At the beginning of each Ashtanga Yoga class, we put our hands together and sing this mantra, a prayer in Sanskrit that consists of two parts.

In the first part we thank all the teachers who have gone generation after generation passing on their wisdom and knowledge of yoga through the centuries, making it possible that this practice has been handed down to us. In the second part we recognize the Sage Patanjali as the embodiment of the principles of yoga and it also represents the importance in this practice of the Yoga Sutras written by this Sage.

The practice of bowing to all these teachers, teaches us humility, we accept that we have much to learn, we accept that we do not know everything. Humility is closely linked to growth. In humility, we find the ability to acknowledge our own shortcomings, in humility we achieve the potential to grow and learn everything that is essential to us.

Om is the sound emitted with the creation of the universe, it is a vibration and it is the source of all creation, it is the closest we can be to divinity in the physical world.

Opening Mantra

Om

vande gurunam caranaravinde sandarsita svatma sukhavabodhe
nihsreyase jangalikayamane samsara halahala mohasantyai

abahu purusakaram sankhacakrasi dharinam
sahasra sirasam svetam pranamami patanjalim

Om

Translation

Om

I bow to the lotus feet of the Supreme Guru
which awaken insight into the happiness of pure Being,
which is the refuge, the jungle physician,
which eliminate the delusion caused by the poisonous herb of Samsara (conditioned existence).

I prostrate before the sage Patanjali
who has thousands of radiant, white heads (as the divine serpent, Ananta)
and who has, as far as his arms, assumed the form of a man
holding a conch shell (divine sound), a wheel (discus of light or infinite time) and a sword (discrimination).

 

Om

Closing Mantra

svastiprajabhyah paripalayantam nyayena margena mahim mahisah

gobramanebhyah subhamastu nityam lokah samastah sukhinobhavanthu

Om shanti, shanti, shanti

Translation

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

We close the practice singing another mantra in which we offer the effort and the results of our practice for the sake of humanity.