August 2014 By Shameem Akhtar Practising asanas in combination with uttering beej mantras and visualizations, can halt the chattering mind, says Shameem Akhtar In various aspects of yoga, beej mantras – which mean seed sounds – are used as part of the physical practices. In alternate nostril breathing, when beej mantras are used, it becomes a different and complete practice in itself, called samanu. It involves directing the focus of the sound to a particular part of the body where a chakra is believed to be located. Those who have tried it will confess that these two additional aspects, even in a simple ratio, can make you break out in sweat. In fact, samanu may only be initiated and not be practised casually, because it is a practice of tremendous mind control and restraint. Gurus believed that these mind control tricks, in the hands of the ill-intentioned, could prove dangerous. Which is why such practices were not handed out on large scale earlier, as often happens today. Why does the simple practice of a seed sound and visualising combined with focussing on a body part immediately transform an otherwise easy practice into a breathlessly demanding one? This is because even when we hold a pose, the inner static of our mind continues at a subterranean level. Most of this static is how the brain thinks –in pictures and with words. Humming a beej sound and visualising immediately seeks to shut down this static. It can be very tough for beginners, and most often they will be disturbed by this because the natural flow of the mind is being sought to be dammed. They may not have a clue, but even the flow of the mind is a bio-chemical event. The disturbance brought on by the use of beej sound and visualisations is always initially expressed by restlessness in the posture, or pain. The mind seeks to break the posture through bodily discomfort and escape this tremendous demand to shut down. Yoga practice is similar to the lock of Lord Shiva that controls and channelises the tremendously strong river of our mind. Beej mantras and visualisations are the tools in this direction. They raise the asanas to the higher levels of yoga – of pratyahara (involution of the sense), dharana (focus), dhyana (meditation). That may be also why it is difficult, except for an advanced practitioner. But it must remain an aspiration, and constantly attempted, till it comes with ease. Surya namaskar and beej If you are already comfortable with the surya namaskar, you may incorporate this set of six beej mantras for your practice, to create a natural vibration that will protect and strengthen you. They do not have to be said individually for an asana, but may be repeated twice for one sun salutation, meaning four times for a round. It has to just flow with the poses. They are: Om Hram, Om Hrim, Om Hrom, Om Hraim, Om Hraum, Om Hrah. Since it is important to have the sound right, it is ideal to get the help of a Sanskrit expert. Else, you may try to access a reliable online site for the same. Benefits: It spiritualizes your practice. Helps you gain mind control. Trains you in the higher aspects of yoga mentioned above. Author’s Bio: Shameem Akthar has trained as Yoga Acharya with the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Kerala, and is a master-trainer in neuro-linguistic psychology. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org http://jaisivananda.blogspot.com
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