Mantras of Ashtanga Yoga

Mantras of Ashtanga Yoga

The word man means to think – and a mantra is a thought or a sensation expressed through sound. It can consist of one or more sounds that has no actual meaning. Or it can consist of meaningful sentences.

The most well-known and the oldest of all mantras is OM, which symbolizes the universal power and is said to be the source of all sounds. OM and other mantras are used for meditation where they are thought to take the individual to a higher level of consciousness when repeated over and over again (called japa). The vibration of the sound of the mantra merges into the vibration of thought and generates mental serenity.

In Ashtanga vinyasa yoga we (often) begin and end the practice with a non-religious mantra. It is a nice and respectful way to round off the practice.The opening mantra helps to focus the attention on the breath before starting the yoga practice.

Mantra is generally learned first repetition, and, once familiar, meaning is found and the mantra analyzed.

Opening Mantra

OM
Vande gurunam caranaravinde
Sandarsita svatma sukhavabodhe
Nihsreyase jangalikayamane
Samsara halahala mohasantyai

Abahu purusakaram
Sankhacakrasi dharinam
Sahasra sirasam svetam
Pranamami patanjali
OM

this translates into:

OM
I honor the lotus feet of all the teachers
which awaken and manifest joy in one’s true self
beyond comparison, acting as the jungle physician;
for pacifying the poisonous delusion of the cycle of birth and death

In the form of a man up to the shoulders;
holding a conch shell ( divine sound), a discus ( wheel of time),
and a sword (discrimination), one thousand-headed and  white;
I bow respectfully to Patanjali
OM

 

Closing Mantra

Om
Swashti Praja Bhyah Pari Pala Yantam
Nya Yena Margena Mahi Mahishaha
Go Brahmanebhyaha
Shubhamastu Nityam
Lokaa Samastha Sukhino Bhavanhtu
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

this translates into

Om
May all be well with mankind
May the leaders of the earth protect in every way by keeping to the right path
May there there be goodness for those who know the earth to be sacred
And may people of the world be happy and prosperous
Om peace peace peace

The essence of the closing mantra is to wish for peace, prosperity and happiness for all creations of the world.