3.08.2013

Mind & Body Wellness: Chanting & Using Mantras


aum om chanting mantras mind body wellness heal
aum heals

Chanting is a significant and mysterious practice. 
It is the highest nectar, a tonic that fully nourishes 
our inner being. Chanting opens the heart and 
makes love flow within us.


The mantra is not merely a technique of awakening; 
it is actually and in itself a state of being indicative
 of the presence of divinity.
- Ajit Mookerjee

Can you remember an experience where a particular sound or music stimulated an emotional response in you? Have you ever used music or sound to calm your mind and emotions? Have you ever experienced music or sound as having a healing effect on your body and total well being?

By repeating a simple phrase or sound, the ancient meditative practice of chanting, calms the vibrations of our body and mind and creates resonance. The sounds used in traditional chanting have deeper meanings and can be planted in our consciousness as a form of spiritual growth.

Healing Your Chakras Through Chanting

Chakras, from the tantric and yogic traditions of Hinduism and Buddhism, are centers of Prana, life force, or vital energy. Chakras correspond to vital points in the physical body. Their name derives from the Sanskrit word for “wheel” or “turning.” Each chakra has a specific mantra sound. These are the seed sounds from ancient tantric texts that are believed to access the elemental qualities of the chakras and the vowel sounds which resonate in the body itself. Mantra means instrument of the mind and are used to replace our busy thoughts, whereby cleansing and clearing our mind.

chakras and mantras

Chanting Exercise

From Leah Garfield, Sound Medicine: chant the seed sounds in a specific rhythm nine times each, with a full minute of silence between each chakra.

Chant vowels and focus on opening the part of the body where the chakra resides. Let the sound emerge for a minimum of one minute.

Create Your Own Mantra

Pick the vowel sounds that go with one to three of the chakras you feel need the most healing and attention. Arrange the sounds in a way that sound good for you. For example, if you want to work on the fifth and sixth chakras, you would use Eeee and Mmm. Your mantra might sound like Eemm, Eemm, Eemm.

Sit in meditation toning the mantra sound you have created. Feel it resonate within the chakras. Imagine your chakras expanding or clearing.

Traditional Eastern Mantras

Om
Om (Aum) doesn’t have a meaning but is considered the sound of the universe (the sound of silence, the sound inside your body and all things).

So Hum
So Hum means “I am [all] that [is]” (so = “I am” hum = “that”)
So on the inhale, Hum on the exhale

Om shanti, shanti, shanti
Om shanti, shanti, shanti means Om, peace, peace, peace be to all. (peace in mind, speech, and body); shanti means peace. Om shanti, shanti, shanti (pause, then repeat)

Western Chanting

Christian monks have been chanting the Psalms as a meditative practice for many years. For an interesting looking at the Christian contemplative practice of chanting check out Cynthia Bourgeault's book Chanting the Psalms

Adapted from Anodea Judith's Eastern Body Western Mind: Psychology and the Chakra System as a Path to the Self.  

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