I am still blissed out from co facilitating my first retreat with Leslie Rose in Sorrento, BC this past weekend. The willingness and openness of those in attendance was beautiful to witness. There really are no words to describe being in community with people as they allow themselves to listen and unconditionally and deeply open their hearts and minds to themselves. It was truly an honour to guide and hold space for all. My heart is forever changed.
We recorded a few mantras during the weekend and I am going to share them with you a little further on in this post. Some of you may be asking “what is Mantra?”. Let me explain.
Mantra is a sound, syllable or utterance repeated to aid in one pointed focus while meditating. A mantra can be as simple as a word “love,” “peace,” “something you are thankful for,” or a phrase such as Om Shanti Om which represents all encompassing peace. Mantra elevates or modifies consciousness through its sound, rhythm, tone and reflexology of the tongue against the palate of the mouth.
Today, science sees the whole of existence as reverberations of energy, different levels of vibrations. Where there is energy, there is vibration and where there is vibration there is bound to be sound. According to the Buddist Handbook, mantras are “highly compressed, power-packed formulas, usually of Sanskrit origin, which are charged with deep meaning and energetic potency.”
Mantra works on our energetic body (Pranamaya Kosha) by vibrating the energy centres (Chakras) of the body, burning up Karma, both positive and negative and energizing Prana (our vital energy or life force, also known as Qi in Chinese Medicine). The repetition of mantra helps to quiet the anxious chatter of the mind (Chitta Vritti). All these things combined make mantra a powerful healing tool.
Om Shanti Om, means all encompassing peace. Listen to the sound, notice the subtle vibration in your body and join in aloud or repeat Om Shanti Om silently in your mind. Chant with sincerity and anytime you wonder away, notice and bring yourself back to focusing on the sound of the mantra.
The second mantra is Om Gum Ganapatayei Namaha, which can be loosely translated Yo! Wake up root chakra (Gum) energy of transformation so I can move through obstacles that are in my awareness and outside of my awareness currently. The seed sound Gum resides in the first chakra, called Muladhara, which means “base of support” and is located in the base of the pelvis in the area of the perineum located between the pubic bone and the sacrum and the sitting bones.
The muladhara chakra is the principle origin from which manifesting energy resides in us. When the first chakra is balanced, we sense ourselves fully supported in all moments, experience a strong sense of self, express Divine love and communicate clearly.
This particular mantra is important because chanting it represents our willingness to release and move past the perceived and unknown obstacles in our lives.
I am offering something to go along with the above mantras – mudras. I’ll focus on two mudras which are gestures of the hands used to communicate our intention.
Hand mudras have been used for thousands of years as a vehicle for healing and awakening. A few examples of hand gesture you have likely seen are palms pressed together in prayer position and taking an oath in a court of law, where one hand, palm down on the bible and the other hand is raised.
Our fingers contain a large number of sensory and motor nerve endings, making them a powerful vehicle for communicating directly with the brain and the rest of the body. Each finger is traditionally related to one of the five elements, and specific finger combinations offer a wide range of possibilities for balancing the elements and optimizing health. There are meridians, energy channels throughout the fingers and palms. The hands are thought by some to be extensions of our heart too. So you see hands are super charged instruments of healing too.
Both these mudras act as support for Om Gum Ganapatayei Nahama mantra and can be used as you chant or on their own.
Chinmaya Mudra – For Balancing the First Chakra
- Curl your fingers into a fist, with thumbs outside.
- Touch tips of the index fingers to the tips of the thumbs, forming a circle.
- Rest hands with palms down onto your thighs, knees or at your sides if laying down.
- Relax shoulders back and down, with the spine naturally aligned.
This gesture slows the breath, naturally lengthening the exhalation, instilling a sense of serenity, which allows us to meet our survival needs objectively. It calms the body and mind helping to reduce stress, fear and anxiety. As fear and anxiety are released, sensations of inner peace and harmony are awakened. This mudra helps to move energy downward so it is helpful on days when you feel as though you are spinning or in your head turning over thought after thought.
Ganesha Mudra – Protection for New Beginnings
- Interlace the fingers to the outside, with right thumb on top.
- Extend the middle fingers forward, and wrap the index fingers around them.
- Place the thumbs side by side, joined along their length, onto the middle fingers.
- Rest the wrists onto the solar plexus.
- Relax the shoulders down, with the elbows slightly away from the body and the spine naturally aligned.
Ganesha mudra directs breath, awareness and energy into the base of the body, abdomen and solar plexus, creating a massaging effect that supports digestion and elimination. This gesture enhances our overall level of energy and vitality in order to manifest our plans and projects easily. Ganesha mudra instills a clear sense of direction, which helps us choose our projects carefully and implement them with a sense of unshakable confidence and absolute trust, wisdom and clarity.
Ganesha mudra is more energizing than Chinmaya mudra. Both mudras are grounding and centering.
Try one mudra for a period of time, a week or two weeks. Then try the other mudra and note what each offers you.
If you need support or have questions as you explore working with the above mantras or mudras email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If working with these mantras and mudras has piqued your interest consider joining me
October 17- November 28, 2016 for an Online 7 Week course
Transitioning into Fall – Breath, Movement, Mantra & Mudra practices for Balancing Energy
*Registration open August 1, 2016*