Some students have asked me about learning the opening chant, so I have added a resource to this yoga page

I hope it helps!

Here it is as a blog post too.

Ashtanga Yoga Opening Chant

Also called the “invocation”… In ashtanga, you typically begin class (or *Mysore practice) as a group standing at the top of your mat.  The teacher will cue to say the opening chant after you take a collective inhale and “om”.

Why do this?  I like one reason my teacher told me: it connects you into the energy of all others in the world who, at that moment, are also practicing.

It is also typical in a Mysore practice to see individuals stand at the beginning of their individual practice and silently repeat the invocation.  I do this even when I am alone practicing at home.

After I had done this for a while (several months) I noticed my body automatically lining itself up.  It’s kinda weird and cool: my hips, spine, chest, shoulders, neck and head find alignment in a way that goes beyond telling myself to “stand up straight”.  I’m tellin’ ya, it’s really worth adding this to your practice.  It’s like a free bonus.

Here are some links to videos that can help you memorize and understand it. ————–

This is the classic with K. Patabi Jois saying it call and response style with Sharath, his grandson, repeating it.  This is the most reliable pronunciation if that is important to you.   There is a little extra at the end.  The traditional chant ends at 46 seconds.

This is an article that gives explanation and thorough translation of the chant. One thing I would add to her first line translation is that “the great Guru” could be whatever or whoever you understand God to be for you.  For me, the opening chant is a prayer to MY God as well as gratitude He led me to teachers who have passed this practice along including Patanjali (the last word of the chant) who first wrote down the Yoga Sutras.  For me, it’s all about gratitude.

This is a long tutorial with the words on the screen as you hear it and many, many repeats.  It is taken from  a video of KPJ teaching a class demo.

This is a song that repeats the opening chant that might like.

If this is not enough for you, just google “ashtanga yoga opening chant” and find what works for you.
*Mysore style is a setting where people come “open house” style within a range of time (usually about 2 hours) and do their individual practice at their own pace.  The teacher is there to help each person learn what to do next to advance their practice.  If you are in Kansas City and want to come to a practice like this, email me.
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