Many people are uncomfortable chanting in yoga class. And I completely understand why! For some, there is a dislike for “religious stuff.” Others are worried that their voices don’t sound “good.” That was me when I first started yoga!
And teaching yoga on Zoom has its own sound challenges.
But chanting is a wonderful meditation tool, and I’ve come to really love it. We honor yoga's roots from India when we practice chanting.
Diwali symbolizes the spiritual "victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance." The Pavamana Mantra is a wonderful expression of that.
a sounds like "uh" as in soda
ā sounds like "ah" as in father
o sounds like the "o" as in open
ṛ has a slight roll of the tongue, as one does in spanish. Place the tip of your tongue on the ridge behind the teeth
According to Russill Paul in The Yoga of Sound, the t and d sounds should be made by placing the tongue on the ridge of the mouth behind the teeth. The t sounds like the th in "thick." The d sounds like the th in "there."
Please note, I am not an expert in Sanskrit pronunciation and have not studied with a Guru.
Sometimes this mantra adds an om, and additional line
A quote from Amma:
The third line —mrtyorma amrtam gamaya—means: “Lead me from death to immortality.” This should not be taken as a prayer to live endless years in heaven or on earth. It is a prayer to the Guru for assistance in realizing the truth that “I was never born, nor can ever die, as I am not the body, mind and intellect, but the eternal, blissful consciousness that serves as the substratum of all creation.”
To listen to the classic Vedic cadence, by AICTE Swayam, click here.
For another in Vedic cadence by Russill Paul you can chant along with, click here.
Another lovely variation, by Mahakatha, click here
A modern variation by Deva Premal, click here
More about this mantra
A little more about mantra: Intro to Mantra
Photo by Prateek Gautam