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Mantra Yoga and the Mental Body

Normally our mental bodies release one thousand thoughts per wink of the eye.

Each thought has a vibratory frequency. The thoughts we grab onto and identify with create the shape of our body, our emotional state and the mental body.

The concept of Naad yoga, or Mantra yoga, as it is sometimes called, is to consciously choose what vibrational frequencies we wish to transmit to our total self, and vibrate that in the Shushmana, which is our central core, the master playing string.

What we vibrate, that we become. If our mantra is chronically “I am bad”, or “I am inadequate”, or “I am stupid”, then our body posture takes on the attitude of defeat, our emotional make-up becomes unstable, and our mind tends to vibrate on negative frequencies that resonate with those thought patterns. If our mantra is, “I feel the ecstasy of the indescribable wisdom which takes me from darkness to light and wisdom from ignorance” (the meaning of the Guru mantra waheguru), then our body language takes on the attitude of joy and a fearless confidence. Our emotional life becomes stable, based on infinity, and our mind vibrates with higher thought patterns of compassion and wisdom.

What is a Mantra?

The word mantra can be broken down to its component parts man and tra. Man means “mind” and tra means “wave” or “projection”. Repeating a positive word or vibratory frequency that has an infinite component allows us to create a constant wave motion in the mind, which allows us to change the entrenched patterns of thought and emotions that we all have a tendency to repeat over and over in our lives.

Words are vibrations. Words are energy. Mantras are essentially energy templates designed to have an infinite component. As my teacher Yogi Bhajan used to say, “Habits make the man, and man makes the habits.”

In mathematical symbols, when the negative sign (–) is cut with a positive line through it, it becomes a positive sign (+). That is how mantra works. A negative thought wave cut by a mantra creates a positive thought wave. There is a measurable, predictable and physical effect on our brain chemistry and the state of our physical health, all the way to a cellular level. Stay tuned for more information on this in future blog posts.

Some Basic Mantras

Ong Sohung:

Ong means the creative energy of the sound current.

So Hung means I am that. It gives awareness of reality.


Hum means “We the total universe”. It is the God inside. It opens the heart faster than anything.


Har is green energy; the creative aspect of the earth. This mantra gives prosperity.


Sa means the totality of everything. It gives the experience of oneness.


Ra = sun

Ma = moon

While sun and moon are the literaly translations, this mantra delivers the One beyond the sun and moon.

The Body and the Elements

The Yogic model of the universe considers that all matter is composed of various combinations of the following elements:

Earth ~ Air ~ Water ~ Fire ~ Ether

Take the human body for instance. WATER: We are 70% water right from the start. AIR: We have the air passages in the body. Even a part of every cell contains air molecules. FIRE: The fire element is contained in the digestive processes. ETHER: Present vibrationally everywhere. EARTH: What is left is the Earth element – that little pile of ashes left over after cremation is the part of us that is earth.

Now here’s an experiment: Try recording yourself and your friends for a day and observe how much of our time is spent talking about earth. Where we went, what kind of car, how much it cost. Who did what to whom, when, where, how. It is endless. It’s a small wonder that our mental patterns and chemical secretions in the brain bind us to the earth.

As creatures of the creation we all have a finite part, as well as an infinite part. The idea is that the mantras and combinations of words that make up the Shabd Guru[1] open our mind to much larger vistas. That our mind penetrates the magnetic field of the earth and intuitively experiences the reality that is hidden in the maya or phenomenal world, the world of illusion. Then, when we speak, we automatically in some way relate to infinity every 8 sentences. Our immune system and the neuro-endocrine system will love us for this.


There is one command in the Shabd Guru at the very beginning, where Guru Nanak asks us to “jap” which means to repeat meditatively.

Why do we need to repeat a mantra or a section of the Shabd Guru? Why can’t we do it just once? According to the yogis, it takes forty days to change a habit. Since a pattern takes time to form, then it also takes time to change or transform.

There are many Kundalini Yoga meditations given for varying length of times. However, in general, it is considered a good amount of time to do a meditation for 11 minutes. In the science of numerology 11 is the number of infinity. Or you can double it and do 22 minutes - even better. A 31 minute meditation is considered optimum. Numerologically speaking , 31 minutes reduces to 3 + 1 = 4, and 4 represents the neutral or meditative mind. If you practice the same meditation for 40 days and you will instill the values and vibrations of whichever meditation and mantra that you choose.

The Saaaaaa Meditation

This meditation comes from the ancient musical tradition of India. Sa is the base tone of the Indian musical scale. It means the totality of everything and is the vibrational energetic and tone template of oneness. In life, we can go through it feeling alone, embattled against the world, egotistically feeling that we are doing everything. Or we can feel at one with the cosmos, connecting with a flow of energy, consciousness and intuition that is beyond us. This meditation gives an opening to feel that vastness, that infinity of the cosmos.

To enhance the meditation it is effective to do a yogic long deep breath to create the sound. It is simple. As you inhale, relax the lower abdomen and slightly push it out, allowing the muscles of the abdomen to pull the diaphragm downward. This creates a vacuum in the lower lung cavity which allows the air to flow into the lower parts of the lung, similar to filling a jug with water. Continue filling the lungs until the middle and then the upper portions of the chest cavity are fully expanded. Then, as you exhale, create a column of air upon which you create the sound and tone of Saaaa.

So deeply inhale and begin to chant a long steady Saaaaaaa. The vowel sound rhymes with “fa” or “la” in the western musical scale. As you breathe out, continue to utilize the navel point as a base for the column of air creating the sound. Feel it in your central core and project it out from the third eye point, just above and between the two eyebrows, as if you are sending the sound to the horizon.

It shouldn’t be particularly loud, but project it from the navel. Listen actively to the sound you are creating. Make the sound as long, continuous and steady as possible until your breath is comfortably out. It is sometimes helpful to use a tamboura, harmonium or guitar to create a drone in the key you are singing in to keep the tone steady. Then inhale using the long deep breath described above, and create the sound wave over and over. You can do this meditation for 3, 11, or 31 minutes.

Image credit: Kundalini yoga e mantra: la varietà dei suoni

[1] Shabd Guru - Sha means the ego. Bd means to eliminate or destroy. Gu means darkness/ignorance. Ru means light/wisdom. Thus, Shabd Guru means the sound currents that destroy the ego and bring one from darkness and ignorance to light and wisdom.

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