Healing from the heart

I have a couple friends whose mothers are going in for surgery today… and I’m thinking of them.

Loved ones with health problems are one of the many circumstances where we feel powerless to have any kind of impact. We can worry all we want but deep down we “know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum,” to quote Baz Luhrmann in Everybody’s Free.

I’ve started using meditation to channel my energies towards whoever is having health issues and away from my own fretting. I like doing the Kundalini healing meditation, which uses the Ramadasa mantra and an easy mudra (hand or body position).

The mantra is Ra ma da sa; Sa say so hung and all you do is repeat it. There are lots of recordings to chant along with, my favourite is by Snatam Kaur, and I usually chant for 11 or 31 minutes.

To come into the mudra, sit cross-legged (or in easy pose) and bend your elbows into your body; let your forearms fall open over your thighs, with your inner arms facing up. Your palms are flat and facing upwards with your fingers together and thumbs stretched outwards. The mudra is a gesture of receiving.

KundaliniYoga.org has full instructions if you want more details, including an illustration of the position.

I did Ramadasa as a 31 minute meditation with my dad when he was in atrial fibrillation (a-fib), which is persistently elevated heart rate. He had been in a-fib for a few days and medication was not helping his heart convert to its normal rhythm.

I was thrilled that he was open to meditating together, although immeditately after we were done his heart rate was even higher. While I was on my way home from my parents’ place a couple hours later, though, dad called to let me know that his heart had converted back to a normal rhythm and the a-fib had passed.

I’m hesitant to say that the meditation is the reason my dad’s heart reverted to its normal rhythm, but I don’t think it hurt! And at least it made me feel like I was doing something and let dad know that I love him.

So today I’ll send the love and energy from my Ramasada meditation to my friends and their moms… letting them know that I love them ♥

Silence through boredom

The hand gesture of wisdomThe second 40-Day Meditation Challenge of 2012 at Bound Lotus started earlier this week and Sofie and I joined the meditation this morning. The first 40-Day Meditation focused on the first chakra (or energy centre); the second one fittingly concentrates on the second chakra.

The mantra (or meditative phrase) we’re using for this Meditation Challenge is the Kundalini seed mantra: Har hare haree; Wahe guru (pronounced: Har haray haree; Wha-hay guroo – with kind of a silent “d” after the har). We’re repeating the mantra for 11 minutes – chanting along to the version by Gurudass from Longing to Belong. This meditation also involves holding guyan mudra (the hand gesture for wisdom – shown in the photo at right) and moving our arms. It’s a trifecta of techniques for meditative concentration; chanting the mantra, holding the mudra, and repeating the arm movements.

I find manta meditations very effective at clearing my brain and finding internal silence. Chanting the same sounds over and over again pretty much bores my brain to death and stops me from thinking. The Sanskrit syllables don’t connect with any meaning like English words might and my mind starts to let go of everything but the mantra.

Adding in holding a mudra and repeating arm movements, further drives out any thoughts and helps bring my mind to stillness.

I’ve compiled a list of other musical mantras I like for meditation, which are great to chant along with or have playing during meditation. I also like having mantras playing while I do other tasks like food prep or dishes; I often find myself chanting along and finding a bit of stillness as I cook!

Updated meditation music

Some new favourite songs for meditation. Click on the iTunes button to purchase a specific song.

  • Gobinday Mukunday by Sada Sat Kaur Gobinday Mukanday - Mantra Masala
    A quicker, more energizing version of the ”Git ‘er done” mantra. Good for reviving the spirit and enhancing energy.
  • Mul Mantra by Snatam Kaur Mul Mantra - Anand Bliss
    The February Full Moon Meditation at Bound Lotus Meditation & Yoga Centre was the mul mantra. I think this is the most beautiful version of it – very heart-centred and grounding.
  • Ong Namo – I Bow by Gurunam Singh Ong Namo - I Bow - The Journey Home
    Also called the Adi Mantra, chanting Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo starts off every Kundalini yoga class. It’s a reminder to honour (or bow to) all the teachers that came before and the wisdom that lives within.
  • Pavan Guru – Lord of the Wind by Gurunam Singh Pavan Guru - Lord of the Wind - The Journey Home
    The “May the Force be with You” mantra, Pavan Guru increases energy and stimulates healing.

See the Meditate page for a full list of meditation music I like.

The strength of stillness

Laura relaxing at Prana

At the end of this morning’s meditation, one of my favourite teachers at Bound Lotus encouraged us to find the power in the relaxation that comes after 11 minutes of Sat Kryia.

That struck a cord with me. So much of my life (and I suspect yours, too!) is filled with rushing and running around that it’s easy to miss the profound satisfaction of being still. Not being vegetative or twitchy, but being consciously relaxed and tuning into the body.

Sitting or lying still for any longer than a couple of minutes (and not falling asleep!) is a challenge for me. My mind wanders… thoughts stray to what needs to be done and where I need to go. My body suddenly discovers itches and small discomforts that weren’t there moments ago… I invent reasons for moving.

But when I get past that first bit of twitching and let my brain clear, I start to feel the strength of stillness. Not doing or worrying or wanting… just being. The stillness brings calmness, relaxation, and a sense of rejuvenation.

Come join me at Bound Lotus for yin yoga and a bit of stillness on Mondays from 1-2:15pm and Fridays from 6:30-745pm.

Initial list of meditation music

A selection of music I like for meditation; see the Meditate page for the full list.  Click on the iTunes button to purchase a specific song.

  • Aad Guray by Deva Premal Aad Guray - Dakshina
    For protection and clarity. Some people chant this mantra before driving or in other situations where they need protective energy. This version makes me feel as though I’m standing in a glorious cathedral and immediately calms me.
  • Adi Shakti Namo: Your Primal Power by SatKirin Kaur Khalsa Adi Shakti Namo: Your Primal Power - Universal Mantra
    Upbeat and energizing. Also know as the First Shakti Mantra, it helps remove fears and focus on what really needs to be done.
  • Gobinday Mukunday by Snatam Kaur Gobinday Mukunday - Prem
    To help move through difficult situations. I affectionately think of it as the “Git ‘er done” mantra, although it’s much more peaceful than that label implies.
  • Ong So Hung by Guru Singh Ong So Hung - Volume One
    Great before bed meditation. I find it completely relaxes me and sometimes even puts me to sleep… it’s my secret weapon for conquering jet lag.
  • Ra Ma Da Sa by Snatam Kaur Ra Ma Da Sa - Grace
    Wonderful restorative kundalini mantra. When someone I love needs some healing, I’ll chant this mantra and send my energy to them… at least it makes me feel like I’m doing something!