Monthly Archives: April 2011

Ashtanga Yoga Mantra

At the beginning of each practice, the Ashtanga Yoga Mantra is chanted.  The Mantra is chanted in Sanskrit and is basically honoring the wisdom and showing gratitude to the teachers who passed down the ancient yoga traditions.  In addition, we are quieting our minds and beginning to bring the awareness within.

Madonna, a longtime Ashtangi, chanted the opening Ashtanga Mantra on her Ray-of-Light album.  You can hear it at the link below:

Stand with the feet together at the front of your mat.  Place the hands in prayer position, fingers spread and thumbs touching the sternum.  Close the eyes and relax the facial muscles.   

Chant the following:


Vande Gurunam charanaravinde

Sandarashita svatmasukhavabodhe

Nishreyase jangalikayamane

Samsara halahala mohashantyai


 Abahu purusakaram Shankhachakrasi dharinam

Sahasra sirasam svetam Pranamami patanjalim


[I worshiop the lineage of the guru’s lotus feet

There by awakening the happiness of the self revealed, acting like the

Jungle physician to pacify the poison from the delusion of conditioned existence.


 I practice before the sage Patanjali, who has thousands of radiant White heads.

He assumes the form of a man until the arms, which hold a conch shell, a chakra and a sword]





What is Ashtanga ?!?

Ashtanga Yoga is a system of yoga preserved and passed down by the late Sri K. Pattabhi Jois (1915-2009) of Mysore, India. The practice combines breath and movement, which is believed to be the link between the physical and spiritual aspects, and allows the practitioner to achieve deeper meditation and greater mental clarity. In this practice, over time, one develops core strength and flexibility, while enhanced circulation aids in reducing stress and increasing endurance. Additionally, the twisting and squeezing of each asana (yoga posture) helps to massage internal organs which aids in the elimination of toxins, among other wonderful benefits.

 Ashtanga consists of three series: primary, intermediate, and advanced, with further divisions in the advanced series. The Primary series is what I’ll be sharing with you here  and it consists of about 75 asanas (yoga postures). It begins with surya namaskara A and B (sun salutations A and B) to heat and warm up the body. Next there are a series of standing asanas, followed by sitting asanas, inversions, a back bend, headstand, and finally a seated meditation. The order in which these postures are performed is very important as each asana prepares the body for the next, allowing for deeper stretching, physical strength and mental focus. The result of continued practice is improved circulation, a light and strong body with even muscle tone, and a calm and peaceful mind. 

Is Ashtanga Right for Me?

Ashtanga yoga can be a vigorous, athletic, and intense form of yoga. It will appeal to those who are looking for a physical challenge and for people who like a sense of order. Ashtanga can also be modified for those with less stamina or just getting back into physical activity.  Although it may seem intimidating and difficult at first, with practice and patience you will begin to find a deeper connection with your body and your true Self will spill out into all other areas of your life. 

“Do your practice and all is coming.”  [-Sri. K. Pattabhi Jois]