Lokāḥ Samastāḥ Sukhino Bhavantu is a Sanskrit chant often practiced at the beginning or end of a yoga asana class. It is a favorite because it beautifully encapsulates the spirit of yoga, and is also not precisely religious, so it is quite accessible.
The literal translation of each word from the Sanskrit is as follows:
Lokah = “universe,” “realm” or “location.”
Samastah = to all living beings.
Sukhino = Ease, happiness. Root: sukha Connotation: freedom from suffering.
Bhav = the state of union with the Energy of the Universe/Divine.
Antu, = “may it be so,” vow/pledge
Some people prefer this translation, popularized by Jivamukti yoga: "May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all." Clearly, the part about our words and actions contributing is not in the original Sanskrit phrase. However, the sentiment is a fundamental yoga value.
It is important to note that when we say happy and "free" we mean "free from suffering."
We typically chant this in the Vedic cadence, which is 3,000 years old and is practiced today in precisely the same way as it was in the beginning! Vedic cadence is said to be particularly sacred and elevating to the spirit. It is also only 3-4 tones in scale, which makes it possible for most people to practice, even without vocal training.
There are many lovely modern musical arrangements incorporating this deeply moving chant, as well.
If you would like to learn the Vedic cadence, with me, I put 3 audio files on my home page. This blog software won't allow me to add mp3s to my blog. FYI I am not a singer, but I think you can hear the notes well enough to practice the chant. Click here to listen and practice.
YouTube links to listen:
You can listen to a modern musical arrangement which still maintains the Vedic cadence by Russil Paul
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