vocal toning to balance & heal or energize the body and mind using bija mantras
VOCAL TONING: THE PRECURSOR TO LANGUAGE
In his book The Healing Power of Sound, Mitch Gaynor discusses the origins of modern language. Singing and chanting are a form of communication that predates speech. For instance, the lungs and vocal chords are enough on their own to allow for chanting. To speak and enunciate words, however, is more complicated. It requires the coordination of the mouth and tongue. Gaynor states: “the use of actual language only goes back to 8,000 years ago whereas chanting predates the ability for complex language by a half a million years earlier.”
Just spend a short time with an infant to observe how they use the vocals and lungs. They essentially chant and make sounds prior to learning how to speak. It seems clear that we begin life by expression through preverbal song and sounds. The same song and sounds used by our ancient ancestors, long before the modern human harnessed the skills of language.
VOCAL TONING: AN ANCIENT HEALING PRACTICE
When we practice vocal toning, we are accessing a deeply healing form of sound. Ancient preverbal song/chants are also known as “toning.” Toning is healing because it settles us into a meditative state by dropping the brainwaves into alpha and theta states. Similarly, the sound waves produced by the Tibetan bowls also entrain us to these brain states.
The deep relaxation produced in the alpha and theta states allow activation of the immune system, so healing can occur. “Toning is an ancient method of healing… the idea is simply to restore people to their harmonic patterns.” ~Elizabeth Keyes. Mitch Gaynor also states in his book, “toning involves the use of pure vocal sound to resolve tension, release emotion and spur the healing process.”
THE HEALING POWER OF BIJA MANTRAS
Bija mantras are used within the Hindu, Sufi and other Eastern philosophies and consist of seven single-syllable Sanskrit words. Each word corresponds to one of the seven main chakras. They are used to activate energy up and down the central channel of the body. Essentially, the bija mantras represent the sound of each chakra. As you chant each one, the vibration from your voice harmonizes the chakras returning qi or energy to health and vitality.
WHAT ARE THE SEVEN BIJA MANTRAS?
LAM (LUM) Red Root Chakra
VAM (VUM) Orange Sacral Chakra
RAM (RUM) Yellow. Solar Plexus Chakra
YAM (YUM) Green Heart Chakra
HAM (HUM) Blue Throat Chakra
OM (OM) Indigo Third Eye Chakra
Silence (OM) Purple Crown Chakra
HOW CAN I USE TONING IN MEDITATION?
Using your voice to tone your chakras is effective and simple. It is a great way to balance, heal or energize your energetic system. The best part is, it’s free! There are many ways to use the technique of toning, but here is one way you could practice:
- Find a comfortable position to either sit or stand and just take a moment to get grounded in the present moment. Take three slow, long, deep breathes. Feel the sensations of your bottom or your feet on the ground. Notice the sounds around you in the room, then outside the room, then the sound of your own breath.
- Take a deep breath in and on the exhale chant the mantra of the vowel sound. Spend 5-10 seconds chanting the mantra on each exhale. Chant each mantra 3x. Hold the note of each mantra as steady as you can. Notice any shifts or sensations in your body as you chant each mantra. Start with the Root using a deeper tone in your voice and work your way up to the seven chakras using a higher tone of voice each time all the way up to the Crown. It may help to place your hand on each chakra as you move up the body to help bring awareness to the sensations in each energy center.
- When you’ve reached the Crown, repeat the process, but this time go down the body, ending at the Root.
NEED SOME GUIDANCE?
If you’d like guidance in learning to use your voice as a healing tool, I offer toning sessions. You will get to practice combining two powerful methods of vibrational healing: Tibetan singing bowls with Bija mantras. You will get to select one of my Tibetan bowls to play while chanting the Bija mantras. Then, you’ll have the tools to practice on your own anytime you feel stressed, anxious or depressed as a way to balance or energize your energetic system!