By Anandra George
I fell in love with music at 10 years old, astonished when my first breath through a silver flute made a most beautiful tone. But it was when I first came to India at 19 that my heart-strings were truly plucked alive by the sounds of mantra. In fact, I recently visited the ashram where
my intense yearning to chant inspired a lifetime of learning sacred sound, which I differentiate from the ordinary as “sound which is alive with listening.”
Now, almost 20 years later and immensely richer for having loved and lost and loved again, danced ‘till dawn more times than I can count, and tasted many fruits of many worlds, I find myself back in ashram life teaching the yoga of sound. Nothing was ever so sweet as singing the divine names.
After my first few years of living in India, I took the practice of mantra yoga with me into my modern experience; it was my home within my heart, where I could always saturate in the connection and fullness I was futilely grasping for outside of me. It allowed the gritty reconciliation of old, non-serving patterns to give way to spaciousness, clarity, and creative rebirth. It was the unglamorous but necessary integration of my peak spiritual experiences throughout thought, word, and deed. It revealed the unspeakably loving radiance that remains when names and forms rise and fall away.
My practice is still all those things and more, and by Grace, now it is also the primary vehicle of my service. Because, I think, it’s against universal law to be rich and not share!
How does the yoga of sound affect peace?
We’ve heard a thousand times that in order for there to be world peace, there must be peace within ourselves. Yet, no matter how many sublime philosophies we may imbibe, our knee-jerk reactions to unpleasant stimuli are too-often reactionary and defensive, revealing the deep unconscious roots of fear and violence within our psyches.
In order to actualize, sustain, and radiate peace we must harmonize our thought content at the conscious, subconscious, unconscious levels. We must keep practicing until our knee-jerk reaction is LOVE.
Our prime responsibility (because it’s the only thing we have complete control over!) is to lovingly tune our minds to the vibration of internal peace, which spills out in the form of loving kindness for our communities. The peace I speak of is a fullness so complete that it has no idea of lack within it; it makes fear, greed, and hate fade like a bad dream you had once upon a time.
However, people often feel helpless to change the repetitive muck of negative thoughts which obscures their inherent happiness. Thankfully, the methods have already been worked out, ages ago, by the yogīs and seers who advocate the use of sound-based yoga practices to complete this harmonization. At every level —from a life-jacket to rescue you from drowning in depression, to refining a divine life of service, and every transition in between — the yoga of sound is tried-and-true. It’s also free, requires no religious dogma and no location other than your own heart, and triggers a biochemical flood of endorphins (which is always fun)!
It is an enormous honor to share a teacher training for modern yogīs that deeply integrates precisely-tuned Sanskrit, mantra, nāda (Indian music meditation), non-dual tantric philosophy, ayurvedic psychology, and delightfully practical non-violent communication. The tools, when applied, can enable fully embodied peace in every scenario. The teacher trainees are already bringing deep healing empowerment to their communities through sound. It’s not merely possible…it’s inevitable! Aum.
Anandra George is an international Sanskrit mantra teacher, musician and creator of The Heart of Sound, the world’s first entirely sound-based 200-hour certified yoga teacher training. Andra teaches internationally and sees private clients by Skype. You might find her singing by the banks of the Ganges river in Rishikesh, doing silent mantra meditation on the Tokyo metro, or swimming with dolphins in Hawaii. Enjoy her free e-book and mantra meditation tips -- click here.
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This article appears in:
2015 Catalyst, Issue 18: International Day of Peace