Sound Meditation or Yoga of Sound
Updated: Jun 4, 2020
There are different types of sound meditation which use the sound of singing bowls, Chrystal bowls, Gongs or other musical instruments to focus on the mind. The most accessible and natural is to use the sound of your own voice while chanting Hindu Mantras.
Many people ask can we chant something familiar not strange Mantras which we do not understand, the answer is yes you can chant translation of Mantra or your own positive affirmation and you could feel the psychological effect of it on you. For example if you need strength to take challenging decision in life, you can chant positive affirmative phrase which will infuse you with self-confidence in your capabilities.
However the chanting of Mantra in it's original language not familiar to you works differently, it dis-attach the mind form the word it'self and let it focus totally on the sound which convey the energy of strength but not through the meaning but sound vibrations. How it is possible? Ancient sages of India found that sound has very profound effect on our brain, certain combination of sounds could evoke certain emotions and release them. For example the sound Ma would evoke the compassion, deep unconditional love and which are associated in our brain with love to our mother. Sound of Ra would evoke joy and happiness, Sh would bring into silence the thoughts and etc. So by chanting Mantra we access our subconscious mind and may relax mind much quicker than if simply say relax. By relaxing our mind we could connect to our deep consciousness which according to Yoga philosophy is divine in nature and a part of universal consciousness.
The sound of mantra is like a vehicle which brings us to our internal wisdom, to our true self through the debris of thoughts, emotions, fears. There are different Mantras which can evokes different qualities inside, but they all come from one internal source of wisdom, the Divine nature inside. There is no restriction to religion because the essence of any mantra is all-inclusive compassion which cannot contradict to any religion.
There are basically two types of chanting Mantras: melodic style accompanied with musical instrument called Kirtan and repetitive meditative style sometimes accompanied by drums. Kirtan become very popular not only in India but all of the world because it is very pleasant, uplifting and joyful practice and has very positive effect on mental state. During Kirtan all audience participate in group chanting, people can sit or stand or even dance, all people celebrate the divine nature inside and feel deep connection within and with each other.
The second type is repetitive meditative practice of chanting, which sometimes accompanied by drums and could be practices during long period. It is also very popular among Buddhists and considered powerful meditative practice which have magic powers. There are legends which say how Mantras can protect form misfortune or afflictions. My personal experience form chanting Mantra makes me belief that Manatra chanting can release deep hidden emotions and help to attain stillness and piece as in silent meditation.
My initiation to sound meditation was with Yogi Ashokananda, true master of Yoga and Meditation and later I learned different Mantras from other western and Indian Kirtan leaders. In my own practice I start with Kirtan which helps to relax, release any tension and emotions. Then very I gradually move to more meditative, repetitive way of chanting mantra until the sound become heard only internally followed by the state of deep meditation, focusing on deep sensation of internal stillness and blissful peace inside. If practised regularly sound mediation can release deep hidden emotions from the past and could be used during the day to find peace and internal strength when needed.
We will start the practice with very pleasant melodic chanting of simple mantras like Om gradually moving to more meditative way of chanting focusing more and more on the sounds of mantras and their effect on whole body.
I would be happy to share this beautiful practice with others.