We live in a sea of energy. Energy Vibrates! Even seemingly solid, inanimate objects are constantly vibrating, just at a slower or lower frequency than animate objects. Some vibrations are audible, what we actually hear, thoughts are silent electromagnetic vibrations. Raising our own vibrations brings us closer to merging with the original creativity of the universe, or oneness, or a sense of deep well being.
Chanting mantras, silent or aloud is a conscious method of directing the mind. It is a meditation of sound and vibration as well as meaning and muscle memory. Many emotions and feelings have vibratory frequencies or thought waves; such as happiness, sorrow, and regret. These frequencies determine the type of program our minds play. We can use chant to raise our vibration (this is why many of us feel so elated after chanting).
Naad Yoga is about the science of sound. The sound current is a universal code behind language and therefore behind human communication.
This science is thousands of years old and works with the movement of the tongue in the mouth, language and chemical changes in the brain. We have a neurotransmission of fluid, different chemical liquids that are secreted from different parts of the brain as we chant.
The magic of chant is that in just a few short words, repeated with a sweet passion, deliberate intention and refined beauty, can often unlock treasures of healing, wisdom and love.
Chanting is a musical and rhythmic repetition of a sacred phrase. It is the marriage of sound and silence! Most of us love music and song and often find ourselves singing along. What I see as the difference between singing and chanting is that a song is meant to entertain and it feels good, a chant is meant to TRANSFORM! A chant has many dimensions, the melody and rhythm, inner dimensions and meaning, how they feel in your mouth as your tongue meets with 84 different nerve endings or meridians on the roof of your mouth. Chanting is a very simple practice and it is accessible to everyone. When the chant is done there is a beautiful awareness of what happens when we enter the new silence, a sanctuary of the presence of transformation, divine love and healing.
Chants have a number of different components:
- meaning of the phrase
- Sounds- vowel and consonant
- Tone and rhythm
- Visualization , imposed or discovered
- Balance and surrender
- The movement of neurotransmitters through the meridian system
This is a just a brief explanation! If you care to take the time there are many, many books about the power of chant.
I come from the lineage of Kundalini Yoga when chanting mantra. The experiences in this practice teach us the following:
3 minutes alters the electromagnetic field and circulation
7 minutes begins to shift brain patterns
11 minutes begins to change the nervous and glandular systems
22 minutes the subconscious begins to clear
31 minutes affects all of the cells and rhythms of the body
62 minutes changes the gray matter and stimulates the frontal lobe
2 1/2 hours changes the psyche and new patters are developed
Days you Meditate
40 days to break a habit
90 days to gain the new habit
120 days to merge with the new habit
1000 days you are the master of it
Monks have been chanting for as long as is known. They use chants to introduce meaning and purpose into life. It connects them to their paths, it prepares them to enter meditation, it allows them to enter community and feel a part of the larger group. It is a commonly used spiritual practice.
Scientific studies have found that chanting can decrease stress, anxiety and depressive symptoms, as well as increase positive mood, feelings of relaxation and focused attention.
In most of my classes and workshops we begin and end with chanting mantra. I love to take the time to actually feel the vibration as it moves through my body and also merge with the power of the chemistry of my brain when I physically absorb the power of the meaning. If you fancy I would love to help you pick a mantra practice for 40, 100 or 1000 days.
My personal practice involves choosing a mantra every 1000 days and then additional chanting as it suits me. I started this practice in 2008 and my husband joined me about 8 years ago. I love having the support of another person to keep me on track!
Here are some books for further reading if you are interested:
Meditation as Medicine, Dharma Singh Khalsa, M.D. & Cameron Stauth, Fireside 2001
Sacred Therapies, David Shannahoff-Khalsa, W.W. Norton & Company Inc. 2012
Soul Healing Miracles, Dr. & Master Zhi Gang Sha, BenBella Books, Inc. 2013
A Woman’s Book of Meditation, Hair Kaur Khalsa, Penguin Books Ltd. 2006