This is how a mantrasing evening with Stephan goes.
Arriving, sitting in silence
At the beginning of a mantra evening, we first sit in silence for a moment to leave everyday life behind us and consciously settle into the here and now.
Purification, breathing exercise
Before we chant, we do a short pranayama breathing exercise to purify the three main energy channels (Indian: Nadis, Chinese: Meridians) Ida, Pingala and Sushumna. The individual phases of this breathing exercise are explained and demonstrated by me. The deep abdominal breathing practised in this way gently massages our inner organs at the same time and prepares us in the best way for singing, for which abdominal breathing is ideal.
After the breathing exercise, we warm up our voices in a phase of vocal improvisation. I usually play a constant chord on the harmonium or the shruti box and we hum, sound vowels or intonate improvised little melodies. Our different breath supplies automatically result in there always being sound in the room.
Sound is vibration, vibration creates resonance. After some time, we feel a sound field forming that connects us with each other and with heaven and earth. This sound field can be very gentle, but also very dynamic. It is not always uniformly harmonious, but there are also phases of friction and disharmony.
We can create and explore this sound field by singing. In doing so, it is good to explore the upper and lower ranges of our voice as well.
Audio example of a vocal improvisation:
(Sung live at the Iseler Mühle, 2013)
The vocal improvisation takes different lengths of time depending on the situation. Fifteen to twenty minutes is quite normal.
Sometimes the sounding turns directly into a mantra, sometimes it gently fades out and we pause for a short moment.
The energy associated with a mantra usually also sets in during intensive chanting. Different mantras address different aspects of energy, symbolised for example by the entity whose name is chanted. It is good not to mix too many different energies.
We therefore normally chant only two to four mantras. I try to make sure that the energies fit together. We often chant a mantra in different melodies and complement this with neutral mantras or power songs that are not assigned to any particular entity.
To be able to really dive deep, it takes time. The chanting of a mantra therefore takes at least 15 minutes, usually 20 minutes or longer.
When chanting mantras, it is advisable to let go as much as possible, surrender to the sound and the mantra and pay attention to the feelings that arise. Devotion is the key.
After each mantra, we take a short break in order to silently reflect on the sound and the mantra within us.
Mantra chanting opens our heart and our energy field. To ensure that the energy received stays with us and that no disturbing influences from outside can enter after the chanting, we end the evening with some classical Qigong closing exercises (closing the lower Dantian, “washing” the face, rubbing the kidneys).
We thank the universe, each other and ourselves and wish all beings in all worlds liberation, light and love.
Again we sit in silence for a moment. Sometimes I tell a story or a guest musician plays his or her instrument.
May the energy of mantras accompany you in your everyday life.
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