The Ashtanga (Aṣṭāṅga) Yoga Closing Mantra: The Maṅgala Mantra

The Maṅgala Mantra is a peace mantra from the Ṛg Veda. Shanti mantras, peace mantras, are usually distinguishable by the call for peace (śāntiḥ), three times at the end. Maṅgala means auspicious, and this mantra is a wonderful one for sending the fruits of our practice out to the world for the greater good. It is a form of loving kindness, the practice of non-attachment in action.

स्वस्ति प्रजाभ्यः परिपालयन्तां न्यायेन मार्गेण महीं महीशाः ।
गोब्राह्मणेभ्यः शुभमस्तु नित्यं लोकाः समस्ताः सुखिनो भवन्तु ॥
ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः


Svasti prajābhyaḥ paripālayantaṃ

nyāyena mārgeṇa mahīṃ mahīśāḥ I

Gobrāhmaṇebhyaḥ śubhamastu nityaṃ

lokāḥ samastāḥ sukhino bhavantu II

Oṃ śāntiḥ śantiḥ śantiḥ

May the rulers of the earth protect the well-being of the people,
through justice, and through righteousness.
May there always be good fortune for the sake of cows, Brahmins [and all living beings],
May all the inhabitants of the world be full of happiness.
Oṃ Peace, Peace, Peace

Translated by Dana Tarasavage

The Ashtanga (Aṣṭāṅga) Yoga Opening Mantra

This mantra is parts of two different mantras combined, and today is traditionally chanted at the beginning of the Ashtanga yoga practice. The first part is from a medieval text on yoga called the Yogataravali attributed to Adi Shankara. It thanks the gurus, or teachers, that have come before us. The first line “I bow to the lotus feet” of all gurus uses imagery of lotus feet to indicate the special nature of the guru. This is an image often used in Indian and Hindu temples. Feet in that culture are considered unclean – in fact it is considered rude to point one’s bare feet towards others, especially in a temple. The gods and spiritual gurus, however, are said to have lotus feet: pure feet (the lotus flower is a symbol of purity and clarity because of its ability to grow in muddy waters). The gurus are said to be heavy with knowledge, and therefore their guidance allows us to know our true selves. The mantra goes on to say that teachers act as “jungle doctors” – like witch doctors or shamans, removing the poison of the cycles of suffering and delusion just as one might suck snake poison out of a bite. As students today we might question ultimate devotion to a teacher, and rather take this part of the mantra to be one of gratitude for any and all teachers that help us on our path, including the Self, the teacher within.

The second part of the chant is the first part of a classical chant to Patañjali, the ancient sage credited with codifying the Yoga Sutra. In thanking Patañjali we’re thanking a teacher who made it possible for us to study our minds, spirits and selves: all eight limbs of yoga. Patañjali is described to have: the torso of a human, a thousand bright or white snake heads, holding a conch shell (this symbolizes state of alertness and readiness to face obstacles, which are inevitable on the path of yoga), a discus (which signifies the destruction of ignorance and is a symbol of protection),  and a sword (to literally cut the ego, pride, or sense of “I” which is an obstacle covering our pure Self).

For me, the opening mantra is a moment to give thanks for the practice of yoga: to all the wisdom contained in its teachings, to the teachers that have come before me and passed down knowledge and shared their experiences, and to the circumstances that allow me to continue to practice, study, and share yoga daily.


वन्दे गुरूणां चरणारविन्दे सन्दर्शितस्वात्मसुखावबोधे ।
निःश्रेयसे जाङ्गलिकायमाने संसारहालाहलमोहशान्त्यै ॥
आबाहुपुरुषाकारं शङ्खचक्रासिधारिणम् ।
सहस्रशिरसं श्वेतं प्रणमामि पतञ्जलिम् ॥


Vande guruṇāṃ caraṇāravinde sandarśita-svātma-sukhāvabodhe  

Niḥśreyase jāṅgalikāyamāne saṃsāra-hālāhala-moha-śāntyai

Ābāhu-puruṣākāraṃ śaṅkha-cakrāsi dhāriṇam  

Sahasra-śirasaṃ śvetaṃ praṇamāmi patañjalim  




I bow to the two lotus feet of the teachers,

through which my understanding of the sweetness

of my own Soul has been revealed.

My ultimate refuge, acting like a Jungle doctor:

pacifying the delusions caused by the poison

and suffering of cyclic existence.


[He] who has the form of a human torso,

bearing a conch, a discus, and a sword,

colorless, with a thousand heads,

I bow to Patañjali.


Translation by Dana Tarasavage

lululemon Lincoln Square: March Studio of the Month!

lulu newsletter
Studio owner Lara of Land Yoga has been chosen to be lululemon Lincoln Square’s newest ambassador and to celebrate we’re featured as the studio of the month! Every Sunday in March you can catch either Lara or I teaching a FREE Sunday Salutations class at the 1928 Broadway location (near 64th street). Class starts at 9:30am sharp – and they fill up so get there early! Last week there were over 35 yogis in the store for my class.

I was also asked by the nice folks down there to be a ‘new product model’ for their February 26th newsletter (which also happens to be my birthday, fun surprise:)) which went out to over 19,000 people on their mailing list. Check out the newsletter, visit the store for some new yoga gear, and come join me for one of my FREE classes, schedule is on my Teaching Schedule page!