Many people who practice yoga to exercise and relax may have never heard of mantra chanting and its effects. However, one should be aware that in the vast territory of the science of yoga, the postures occupy only about one tenth of it. All the rest of the yogic science has to do with the mind. And training the mind is the actual goal of yoga.
One could say that asana only prepares the soil to receive the seed of light. While Sanskrit mantra has been the vehicle for realization for thousands of years in the various spiritual traditions of the world, only in very recent years it has been investigated by scientists. And the results are amazing!
Mantra Yoga Explained by Science
Repetition has been found to profoundly alter the type and intensity of the brain waves, and initiate changes in the physiological systems of the body. Every mantra has a specific sound and when it is produced, scientists found that the brain wave patterns are altered. Yoga Masters have also said that when such a sound is produced, it modifies the formations of the mind. When it is done with awareness of all the thoughts that enter the mind, the repetition of mantras is one of the best methods to purify the mind.
The literal meaning of the Sanskrit word mantra is freedom from the mind, in the sense of liberation from the unstoppable motion of thoughts. We have always understood the mind as a process of thinking, but mind doesn’t equal thought. Thoughts and feelings are only expressions of the mind and not the mind itself.
We can compare the mind with the operating system of a computer. It is the platform for all programs, and each program consists of certain thoughts and feelings. Can you tell which program is running every time? Yes, you can; if you cultivate your awareness with the aid of mantra.
Conceived thousands of years ago by ancient yogis in deep meditation state and later depicted in the Vedic scriptures, mantra sounds were specifically composed to penetrate the analytical mind and affect our nervous system directly. During practice, the intellectual understanding of the mantra is not necessary. Since mantra is an assembly of powerful sound waves, it is not the meaning, but the sound waves created that influence the brain and the surrounding environment.
What we are trying to do through mantras, is to access levels of consciousness and healing that are submerged in the depths of our awareness. There are also therapeutic effects of Sanskrit chants that lie in the position of the tongue when you pronounce each word. The rich phonetics of Sanskrit strike the palate at multiple reflex points, stimulating inactive parts of the brain that enhance the circulation and flow of energy.
Sound is a force, and this force creates ripples in the vast ocean of the cosmos. And just as radio waves, they can't be heard even though they pass through the atmosphere. In the same way, a mantra has its own field by which it travels. In this universe which we see around us, there are thousands of channels of waves. In addition, there are layers or zones in which different waves travel. For example, in one them, you can find radioactivity; in another layer, electromagnetic waves; in a third one, all our thought waves.
Mantra to Block Negativity
Every day, unhealthy subliminal messages tell us we are not good enough, not beautiful enough or not powerful enough. Then there are other factors, such as the ways in which our society grades our racial, economic, or professional background, which causes us to send negative messages to our nervous system. Mantra yoga enables us to cut through these illusions of the world.
Mantras are like programmed vehicles that transport us to spiritual realities and states of mind that we often lose sight of. Either because we are burdened with cares, or exhausted by the perception of popular culture. At the very least, mantra yoga offers us a way to rise above the conditionings of mental patterns, in order to view life from a different perspective of healing and enlightenment. Mantras can help us circle back to the simplistic approach to life and focus on those things that inspire us and truly make us happy.
The deeper layers of mind are not rational. The vast unexplored labyrinths of the subconscious mind cannot be grasped by purely intellectual or objective means. It is a world where symbolism, color and sound vibrations are the matrices and it can only be unlocked by the correct focus and awareness into deeper consciousness. Every sound corresponds to a different archetype form inside the brain, where the process of all knowledge takes place. Mantra is the vehicle to short circuit the rational and intellectual processes that hinder our consciousness.
Healing through mantra
The true purpose of mantra is to clear obstacles in spiritual growth and bring enlightenment or spiritual awakening. Healing and enlightenment are really two sides of the same coin: it is not possible to have one without the other. To commit to enlightenment is to commit to the deep healing that is necessary to detoxify on all levels: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Mantra yoga can greatly assist in this process.
We are aware that the mind is very powerful. We cannot fight the mind, we must use a mantric tool to re-program it. A good place to start using it is in the course of a mantra yoga retreat, where an experienced teacher can guide the first steps of your practice. A new beginning lies ahead and it is mantra meditation!
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