Kundalini is rising, as London is seeing many more Yoga classes becoming widely available to an emerging tsunami of spiritual seekers hungry from the soul for an experience of higher consciousness, to find deeper meaning and healing in their own lives. Nurturing the spirit is important to our wellbeing, more recently some of us are being invited to online chantathon’s or kirtan events. These are not just another facet of a long love affair with the mysteries of India, chanting along with yoga and meditation is a blissful experience and is here to stay.
Chanting has existed since time immemorial and over 500 years ago, Guru Nanak Dev Ji the founder of the Sikh faith and mystics guided us extensively to the power of repeating mantra’s and introduced us to the mantra Waheguru, simply explained means ‘Oh wow! (Wah) wondrous universe take me from darkness into light (Guru) to connect with and awaken a supreme spiritual energy that resides within us; our natural wisdom and divine intelligence. mindful singing is a way to manage stress, bring harmony into our modern lives. As Belinda Carlisle “says it has the power to fill a hole in the soul”.
Belinda wears the Sohavi Peace Mala in Amazonite with faceted Rose Quartz Guru bead and luxurious silky tassel with gold Zari thread.
If anyone knows the power of chanting Belinda Carlisle does, having lived a hedonistic lifestyle high on drugs for nearly 30 years also as the lead singer of the world’s most successful American girl band the Go- Go’s, and her success a solo artist. Belinda had achieved fame and fortune at a young age with which came pressures and long-term side effects. I had the pleasure to meet Belinda at he London hotel. You can’t help but be in awe of this ageless beauty, with shining eyes and signature red hair. She walked over to where I was with a halo of contentment and confidence, you could only describe as divine grace. The 12 steps programme for alcohol addiction, her practice of Kundalini Yoga and chanting mantras aided her sobriety, which led her to record an album including Gurmukhi mantras from the holy scriptures of the Sikh faith.
Belinda has evolved so visibly from her youth to the current day, consistent effort, strength and determination, seeded from a spiritual practice. She truly is an inspiration which leads me to wonder, more mantra albums perhaps? This will become a pivotal part of her legacy for sure.
Mantra also pronounced mantar meaning mind tool is derived from the Sanskrit words Man meaning mind and Tra meaning tool. The purpose to chanting mantras is to dive deeply into our hearts, from where we can feel peace, free the mind from illusions and material desires, bring the mind back into focus on the present moment. Correct pronunciation, understanding, to feel and embody the meanings of the mantra makes a more potent experience. A certain ecstasy can be experienced when the heart and throat chakra open, resonating throughout the subtle spiritual, emotional and physical bodies.
Let’s demystify chanting, now this is something which modern yogis have not been able to reinvent like yoga. Mantras remain in their original poetry and are described as esoteric codes, the keys to unlock the gate to receive divine treasures which elevate us into a state of oneness. 84,000 meridian points in our mouth are stimulated when chanting, creating wonderful mood changing effects in our entire body which can reduce anxiety and really help us to get in touch with our feelings, making us feel pleasure, joy, healing and give us greater insight and wisdom into our own lives. Science has been exploring the effect of music and the vibration of sound, which activates certain regions of the brain releasing endorphins. A certain harmony and balance is achieved when we listen to music and chanting with focus, our brain fires symmetrically, and part of our brain called the corpus callusom enlarges, which connects the right and left brain together in a sense of oneness.
Ancient wisdom has described listening to devotional chanting and kirtan as sound medicine. There is a certain comfort in hearing soulful chanting which activates the body’s natural intelligence to heal itself. It feels like the spirit just understands, regardless of the sophistication of the language or even pronunciation. Whether we are listening or chanting, it touches our hearts to expand a deeper awareness of ourselves, and it doesn’t matter how we sound to others it really makes sense to try it. Many of us want to explore and experience eternal love and energy, God or call it universal truth, source energy, we are looking for ways to create a direct communication with our creator through yoga, pranayama and prayer. Some of us are content with the feeling of wellness it delivers.
If one is not raised in any particular faith or belief system, where exactly does one start to search for a mantra? Positive affirmations could be considered modern mantras although not recited the same way a Gurmukhi or Sanskrit mantra. Many of us who have experienced Kundalini Yoga will have been introduced to some of the Sikh mantras and those that have experienced the benefits of this style of yoga will eventually be able to determine that chanting mantra is the powerful key to unlock the doorway through which lie other worldly and miraculous effects on personal transformation taking us to a space, far deeper inside and beyond the stretch of a yoga posture.
Chanting regularly can imbue a sense of wellbeing. Singing from our heart is closely connected to our nervous system, our breath and it fine tunes our inner wisdom, vibration of our voice gently cleanses our emotions, it’s like super charged devotional worship or self-care. When we think kind loving thoughts, the salvia feels different in the mouth so in the same essence when we chant our heart and throat chakras open, our saliva production increases, it’s juicier, infused with the mantra, it yields a new higher frequency magical energy. The ecstasy we feel when chanting is called Amrit Ras meaning sweet nectar in (Sikh philosophy) medicinal in spirit which when swallowed has the healing powers of a holistic elixir. A healthier alternative to the latest trend of microdosing illegal substances to be in states of peak performance.
Significant to practice of chanting is the use of prayer beads. In India mala’s (meaning garland) have been used since the 5th Century BC. A practice adopted by the spread of Buddhism. Different cultures around the world, have used different materials for their prayer beads, natural gemstones have also been worn for protection. Some beliefs originate in superstition and some have mythological representations.
Chanting a mantra on each individual bead is counted as a prayer and modern yogis consider it to be a kind of brain training, inner engineering. When seeds are thrown onto the earth, they land in different ways, the seeds facing sideways or downwards will still find their way up to grow into the light. The same way chanting is like planting the seed of nirvana, it will blossom. There are many benefits of chanting, aligning authentically with our soul purpose, feeling one with nature, doing work we enjoy, finding harmony in our relationships, acting from love and kindness and learning to manage our ego, finding ways to serve others and flourishing creatively being in our natural flow.
Try practicing a mantra meditation with a mala, find a comfortable seated position such as easy pose. Start by relaxing the breath, observing the flow of the breath through the nose gently coming in through the nose and leaving the nose, remembering to take long deep slow breaths from deep within the belly. A simple mantra to get you started, Waheguru, holding the mala in your right hand and let it drape between your middle and index finger. Touch the Guru bead, your starting point, use your thumb to draw the next bead over your thumb. As you move your fingers to the next bead, recite your mantra out loud from your heart, as a whisper, or silently in your mind on each bead, continue until you feel the guru bead again you would have recited it 108 times, one can continue for as many times as one chooses. The ideal time to have a meditation practice is in Amrit vela - the ambrosial hours are considered auspicious, between 3.00 am 6.00am when it is calm and peaceful.
The Sohavi collection includes a beautiful collection of natural gemstone Mala’s called Mahi with luxurious tassels that are the perfect faith tool for chanting. Designed from the heart finished by hand.