Invocation To Patanjali
Patanjali lived about 2,500 years ago. He is much revered, particularly because of the Yoga Sutras, which are 196 aphorisms that he wrote down - up until that point these teachings had been handed down verbally by the teachers of yoga. Patanjali's writings have been read and translated ever since.
B.K.S. Iyengar read the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and was able to explain them from the point of view of a yoga practitioner. One of his authoritative books on yoga is Light On the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Amazingly Patanjali's sutras - written so long ago - are as pertinent to today's lifestyles as they were when he wrote them.
At the beginning of every Iyengar yoga class we take a moment to acknowledge and respect where this yoga comes from. We echo three Oms with our teacher, and then begin the Invocation to Patanjali which is chanted in Sanskrit. - we do it as a "chant and response"with the teacher.
To start the class this way clearly symbolizes that we are leaving the rest of the day behind and beginning our Yoga. The Invocation to Patanjali also sets up the teacher-student relationship; we chant and respond, taking our cues from the teacher.
At IYSSB we always have copies of the Invocation to Patanjali for you to take. It has the words we say, with a phonetic pronunciation written underneath. Feel free to help yourself!
Invocation to Patanjali
Yogena cittasya padena vacam
malam sarirasya ca vaidyakena
yopakarottam pravaram muninam
sankha cakrasi dharinam
sahasra sirasam svetam