Chants

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 concentrated in-toning of sound vibrates all along the axis of the body from the perineum up through the head, giving access to subtle and deep sensation and feeling. The deep listening naturally suspends the normal movement of the discursive mind and allows contemplation of the patterns of sensation, emotion and imagination. Chants have meanings, which are to be contemplated. Some express a truth directly, others use images, metaphors and myths, while others are deliberately free of meaning or reference to anything, except the whole of reality. The meanings are designed to return the chanter to the direct experience of the sound vibration, making the experience of that sound and eventually all sound and all forms and patterns of vibration sacred.

Invocation

This chant is traditionally chanted before beginning the asana practice. The first part of the chant is from the Yoga Taravali, the text from which the Ashtanga Vinyasa system of practice is derived. The second part of the chant is a traditional chant to the sage Patanjali (said to be the composer of the Yoga Sutra), and is of unknown origin.

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Saha Navavatu

This chant is the invocation for the Yajur Veda, one of the ancient text of the Vedic tradition. It is chanted at the opening and closing of a teaching.

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Nagarajaya Namaha

This chant is from the Kurma Purana, and is chanted as a gesture of sanctifying a practice space.

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Brahma Arpanam

This chant from the Bhagavad Gita (4:24) is traditionally chanted before eating as a means of reflecting on the inter-related nature of all things.

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Closing Chant

This chant is traditionally chanted at the end of asana practice or at the end of a teaching.

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