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.