Mantra / Sound: Yoga & Anxiety – Practices to Consider

As part of a holistic strategy for mental health including movement, breathing practices, meditation, relationship, nutrition and nature, Gary Kraftsow also recommends sound techniques.

  • Producing sound causes the vocal cords to vibrate, creating a desirable healing and calming effect in the body and mind.
  • Vocalizing slows the breath rate and deepens the exhalation.
  • It focuses attention and tends to balance the emotions.
  • For use particularly in response to anxiety, it is perhaps most likely that vocalization of simple sounds combined with a breath practice would be an ideal place to begin. Learn more in Seed Sounds(“Fundamental Sounds” section).
  • See also: Sound, Mantras & Chanting Hub.

How Does the Yoga of Sound Work?

Using vocal sound techniques in combination with postures effectively intensifies practice, focuses attention, deepens exhalation, increases circulation to the organs, and balances the emotions… Vocal sound techniques include humming, chanting simple syllables, chanting simple phrases that have certain meanings, and chanting more complete songs or prayers… The main factors that determine the effects of the sounds that are used are their particular vowels and consonants (varna), their pitch (svara), and their volume (bala). – Gary Kraftsow

Shorten the Mantra as Needed

When your mind is heaving up and down, it may be difficult to hold on to the mantram… For emergencies like this, I would recommend using a shortened form of the mantram, the kernel of the mantra: Rama if your mantram is Hare Rama Hare Rama; Om if it is Om mani padme hum; Jesus if you use some form of the Jesus Prayer. – Eknath Easwaran

The Continuous, Enduring Resonance of Vowels

Vowels represent consciousness, Spirit… Vowels are the essence of sound and vibration, continuous, independent and enduring in their resonance. You can take any vowel and intone it indefinitely. Many powerful Sanskrit seed mantras like Om and Aim are vowel predominant for this reason. They allow our energy to open, expand and ascend to higher levels. – Dr. David Frawley

Ah, Ma, Sa Calming to the Body & Mind

The simple sounds that are user friendly in all languages and dialects are ah, ma, and sa. They are easy to use and calming to the body and mind. When spoken during an exhale, these sounds substantially lengthen the breath by narrowing the air passages and slowing the release of air from the lungs. –Larry Payne PhD