I am a 26 year old husband, father, musician, and massage therapist. I began my journey as a progressive health care practitioner when I decided to go vegan. The compassion I learned for other sentient beings taught me compassion for this Earth we call home, and made me grateful that the same home has provided us with what we need to thrive sustainably if we listen to Nature's wisdom.
Everything in this Universe vibrates on a specific wavelength and these wavelengths can be manipulated. An example is the opera singer that sings a pitch high enough to shatter glass. Learning how to manipulate your own vibrations is vital to finding harmony and balance in your own life. It may seem difficult at first, but by understanding the tantra of sound it becomes a more attainable goal. So before I get started, let me clarify the word tantra. In western cultures the word tantra is synonymous with sex, but in all truth that is not the case. Tantra is Sanskrit, and like most ancient languages this word does not have just one meaning that can be applied in translation. It is often translated as “continuum” or “unbroken stream” and in some cases “web” or “warp” encompassing all things. Tantra represents the connectedness of energies between all things in this and all planes of existence. Broken down the word Tantra is made by the combination of two words tattva (the science of cosmic principles) and mantra (the science of mystic sound and vibrations). Tantric practitioners concentrate on expanding all levels of consciousness uncovering and experiencing the supreme reality of the absolute. This is done by symbolically uniting the two polar opposite energies of masculine and feminine, ultimately transcending that idea by overcoming the illusion of duality of male and female.
Sound is the unifying aspect of tantra, the web that connects all existence. Sound is the source of all being and has been widely understood by many religions and mystics for ages. Just look at the Old Testament of the Bible, sound is the first creative act of God, preceding the manifestation of Light. The act of speaking is what creates the energy of Light. “And the Lord said ‘Let there be Light!’ and there was Light!” The Hopi have a legend of a Spider Woman who sang songs of creation to inanimate forms on the planet and brought them to life. In Egypt the god Thoth would think of an object, speak its name, and bring it into being. In the East, gods and goddesses blow conch shells or hit gongs, bringing the universe into creation. These stories, legends, and myths are found all over this world in cultures that give reverence to sound and understand the power that lies with it. Even the great mathematician Pythagoras taught about how sound could be used to heal body and spirit. Pythagoras believed that the sounds of the heavenly bodies or “Music of the Spheres,” could be realized and was reflected in the sounds of vibrating strings. His initiates went through different levels learning the secrets of acoustic proportions and ultimately the transformative and healing energies of sound. Music was not seen as it is today as just an art form; rather it was a way of using energy and power. It is to be respected and studied as a sacred science. That’s because they knew that everything is sound. Think of it this way, the electrons moving around a nucleus of an atom (building block of life) conceptually it is putting out vibrations which can be perceived as sound audible or not.
Everything in the universe vibrates and has its own resonant frequency, including the human body. To understand resonance take two tuning forks of the same pitch strike one and observe the effect is has on the other. The tuning fork that was not struck will begin to sound as a result of resonating with the other. The basis of sound healing is to restore the correct vibratory resonance to that part of the body, be it the blood, bones, or even organs. It’s not even just about the resonance either, there are also many rhythms of the body including our heart rate, breathing rate, craniosacral rhythm, and others. Our understanding of how we experience sound is very limited. Most of us believe that sounds are just picked up by the ears and signals are sent to the brain, but there is much more to it. It has been found that sound affects nearly all of the cranial nerves, particularly the tenth one which effects the larynx, the bronchi, the heart and the gastrointestinal tract. So in turn sounds affect our voice, breathing, heart rate, and digestion. I say that to bring up the fact that external sounds and actions (vibrations) have an effect on the body. Think of the body as a symphony orchestra, when everything is at its correct resonance you have harmony and balance, otherwise you have dissonance, disharmony, and dis-ease. The beautiful thing however is that just like an orchestra your body can be fine-tuned.
So I’m sure at some point you have heard of chakras, if not here’s a crash course. Chakra is a Sanskrit word, meaning wheel. They are sensed and seen as spinning discs or wheels of energy, and there are seven main chakras aligned vertically along the body. They are the Base (Muladhara), Sacral (Svadhisthana), Navel (Manipura), Heart (Anahata), Throat (Vishudda), Brow (Ajna), and Crown (Sahasrara) Chakras. Each has an element, organ/organ system, an associated color and can be affected using sound. There are also characteristics associated with the chakras, check out this chart (Finding Balance) to gain a little understanding of healthy and unhealthy chakras. Apparently there are mantras that can be chanted that are associated with each chakra. These mantras resonate with the chakras, bringing energy to them thus balancing them. While there is power in mantras, those are a lesson for another post. For this post I will teach an exercise using vowels as mantras. These vowels were found to resonate with very specific areas of the body, the chakras more specifically.
Before we start find a quiet room where you won’t be disturbed and either lie down on your back or sit. Take a slow, controlled, deep breathe into your belly and exhale just as slowly and controlled. Continue breathing as needed while bringing your attention inward. Remember to observe the silence between toning and be gentle while toning; there is a certain subtlety necessary when working with energy.
- Root Chakra – Now with a clear mind and heart focus on the space between the genitals and the anus and visualize the color red. Close your eyes and make the UH sound (as in “huh”) seven times. Feel the vibration in that area and become aware of the energy center associated with this area is resonating and becoming balanced
- Sacral Chakra – Bring your attention to the space about 3 inches below your belly button. With eyes closed visualize the color orange while making the OOO sound (as in “boo”) seven times. Feel the energy balancing and aligning with the Root chakra.
- Navel Chakra – It helps to visualize the color yellow for this chakra, and the sound is OH (as in “go”). Direct your attention to your navel while toning and allow yourself to feel the aligning and balancing with the other chakras.
- Heart Chakra – The sound for this chakra is the AH sound (like in “father”). Like before make the sound seven times bringing your attention to your heart and feeling the balancing and aligning of the other chakras. With eyes still closed, visualize the color green and or the color pink. Remember to sit in silence in between toning and between chakras.
- Throat Chakra – The color that compliments this chakra is Light Blue and the sound is EYE (like “I”).
- Brow Chakra – The color for this chakra is Indigo and the sound to tone is AYE (as in “say”).
- Crown Chakra – This is the last chakra located above the head and the corresponding color is Violet. The sound is EEE (as in “be”) and is naturally the highest sounding vowel you will tone. I didn’t mention pitch before because I don’t want you thinking about pitch while doing this meditation; the vowels being sounded will ascend innately in your natural voice.
- Finally after all of the chakras have been completed sit in the silence and breathe. Feel the energy flow and balancing of the chakras. Allow yourself to be present in what ever you may be experiencing; a good 10 to 15 minutes should be good. As you prepare to come back into your body and ground yourself follow these simple steps. Tone a mid range AH sound three times to bring the energy back down to your heart space, then tone the low UH sound three times to bring the energy down to the root chakra. This entire exercise can take between 30 minutes to an entire hour depending on how good of a meditation you get into.
The silence in between is vital to allowing yourself the space to experience whatever may come up. You see this form of meditation is very powerful, and even the most active minds can lose themselves in this meditation practice and find themselves in that trance. That is why it is Important to come back in a controlled manner and not just hop up and leave. The great thing about doing this is that the effects are lasting. It is often expressed that this type exercise can make it easier to enter meditative states. Toning these sounds this way can alter your body’s frequency and may vary from person to person. Some would compare the experience to being under the influence of a psychoactive substance and also expressed experiencing vivid dreams at night. Either way I would hope that you take from this that there is power in sound and that it is not just for entertainment. I hope from this post you come to develop a respect for sound and understand like anything else we should use it responsibly. Try the exercise and feel free to leave comments on your experiences or anything on the power of sound.