The Beginner's Guide to Common Chants
Ever wonder what you're chanting during a yoga class? Nervous about
chanting the wrong thing? The Yoga Journal Guide provides translations,
historical information, and audio clips for common chants.
The Primal Shabda
Om, actually pronounced "Aum," is an affirmation of More related to chanting:
the Divine Presence that is the universe and is similar Visit a Kirtan
to the Hebrew "Amen." There are many ways of The Roots of Chanting
chanting Aum, but this is an approach that will initiate
you as a Shabda Yogi, one who pursues the path of sound toward wholeness
and higher states of consciousness.
Listen to Aum
2. Lokah Samastha
A Chant for Wholeness
Lokah samastha sukhino bhavanthu.
May this world be established with a sense of well-being and happiness.
Listen to Lokah Samastha
Being Illuminated by Sacred Sound
Om bhur bhuvas svaha
Thath savithur varaynyam
Bhargo dheyvasya dhimahih
We worship the word (shabda) that is present in the earth, the heavens, and that
which is beyond. By meditating on this glorious power that gives us life, we ask
that our minds and hearts be illuminated.
Listen to the Gayatri Mantra
4. Om Namah Shivaaya
Om Namah Shivaaya, Namah Shivaaya, Nama Shiva
I bow to Lord Shiva, the peaceful one who is the embodiment of all that is cause
by the universe.
Listen to Om Namah Shivaaya
5. Bija Mantras
In the seed (bija) mantras each seed is conceived of as the sound-form of a
particular Hindu deity, and each deity is in turn a particular aspect of the Absolute
(Brahman). It s said that just as a great tree resides in within the seed, so does
a god or goddess reside in each bija. When we chant the bijas, we identify each
syllable with the divine energy they represent.
Sound Pronunciation Awareness
Curve the tip of your tongue up and
back, and place it on the rear section of Base of the
the upper palate to pronounce a sound spine
like the word alum without the initial a.
Place the upper set of teeth on the
inner section of your lower lip and begin
Vam with a breathy consonant to imitate the Genitals
sound of a fast car. Pronounce the
mantra like "fvam."
Place the tip of your tongue on the roof
of the front section of the upper palate,
Ram roll the r as in Spanish, and pronounce Abdomen
the mantra like the first part of the word
Inhale audibly through your mouth, and
pronounce the word hum (as in
Yam and Heart
humming); allow the breath to extend
beyond the resolution of the consonant.
Inhale noiselessly through your mouth,
and pronounce the sound like the word
Ham yum (as in yummy); allow the sound Throat
along with your breath to fill your mouth
and throat cavity.
Inhale audibly through your nostrils,
and direct the stream of air to the point
between your eyebrows. Pronounce the Point
Om sound along with your exhalation as a between the
subtly audible whisper, allowing the eyebrows
sound and breath to resonate in the
Listen to "Ram" and "Ham" from the Bija Mantras
Translations and audio clips courtesy of Russill Paul's The Yoga of Sound
available for purchase through Shop YJ.