This episode is part of a course.
Your Body on Yoga Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 3

Guru Brahma Chant

10 min - Practice


We begin our time together with a chant and offering to all of our teachers.

See attached .pdf below with the full text of the Guru Brahma Chant.

What You'll Need: No props needed

About This Video


Read Full Transcript

Welcome. I'd love for us to start with a chant that's actually quite special to me. It was one of the first chants given to me by my first teacher, and it's a chant to our teachers. And I'd love to start any program, any workshop, any teacher training, any time I'm with new students. I'd love to start with this chant first. So I'm going to sing it. You can just feel it. If you know the words, you can sing along. And we'll talk about its meaning afterwards.

And I promise it's not that you're going to give me all of your money. I promise it's a chance to our teachers. So why don't we take a taller seat. Whatever you're sitting on, just draw your spine a little bit taller. And we'll take a moment to close our eyes and breathe together. You can feel that you can lean into the architecture of your own spine. Crown of the head, just gracefully balancing on top of the tail.

And this way the front body, the soft, squishy stuff, can remain soft and permeable. We'll take a deeper breath in and out through the nose, pushing the breath unfold and swirl into each little nook and cranny. And as the breath exits, its caress softens as it leaps. And let's take the right hand and place it in some way over your own heart. And just feel the insistent throbbing of your own heart.

The pulse in the vessels and the ebb and flow of your breath. Quite literally the visceral participation with where you are, which often leads us back to that remembrance of who we are. Let's start with the sound of that remembrance, of that reunion, of that recognition. The mantra of Om. Guru Brahma.

Guru Vishnu. Guru Devo. Maheshvara. Guru Sakshat. Param Brahma.

Thasmaishri. Guru Vahe Namaha. You can bow your chin to your chest, bowing of reverence to your own heart, to your own presence here. And allowing the eyes to open if you've closed them. So that chant for me is a remembrance of all of our teachers.

And we might have known some of those words. So we probably have heard the word guru a little bit more correctly in the Sanskrit guru. But I'm from Ohio so sometimes it comes out guru. That's fine too. You do the best you can with the Sanskrit. And guru is often translated as teacher, guide.

And a lot of times I think we think of this teacher as some dude in robes with a long beard that's very separate from us and very hard to get to. But when you look at the little words that make up guru, goo and roo, it means the bestower of light or the remover of darkness. So it really comes to mean anything that removes a layer of veil of ignorance, anything that bestows the light of who you really are. And this one is sometimes a little hard for students because it has the name of the big three of the Hindu pantheon, this Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva. And sometimes that sounds like maybe we're offering up to something that maybe isn't following our own religious beliefs or goes somehow contrary, maybe might be a little bit scary.

But in my lineage, which is a tantric lineage, we see these as all aspects of divinity, all pieces of the puzzle. When Brahma represents Guru Brahma, I bow to my beginnings, my everything, the start of something new. So it's the start of our time together, the start of this project, the start of even coming into a yoga pose can be the beginning of a yoga pose, the inspiration of the breath, the beginning of the breath. All of these things can become, if we allow it, to be a way to remove the veil of ignorance, to bestow the light of who we really are. Guru Vishnu, Vishnu represents the organizing principle.

So it's all the stuff in the middle, not the beginning, not the end, but all the stuff in the middle. And it's all of that richness. The stuff you're going to hear in these episodes that are really going to jive with you. You're going to say, yes, I already believe that. That's what my teacher taught me. That's what I already hold in my heart.

I know that to be true. It's also going to cover all of the stuff that maybe bristles you or bumps up against the belief or is completely contrary to what you've learned before. This also can be fuel for the fire. This also can be a way to remove a veil of ignorance, a way of understanding ourselves on a deeper level. Gurudevo Maheshvara is another aspect of Shiva.

And Shiva is known to be the destroyer, destruction, which sounds very dramatic. But it's the endings of things. And we all have had an ending of a relationship, an ending of an era, an ending of a job, perhaps, and it riles us, no doubt. It really pulls the rug out from under us. That too, given enough perspective, maybe some time, maybe some different fresh eyes, can be seen as the start of the new cycle, really the beginning of the new era, the new relationship, the new job, the new life.

So the endings, the expiration, which is the fancy pants way of saying exhale, can be our teacher, the coming out of a pose, can be another way to bestow the light of who we really are. Guru Sakshat, there is a teacher that is near, so me to you, you to me, you to your children and your children to you, you to the lady at Starbucks and her to you. There is an embodied teacher. There is an opportunity with every person that we meet, every interaction, if we allow it to learn something, to spark the light of who you really are, to illuminate. Param Brahma, there is a teacher that is beyond the beyond, which is a really big phrase.

But in my tradition, we believe that there is an opportunity to plug back in, almost like you plug your cell phone in at the end of the night to get a charge, to plug back into this unified field of awareness, a universal consciousness, ocean of Brahma and God, whatever you want to call it. Once you put a name to it, it gets a little iffy. But we have this opportunity to plug back in to this field of awareness. That is our teacher. Tass mais sri guru vena maha.

I offer all of my efforts to the teacher and the teacher being everything, every moment of our living, an opportunity to remember, to reunite, to recognize who we are.


Janet L
Beautiful explanation... thank you!!!
Kristin Leal
Thanks Janet !!
Kate M
I learned this chant from Jai Uttal's version : ) Lovely start to the course : )
Kristin Leal
1 person likes this.
Kate ooooh I love Jai Uttal's version too!
Ruth E
I loved it!😍😍😍
Kristin Leal
aw thanks Ruth for being here!
Stacie C
Oh my goodness, I loved this You are officially my guru, now. :)
Kristin Leal
hahaha Stacie ! Thanks for being here!

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