Bija (Seed) Sounds
These amazing single syllable sounds are ancient, having been chanted for thousands of years by literally millions of people. Known as “Bija” in Sanskrit this translates as “Seed” Syllables. There are many Bija sounds, but the ones I’m sharing here relate to the main chakras (energy centres) within the body. Bijas are Sacred meaning Divinely given – that is they have no human authorship. It is said that thousands of years ago, the holy ones (Rishis), spent years in deep meditation – during which time they heard or perceived many sounds – in turn they reflected, resounded and practiced them to understand their meaning/uses. The lineage of teaching sacred chant and mantra is kept alive today by highly experienced teachers – where the oral tradition is honoured. You cannot go on to teach others until your own practice, understanding and, most importantly, pronunciation is completely accurate (although we are all forgiven for mistakes made!)
If you think about any seed – from which all of our plant life springs – the huge potential within each seed is staggering! And so too the Bija sounds hold great potential. If you did nothing else with your chanting practice but focussed on these…you would have a sound medicine that touches every aspect of your being (the 5 koshas or subtle body in the yogic tradition).
Taking a breath in we chant them either singularly or in repetitions of eight; It is a cycle of “attack”, “toning” and “mm”
Each chakra is a wheel of light, of energy, and as we sound each Bija the consonant at the beginning stimulates or ‘attacks’ the wheel, encouraging energetic movement. This movement will always bring us back to balance; if a chakra is over-stimulated the chanting will calm the energetic field – too sluggish and energy is increased. Balance is the key.
The sounds are:-
1. SO HAM (7th cakra – Crown of head)
2. AUM (6th cakra – brow centre/3rd eye)
3. HAM (5th cakra – throat)
4. YAM(4th cakra – heart area)
5. RAM (3rd cakra – solar plexus)
6. VAM (2nd cakra – just below naval)
7. LAM (base cakra – perineum area)
“The Ah sound in the middle carries the Divine energy; many traditions around the world have the Ah sound within their name for God . God (pronounced GAHd), BrAHmAH (Hindu), AHllAH (Muslim), AHwoon (Aramaic) and HehovAH or YAHweh (Hewbrew). (Healing with the Voice, James D’Angelo)”
With the Mmm to close, we bring the sound back to ourselves, nourishing and nurturing our mind, body and soul within. It closes the cycle.
TO CHANT – start at the base, the Lam sound, then move up through the scale to the top So Ham. It is all on one pitch (wherever your natural Om is). The So Ham has a rhythm to it (see the CD/MP3 recording for demonstration) – but it’s fine to chant it on one note.
OPTIONAL Hand Position or Mudra: Place your left hand palm down, towards the ground, connecting to Earth. The other hand is facing each energy centre and moves up with each sound. This focuses your attention and the sound on each chakra, intensifying the practice. Moving up to So Ham where you gently turn your hand palm upwards moving the hand away in a small arc, (like opening a small door) then gently close the ‘door’ allowing your hand to glide down passing each Chakra in turn, bringing you back to Earth. Then repeat, right palm down, left hand moving up the chakras.
Home Practice – Chant these simple sounds daily if possible – really, just a short 5 minute practice is a great way to start and quickly you will begin to sense the healing vibration resonating within you. If you would like home support, with voices chanting alongside you CHECK OUT my chanting CD/MP3 HERE.