Yesterday a keen student who has recently taken to practising Ashtanga Yoga expressed a desire to learn the chant. He suggested I record myself chanting, but who better to listen to chanting than Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, the Guru behind the style.
I have pasted the words to the chant in Sanskrit below, along with the English translation. Simply chanting the words, whether or not you understand their meaning, can have a calming and centering effect on a scattered or dull state of mind
So here it is, Pattabhi Jois chanting the mantra. Notice there is no emphasis on melody as sometimes sung by musicians turned yogis
Ashtanga Mantra in Sanskrit
I’ve butchered the actual spelling slightly to emphasize the sounds of the words. View www.AshtangaYoga.info for translations of the syllables in Sanskrit and detailed explanations.
vande gurunam caranara vinde
sandarsita svatma sukhava bodhe
nishre yase jangali-kaya mane
samsara halahala mohashantyai
shankha chakrasi dharinam
sahasra shirasum shvetum
Meaning of Ashtanga Chant in English:
I bow to the lotus feet of the great guru(s),
who awaken our true selves, the happiness within,
Acting like the Jungle physician, bringing complete well-being.
Healing the most awful poisons of conditioning and illusion (samsara).
Taking the form of the human’s upper body,
carrying a conch, a discus (infinity) and a sword (power of differentiation)
Having 1000 bright heads,
I bow to Patanjali (teachers who have walked the path before).
Note: The word “Patanjali” means “teacher,” or can mean “one who has fallen.”