The Invocation to Patanjali

OMYogena cittasya padena vacam malam  sarirasya ca vaidyakena yopakarottam  pravaram muninam patanjalim  pranajaliranato’smi abahu purusakaram  sankha cakrasi dharinamsahasra sirasam  svetam pranamami patanjalim.

translation : Let us bow before the noblest of sages Patanjali, who gave yoga for serenity and sanctity of mind, grammar for clarity and purity of speech and medicine for perfection of health. Let us prostrate before Patanjali, an incarnation of Adisesa, whose upper body has a human form, whose arms hold a conch and a disc, and who is crowned by a thousand-headed cobra.

This Invocation to Patanjali is often chanted by the students and teacher at the beginning of each Iyengar Yoga class. Sometimes the entire invocation is chanted, sometimes just the three OMs. 

“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…. You know that you are “coming down” to learn something. And you can’t learn anything unless you come down; if you think you are on the top and you know everything, then you are not a learner at all…”

– Geeta Iyengar