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
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]