Yoga, Ayurveda and acro yoga in Budapest - classes, philosophy also in English

2011. január 24., hétfő

Surya Namaskar with Mantras - the power of sound

It truly is a fantastic feeling when you dear readers start to reach out to me. These days, I got letters from complete strangers with comments and suggestions, and I am really happy. Please do continue to communicate with me and I will answer.

This post is also inspired by such a request. Someone asked me to share the Sun salutation mantras (since I mentioned these mantras in previous posts) and to give advice on their practice.

Before getting into the practicalities, I must tell you why is sound and mantra is so important. According to Yoga and Ayurveda, everything came from the element of Ether. This is the first element, the basis of creation. Ether is the Space in which things can manifest. It is the environment in which sound can propagate and therefore Ayurveda links the sense organ of hearing to this element (Ayurveda makes a connection between the five senses and the five elements). In Yoga, the word AUM or Om, the creative power and supreme consciousness itself, also exists in this space and created all things from this starting point. It is a nice parallel to notice that the Bible also explains the story of Creation from the same perspective: "In the beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god." (John 1:1).
The link between the words AUM, Om and Amen is also interesting. They appear to be the different aspects of the same thing. Om means a great "YES" as a Hungarian Hinduist monk explained it to me. Om, Yes, that is why it is so good to open and close the yoga class with a healthy Om. Yes, say Yes, be present in that ninety minutes, look inside, accept yourself and create. Yes.
In Christian circles you have Amen, "Let it be". If this were the Omega of the Yes initiated by Om. Let thy will be done, Amen, let it be ... as it is. Just ponder on this and see if you can see any connections.

The word, the sound has great potential. The vibration of sound can be physically demonstrated and vibration equals to energy. And if all is made up of energy, then you can see why sound is so powerful. It has a great impact not only on our emotional state, but it directly changes our physical reality. See the amazing pictures taken by Emoto, the Japanese scientist, who demonstrated that even words, the unmanifested sounds have such an incredible vibration and energy. The structure of the water changed dramatically reacting to the different words. Just watch this breathtaking video.

This is exactly how mantras operate. First we repeat them out loud to fill the space and to feel their vibration, taste and sound. In the same time, by outer repetitions you will form a mental image in your mind which you may later remember internally. This is how the mantra integrates into your mind and permeates its deeper levels, and this is how it will transform you from the inside. The internal silent repetition fills the space of the mind and stops the fluctuations of thinking. In a natural way it focusses the mind. You may see as the eight steps or limbs of yoga are getting realized: withdrawal of the senses (pratyahara) as you start repeating the mantra, then concentration (dharana), as you pour more of your focus on the mantra, and slowly you will get to the meditative state (dhyana), to that inner stillness in which your mind calms down, and the supreme consciousness, the light and truth of Purusha can finally shine through (samadhi).

Surya Namaskar starts with asanas, or sequences of asanas, and as the yogi evolves he or she can coordinate better the breath with the movement (pranayama). And if all these are masterd, the you may add the mantra, and suddenly start using pratyahara, dharana and dhyana in your practice. Thus it is clear why people call Sun Salutes one of the most complete yoga exercises. Out of the eight steps of yoga (yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, samadhi, see the previous blogs), you can see that Surya Namaskar touches at least upon six elements, but it is capable of including all the eight.

So here at the end, let us see the mantras. You have two options. Either use the bija or seed mantras for each pose (six mantras repeated twice in one set) or repeat the full mantras before starting the exercise on one side. In this latter case, you repeat the mantras in the order given every time you stop in Tadasana, either chanting externally or repeating it in your mind. To do the full mantras you shall practice six rounds (one round means repeating the exercise on the right and left sides too).

Bija mantras:
Om Hram
Om Hrim
Om Hrum
Om Hraim
Om Hraum
Om Hraha

Full mantras:
Om Hram Mitraya Namaha
Om Hrim Ravaye Namaha
Om Hrum Suryaya Namaha
Om Hraim Bhanave Namaha
Om Hraum Khagaya Namaha
Om Hraha Pushne Namaha

Om Hram Hiranyagarbhaya Namaha
Om Hrim Maricaye namaha
Om Hrum Adityaya Namaha
Om Hraim Savitre Namaha
Om Hraum Arkaya Namaha
Om Hraha Bhaskaraya Namaha

Good vibes to all of you.

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