Puja means honour and devotion and homage. It’s the Hindu worship of gods. If you ever travel to Bali, you’ll see thousands of little baskets left at opened doors of shops and homes with flowers and food and incense left as puja for the gods. You can do a sunrise puja to welcome the day or a puja to your own personal deity. Catholics also love to do puja, leaving offerings at the feet of statues of Jesus and lighting candles then kneeling to pray in front of their god, rosary in hand.
During my month long cleanse, I am performing a daily morning puja and ritual that is intended to support my journey, and also humble me before the devine.
It looks a little something like this:
- I get out of bed and immediately lay down my yoga mat and set up my alter.
- I have a makeshift alter in my living room with a photo of Ganesha I got in Bali and have travelled with for 3 years, some meditative incense I like, a candle and my mala
- I take my mala and wrap it around my hands-I actually bought a new mala just for this prayer-and I pray to Ganesha to help me to stay on course, and to remove any obstacles in my path
- I sing “Om Gan Ganapataye Namaha” 108 times moving my hands over the mala beads-the mantra is for Ganesha and has been used to call upon him for centuries
After my puja, I do some Pranayama and Kriya:
- Kapalbhati breathing to cleanse my body
- The beginning stages of Nauli-to cleanse my intestines and organs
- Nadi Shodhana-to balance my right and left brain
In between pranayama exercises I do some light yoga postures to wake up my body and get me ready to settle into meditation. I am aiming for a 20 minute daily meditation for this week, which I do right after pranayama and asana.
The point of the puja is to remind myself daily of what I’m doing and to get the strength to continue on the right path. It’s also a good time to check in and see where I’m at at beginning each day and to observe how my mind, body and spirit feels.
In order to keep the connection, throughout the day I return to this worship, thanking the universe for my food at each meal before eating and before bed I give myself some self massage and loving touch while listing all of the things I’m grateful for that happened in the day/in my life. And I tell myself all the things I love about myself before falling asleep.
My food prayer is pretty simple: “Thank you for the food I am about to receive, may it help me to proceed in life and in love. Thank you to the hands that made this beautiful meal and to god for providing the bounty. Amen.”-I say “Amen” at the end of my prayer because it feels right and because I’m comfortable with the word “god” and all the words that come with it. However, if the word “god” doesn’t resonate with you, you can always say “universe” or “divine mother” or whatever works for you and feel free to say “OM” at the end since it is the seed of Amen.
Puja’s are really lovely. There is something very cleansing about taking a minute to spiritually stop and smell the roses. Keeping a daily practice of gratitude and giving thanks will also help to keep your vibration up and is essential for me when I’m making a major shift in my life.
You can pray to anyone you want, and each of the Hindu gods has a purpose and a different Maha mantra that you can look up using Google. Or you can choose someone from your own religious background or just pray to the universe or nature or whatever speaks to you where you are at in life.