“By sound vibration one becomes liberated.”
– Srila Prabupada, Founder of Hare Krishna Movement
Mantra’s are sanskrit words of empowerment designed to uplift or elevate human consciousness. It is derived from the syllables, Man (mind) and tra (waves). A mantra is a word, phrase or sound that is chanted repeatedly to sooth the waves of the mind and shift our consciousness.
The nature of the mind is very good at chattering and providing repetition of thoughts, which we can run over again and again, and some thoughts can ultimately become fixations which are hard to escape.
This can be especially troublesome when these are critical voices of ourself or others. As I have experienced, one can literally go through ‘paralysis by over-analysis’. This occurs when one becomes so fixated on the thoughts in our mind, that we come out of awareness of the moment we are truly living and experiencing in our bodies and become fixated in the mind. It’s like the saying ‘you’re all in your head‘.
This is why I like to think of our mind’s as “the best story-tellers”, because, it is constantly providing us with material for our script of life, and it is up to use to discern which thoughts to pay attention to and which we would prefer to avoid.
Image by ~ https://www.flickr.com/photos/deel/
It is believed that the reason we have so much ‘cross-talk’ is because our brains have two hemispheres, and this is where much of our inner-conflicts can arise. We receive influence from both the analytical, rational, masculine, Solar side of our brain, and the creative, intuitive, feminine, Lunar side of our brain, and we can go back and forth, mulling ideas over in our minds because of this duality. Many schools of Yoga (which means Union) stress the benefits of maintaining a Neutral mind, or one in which we are balanced between the two hemispheres.
During my Kundalini Yoga Teacher training, we are taught that the Pituitary Gland in the center of our head is the Master Gland, which sends signals to control other parts of the endocrine system, such as the thyroid gland, adrenal glands, and sex organs. It works in conjunction with the Hypothalamus gland which helps to regulate our moods, hunger/thirst, sex drives and other hormones within the body.
When we chant mantras, our tongue strikes the roof of our mouth which is covered in 84 meridian points. These meridians are directly connected to and stimulate our pituitary and hypothalamus glands, and with repeated exposure to these mantras, the glands will begin to operate in an optimized fashion, allowing our minds to reach neutrality and balance from both sides of our brain.
“The movement of each part of the tongue stimulates these meridian points. The points are like a keyboard input to a computer. The computer is located in the hypothalamus area of the brain. It receives the impulses from the repetition of the patterns of sound in the [Mantra]. “
“every time you chant a mantra, you are tapping out a particular sequence, rhythm, and position that initiates a chemical reaction in the brain and body. It’s as if you have an electronic, computerized security system in your mouth. Punch in the right code on the upper palate and you gain entry to the brain and your inner chambers of higher consciousness!”
[From Kundalini Yoga: The Flow of Eternal Power, by Shakti Parwha Kaur]
“There is a vibratory frequency that corresponds to everything in the Universe.Happiness or sorrow, joy or regret are vibratory frequencies in the mind. 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 other possible benefits inherent in mantras, simply by chanting them we are setting vibrations into motion that shall have an effect. It doesn’t actually matter if we understand the meaning of the sounds or not.
Chanting mantra produces specific vibratory frequency within the body. The sounds and thoughts produced by the body and mind radiate out from you. The vibratory frequency of a mantra draws to you whatever you are vibrating. You are like a magnet attracting vibrations to you by what you send out. As a vibration, a mood, a state of being that results from chanting, mantra is compatible with all belief systems.”
Taken from ~ https://www.3ho.org/kundalini-yoga/mantra
Click here to hear some mantras being sung live – from Santa Fe Community Yoga Center in August 2015.