“Mananaat traayate iti mantrah”
(That which uplifts by constant repetition is a Mantra.)

Sound Is Power.
The sound of Mantra can lift the believer towards the higher self. These sound elements of Sanskrit language are permanent entities and are of everlasting significance. In the recitation of Sanskrit Mantras the sound is very important, for it can bring transformation in you while leading you to power and strength.
Different sounds have different effects on human psyche. If a soft sound of wind rustling through leaves soothes our nerves, the musical note of running stream enchants our heart, thunders may cause awe and fear.
The sacred utterances or chanting of Sanskrit Mantras provide us with the power to attain our goals and lift ourselves from the ordinary to the higher level of consciousness. They give us the power to cure diseases; ward off evils; gain wealth; acquire supernatural powers; worship a deity for exalted communion and for attaining blissful state and attain liberation.

Origin of Mantras.
Mantras are Vedic in origin. The teachings of the Vedas consist of various Mantric chants or hymns cognized by different seers or Rishis from the Cosmic Mind. Since the Vedas are impersonal and eternal, the exact historical date of the origin of Mantra chanting is hard to arrive at. For example, every Mantra in the Vedas, Upanishads and various religious traditions (sampradayas) within Hindu religion begin with Om or Aum – the primordial sound, the sound that is said to have its origins at the time of the creation of the cosmos – also referred to as the ‘Big Bang’.

Opening Mantras.
Tuning in the Mind
At the beginning of each yoga class, in order to raise the room’s energy as well as to relax, focus and uplift our mind, we recite some mantras. These mantras come from the ancient, sacred sanskrit language of Sanskrit. Through their repetition we invoke the spiritual powers of the following deities: Ganesha, Subramanya, Saraswati, the Guru, and Durga Devi.

The Ganesha mantras are recited at the beginning of any undertaking and give the energy to start something and to overcome obstacles of all kinds – internal and external
The Subramanya mantras give us the energy to sustain our efforts and practice and to overcome the lower tendencies of our mind: laziness, jealousy etc.
Through Her mantras, the goddess Saraswati bestows knowledge and helps us tap into the deep reservoir of spiritual knowledge as we practice.
It is an ancient and pivotal tradition in yoga to invoke our Guru and the lineage of all masters who came before us at the beginning of the practice. Invoking their blessings will help connect with the vibrant spiritual experiences that they have achieved. This is the primary reason why yoga is so alive after having been transmitted from teacher to student for several millenia.
Last, but not least, is the prayer to Durga, the Divine Mother, who represents the ultimate power (sakti) of the universe.
Dhyana Slokas.
These mantras are called Dhyana Slokas (meditation verses) or Gajananam for short.

Om. Om. Om.

Gajananam Bhutaganadi Sevitam
Kapitta Jambu Phala Sara Bhakshitam
Uma Sutam Shokavinasha Karanam
Namami Vigneshvara Pada Pankajam

Shadananam Kunkuma Raktavarnam
Mahamatim Divya Mayura Vahanam
Rudrasya Sunum Surasainya Natham
Guham Sadaham Sharanam Prapadye

Ya Kundendu Tushara Hara Dhavala
Ya Shubra Vastravrita
Ya Vina Varadanda mantita Kara
Ya Sveta Padmasana
Ya Brahmaachyuta Sankara Prabhitibhir
Devai Sada Pujita
Sa Mam Patu Sarasvati Bhagavati
Nishyesha Jatyapaha

Om Namah Sivaya Gurave
Sat Chid Ananda Murtaye
Nisprapanchaya Shantaya
Om Sarva Mangala Mangalye
Shive Sarvatha Sadhike
Sharanye Tryambake Gauri
Naraayani Namostute
Naraayani Namostute

Om Shantih Shantih Shantih
Om Namaha Shivaya.

He who has the face of an elephant, one who is worshipped by the Bhootha
ganam, He who eats the essence of kapitha and Jumbu fruits, He who is the son
of Uma Devi and He who allieviates the ill feelings in us. O! Lord Vigneshwara
who is an embodiment of all the above, we offer our Namaskarams at your
Divine feet. I always take refuge in Guha of six faces (Subramanya), who is of deep red color like kumkuma, who possesses great knowledge, who has the divine peacock to ride on, who is the son of Rudra (Siva), and who is the leader of the army of the devas (gods and angels).
(Salutations to Devi Saraswati) Who is Pure White like Jasmine, with the Coolness of Moon, Brightness of Snow and Shine like the Garland of Pearls; and Who is Covered with Pure White Garments,
Whose Hands are Adorned with Veena (a stringed musical instrument) and the Boon-Giving Staff; And Who is Seated on Pure White Lotus,
Who is Always Adored by Lord Brahma, Lord Acyuta (Lord Vishnu), Lord Shankara and Other Devas,
O Goddess Saraswati, Please Protect me and Remove my Ignorance completely.
I honor the highest part of myself, the Supreme
That is full of luminous consciousness, the highest joy, and takes the form of my body and my mind
Who is never absent and full of peace, who is transcendental in nature
Oh Gauri Maa! Consort of Lord Shiva,
You who bestows auspiciousness in all,
And fulfill everyone’s wishes,
I prostrate myself before Thee,
Take me under your care

Om Peace, Peace, Peace.
Be Greeted, Lord Shiva!

Closing Mantras.

Tuning in the Mind

At the end of a yoga class, to keep with us the energy and blessings acquired through the practice, we repeat some mantras. They are:

The Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra, also known as “Om Tryambakam” for short, is the great mantra that asks Lord Siva for immortality. Lord Siva has conquered Lord Yama, the Lord of Death, and can therefore bestow immortality to the devotees of his choice. This mantra also brings protection from disease, accidents, etc. Very healing. We repeatit three times.
Peace mantras. Then come the mantras through which we wish happiness, peace, and other blessings to all beings in the creation. This develops selflessness in our hearts and spreads peace vibrations in the mental world.
Last come vedantic mantras which help us connect with the divine wisdom.
At the very end we express our gratitude to our Guru( Gurus) by praising them.

Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra.

Om. Om. Om.

Om Tryambakam Yajamahe
Sugandhim Pushtivardhanam
Urvarukamiva Bandhanan
Mrityor Mukshiya Maamritat (repeat 3 times)

Om Sarvesham Svastir Bhavatu
Sarvesham Shantir Bhavatu
Sarvesham Purnam Bhavatu
Sarvesham Mangalam Bhavatu

Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah
Sarve Santu Niramayaah
Sarve Bhadrani Pasyantu
Ma Kaschid-Dukha-Bhag-Bhavet

Asato Ma Sat Gamaya
Tamaso Ma Jyotir Gamaya
Mrityor Mamritam Gamaya

Om Purnamadah Purnamidam
Purnat Purnamudachyate
Purnasya Purnamadaya
Purnameva Vashishyate

Om Shantih Shantih Shantih
Om Namah Shivaya.

Om, We Worship the Three-Eyed One (Lord Shiva),
Who is Fragrant (Spiritual Essence) and Who Nourishes all beings.
May He severe our Bondage of Samsara (Worldly Life), like a Cucumber (severed from the bondage of its Creeper), …
… and thus Liberate us from the Fear of Death, by making us realize that we are never separated from our Immortal Nature.
May there be Well-Being in All,
May there be Peace in All,
May there be Fulfilment in All,
May there be Auspiciousness in All
Om, May All become Happy,
May All be Free from Illness.
May All See what is Auspicious,
May no one Suffer.
Om, Lead us from Unreality (of Transitory Existence) to the Reality (of the Eternal Self),
Lead us from the Darkness (of Ignorance) to the Light (of Spiritual Knowledge),
Lead us from the Fear of Death to the Knowledge of Immortality.
Om, That is Full, This also is Full, From Fullness comes that Fullness,
Taking Fullness from Fullness, Fullness Indeed Remains.
Om Peace, Peace, Peace.
Be Greeted, Lord Shiva!

The Prayer Before Starting Eating:
Brahmaarpanam Brahma Havir
Brahmaagnau Brahmanaa Hutam
Brahmaiva Tena Gantavyam
Brahma Karma Samaadhinaha

[This is 24th verse from the 4th chapter of Bhagavad Gita]
The act of offering is Brahman. The offering itself is Brahman. The offering is done by Brahman in the sacred fire which is Brahman. He alone attains Brahman who, in all actions, is fully absorbed in Brahman. (As we chant this prayer we are offering the different types of food to Brahman).