This morning, we chanted the Invocation to Patanjali, and Mary Ann asked about it after class. I often spend time introducing it to students–the who, what, why, etc.
But recently, we’ve been a little old school, simply practicing call-and-response, so the brain doesn’t take over as much, and the mind can begin its journey towards receptivity/passivity before the asana begins.
So, in answer to Mary Ann’s question:
First, a blog post about chanting, which also includes some helpful links for more information about Patanjali as well:
One of the links, goes into even more detail….
And finally, a link for listening to the Invocation. Each teacher chants a little differently–that’s okay, everyone! The link on this page is of Geeta Iyengar, the daughter of B.K.S. Iyengar, leading a call-and-response version.
Now, did you notice the quotation in the first link at the top of this post, from Geeta Iyengar? If not, here it is, the essence of “why we chant”:
“We chant so that at the very beginning that feeling of sanctification comes from inside, with the feeling of surrendering oneself, because nothing can be learned in this world unless you have the humility to learn. So the moment you think of the Lord [Patanjali] at the beginning of doing a practice, you know that you are very small in front of that greatest soul. Once that is understood then the other problems which always arise while practicing, mainly concerned with the ego, will be affected. You know that you are ‘coming down’ to learn something. And you can’t learn anything unless you come down; if you think you are on the top and you know everything, then you are not a learner at all. In that sense, the chanting helps.”
And now, the learning of yoga can begin!
“Atha yogaanusasanam” (Yoga Sutras, 1.1)