Mantra: The Aspects of Kundalini Series

Nirmal Lumpkin

“We meditate so that our minds can be sharp and alert. We chant mantras so that your souls may be ignited like candles. We walk in the light of this beauty.”

One of the most transformational times in my life started from the seed of a mantra.  I was drifting through a life that vaguely resembled what I thought I was supposed to be doing…. but not really feeling connected or passionate about it.  I decided to practice a powerful chanting mantra every day for 40 days.  The decision was almost off-hand…. I had some friends who were doing this meditation and I figured I’d give it a shot.  Shortly after completing the 40 days everything in my life started to fall apart.  I was effectively kicked out of the stream of life that I had been drifting on.  The Universe picked me up and plunked me down onto a new path.  And while this transition was incredibly painful…. I wouldn’t change it for the world.  I now feel like I am purposefully walking through and co-creating my life…rather than just being a passive and apathetic observer of life. 

I credit this transformation to that chanting.  Chanting mantra is like sending a particular radio frequency out to the Universe.  You can have a profound effect on so many aspects of your life, just by aligning yourself with the vibration of a mantra.  Mantra is one of the parts of Kundalini Yoga, as taught by Yogi Bhajan, that I love the most and one of the elements that sets it apart from other schools of yoga.   Mantras are sets of sounds that we repeat to have a particular effect on our minds, bodies and/or spirits.  Most of the mantras in Kundalini Yoga are in the Gurumukhi language (a derivative of Sanskrit) but we also chant in English occasionally.   There are mantras tailor made for almost any situation: sending healing energy to yourself or someone else, mending a broken heart, grieving the loss of a loved one, inviting a new soul into our family, for even your unknown prayers to be answered…there are so many applications and varieties of mantras. 

Mantra “works” in a few different ways:

  • There are meridian points in your mouth that are stimulated by chanting.  The precise repetition of sounds presses these points to create a precise effect in your body. Much like, dialing a telephone calls a particular person.  
  • The frequency, or vibration, of the sounds begins to change your vibration as a human being….which changes the way to relate to and attract from the Universe. 
  • The rhythmic repetition of sound has a  soothing and healing effect on the body
  • When we chant as a group we create a group energy that unifies us and elevates us beyond our own perspective.  

Chanting is not signing so it doesn’t matter if you have a ”good” voice….give it a try.  Chanting is a powerful transformational experience…give it a try.  Mantras can have wide ranging effects from healing to prosperity etc…give it a try.  You’ll never know the power of chanting if you don’t just give it a try.  

This article was originally posted at

Sangat = Spiritual Community

Connecting to others on the spiritual path brings me profound joy.  There is something intangible and incredible about sitting down next to someone who totally gets me and my journey and my desires.  I’ve clearly heard the message from the Universe (and my lovely yoga teacher/mentor) that now is the time to create the community I’ve been longing for.  This directive has prompted some internal musings about WHAT exactly community is and WHY I long for it so deeply.  So, here are some musings on Sangat, or spiritual community.

What is community?

Community to me means connecting with people in “real-life.”  By which I mean actually sitting down with them face-to-face, talking together, eating together and meditating together.  Community for me means creating and nurturing bonds with people in such a way that they become part of the fabric of my life.  I care about what happens with them….and they care about what happens with me.  Community is about feeling that my own practice of yoga and attempts to self-reflect has impacts beyond my own existence.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger

When we’re in community we’re much stronger than when we’re on our own.  There is a magical, whole-is-greater-than-the-sum-of-its-parts, thing that happens.  This does not mean that being in community is always blissful and challenge-free. 

A community of people around you acts like the Immune system in your body. 

Through challenging situations both the Immune system and Communities of people learn, heal and grow towards more expansive versions of themselves.  When we get sick, it is actually a growth opportunity for the body.  Each time you get sick the individual immune cells actually get smarter and stronger.  And thus, you as a human organism also get stronger and healthier. 

Being in the world is messy.   There are germs everywhere you go.  It doesn’t matter how many antibacterial wipes you use or how often you apply hand-sanitizer you are going to be exposed to viruses, bacteria etc.  Luckily the body has the amazing Immune system.  So most of the time when you are exposed to some pathogen you’re body gets rid of it without you even realizing it’s happening.  Occasionally something makes its way in that causes you to get sick….but as your body is healing itself it is also learning and preparing to better handle that problem in the future. 

There is no germ free….there is only your ability to respond to your environment.    

Being around people is messy.  Even when we’re trying our best we’re occasionally going to hurt someone’s feelings, have our feeling hurt or in some other way run into the drama of being human.  When we’re intentionally connecting to other people and these challenges arise we have the opportunity to experience the hurt and learn how to move past it.  As our minds and souls are healing we are also learning and preparing to handle ourselves better should that situation arise again.

There is no problem-free community….there is only your ability to respond and grow. 

People are inspiring.

On the other hand being around people on a similar spiritual or growth path is inspiring.  When we feel crazy for wanting to get up at 4am, or sit for 2.5 hours in meditation or give up dairy having people around us on the same path helps to normalize and keep us going.  And we can do the same for them. There are lots of studies that show that having a “gym-buddy”makes people significantly more likely to stick to a fitness routine.  Having a Sangat around you makes you more likely to stick to your spiritual-fitness routine. 

And….people are just down-right amazing.  When we connect with people we get to see the sweet and tender ways that people live in this world.  We get to hear their stories and share in the story of being human.  We can be inspired to be a part of a human community that expressed so much love, compassion and service. 

When we connect to like-minded souls we see the light of our souls mirrored back to us.  That mirroring allows our own light to shine brighter.  And for me, anyway, that is the purpose of this life.  If I can go through the challenges and find the joyous moments of life I become more fully me.  If I can strengthen my connection with others and with my own truth, I can do what my soul came here to do.  If I can be steady in the midst of the craziness of life I can shine a light for those who may have forgotten their own.  I can be a light for all.

“Travel light, live light, spread the light, be the light.” Yogi Bhajan

Posted by: Nirmal Lumpkin.  Originally posted at

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The Kundalini Collective is a group of teachers and students passionate about practicing and sharing the technology of Kundalini Yoga and Meditation, as taught by Yogi Bhajan.  Keep checking back here for more information about classes and special events...and for some insightful musings form our teacher-members!