How To Start A Yoga Practice In Lockdown

Mantra in Meditation

I use the Gayatri mantra in my daily meditation practice. It’s also a great way to keep track of time during meditation. It takes me about five minutes to recite the mantra ten times. I use my fingers to keep track of the number of times I recite the mantra. The left hand counts individual repetitions and the right hand counts sets of ten repetitions:

om bhūr bhuvaḥ svaḥ tatsavitur vareṇyaṃ bhargo devasya dhīmahi dhiyo yo naḥ pracodayāt

In Devanagari: ॐ भूर् भुवः स्वः ।तत्सवितुर्वरेण्यंभर्गो॑ देवस्य धीमहि ।धियो यो नः प्रचोदयात् ॥. The mantra is usually repeated 108 times. The reason for that is a little bit esoteric and again, there are a few explanations which don’t always agree with one another. Here is one from Sadhguru:

Below is a video that will teach you the pronunciation and I also find the melody and orchestration quite charming. You can use it to learn the mantra initially since it also repeats 108 times.

There have been many translations of the text over the years but at the most basic level, you are asking for enlightenment. My current favourite translation is: “We meditate on the adorable glory of the radiant sun; may it inspire our intelligence.”

Mantra in Asana Practice

In Ashtanga Yoga, there are two mantras, that are regularly used before and after Asana practice. The opening mantra is this:

Om
Vande Gurunam Charanaravinde
Sandarshita Svatma Sukava Bodhe
Nih Sreyase Jangalikayamane
Samsara Halahala Mohashantyai

Abahu Purushakaram
Shankhacakrsi Dharinam
Sahasra Sirasam Svetam
Pranamami Patanjalim
Om

Translation:

I bow to the lotus feet of the Supreme Guru
which awaken insight into the happiness of pure Being,
which are the refuge, the jungle physician,
which eliminate the delusion caused by the poisonous herb of Samsara.

I prostrate before the sage Patanjali
who has thousands of white
, radiant heads
and who has assumed the form of a man
holding a conch shell, a wheel and a sword.

Om

Svasthi Praja Bhyaha Pari Pala Yantam
     Nya Yena Margena Mahim Mahishaha
   Go Brahmanebhyaha Shubamastu Nityam
    Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
   Om Shanti Shanti Shantihi

Translation:

May the rulers of the earth keep to the path of virtue
For protecting the welfare of all generations.
  May the religious, and all peoples be forever blessed,
  May all beings everywhere be happy and free
   Om peace, peace, perfect peace