’s head to Ganesh, bringing him back to life.
In Hindu mythology, Ganesh’s roles also include being the destroyer of vanity, pride and selfishness, as well as being a patron of the arts and sciences.