Hamilton Yoga Blog

Why we chant the Invocation to Patanjali

February 2024

Chanting at the beginning of our experienced yoga classes has been (with a period of intermission) a regular feature over almost three decades at this Newcastle yoga school in Hamilton, NSW Australia.

The Invocation to Patanjali is chanted at the Iyengar Institute in Pune before every class. During my travels to India and the Iyengar Institute in Pune, chanting with other Iyengar practitioners, led by members of the Iyengar family (Geeta and Prashant), was truly unique and a powerful experience in itself.  Similar goes for every Iyengar Yoga Convention I have been to in Australia, the last one only a year ago, in February 2023, when we chant in a group of hundreds of practitioners.

Chanting the invocation to Patanjali is a very centering practice, focusing on the breath and stillness within the seated posture, it helps you to focus before beginning your practice. With enhanced awareness, chanting can help unite body and spirit in this process, and connect with the divine self.

I am so happy that we are embracing the chanting at Hamilton Yoga again. The chant at the start of a yoga class brings the students together as a group and as a community with a shared purpose.

As with other aspects of our daily lives, royalties are paid to creators and artists whose words and tunes we make our own or use for our benefit. It is widely recognised that making information your own without the consent of the 'creator' is tantamount to stealing. Therefore, some form of recognition or payment is afforded to the source.

Chanting is deemed appropriate as a form of payment to the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.

I feel it’s important to give thanks and gratitude to Patanjali for the gift of yoga. For thousands of years, we have been benefiting from this information; the science of Ayurveda for a healthy body, grammar for purity of speech, and yoga for serenity for the mind.

It is fitting that each student recognises these aspects as they impact on their spiritual and physical lives, and show the appropriate respect to that source, Sage Patanjali.  

That is why we learn to chant the Invocation to Patanjali at the beginning of our experienced yoga classes.

>> You can listen and watch David chant the Invocation to Patanjali in the YouTube video link  HERE.

Sanskrit text and translation below.

Invocation to Patanjali

Aum, Aum, Aum
Yogena cittasya padena vacam
Malam sarirasya ca vaidyakaena
Yopa karot tam pravaram muninum
Patanjalim pranjalir anato smi
Abahu purusakaram
sankha cakrasi dharinam
Sahasra sirasam svetam
Pranamami Patanjalim
Hari Aum

 - -

To the noblest of sages, Patanjali,
Who gave Yoga for serenity of mind,
Grammar for purity of speech,
And medicine for perfection of the body, I bow,
I prostrate before Patanjali,
Whose upper body has a human form,
Whose arms hold a conch and disc,

Who is crowned by a thousand-headed cobra,
O incarnation of Adisesa, my Salutations to Thee.

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