Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Sivananda Yoga Opening and Closing Prayers: Free PDF Download

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 without any success. So I decided to write them down and include them here for anybody who might be interested in learning these prayers.

It doesn't matter which yoga tradition or lineage you follow, you can use any of these mantras to start or end a yoga class, or during your own yoga practice.

The Sivananda Yoga opening prayer, the Dhyana Slokas, is very specific to that tradition, and it's a bit too long. So I have also included a shorter Sanskrit prayer (sahanaa bhavatu...) that is commonly chanted at the beginning of every yoga class.

To help you with the Sanskrit pronunciation I have additionally included some YouTube videos with the recording of these prayers.

And I'm also sharing here a free pdf document that includes the prayers in Sanskrit using Devanagari characters, the roman transliteration, and the translation into English.

Yoga Prayers PDF Download

I'm sure this will be very useful for both, yoga teachers and yoga students.

If you do find this helpful then you can show your support by subscribing to my newsletter here so that you can follow me on my yoga journey.  Once you subscribe you'll be able to download my free meditation e-book.

Sivananda Yoga Opening Prayer –– Dhyana Slokas (Gajananam)

In the Sivananda Yoga tradition, at the beginning of every yoga class, lecture or personal sadhana the practitioner chants the Dhyana Slokas (Gajaananam Boota Ganaadhi Sevitam...).

The purpose is to help us tune with the Divine within and to overcome the ego which can become an obstacle during our practices.

According to the Sivananda Ashram Prayer Sheets that I received during my yoga TTC:

“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.”

Mantra in SanskritTranslation
Gajānanam Bhūtagaṇādi Sevitam
Kapittha Jambū Phala Sāra Bhakshitam
Umā Sutam Shokavināsha Kāraṇam
Namāmi Vighneshvara 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 Tuṣhāra Hāra Dhavalā
Yā Shubhra Vastrāvritā
Yā Vīṇā Varadaṇḍa Maṇḍita Karā
Yā Śhveta Padmāsanā
Yā Brahmāchyuta Śhaṅkara Prabhritibhiḥ
Devais Sadā Pūjitā
Sā Mām Pātu Sarasvatī 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
Śhrī Śhivānandāya Te Namaḥ
Śhrī 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

Nārāyaṇi 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).

In this easy to follow video, my friend Lakshya, a yoga, Vedanta and Sanskrit teacher residing in Mumbai and Dubai, teach us the correct pronunciation of the whole Dhyana Slokas.

Alternative Yoga Starting Prayer (Sahanaa Vavatu...)

This is one of the peace mantras, a very popular prayer chanted at the beginning of every yoga class or lecture. Its purpose is to remove any obstacles between the students and the teacher.

Mantra in SanskritTranslation
Om Sahanā Vavatu Sahanau Bhunaktu
Saha Vīryam Karavā Vahai
Tejasvi nā Vadhī Tamastu Mā Vidvi
hā Vahai
Om Shānti Shānti Shāntihi
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.

In the first twenty seconds of the video below, you can hear the recitation of this Shanti mantra by Swami Paramatmananda. I recorded this video while I was following a Vedanta course at the Swami Dayananda Ashram in Rishikesh, India.

Sivananda Yoga Class Closing Prayer

The closing prayer at the Sivananda ashram starts with the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra (Om Tryambakam...) and then continues with a selection of different Shanti mantras or peace mantras.

“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 Maha Mrityunjaya mantra and about my experience when I heard it for the first time in "Mantra Chanting for Health, Wealth and More."

You don't need to chant all these mantras at once. You can choose any of the peace mantras to chant independently at the end of your yoga class or personal yoga practice.

You normally start by chanting Om and then end by chanting Om Shanti Shanti Shanti after whatever peace mantra you've chosen.

I usually chant Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinaha... at the end of my yoga classes.  I also recite right after the English translation for my students.

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

In this video, you can learn the pronunciation of the Maha Mrityunjaya mantra by a Sivananda Yoga teacher.

My friend Lakshya has also another video teaching the correct pronunciation of the third mantra, "Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah..." that can be chanted independently at the end of a yoga class.

Opening and closing mantras used in Ashtanga yoga

I hope you've found this blog useful to learn the Sivananda Yoga opening and closing prayers, with the correct Sanskrit pronunciation.  Please feel free to share this blog with your friends or with your yoga students.

You can also visit my recent blog Ashtanga Yoga Opening and Closing Chants.  In this blog, you'll find the Sanskrit mantras chanted at the beginning and at the end of each Ashtanga yoga class.

And before you go..., don't forget to subscribe to my newsletter so you can follow me on my yoga journey.  Once you subscribe you'll be able to download the prayers in Sanskrit and my free meditation e-book.  Thanks for your support!

Oh, and below you can find the roman transliteration of the opening and closing prayers in jpg format for easy download.

Sivananda Yoga Starting Prayer

Sivananda Yoga Closing Prayer


  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

    1. Well, for the pronunciation special thanks to my friend Lakshya ;-)

  3. Thank you sarve bhantu niramayah !

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

    1. Thank you, I'm glad to know you appreciated this article :-)

  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?

    1. Sorry for the very ver late response Cat, I didn't notice all these comments 😬. But no, I haven't visited any other Sivananda Ashram besides in India.

  8. deep gratitude to you

  9. Thank you for this! Om shanti.

  10. Thank you for this. It's always hard to find texts like this. A great resource.

    1. Thanks to you Atma, I'm happy to know you find this useful.

  11. It is very nice. Thank you for sending this. It is a treasure. I do recite some of these every day

  12. Thank you for this! Things brings so much more meaning to my morning practice with Sivananda Ashram Bahamas on zoom.