Why do we chant?
“Chanting and mantra recitation have accompanied yoga practice for thousands of years. Chanting is of course both the in-toning of the rich vibratory sounds and the simultaneous listening to them. The deep listening naturally suspends the normal movement of the discursive mind and allows contemplation of the patterns of sensation, emotion, and imagination.”
- Richard Freeman, world renowned teacher and practitioner of Ashtanga yoga lineage
~It is tradition for Ashtanga students to chant the Opening Prayer at the beginning of each practice & the Closing Prayer at the ending of each practice.~
Vande gurunam caranaravinde
Samsara halahala mohasantyai
Sahasra sirasam svetam
Translation of Opening Prayer by, Katie Kanak
Om is the primordial sound of creation and vibration of the universe. It represents the cyclical process of nature and is from which everything in reality originates; it is a universal sound that connects us to oneness.
I respectfully bow to the teacher before me and within me, and the light and love which comes through and is at the heart of every being. This refers to the Ashtanga yoga practice, lovingly being passed down and preserved, and now it is here for me to experience. The practice is my teacher, the one who passed it down to me is my teacher, and I am my teacher.
I trust and surrender my ego to endure the teachings more deeply.
The knowledge of happiness is the goal of yoga. This practice helps to reveal and see the knowledge of my true-Self, which is the happiness of pure being. I see myself without judgement, and I am happy with my unique, true-Self.
This practice is like the jungle doctor, who can heal the physical and emotional Self and unconscious behaviors, and there is no other cure or healing that is equal to it.
This practice can bring relief and peaceful resolution to our conditioned existence and suffering.
*This second part is paying respects to Patanjali, an important figure in Hatha Yoga texts, who is depicted as half-serpent, half-man. The serpent is known as Ananta, meaning infinite.
All bodily limbs and in the form of a human.
Holding a conch- a shell representing divine sound, discus- a circle of light representing how yoga brings awareness to present moment, and sword- the ability to cut through delusion and confusion of our own minds.
1,000 brilliant white heads in reference to Patanjali, the serpent Ananta meaning infinite. This represents how we are all different, but one in the same; One reality, many paths.
We salute to Patanjali, bow, and give thanks. Surrendering to the practice and process, surrendering the ego to experience peace, happiness of pure being, and connection to what is infinite or beyond us.
Nyayena margena mahim mahisah
Gobrahmanebhyah subhamastu nityam
Lokah samastah sukhinobhavantu
Om shanti shanti shantih
Translation of Closing Chant by, Katie Kanak
Om- connecting us to oneness.
The energy cultivated during practice is lovingly sent out to protect our Earth, ask the leaders of our Earth to walk a right and just path, and to wish all beings who realize its sacredness, a happy, healthy, prosperous, and free life.
Om- may we find peace in body, mind, and spirit (planetary, inner and cosmic)