Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Sivananda Yoga Opening and Closing Prayers

Sivananda Yoga Opening and Closing Prayers

If you've ever been to a yoga class at one of the Sivananda Ashrams or Centers around the world you probably remember the opening and closing prayers that the teachers chant at the beginning and at the end of each yoga class. I have tried to find the text of these prayers online but somehow this has proven quite difficult so I decided to write them down and include them here for anybody who might be interested in learning them.

I've also included some videos that I've found in YouTube with the recording of these prayers. I'm sure this will be very useful for both, yoga teachers and yoga students.

I know, I know, the Sivananda opening prayer can feel quite long so additionally I've included a very short mantra that is commonly used before any yoga class. The closing prayer can also be shortened. It is very common to use any of the last three mantras to end a yoga class.

It doesn't matter which yoga tradition or lineage you follow, if you are either a yoga teacher or a yoga student you can use any of these mantras to start and end a yoga class or for your own yoga practice.

Sivananda Yoga Class Opening Prayer - Dhyana Slokas (Gajananam)

In the Sivananda tradition, at the beginning of any yoga class, lecture or personal sadhana the practitioner chants the Dhyana Slokas.
"The Dhyana Slokas helps to tune the mind to the Divine in its different aspects. It makes us feel like instruments, and helps to remove the tamasic-rajasic ego. Divine guidance is necessary for any sadhana to be successful.

First we invoke Ganesha to remove all obstacles, then Subramanya to give us strength and destroy all negative forces, inside and outside. Next is Saraswati to give us Divine Knowledge. Then we ask the teacher (guru) to guide us always. We invoke the Divine Mother Durga, Narayani to bring auspiciousness for all our undertakings." Sivananda Ashram Prayer Sheet

Mantra in SanskritTranslation
Gajānanam Bhūtagaṇādi Sevitam
Kapittha Jambū Phala Sāra Bhakshitam
Umā Sutam Shokavināsha Kāraṇam
Namāmi Vigneshvara Pāda Paṅkajam
I prostrate myself before the lotus feet of Vigneshvara (Ganesha), the son of Uma, the cause of destruction of sorrow, who is served by the host of Bhuta-Ganas (angels etc), who has the face of an elephant, who partakes of the essence of kapittha and jambu fruits.
Ṣhaḍānanam Kuṇkuma Raktavarṇam
Mahāmatim Divya Mayūra Vāhanam
Rudrasya Sūnam Surasainya Nātham
Guham Sadāham Sharaṇam Prapadye
I always take refuge in Guha of six faces (Subramanya), who is of deep red colour like kumkuma, who possesses great knowledge, who has the divine peacock to ride on, who is the son of Rudra (Siva), and who is the leader of the army of the Devas (gods, angels).
Yā Kundendu Tuṣāra Hāra Dhavalā
Yā Shubhra Vastrāvritā
Yā Vīṇā Varaḍaṇḍa Maṇḍita Karā
Yā Śveta Padmāsanā
Yā Brahmāchyuta Śaṅkara Prabhritibhiḥ
Devais Sadā Pūjitā
Sā Mām Pātu Saraswatī Bhagavatī
Niśheṣha Jāḍyāpahā
May that Goddess Saraswati, who wears a garland white like the Kunda flower, the moon and the snow, who is adorned with pure white clothes, whose hands are ornamented with the Vina and the gesture of blessings, who is seated on a white Lotus, who is always worshipped by Brahma, Vishnu, Siva and other Gods, who is the remover of all inertness and laziness, protect me.
Om Namaḥ Shivāya Gurave
Sat-Chid-Ānanda Mūrtaye
Niṣhprapañchāya Śhāntāya
Śrī Śivānandāya Te Namaḥ
Śrī Viṣhṇu Devānandāya Te Namaḥ
Salutations to Guru Siva (Sivananda) who is the embodiment of Existence-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute, in whom worldliness does not exist, who is ever peaceful. Salutations to Sivananda, Salutations to Swami Vishnu Devananada.
Om Sarva Mangala Māngalye
Śhive Sarvārtha Sādhike
Sharaṇye Tryambake Gauri
Nārāyaṇi Namostute
Narayani Namostute
I salute the three-eyed Divine Mother Narayani, who brings auspiciousness and who fulfills all the desires of the Devotee (both spiritual and material).

Alternative Short Opening Prayer

In the first 20 seconds of this video you can hear the recitation of this shanti mantra. I recorded this video while I was following some vedanta classes at the Swami Dayananda Ashram in Rishikesh, India.

Mantra in SanskritTranslation
Om Sahana Vavatu Sahanau Bhunaktu
Saha Veeryam Karavaa Vahai
Tejasvi naa Vadhee Tamastu Maa Vidvishaa Vahai
Om Shaanti Shaanti Shaantihi
May we (the teacher and the student) be protected together,
May we (the teacher and the student) be nourished together,
May we both work together with great energy,
May our study be enlightening and not give rise to hostility.
Om Peace, Peace, Peace.

Sivananda Yoga Class Closing Prayer

The closing prayer at the Sivananda ashram starts with the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra (Om Tryambakam...).

"The Maha Mrityunjaya mantra is a life giving mantra. It helps to wards off death and accidents of all kinds and therefore it is recommended to be repeated before any travel. It has a great curative effect on diseases. It is also a Moksha-Mantra and bestwos liberation. It is a Siva mantra. It should be repeated 3, 9, 27 or 108 times, specially on your birthday. This will bestow on you health, long life, liberation and prosperity." Sivananda Ashram Prayer Sheet

You can read more about this mantra and about my experience when I heard it for the first time in "Mantra Chanting for Health, Wealth and More."

Mantra in SanskritTranslation
Om Tryambakam Yajāmahe
Sugandhim Pushtivardhanam
Urvārukamiva Bandhanān
Mrityor Mukshīya Māamritāt
Om - We Offer worship to the fragant, three-eyed Lord Siva who enhances prosperity. May he liberate us from the bondage of death, like the water melon (which effortlessly separates from the vine); let Him not turn us away from immortality
Om Sarvesham Svastir Bhavatu
Sarvesham Shantir Bhavatu
Sarvesham Purnam Bhavatu
Sarvesham Mangalam Bhavatu
Om - May auspiciousness be unto all.
May peace be unto all.
May fullness be unto all.
May prosperity be unto all.
Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah
Sarve Santu Niramayaah
Sarve Bhadrani Pashyantu
Ma Kash-chid-Dhu-khabhag-Bhavet
May all be happy.
May all be free from diseases.
May all look to the good of others.
May none suffer from sorrow.
Asato Ma Sat Gamaya
Tamaso Ma Jyotir Gamaya
Mrityor Maamritam Gamaya
Lead me from the unreal to the real.
From darkness to light
From mortality to immortality.
Om Purnamadah Purnamidam
Purnat Purnamudachyate
Purnasya Purnamadaya
Purnameva Vashishyate
Om - That is whole. This is whole.
From the whole the whole becomes manifest.
From the whole when the whole is negated
what remains is again the whole.
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Om Peace, Peace, Peace

My dear friend +Lakshya E., a yoga and vedanta teacher residing in Dubai, has made the following video teaching the correct pronunciation of the third mantra "Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah..." that can be chanted independently at the end of a yoga class.

I hope you'll find this information useful to learn the Sivananda Yoga opening and closing prayers and to use them for your classes or for your personal practice. Please feel free to share this post with your yoga buddies or with your yoga students.


  1. I have been looking for this for a long time. Thanks a ton :)

  2. Thank you so much for these wonderfully pronounced mantras!

    Om prem shanti

  3. Thank you sarve bhantu niramayah !

  4. Thank you, this is very helpful translation to understand the real meaning of Sankrit prayers

  5. This is great!
    Thank you so much!

  6. Thanks so much for the detailed information, very much appreciated!

  7. Thanks Marco! I have to find a Sivananda teacher in Melbourne. I am considering doing the one month intensive YTT with Sivananda. Have you been to any of the international ashrams beyond India?

  8. deep gratitude to you

  9. Thank you for this! Om shanti.