Apparently I was always singing as a child....in the back of the car on long car journeys, alone in my bedroom, school assemblies, even in what I deemed to be dangerous situations, such as in a rowing boat on a Scottish Loch. I remember this moment very well, when the skies changed colour and the growing waves started to violently rock our tiny vessel, it felt so right to launch into an uplifting hymn or two.
And then I stopped singing. I can't remember the exact age when singing was no longer an important, uplifting part of my world, but my voice was silenced for many years. Until now. Until Kundalini Yoga came into my life.
I resisted at first, feeling probably like many new students do when faced with this intimidating aspect of Kundalini Yoga - extremely self-conscious, questioning the purpose of chanting and mantra. But the deep memories contained within my body of the glorious sensations released through sound, gradually re-emerged as I freely began to chant. The ability to be transformed from feeling small, inadequate, miserable and sorry for myself, into the most confident, happy and uplifted person in the world had suddenly been reactivated. Oh why oh why did I ever stop using my voice to make me feel better?
I now understand the science behind chanting for healing, for self-elevation. Mantra tunes and attunes you. When you chant, all thirty trillion cells of your body begin to resonate, to dance - forming patterns that shape you physically, emotionally and mentally. It's pretty incredible to learn this stuff, but even better to simply start chanting and experience the benefits for yourself.
Next time you are in class, and you feel that stubborn resistance when asked to chant Har, Har, Har, push your ego to one side, surrender and let yourself dissolve into the sound.
Think about Rhythm as you chant. Keep a crisp, precise rhythm. Project the sound. Try projecting from the navel by pulling the navel point in, and also be aware of the tip of your tongue and its movement against the upper palette. And don't forget to listen, listen to the sounds like you have never listened before.
The key to effective chanting is to drop your intellect, to stop over-thinking, to get out of the way, so you can feel and become a sensory being. This is why I prefer not to read a literal translation of a mantra as it somehow weakens the impact of the original language. Instead I simply grasp the mantra's essence.
We are creating with every word we speak, and even with every word we think, which is why it is so important to be aware of our words and thoughts and make them as positive and uplifting as possible. When we chant a mantra we are choosing to invoke the positive power contained in those particular syllables. Whether it's for prosperity, peace of mind, increasing intuition, or any of the other possible benefits inherent in mantras, simply by chanting them we are setting vibrations into motion that shall have an effect. And so it really doesn't matter if you understand the meaning of the sounds or not.
A wonderful introduction to mantra is to have them playing around the house, or during moments of relaxation.
Here are a few more of my favourites:
Ra Ma Da Sa Sa Say So Hung
This is a healing mantra.
Aap Sahaee Hoa
Sachay daa sachay dhoaa, har, har, har
A mantra to remove negativity from the surrounding environment and from within.
Ad Guray Nameh
Jugaad guray nameh
Sat guray nameh
Siree guroo dav-ay nameh
This mantra clears the clouds of doubt and opens us to guidance and protection.
One to use before a tuk tuk drive in Sri Lanka!!