Prayers, for Divine Blessings
Before class or personal practice time we sit (the word “asana” translates to “seat” or a “posture one assumes for Yoga, which is meditation”) and organize the organs of action (karma+indriyas) and organs of perception (jnana+indriyas) in their proper position around the polestar, the spine, which is the symbol of Purusha (the individual manifestation of the divine).
Listen to Yogacharya B.K.S. Iyengar chanting the Invocation to Lord Patanjali, the codifier of the teachings of Yoga into the Yoga Sutras.
Read Dr. Geeta S. Iyengar’s explanation of who Lord Patanjali is, why to chant the invocation and how important it is to understand the meaning of the words that comprise the prayer.
The GURU STOTRAM, the hymn in praise of the Guru, honors the three aspects of the Divine: Brahma, the creator, Vishnu, the sustainer and Mahesv(w)ara, the one who destroys so that creation can begin again.
Click here to chant this prayer “call and response” with Geeta Iyengar.
INVOCATION FOR PURIFICATION
OM. Apavitrah pavitro vā
Sarvāvasthāṁ gato api vā
Yaḥ smaret puṇḍarīkākṣaṁ
Sa bahya abhyantaraṁ śuciḥ
Śrī Viṣṇu Śrī Viṣṇu Śrī Viṣṇu
Whether one is impure or pure
In whatever state one finds oneself [literally in all states into which one has gone]
If one remembers the Lord with the lotus eyes
One is pure inside and out.
Translation, Dr. Edwin Bryant
INVOCATION TO THE GURU
Gurur Brahmā Gurur Viṣṇu Gururdevo Maheśvaraḥ
Guruḥ Sākṣāt Parabrahma
Tasmai Śrī Gurave Namaḥ
The Guru is the creator, the Guru is the sustainer, the Guru is the destroyer.
The Guru is the infinite essence of all three.
Salutations to that Guru.
Translation, compiled from various sources
THE BHAGAVAD GĪTĀ
“They give their actions over to infinite Brahman and abandon attachment.
When they act in this way, guilt does not adhere to them, just as water does
not adhere to the lotus leaf.
Yogins perform actions with body and mind and insight, and with the senses as
well, but since they have abandoned attachment, they perform these actions only
for the purification of the self.”
Translation, George Thompson (V. 8-11)
BKS Iyengar: www.bksiyengar.com
Patricia Walden: www.yoganow.net
Iyengar Yoga National Association of the United States (IYNAUS): www.iynaus.org
Iyengar Yoga Association of New England: www.iyane.org
Iyengar Yoga Association of Greater New York: www.iyengarnyc.org
“Light on Yoga” by B.K.S. Iyengar
“Light on Life” by B.K.S. Iyengar
“Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali” by B.K.S. Iyengar
“Light on Pranayama” by B.K.S. Iyengar
“Astadala Yogamala, Volumes 1 – 8” by B.K.S. Iyengar
“Core of the Yoga Sutras” by B.K.S. Iyengar
“Yoga in Action: A Preliminary Course” by Geeta S. Iyengar
“Yoga in Action: An Intermediate Course” by Geeta S. Iyengar
“Yoga: A Gem for Women” by Geeta S. Iyengar
“Yoga the Iyengar Way” by Silva, Mira and Shyam Mehta
“How to Use Yoga” by Mira Mehta
“A Woman’s Book of Yoga and Health” by Linda Sparrowe and Patricia Walden
“Woman’s Yoga Book” by Bobby Clennell
“Yoga Sutras of Patanjali” by Edwin F. Bryant
“The Bhagavad Gita” by Winthrop Sargeant
“The Bhagavad Gita: A New Translation” by George Thompson
“The Bhagavad Gita” by Eknath Easwaran
“The Upanishads” by Eknath Easwaran
Yoga for Beginners with Patricia Walden
Yoga for Beginner’s II with Patricia Walden
Yoga for Flexibility with Patricia Walden
In this section of the video, “Yoga Unveiled,” B.K.S. Iyengar shares this yoga story.
He was born during the influenza pandemic of 1918 and was suffering from the effects of poor health and extreme poverty when he arrived at the home of his brother-in-law and Guru, Sri T. Krishnamacharya.
B.K.S. Iyengar is known affectionately and respectfully as “Guruji” to those who have devoted their life to the practice and study of Yoga as taught by him.
This is a video of BKS Iyengar demonstrating postures (asanas) at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA. He is 69 years old.