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Monday, May 30, 2011

Mantra Yoga Stills Monkey Mind

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Each week, we invite a different intuitive to answer a question from a reader. If you'd like to submit a question for Anandra please email her directly.

Free Advice from Intuitive Life Coach, Anandra George

yoga man

Hi Anandra, I do yoga every morning at 4 am and would find it more rewarding if I could still my monkey mind and talk to God. Can you help? Thanx, Rob

Hello my friend, It thrills me to receive such a wonderful question. Your dedication to practice must certainly be bearing many fruits in your life, and the ability to quiet the mind at will is surely ripe for the picking as well.

You seem like a perfect candidate to try mantra yoga. I know of no more effective way to discipline the mind and simultaneously create an environment for natural meditation to occur. By your wish to quiet the mind, I assume you intend to create a space for the awareness of your inner self to dawn, undisturbed by your constant stream of mental chatter.

The beauty of mantra meditation, especially for beginners, is that you don't try to quiet the mind, you just focus its powerful energy and drive on something else more productive. The mind is a perpetual machine that processes and digests information gathered from the senses. As long as you're in a body, it will do its job. You can focus it on a mantra, ancient words of power that create a certain circuitry in your brain, nervous system, and at the more subtle levels, your pranic channels. (That's why people traditionally do the yoga postures anyway, to clear the gross physical levels of the pranic channels, so you can experience the more subtle flow through practices such as pranayama and mantra.)

The science of mantra yoga is brilliant! Though I have been practicing for 15 years, offering private coaching and mantra therapy sessions, and teach mantra workshops internationally, I still consider myself a beginning student. The art and science of sound, word, and thought is as infinite as creation, and exploring it parallels the "journey" of awakening. For me, in fact, it's one and the same.

The Sanskrit alphabet (the root language of traditional mantras) is a metaphysical science in itself. Each mantra creates a specific effect along energy channel junctures in the mouth, via placement of the tongue and the subtle change of airflow with different intonations. The pattern of internal and external sound for each mantra creates a unique kind of "esoteric circuitry," which creates a perfect environment for meditation on specific aspects of Divinity. I could go on and on... but for now, here's what I suggest:

For a few minutes at the beginning of your practice, and again for a longer period at the end, start with chanting Om over and over again slowly. Feel the sound start in your belly with the most natural sound of Aaaaaa...then observe the sound moving to your heart as you close your lips in a circle to make Oooooo...then let the sound draw you inward as it slowly disappears through the top of your head as you close your lips and let your tongue rest on the roof of your mouth with Mmmmm. Rest in the breathless silence after the sound for as long as feels comfortable. Let the next inhale arise naturally. On the exhale, let your jaw and tongue relax as you open your mouth to let the next Aaaaa emerge.

At first you can pay attention to where you feel the sound in your body, or the movement of the tongue and the lips. Close your eyes and rest your inner gaze gently between the eyebrows. Chant Om continuously in this manner for 20 minutes per day, and let me know about your results, please!

Much has been written to explain the meaning of Om, but of course nothing can compare with direct revelation. However, to set a course for your pondering, I suggest you focus your attention on the silence from which the sound emerges. Savor the pause at the beginning and end of the cycles of sound, the pause between breaths that is brief yet timeless. THAT is where the fun begins!

The mind may rattle on, but if you cultivate a space for meditation (and again, I know no more effective means than mantra!), you develop a sort of inner momentum that eventually becomes stronger than the outward momentum of the mind and its continual craving for sense objects.

If and when you're ready for more mantra exploration, I'd suggest you choose one of the great "liberation" mantras, such as: Om Namah Shivaaya Om Namo Bhagavate Vaasudevaaya Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare The Gayatri Mantra (Om Bhur Bhuvah Swaha, Tat Savitur Varenyam, Bhargo Devasya Dheemahi, Dhiyo Yonah Prachodayaat) Shri Raama Jaya Raama Jaya Jaya Raam OmCall me up, and I'd be happy to help you with pronunciation and share the meaning in a non-dogmatic explanation of the mantra's word-parts and overall effect. How exciting for you! I hear from clients and students all the time about how much their new mantra practice is changing their life. What an honor it is to share.

I'm feeling a strong flow of blessings for you as I write this sign-off, and squeezing them into English words is impossible. I hope you can feel them on the inner planes...

With love,

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