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300Hrs Yoga Teacher Training

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Bonus. Meaning and Importance of Mantra Chanting

Mantra Yoga

Meaning & Importance of Mantra Chanting
In all spiritual traditions, Mantra Yoga or Meditation is regarded as one of the safest, easiest, and best means of systematically overhauling the patterns of consciousness in order to awaken higher experience and to sustain a higher voltage of energy. Mantras have been seen and developed by the –Rishis (Sages), the inner alchemists – is a science-based on the realization of the omnipotent power of the eternal sound.

Therefore the sages are known as mantra “Drashta” – the visionaries of mantras. The regular practice of Mantra helps in psychic and spiritual purification.

Whenever a mantra is intoned or chanted in a specific rhythmic manner, its associated sonic waves expand in a specific pattern and after traversing across the layers of energy-particles in the surrounding space reach and penetrate the corresponding cosmic nuclei of divine powers.

Mantras are impulses or rhythms of the consciousness. Mantra is a sound vibration, used to free the mind from its obsessive nature. The definition of mantra is: “MananaTrayate iti Mantrah” – The definition of the word mantra is ‘liberating the mind from its obsessive involvement in tensions, worries, and anxieties’.

Sound belongs to “Space” Element. The whole work of Yoga to develop the ever-expanding space within us or how to enhance our consciousness.

Yoga says the sound is the basic ingredient of Energy. Hence sound is one of the powerful and easiest tools to experience higher energy and consciousness.

Mantras – Sound vibrations permeate every cell of your being and allow your mind to dissolve and repose. Every vibration has a frequency. Sound can easily change the behavior of any living being.

If one plays rock music, the behavior of living beings is different from when one plays classical music. One form of sound vibration i.e. classical music relaxes, another form of sound vibration i.e. rock music stimulates. That is easily evident in the music that some types of music bring peace and some make the listener move and dance.

Mantra is more subtle, for the sound vibrations of mantra work at the Pranic level and Conscious level of a living being. For example, if you use the mantra “Om Namah

Shivaya”- from the religious perspective, ‘Om Namah Shivaya’ means ‘I Salute Shiva’. From the yogic perspective, Om is the seed mantra (Bija mantra) of Ajna Chakra, the Sixth Centre. ‘Na & Ma’ are sounds of the Fifth Centre, Vishuddhi chakra. ‘Shi & Va’ are sounds of the Second Centre, Swadhisthana Chakra. ‘Ya’ is the sound of the Heart, Anahata Chakra.

These are the sounds or mantras, which correspond to the chakras in the body. In yoga, when you say ‘Om Namah Shivaya’, you are actually affecting and altering the behavior of the Shakti in these Subtle Energy Centers.

In mantra chanting the main focus on listening to the sound of the mantra and feeling its vibration on body mind and heart. It is realigning, rebalancing the body, mind, and heart to enter into a state of higher consciousness.

Mantra helps to release the repressed emotions and conditionings from the unconscious and subconscious mind. Mantra is also an effective means of developing a platform of ‘witness awareness’ where the practitioner can watch the different thoughts, feelings, and sensations of the body.

Four Stages of Mantra Chanting or Mantra Awareness

1) Vaikhari
The initial or first stage of Mantra Chanting is known as “Vaikhari”. In this stage a mantra should be chanted aloud. This is especially useful in stabilizing the patterns of consciousness when the mind is disturbed or highly distracted.

2) Upanshu
The next stage is Upanshu, or whispered repetition. In this stage a mantra should be chanted by using lips but without producing any sound.

3) Manasik
The next stage is Manasik (Mental), where the practitioner chant or intone the mantra mentally without even using the lips. The most powerful and subtle form of mantra chanting is on the mental plane. This is the form which is being widely investigated for its physiological and psychological effects in many laboratories around the world today.

4) Shravana
The next stage is Shravana, just listen the inner sound with full awareness and alertness. Complete stop of chanting. Just remaining a witness to all sounds within and listen them carefully without any judgment of good or bad.

Other Forms of Mantra Yoga
Mantra Yoga can be practiced in many ways. One of the best and simplest is the repetition of the mantra using a mala. Here a fixed number of rounds of the mala are undertaken each day as instructed by the guru.

This Sadhana is known as Japa Anushthana, where the aspirant makes a resolve to complete the required number of rounds each day.

Another form of mantra repetition is the synchronization of the mantra with the inflowing and outflowing breath.