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How Sound and Mantras are used in Kundalini Yoga

Updated: Feb 1, 2023

Kundalini yoga is known as the yoga of awareness. Once your awareness awakens, so does your consciousness. Sound and Mantra play a huge part in Kundalini yoga and meditation practice. So understanding how the sound and mantras work is a key component of the practice.

As a practicing Sikh, I grew up listening to the Guru Granth Sahib and Kirtan daily. I used to listen to my parents reciting each morning and evening. I learned Mul Mantra at a very young age. This was the first mantra that I had experienced as a child.

It was only when I started my Kundalini yoga practice that I dived deeper into understanding how the sound and mantras worked on the body, mind, and psyche.

Mantra: The creative projection of the mind through sound. Man=mind, Trang=wave or projection. The science of mantra is based on the knowledge that sound is a form of energy having structure, power, and a definite predictable effect on the chakras, ten bodies, and the human psyche.

Mantras: Mantras are formulas that alter the patterns of the mind and the chemistry of the brain, according to physical and metaphysical laws. The power of a mantra is in its sound vibration. The mantras used in Kundalini Yoga elevate or modify consciousness through their meaning and rhythmical repetition. It’s very beneficial to link a mantra to the breath. A mantra is a sound current that you pulse across the mind to create a specific effect.

Yogi Bhajan on The Nature of Sound

“Every element of the universe is in a constant state of vibration manifested to us as light, sound, and energy. The human sense perceives only a fraction of the infinite range of vibration, so it is difficult to comprehend that the Word mentioned in the bible is actually the totality of vibration that underlies and sustains all creation. A person can tune his or her own consciousness into the awareness of that totality with the use of a mantra. By vibrating in rhythm with the breath to a particular sound that is proportional to the creative sound, or sound current, one can expand one’s sensitivity to the entire spectrum of vibration. It is similar to striking a note on a stringed instrument. In other words, as you vibrate, the universe vibrates with you.” ~Yogi Bhajan

Understanding the science behind the Mantra

Naad: The essence of all sound. Naad is vibrational harmony through which the Infinite can be experienced.

Naad Yoga: The science of Naad is based on the experience of how the sound vibrations affect the body, mind, and spirit through the movement of the mouth, and changes in the chemicals in the brain. as chanting mantra has been known for thousands of years, works through the combination of tongue movement, language, and chemical changes. You have to remember that there are no wires connecting the sections of the brain. All communication within the brain is done through neurotransmitter fluid. Chemical liquids are sent to one part of the brain from the other. Yogis called this neurotransmitter fluid naad namodam rasa, meaning harmony addressing juice. When you change the chemical composition of the “juice”, you alter your state of mind, your personality, and your projection.

The tongue as it moves in chanting hits the upper palate of the mouth. There are 84 meridian points located at the roof of the mouth. 32 pairs of points (64) are located on the hard palate directly behind each tooth. The other 20 are located in a “U” shape along the central part of the palate. The mouth has its points in slightly different spots as the shape of our mouths is unique, but the general placement in this pattern is universal. As you stimulate each meridian point, it sends signals to the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus programs the chemicals that go into your brain. It is connected to the pituitary gland by blood vessels and regulates moods, emotional behavior, sexuality, and even physical things like hunger and sleep. Special patterns within the mantra stimulate the hypothalamus to change the chemistry of the brain in specific ways. You can strengthen the immune system, balance different parts of the brain, regulate sleep hormones, etc. Emotionally, chanting can open huge blocks. You can overcome depression, enhance your intuition, and simply all around feel good.

Shabd: The sound current or vibration that dissolves that part of the ego which obstructs the truth, and prevents us from perceiving and acting from our authentic Self.

Shabd Guru: A quantum technology of sound that directly alters our consciousness through the power of Naad. The Shabd Guru is the sound current as a Teacher because it removes the constrictions and distortions of the ego.

Siri Guru Granth Sahib: An encoded form of the Shabd Guru which allows us to program our mind/body computer to resonate with the Infinite. It is quite literally the embodiment of the intrinsic wisdom of the sound current. It references the Guru or the teacher/energy/spirit, that cuts us off from our ego, allowing us to merge with our Infinite Self. Each of the ten Sikh Gurus embodied the Shabd Guru within very distinct personalities, yet despite all of their many differences, they were all one Light. They sang Shabds, or songs, that had the power to reach beyond time and space and merge one with the Infinite. You do not have to be a Sikh to chant a Shabd. It is a technology that everyone can use to feel better and connect with Divinity. Who “creates” a Shabd then? They were created at the beginning of the Universe and exist within the Anahat. Those who can hear the sound behind the sound, such as the ten Sikh Gurus, pulled these energies from the unstruck sound and put them into the poetic compositions that make up the Siri Guru Granth Sahib. Siri means Great. Guru means Teacher or transformational energy. Granth means Knot. It is a knot that binds together patterns of great transformational energy.

Important to listen to Mantra:

It’s not all about chanting. Sometimes it’s about listening, too. So remember to actively listen to the mantra as well. Using your whole brain to soak up the sound is very effective as well.

The mantra that I recommend

Kundalini Yoga practice. These mantras will help to activate, cleanse, and balance your energy body, by directly affecting the chakra system. The mantras also balance and nourish your endocrine system.

Namo Guru Dev Namo

This mantra is often used to commence a Kundalini Yoga class. It is chanted at least three times, in a row, and invokes the power of the primordial Guru to banish the darkness in our own beings and align us with the divine source within.

Aad Guray Nameh

This mantra is known as the Mangala Charan Mantra and is a mantra of protection. Singing creates a buffer of light around the Yogi or Yogini. It is usually sung directly after the Namo Guru Dev Namo mantra.

Sat Nam

This is a beautiful and simple seed mantra that is often sung during Kundalini Yoga practice. It evokes the divine energy, in supporting the practitioner, and in aligning his or her life choices with the highest truth of God within. Sat means universal truth, and Nam indicates the trajectory from the infinite to the finite individual, and then back to the infinite source.

The Mul Mantar removes fate and changes destiny to prosperity

Ek ong kaar sat naam kartaa purakh nirbha-o nirvair akaal moorat ajoonee saibhang gur prasaad. Jap. Aad sach jugaad sach hai bhee sach Naanak hosee bhee sach. II 1 II

One Universal Creator God, the Name is Truth, Creative Being personified, no fear, no hatred, image of the Undying, beyond birth, self-existent, by Guru’s Grace. Chant and meditate! True in the primal beginning, True throughout the ages, True here and now, O Nanak, forever and ever True.

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