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 often 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 chant 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.
vande gurūṇāṁ caraṇāravinde
sandarśita svātma sukhāva bodhe
niḥśreyase jāṅgali kāyamāne
saṁsāra hālāhala moha śāntyai
śaṅkha cakrāsi dhāriṇam
sahasra śirasaṁ śvetaṁ
praise and adorations to the lotus feet of the Gurus
for they reveal the happiness of the true Self
they are the refuge in the dark impenetrable forest of the mind
transforming endless poison and delusion into everlasting peace
homage to the great sage Patañjali
who has assumed the form of a luminous man
wielding a conch shell, a discus and a sword crowned by
a radiantly white, thousand-headed cobra
svasti prajābhyaḥ paripāla yantām
nyāyena mārgeṇa mahīm mahīśāh
gobrāhmaṇebhyaḥ śubhamastu nityam
lokāḥ samastāḥ sukhino bhavantu
om śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ
may the leaders of the earth protect and guide us on the virtuous path
may this generation and all generations to come be blessed with auspiciousness
may all animals and knowers of divinity be blessed with eternal
prosperity may all beings in all worlds be happy
om peace peace peace