If you regularly go to yoga, you may have heard some expressions, mantras, or quotes shared by the instructor that really resonated or stuck with you. These are some of mine. I liked them because they were positive and I continued to revisit them after class enough to actually write them down or look for them online and in books. As you may have guessed, I decided to blog them so they would be in one place where I could reference them as I choose. I also wanted to share with everyone and I would love for you to share some of yours.
1. “The only job where you start at the top is digging a hole” ~ Anonymous
– I actually one day just saw this quote and it made me think “yeah, that is the only job I know that starts at the top.”
– I felt like this quote was perfect for beginning yogis and I often share it at the closing in my beginner level classes when I reinforce that yoga is a practice where flexibility gradually increases and that there are poses that take a person on a long journey before they might master them. Then once mastered, there is always another challenging pose waiting to replace it.
To get to the point, wabi-sabi is the Japanese art of finding beauty in imperfection.
– I heard this as an opening statement/intention in one of the yoga classes I regularly attend. The instructor’s point was that all of our poses are going to look differently because each of our bodies are unique and for us avoid dwelling or losing focus on trying to get the “perfect Yoga Journal picture worthy pose” and instead pursue the pose through listening to our bodies and being present on our own mats. It is a mind-set to be content where we are in the present moment. Once she brought that to our attention, it was fun to get our “wabi-sabi” on. Plus it is fun to say.
3. Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
Translates to: “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.”
– I heard this mantra shared by various teachers a few times as a class closing statement and have always liked it.
4. OM Shanti
Translates to: “Peace, collectively and universally”
– We can always hope for peace right? We repeat “Shanti” three times during class closing.
5. “Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behavior. Keep your behavior positive because your behavior becomes your habits. Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi
– On its own, I like this quote because thoughts do often manifest in behavior.
– Additionally, this quote goes along with this mudra expression. You share this at the closing of class using “Anjali Mudra” or prayer hands.
Anjali mudra at the third eye — say… “May we seek the truth and recognize it as we experience it”
Anjali mudra at the lips — say… “May we speak the truth clearly and share it with all”
Anjali mudra at the heart — say… “May we feel the truth in our hearts and follow the path we know to be good”
6. Apache Blessing ~ “May the sun bring you new energy by day, may the moon softly restore you by night, may the rain wash away your worries, may the breeze blow new strength into your being, may you walk gently thorugh the world and know it’s beauty all the days of your life.”
– I first heard this expressed during the closing of one of my yoga classes that I attend and I’ve loved it ever since. I occasionally close my classes with this quote.
7. “Yoga is not about touching your toes, it’s about what you learn on the way down.” Judith Lasate
8. If Dr. Seuss Did Yoga: An Inspirational Poem
Traffic is stalled. The weather is hot.
Your shoulders and hips?
They’re tied up in knots.
The mind is racing.
It won’t slow down.
You’re late for a meeting and nobody is down.
Your computer just crashed.
You lost all your work.
And everybody around you is being a jerk.
Your problems are small.
Do you know this to be?
So many bigger problems in the world
Protests and corruption and greed.
Lift us onto clouds of cotton candy pink?
Our third eyes are scrambled,
We’re on the brink.
Pen in hand,
Please draw us a world
We can comprehend.
Let us start over again, in a tall, tall tree?
From such great heights
Not even the NSA would find me.
We would have plenty to eat
Mangoes and coconuts and vegetable soup.
And when it would rain,
It would rain kombucha.
Or, we could live on the great neck of a brontosaurus.
At night, the birds and lizards
Would erupt into mellifluous chorus.
Get us stretching
Get us doing that much-needed decompressing.
From those old samskaras let us surrender
Let’s make a change to remember!
– I know it is long but occasionally I like to close class with a fun yoga poem such as this. I came across this on Elephant Journal.
9. If Dr. Seuss had Been a Yogi
Hello there, Yogi!
Would you like to go to yoga today?
No thank you, I am very tired
I slept so poorly… was up late, wired.
Ah, I see, but don’t you know?
Yoga calms the senses, helps you let go.
It reduces anxiety and stress
Helps you quiet the mind and worry less.
Yes, I know… But not today,
I do not want to. Namaste.
Would you, could you, here at home?
No need to go out, just sit down and say “Om.”
Take a deep breath in, then let it out slow…
Pranayama helps you feel good, you know.
Yes, I know… But not today,
I just don’t feel like it. Namaste.
Outside! Perhaps some yoga outdoors?
Greet the sun and make the practice yours!
I do not want to practice yoga today!
I do not want to! Namaste!
How about with a friend? Quick, call one up!
You can strengthen and lengthen and partner up!
I do not want to call a friend.
I do not want to twist or bend.
I don’t want to practice yoga today!
I do not want to. Namaste.
I know! How about yoga on the beach?
Sand under your toes, as you stretch and reach!
Ocean breeze upon your cheeks,
As you work your core—those abs and obliques!
Are you not listening to what I say?
No yoga for me, not today.
Not on the beach, and not under the sun.
Not with a friend, not with anyone!
Not by myself at home on my mat
I just don’t want to, and that is that.
But yoga makes you feel so strong!
Heart is open and muscles long!
I know you’re tired, and grumpy too,
But yoga is the thing to do
To lift your spirit and your mood
You’ll have a better attitude!
Okay! Since you refuse to quit,
I guess I can practice… a little bit.
I will unroll my mat and see
What a little asana does for me…
Say! Breathing does help me relax!
I’ll just do a few more minutes, max.
These forward bends feel pretty good
They release my back, so I guess they should.
Maybe just one downward dog,
My head feels clear now, no more fog!
I’ll glide to plank and lower down
I’m really feeling better now!
Sun Salutations and Warrior Two
My blood is pumping and flowing through
My body strong, my mind is still
I’m feeling centered, zen and chill.
I’m so glad I practiced yoga today!
The light in me sees the light in you…
– Yep, this one is long too. I recently shared this poem in the last class before Christmas vacation as a fun closing. It was well received by my clients so I’m likely to share again next Christmas. This is another that I found on Elephant Journal.
– Read this in your best Dr. Seuss story voice!
I personally translate as “The light and spirit in me salutes the light and spirit in you”
– I like to use the word salute since I primarily teach to veterans and their families. I always end my classes with the Namaste salutation.
11. “Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; for it becomes your destiny.” ~ Upanishads
– I know not everyone chants Om. I don’t do it at my fitness center classes.
– I personally like the sound and vibrational energy it brings when a whole room chants it three times. Very soothing. I get this treat occasionally in teacher training or at the occasional studio class.
Anyways, this is just a collection of expressions that I personally like. I’d like to thank some of my favorite yogis who assisted me when I asked about various mantras. I’d love to for you to share some of yours. Perhaps, I will adopt a new favorite. And…stay tuned, I’ll likely add more to this list.