Ashtanga Yoga traditionally has both an opening chant and a closing chant. Because of Yoga’s ancient roots, chants (or mantras) are offered in Sanskrit (the ancient language of India), however their meaning is said to be universal as Sanskrit is the language of the heart.
Chanting acts to shift the consciousness of the individual practicing the chant to a higher level of vibration. This in turn brings us closer to our Source or Higher Self – the aspect of ourselves that remains eternal – and leaves the practitioner filled with peace and feeling calm and centred.
Studies have shown that when a person chants it can stabilise their heart rate, lower blood pressure, produce beneficial endorphins in the body and boost metabolic processes, so it perfectly compliments the physical practice of asana.
Ashtanga Yoga Opening Chant
The Opening Prayer is a blessing of gratitude offered to the lineage of teachers and their students who have enabled this ancient practice to survive through thousands of years so that we can experience its benefits today. The recitation of this mantra cleanses the energy of the space we have chosen to practice yoga, as well as preparing the mind, body and emotions for the forthcoming Ashtanga sequence.
वन्दे गुरूणां चरणारविन्दे
सन्दर्शित स्वात्म सुखाव बोधे ।
संसार हालाहल मोहशांत्यै ॥
शंखचक्रासि धारिणम् ।
सहस्र शिरसं श्वेतं
प्रणमामि पतञ्जलिम् ॥
vande gurūṇāṁ caraṇāravinde
sandarśita svātma sukhāva bodhe |
saṁsāra hālāhala mohaśāṁtyai ||
śaṁkhacakrāsi dhāriṇam |
sahasra śirasaṁ śvetaṁ
praṇamāmi patañjalim ||
I bow to the lotus feet of our great teachers,
who uncovers our true self and awakens happiness
Like a Shaman in the Jungle he brings total complete well-beeing.
He can even heal the most awful poision of conditioning and illusion.
The upper body of human shape, carrying
a mussel horn (original tone), a discus (infinity) and a sword (power of differentiation)
having 1000 bright heads,
I bow to Patanjali.
Ashtanga Yoga Closing Chant
The Closing Prayer brings the practice to a peaceful end; sealing in the work done and offering the efforts of our practice to improve the state of the world.
Svasthi Praja Bhyaha Pari Pala Yantam
Nya Yena Margena Mahim Mahishaha
Go Brahmanebhyaha Shubamastu Nityam
Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
Om Shanti Shanti Shantihi
May the rulers of the earth keep to the path of virtue
For protecting the welfare of all generations.
May the religious, and all peoples be forever blessed,
May all beings everywhere be happy and free
Om peace, peace, perfect peace
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