Off The Mat

The Closing Prayer; Our Greatest Medicine

Dec 2, 2013 Michelle Dorer
Michelle Dorer / Ashtanga Yoga Closing Prayer

I love the traditional closing prayer to the Ashtanga Yoga practice.  It is not enough to just say the words.  Through time and with practice, you should contemplate the meaning, and when you chant, you should put all your love and positive intentions for the greater good into it.

We are so fortunate to have our bodies, to have our health, to have our basic needs met so we can engage in this spiritual practice and be a part of this rich tradition.  We have so much to be grateful for.  We are fortunate to have the couple hours a day we have to work on ourselves, to be alone with ourselves, to see more clearly.  The best thing we can do is wholeheartedly embrace this prayer and offer it back to the world.

After a couple hours of quiet contemplation at the end of our practice, we have the opportunity to conjure up our intention to the good of all beings without exception.  In the end, this is where spirituality truly lives.  The growth that we incur through the years, the maturity that happens is to come out of our conditioned existence which for most humans is based on a self-centered view of reality.  With practice, intention, and beautiful prayers like this, we learn to come out of this self-centered reality and embrace a much larger view. In doing this, much of our suffering diminishes. As we diminish the suffering within our own hearts and minds, we also help free the whole world of its bondage too.

Let’s take a look at this prayer:

svastiprajabhyah paripalayantam
nyayena margena mahim mahisah

gobrahmanebhyah subhastu
nityam lokasamasta sukhinobhavantu.

Translation:

May all be well with mankind. May the leaders of the Earth protect in every way by keeping to the right path.

May there be goodness for those who know the Earth to be sacred.  May all the worlds be happy.

This prayer covers much of what any human could ever wish for.  When you chant, focus your mind, watch your thoughts, and try to keep them from wandering.  Listen to the sound of your own voice, the vibration of the Sanskrit.  Through years of practice, you should be increasing your mental focus. Absorb your mental awareness into the prayer itself, and if you work well with visuals let me suggest combining visualization or a feeling to accompany the prayer.

I will share two visualizations I work with most frequently as an example.

-I see the natural Earth flourishing. I see green everywhere and water flowing endlessly.  I feel the animals and their happiness. I feel their fullness and abundant reproduction.  I see the King Stag, which is an old Celtic symbol of Nature. I see the Stag happy, proud, and flourishing.  From my heart, I offer my love to support the functioning of our natural world and all its treasures, and I see a human civilization that supports and respects this functioning.

-I see the planet itself and white light shining on it. I see the dark forces being chased away by this great light.  I send positive vibrations to the planet itself and support of good leaders that care about and protect the people.  I see and feel the healing of fear and greed within the human heart.  If all beings truly looked to their own happiness, there would be an end to the useless destruction of life.  I pray for happiness to all beings throughout the globe sometimes focusing on certain areas depending on what might be happening on a global level at the time.

These are just two examples.  There are infinite ways you can work with these concepts yourself through your own unique self expression. As you can see, I am very focused on planet Earth, when in fact the prayer speaks of worlds even beyond this!

The suffering in the world is beyond what we can conceive, and it is easy to feel “what can I do?”  That is why I feel this simple prayer is a great medicine for the world. It is noninvasive and causes no harm to any other beings.  Do not underestimate the power of prayer and visualization especially when large groups of people are doing it together.

Ricky Heiman told a story about Guruji at the Ashtanga Yoga Confluence in 2012.  There was a student who was realizing the suffering worldwide, and it was bringing her great distress. She asked Guruji what she should do.  Guruji responded, “Watch your own anus. Let God take care of the world.”

Do your practice, clear your own inner space. Take that positive energy and return it to the world in a noninvasive way. Be the best human you can be. Send the loving vibrations out there to support the Great Spirit and all that you hold dear.  We can change the world in our own way.

Love to All Beings.
Michelle Dorer
Owner, Director, Teacher – Ashtanga Yoga Center, Outer Banks, NC

Categories: Off the Mat