The sage Patanjali is the author of the Yoga Sutras, a classical yoga philosophy text which is the basis of our practice. At the beginning of many of our classes, we chant this invocation to Patanjali to honor the ancient tradition of yoga and its lineage.
Mr Iyengar’s daughter, Geeta, describes another reason for reciting the chant: “We chant so that at the very beginning that feeling of sanctification comes from inside, with the feeling of surrendering oneself, because nothing can be learned in this world unless you have the humility to learn.”
From an interview of Geeta Iyengar by Margo Kitchen, RIMYI, 1992.
In the present century, Yogacharya B.K.S. Iyengar has made it possible for ordinary human beings to experience the wisdom of these sutras in the midst of living daily life.
Salutation to the noblest sage – Patanjali, who gave us yoga for serenity of mind, grammar for purity of speech, and medicine for the health of the body.
I prostrate before Patanjali, whose upper body has a human form, whose arms hold a conch and disk, and whose crowned by a thousand headed cobra,
O incarnation of Adisesa, my salutations to Thee.