Friday, August 2, 2013

Raising the Chakra Consciousness

I got involved with sound baths and working with music as part of my own meditation process before I practiced yoga regularly. For me, as a poet, and a writer, I always had words.  Early on in college I got into hand drumming...had an excellent teacher who taught me about listening, hearing multiple layers of sounds at once and how they relate to one another. Through drumming, I was creating sound and even music with my hands. When I was playing, I didn't have words. These few moments of wordlessness was a liberating experience! 

Singing in Sanskrit later, during the start of my yoga practice, was also interesting because I was using words but didn't know what I was saying. Sometimes my words weren't even what my teacher was singing. Her advice was for me to close my eyes, feel the sounds, and join in. So I started with making sounds through instruments, and then making sounds with my own body.

Sound work requires us to be vulnerable and open-minded because it’s in the trying of something different that we notice something different about ourselves.  

One way to think of sound healing work is like conducting an orchestra. The orchestra has many parts and can make many sounds, and as a whole creates a concert. The body has trillions of cells that all have a frequency, and when some of the cells are “out of tune,” the whole organism can feel out of synch.

The subtle body system (sometimes referred to as the chakra system or energy body) and its landmarks (chakras) represent one map to understand the nature of human being.  Each chakra can be thought of like a landmark on this “subtle body map” intended to help us, the traveler, navigate the somewhat unfamiliar territory of the human condition. Each chakra  has a natural frequency that when perceived as sound, can be heard like the sound of a syllable. These are the bija mantras. Each bija has it's own distinct sound, tone, frequency, and can be used like a mantra to bring about an awareness to the varied aspects of what each chakra represents. Many traditions have interpreted the ideas represented in this map and will describe in greater or lesser detail the information that I am providing here.

Chakra: A Sanskrit word meaning “wheel,” or “disk,” identifying major energy hubs that can correspond to the physical body and nerve ganglia branching out from the spinal column.  Each hub associates with generalized states of consciousness, archetypes of human development, and functions of various physical body parts and systems.  It may be helpful to think of chakras as an extended metaphor for seeing aspects of the human condition.

Bija: Sanskrit word meaning “seed.” Yogic history states that each letter of the Sanskrit alphabet is the resonant vibration of an aspect of the material universe.

Mantra: Sanskrit term meaning “tool of the mind,” and serves to train cognitive (mentalistic) functions. Mantras can be a syllable, like “Om,” a phrase like, “Om Mani Padme Om.” It can be said aloud or in the mind, sung and hummed. It works by quieting the mental “noise,” through saying, thinking or singing it repeatedly.   

Bija Mantra: The seed sound of an energetic hub (chakra) in the material body, and identifies the most primary sound vibration corresponding to that chakra center. When a yogi practices with mantra, mental “noise” quiets, and the meditation [in this case, a full understanding on the bija and what it represents] can be attained.

Sound and Modes of Healing:  Sound healing is a mode of therapy that uses sound to affect the material body on a cellular level. Our cells and everything they make up has its own resonant frequency, and as a whole, generates a composite frequency like the instruments in an orchestra. Our body is made of 60-70% water, and water is a strong conductor of sound. Empirical support from the Western, scientific community is proving what the ancient Eastern traditions knew all along – that sound can bring us back into states of wellbeing, without the use of invasive surgeries or chemicals.

Chakra Name
Bija Sound
Region of Physical Body
Relationship Focus
Function it serves
Crown of Head
culmination of  6 chakras
Energetic body/
Center of Brain behind the mid-forehead
Sensory body/
Clarifying, Seeing
Spinal area of the throat
Personality body/
Vibratory, Symbolism
Spinal area of the heart
memory body/
Relational, Integrating
Spinal area behind the sternum
 mental body/

Spinal area above sacrum
emotional body/

Coccyx bone at base of spine
physical body/
Foundational, Grounding

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