In class, before asana practice, we chant the following invocation to Patanjali, the person credited with first codifying yoga practices into The Yoga Sutras. To hear the chant at your leisure, go to this post that describes and links to two YouTube videos of people doing the chant.You can also download your own copy of the Invocation here from as a pdf file. The pdf file shows the text in sanskrit, romanized sanskrit and translated into English.

The romanized sanskrit and pronunciation is below, BKS Iyengar’s translation follows:


Yogena cittasya padena vacam

(yo-gay-nuh chih-tah-syuh pah-day­-nuh vah-chahm)

Malam sarirasya ca vaidyakena

(mah-lahm shah-ree-rah-syuh chuh vy-dyuh-kay-nuh)

Yopakarottam pravaram munina

(yo-pah kar-oh-tahm prah-vah-rahm moo-nee-nahm)

Patanjalim pranjaliranato’smi

(pah-than-jah-lim prahn-jah-leer ah-na-to-smee)

Abahu purusakaram

(ah-bah-hoo poo-roo-shah-kar-ahm)

Sankha cakrasi dharinam

(shahn-kah chah-krah-see dar-ee-nahm)

Sahasra sirasam svetam

(sah-hah-srah sheer-ah-sahm shvay-tahm)

Pranamami patanjalim

(prah-nuh-mah-mee pah-tahn-jah-lim)

In “Light on Yoga Sutras of Patanjali” BKS Iyengar translates the invocation as: “Let us bow before the noblest of sages, Patanjali, who gave yoga for serenity and sanctity of mind, grammar for clarity and purity of speech, and medicine for perfection of health. Let us prostrate before Patanjali, an incarnation of Adisesa, whose upper body has a human form, whose arms hold a conch and a disc, and who is crowned by a thousand-headed cobra.”

To hear Mr. Iyengar chanting the invocation to Patanjali, go here where you will have a choice of a variety of audio files to download.