What have I been singing all this time?
Each Kundalini Yoga class begins with what is known as the Adi mantra, Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo.
This chant is quite a mouthful but it does serve a purpose. The mantra loosely translates to, “I bow to divine wisdom, I bow to the divine teacher within.” It connects you to self-knowledge and they say it even connects you to the wisdom of all teachers through the ages…ie to universal truths.
Here are a few things that happen when you chant this mantra:
1. The mantra is a signal to your body that your practice is about to begin.
The chant brings you to the here and now….you get present.
A good question to ask yourself is: How present are you for your life?
If you find yourself in conversation with one person while texting someone else at the same time, you’re not as present as you’re claiming to be.
Maybe you find when you’re with someone you’re replaying some past drama in your mind. This causes you to repeat the past instead of creating a future together based on your actions in the here and now.
Maybe you’ve driven yourself all the way home and have no recollection of your drive. This is just an example of how often you tune out, and go into auto pilot. There are opportunities around you at all times, have you tuned them out?
Focus and Presence
For your life to be meaningful and have impact, you need to be present. If you’re not, you aren’t bringing your full power to each situation. When it comes time to make critical decisions, that wise part of you might be absent because you’re stuck in the past or completely unfocused by trying to achieve too many things at once.
Multi tasking is a lie. You can do one thing well at a time, or many things poorly. You have to decide what is worth your focus and attention.
The simple tools of a yoga practice, like mantra, cultivate focus and presence. This has far reaching effects that go way beyond the walls of a yoga studio.
Each and everything you do or don’t do, leads you closer or farther from your life goals. If you’re not fully present, you’re not going to make the best life choices.
You’ll say yes to things you never intended to do or miss out on opportunities that are right in front of you because you’re distracted.
2. Beginning class with mantra, instantly connects you to everyone around you through linking your breathing pattern. When you come together to practice as a group, the effects are synergistic. You feed off each other creating stronger energy than you could have created alone. You draw from each other’s strength.
Remember those crazy arm exercises you do in class where you hold your arms up for what feels like years. When the people around you keep their arms up, you’re more likely to as well. You’re carried by your group. Conversely, when you’re not in an uplifting community, you can be dragged down by your group.
You have a profound effect on others in all circumstances. Your every thought, word and action has an effect. Stop pretending that your worries and doubts are benign. They’re not! They affect your ability to live into your potential, and it also negatively impacts people you come in contact with.
If you think the worst of people, they will live up to the expectation you set for them.
If you think the world is a dangerous, terrifying place, then you won’t experience the good that is all around you.
If you’re carrying bitterness and unresolved anger, you poison your present relationships by not having let go of the past.
If you don’t believe you’ll succeed, you won’t
What energy are you bringing to your friends, family and community?
3. The mantra itself is like a kriya (a complete exercise set). It opens the energy channels in your body so your Kundalini energy can rise. Your kundalini energy is your dormant creative potential that you awaken through these practices. And we all know, we’re not yet living to our true potential.
4. Finally, chanting affects the meridian points on your upper palate through movement of the tongue. This stimulates brain function by activating your hypothalamus. The end result is greater awareness. And the very first step to change is awareness.
Kundalini Yoga is known as the yoga of awareness. It’s a practice that awakens you so that you can live into your potential. Over the past twenty years, I’ve been developing a series of four Kundalini Yoga Immersions/Teacher Trainings that do exactly that, awaken your potential.
My next online immersion is focused on the heart chakra. It’s a six day intensive experience to Heal Your Heart. If you’re interested in how Kundalini Yoga can change your life, you can find out more here.