Mantra, shabd and the yoga of sound

Shabd Guru – the yoga of sound

Kundalini yoga uses mantras and shabds during meditations and they form an important part of Kundalini yoga classes and teacher training. They are used because shabd guru is a particularly powerful solution to the problems of the times. Sha = the ego. Bd = to cut. It is a special sound that cuts the ego and puts us in touch with the longing of our soul.

The sacred scripture known as the Siri Guru Granth Sahib which is Sikh in origin is where shabd is drawn from. Although all religious traditions have a practice of calling out. In Christianity; hallelujah. In Judaism; Yehovah. In Hinduism; Om Namah Shiva In Buddhism; Om Mani Padme Hum. and for Muslims, Allah. The common theme is chanting the name of god. It is this that awakens spiritual intelligence through vibration at a cellular level to create a feeling of ease/bliss (sahaj).

The anatomy of sound

Phonemes are the smallest unit of speech that distinguishes one word from another. Shabd Guru uses this atomic level of language.

There are two systems of grammer ~ one normal, the other ‘nirukta’ which means beyond the forms. When a sounds innate vibration corresponds to or in some way reproduces what it refers to, it is a sacred language.

If we take the word Wah He Guru. Wah sounds like wonderful. A eureka moment. Inspiration, opening, expansion. An energising sound. He is a sound of holding, containing. Gu a contraction, a concentration, consolidation and Ru, release, let go. So the mantra takes you on this journey.

The more you more away from the primary, earliest languages the less the connection of the word to the object (look at roots of words – Ra – the sun; the ray, the realisation, the revelation. Ma – the moon; the mother, nourishment) So basic word units were put together according to the energy, emotion and awareness they create. Fundamental vibrations that resonate with universal energies within us.

Use of different sounds

Ordinary language although an efficent way to communicate is highly ineffective vibrationally in that it doesn’t correspond to anything .

Using affirmations is usually a temporary fix and assumes we know what we need. It is also difficult to maintain motivation if the behaviour we are trying to encourage or change does not resonate in the body and mind at a cellular level

Mantras cleanse subconscious.

Shabd awakens spiritual intelligence through vibration at cellular level this resonance creates ease / bliss (sahaj)

It has a neutral content that disassociate from personal. It is not indoctrinating – trying to put something on you rather it is clearing, awakening. It is Primary information that taps into our spiritual DNA. The perfect weave of rhythm, sound, tone, focus and meaning. The raaga or mood it is played in conveys the feeling and the poetry and word convey the meaning. When a shabd is sung in the prescribed raag it gives the words an emotional charge and thereby creates a true understanding of the way the gurus intended the message to be conveyed.  Different shabds relate to different common themes. There are 34 different raags which convey the whole range of human emotion.

Know how not just know what. ‘It gives procedural knowledge that is in your cells and subconscious, not just representational knowledge in your ideas. Informs our formative tendencies, to structure our structuring. It is the order behind the order.

2 voices

We have 2 voices inside the voice of the ego and the voice of the soul. We are often speaking to ourselves and others from the perspective of the ego mind. We need to establish a relationship between the mind (selfish and impatient side) and the soul (honest and sincere side).  We can then acknowledge both and get them to work together rather than against each other. We are all working through our patterns and processes, our karma to line up with our core intelligence, to find our integrity. The question is whether this this a joyful journey or a struggle. The teachings are compassionate. Time is brutal.

The technology of the yoga of sound

The ancient yogis considered that there were 2 caves; the bij (seed) gupha is the cave for bringing in new life, using the male & female sexual organs for procreation. The second cave is gian gupha which is the cave of wisdom; tongue and mouth are used as a merger with the divine where the tongue represents the penis and the mouth the vagina – you are making love to yourself! There are 84 points – 32 pairs of points on the hard palate nearer to the teeth and 20 pairs in a ‘U’ shape on the central part of the palate. When stimulated by the tongue these points are like a pressing the right keys on a keyword to access the computer. The computer is the hypothalamus.

The hypothalamus is connected to the pituitary which is the master endocrine gland and plays a key role in regulating hunger, thirst, sleep, moods, emotional behaviour and sexuality. So Shabd Guru stimulates the hypothalamus to change the chemistry of the brain so that it becomes a more highly receptive instrument. It also helps the mental, emotional and physical bodies to integrate more harmoniously. In fact there are;

4 areas affected by sound and breathe combination via neuro-endocrine link.

  • ‘the autonomic nerves, sympathetic and parasympathetic that control states of excitement, relaxation and high performance
  • the senses and c.n.s. through the neuro-chemical ocean of the body that connects all the cells
  •  endocrine system that produces hormones and controls our moods and the feeling of vitality and energy
  • the immune system’



The eternal soul

Despite all of our efforts to keep healthy the body is complex and paradoxical. After the loss of our premature baby boy at 15 hours old it was revealed that my wife had liver disease from an unknown cause and needed a new one. Life’s big challenges, and a regular kundalini yoga practice, remind us that we are not our body or our mind, or the emotional ups and downs of life. We are a soul with a destiny and our soul lives on after we die. Since you won’t be needing your body when you die carry a donor card to remind you of the unique opportunity you have to bring life back to those that our still living once your soul is ready to move on.

In the Sikh faith we use the expression ‘ Cherdi Kala’ which means always be in elevated spirits. Your soul is always elevated, undiminishable as it is. It cannot be improved upon or healed, or negatively effected by anything that happens to us. It is just waiting, calmly and patiently for us to return to it.

Alignment and Flow in Kundalini Yoga

Alignment and Flow in Kundalini Yoga. 


A workshop for teachers and those with some experience of Kundalini Yoga


As Kundalini yogis it is assumed that we have become conscious that we have resistance to change, otherwise we would not recognize the need for a regular yoga practice! This resistance to change is because when we change our patterns we release the energy that is behind them and has been maintaining them – the fear, the anger, the grief etc. This is more or less uncomfortable. What actually happens is we have an experience in which we discover that we are not who we thought we were. This is something we we have a lot of subconscious resistance to and even more so students who are new to Kundalini Yoga.

Our posture represents the sum total of our beliefs and attitudes crystallized in our physical form and this is what gets broken down as we work through the kriya.

We know that the unique configurations in Kundalini Yoga kriyas are very powerful to affect this change. Why is this?

When we take a dharmic form we change our energy by aligning ourselves with universal form and flow.

As a teacher you are proposing a form and there is a lot of resistance to your proposal because the more fully and accurately your students maintain the posture, ‘the angles and triangles’, the deeper the experience they will have and the greater the meaning they will take from it.

Your platform to excel as a teacher is based on your personal experience of correct alignment of each asana and your overview of the kriya. With this in place you naturally start to use a language that confidently reminds the students mind and body to be in service of their soul.



In this workshop we will cover basic principles for approaching any asana; (a) alignment (b) graceful entry and exit (c) rhythm (d) the rebound effect – using gravity to gain height and lightness of being (e) maintaining dynamism in the organs and meridians.


We will make an in depth study of several key asanas, meditation postures, warm up exercises and at least one kriya. 


At the end of the day we will put together a warm up, a kriya and a meditation to demonstrate the connection between posture, organ and meridian in the overall effectiveness of your class or workshop.


Enquiries to Amrit; 07961 104 036.

Kundalini Yoga for Addiction

The process and effect of addictions

Many addictions start in the teens as an attempt to escape from uncomfortable feelings. Since drugs have a numbing effect some addicts show a lack of emotional maturity stemming from a ‘freezing’ of their emotional development from this time.

Yoga postures and deep breathing allow feelings to flow again. For those that are ready to rehabilitate (re-habit themselves) Kundalini yoga is a very effective tool. Ironically there is usually a lot of resistance to a regular yoga practice because as blocks are released so are the subconscious, irrational fears that put them there in the first place.

An addict may have to reach ‘rock bottom’ before they are open to change. This means they have to pass through their depression to rediscover the life impulse that was suppressed in childhood.

Since low self-esteem is often the trigger and maintainer of addiction this is where the particular package of yoga, mantra and meditation can be so helpful.

Society’s message is that we are somehow incomplete and need to add more things to our lives. The yogic message is that you are complete as you are. We have just lost touch with our deeper self. Healing is a process of remembering who you really are. This is initiated and maintained by what you stop doing (stopping drinking, smoking, drugs, eating unhealthy food, going to bed too late etc.)