Mantra sound and the psyche

Mantra chanting is said to help develop one’s mental powers and strength, ease stress, and take one to a higher level of consciousness
A ritualistic practice that has lost relevance? Not at all. Chanting still remains a sought-after psychosomatic route to physical and intellectual wellness. Regular chanting of mantras is believed to wipe out fear, anger and depression, and help relieve disorders of the respiratory, digestive, reproductive, circulatory, speech, intellectual and cognitive systems. Vedic chanting is said to help develop one’s mental powers and strength, ease stress, and take one to a higher level of consciousness. Chanting also improves one’s memory and power of concentration, so crucial if one wants to be an achiever.

Sound and the psyche
It seems incredible that mere chanting can bring about these tremendous changes. But a chant does not work in mysterious ways. “Think of this. On the physical level, voicing a chant in a prescribed way impacts the abdominal area (from where the chant notes are raised), the lungs, the circulatory system, and so on,” explains Radha Sundararajan, director of chanting, Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram. Now, research is being done at places such as the Brahmvarchas Shodh Sansthan, a research center for integration of science and spirituality in Haridwar on how exactly a chant works. Chants have been analyzed to be energy-based sounds and voicing a word or a sound produces a physical vibration. Chants thus create thought-energy waves, and the organism vibrates in tune with the energy and spiritual appeal of a chant.

Scientists say that when a mantra is chanted rhythmically, it creates a neuro-linguistic effect. Such an effect occurs even if the meaning of the mantra is not known. “You just need to have a good ear, stay true to the punctuations, pauses, pronunciation, notation, length and the force of the chant and repeat it over and over again. The transformation happens step by step.

Listening to mantras regulates blood pressure, the heart rate, brain waves and the adrenalin level. But, remember, just like regular medicines, there are specific chants for specific purposes.

Spiritual awakening
Chanting eventually makes us meditate. Meditation requires focus, which is difficult to achieve. But, when you chant with concentration, the mind gets focused. “Sometimes, during the course of chanting, you end up in a meditative state without realizing it,”. This is probably why chanting is so good for kids. It synchronizes the body, mind, voice, and breath, creating inner harmony, which paves the way for spiritual awakening.

How to do it:

  • Learn from a guru. Besides teaching you to pronounce a mantra perfectly, a guru knows which mantra you need.
  • Sit on a rug to conserve body energy.
  • Chant slowly and clearly, sticking to the exact pronunciation and emphasis.
  • Synchronize the chant with the rhythm of your breath.
  • Keep your eyes closed.
  • Breathe deep and slow.
  • Don’t hold yourself rigid. Let your muscles relax.
  • Give it time. The effects are slow but sure to come.
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