Like so many people I have connected with over the past 6-years, Kundalini Yoga and I found each other at the absolute perfect time: during a time of personal crisis and transformation. I was on a healing journey - some of which I understood and was focusing on intentionally; some of which was still very much below the surface, masked by years of very effective (read here “unhealthy”) coping mechanisms. This path was filled with joy and pain; upheaval and calm; discovery and profound confusion. Nowhere were these polarities more present than when I came to my yoga mat.
At the time, my practice was simply a once-a-week event - a Kundalini class at my local yoga studio, led by an inspiring and dynamic teacher. I knew that each practice had the potential to bring some sort of a “shake-up” to my psyche. But, as time went on, I began to feel that these moments were being deeply held by something bigger than myself.
As our little sangat grew, we began looking for more opportunities to practice together. So, our teacher started offering a monthly opportunity to gather for “Aquarian Sadhana.” At the time, I knew nothing about this practice - other than the fact that we would be arriving to the studio at. . .Wait. . . What time? Come again? 5:30a.m.? (As a side note, this time is a full TWO HOURS after we begin sadhana at Summer and Winter Solstice. . . She was majorly easing us in).
Besides feeling the normal sleepiness that comes from being up in the early morning hours when your body isn’t used to it, and probably because of this sleepiness, I don’t remember much from the asana part of our practice. Spinal flexes? Yeah, probably. Other exercises to warm up the spine and prepare for extended mediation? For sure. Eventually, shivasana came and went. I grabbed another blanket and picked up the very foreign-looking mantra sheet that had appeared next to me.
But then the music started. And I immediately realized that I had come home.
There is all sorts of science out there to back up the benefits of chanting mantra (stimulation of the 84 meridian points on the roof of the mouth creates a direct impact on the hypothalamus, pineal gland and the entire gladular system; circulation and stability of the blood are affected; metabolism is regulated). And while I've always been a sucker for science, I don't need the science to tell me that mantra works. Chanting, for me, is about devotion. When I come to mantra with an open heart, especially during Aquarian Sadhana, the sound current speaks to me in a profound way and immediately creates a safe place to feel what I need to feel and to be who I am.
Now don't get me wrong. Chanting can help to distract the "monkey mind," making a meditative state and downright bliss easier to attain. But Yogi Bhajan also said that sometimes it's hell on Earth and that you may find your mental garbage right on the mat in front of you. But, that's the beauty of it. Mantra can help to release what no longer serves us and can allow us to access feelings that we cannot always talk about.
WHAT ARE THE AQUARIAN SADHANA MANTRAS?
Yogi Bhajan gave us the Aquarian Sadhana in 1992 to take us through the transition into the Aquarian Age. They are chanted in the following order:
Morning Call (The Adi Shakti Mantra) - 7 minutes
Waah Yantee, Kar Yantee - 7 minutes
Mul Mantra - 7 minutes
Sat Siri, Siri Akal - 7 minutes
Rakhe Rakhan Har - 7 minutes
Wahe Guru Wahe Jio - 22 minutes
Guru Ram Das Chant - 5 minutes
When asked about the mantras, Yogi Bhajan said, "Why do we repeat the mantra hundreds of times? To create a stamina, an absolute mental stamina. Without that, there is no chance for the life to be smooth. If somebody refuses to exercise, nobody can force them. But at that one moment in life when that person needs physical stamina, it won’t be there. Sadhana is what your mental stamina requires. Love is what your spiritual stamina requires."
Over the next week, I'm going to be intoducing each one of the Aquarian Sadhana mantras and sharing a little bit about what I've personally learned and experienced from these chants. In the grand scheme of things, despite the fact that I have chanted these mantras hundreds of times, I'm still a beginner. But, aren't we all? I hope you'll join me in reconnecting with these mantras, whether you've been held by them for as long as you can remember or you're coming home to them for the first time.
With love and light,