Ashtanga Opening & Closing Mantra
Ashtanga Yoga traditionally has both an opening and a closing chant. Due to Yoga’s ancient roots, chants and mantras are usually recited in Sanskrit, the ancient language of India.
The Ashtanga opening mantra contains references to Indian mythology, a tribute to “the highest Guru” and to Patanjali, the author of the Yoga Sutras, the original texts of Yoga. A Guru is a teacher or master who guides from darkness to light. “Gu” means darkness and “Ru” means light.
Reciting the opening mantra before the Yoga practice expresses gratitude to the lineage of teachers and students handing on the practice through thousands of years. It is said to clean the energy of the space as well as preparing body and mind for the forthcoming Ashtanga sequence.
The closing mantra brings the Yoga practice to a peaceful end; sealing in the work done, offering our efforts to the world’s wellbeing.
Yoga as a philosophy allows anyone, regardless of religion or faith, to practice these mantras.
vande gurūnam caranāravinde
sandarśita svātma sukhāva bodhe
samsāra hālāhala mohaśāntyai
sahasra śirasam śvetam
I bow to the lotus feet of the guru
the awakening happiness of one’s own self revealed
beyond better, acting like the jungle physician
pacifying delusion, the poison of samsara
taking the form of a man to the shoulders
holding a conch (representing divine sound)
a fire discus (infinite time), a sword (discrimination)
one thousand heads white
to Patanjali, I salute
nyāyena mārgena mahim mahīśah
gobrāhmanebhyah śubhamastu nityam
lokāh samastāh sukhinobhavantu
Om shanti shanti shanti
may prosperity be glorified
may all leaders rule the world with law and justice
may all things that are sacred be protected
may all living beings be happy and free
Om peace peace peace