Mantras Meet Mudras
A powerful yet relatively unknown practice in yoga is the conscious placement of sound into the physical body.
This was one of the original tantric practices that reclaimed the physical body as the vehicle and implement of consciousness, and it is called Nyasa.
Nyasa literally means to “deposit.” In this case, it is depositing a sacred sound or mantra by touching various areas of the body, and using that sound to consecrate and assign divinity to the self.
We actually perform nyasa in Kundalini Yoga. Can you guess how?
First realize that there are various types of nyasas. If you have practiced yoga nidra, you are using anga nyasa when you rotate your consciousness through the major areas of the body (heart, head, crown, shoulders, right side of body, left side of body and so on).
Another interesting nyasa practice (mahashoda nasa) places the planets and constellations visually into the body, identifying the microcosm with the macrocosm.
The nyasa that we practice in Kundalini Yoga is a form of kara nyasa which places bij (or seed) mantras into the hands and fingers.
The most common example is Kirtan Kriya, or Sa Ta Na Ma meditation, that uses the four sounds of the bij mantra “Sat Nam” while touching the four successive fingertips with the thumb. PRACTICE HERE
A more elaborate practice of kara nyasa in Kundalini Yoga is performing the same thumb and finger movements while using the 12 sounds of Ra Ma Da Sa Sa Say So Hung Sa Ta Na Ma during the Ganpati Meditation. PRACTICE HERE
While you may have done one or both of these meditations, you may wish to encounter them again following the guidelines of the nyasa practice as follows:
With each sound as you touch the fingertips, think of depositing, inserting, or bonding that sound with each finger.
Practice the meditation as an act of consecrating the physical body with sound, literally turning the fingers into carriers of sacred energy, so that whatever you touch in your life also becomes sacred.
Mudras consciously combined with mantras accelerates the effects of both the mudra and the mantra.
In the practice of Yoga, we always welcome that deeper immersion from the gross to the subtle. Nyasa can be part of that journey.
Want to learn more about nyasa and the therapeutic use of mudras? My online course starts this month!
August 27 – 30
10:00am – 2:00pm Central USA Time