Making sound is a great way to soften the edges around stress, tensions and to shake up a mood. (Try it with me now ‘Aaaggghhhhhhh!!!!’ See - feel better??) And, like all my favourite calming techniques, there’s no fancy gear required! Nup, you’ve (likely) already got just what you need - a voice, and for this particular method, 2 thumbs and 8 fingers. If you have all that, keep reading!
While there are quite a few noisy yoga-inspired practices, today let’s dive into just one - ‘Sa Ta Na Ma’ meditation. I really love this because it’s fun, effective, quick and easy to learn. (Kids love it too)
For this technique, we combine a Mantra (repeated words) with Mudra (hand gestures).
The words to repeat are ‘Sa’, ‘Ta’, ‘Na’ and ‘Ma’. Each word has an accompanying hand gesture:
‘Sa’ - touch the thumb and index finger together,
‘Ta’ - touch the thumb and middle finger together,
‘Na’ touch thumb to ring finger’ and
‘Ma’ - join thumb and little finger.
According to yoga tradition, each finger position enhances specific virtues: touching of the thumb to the index finger gives wisdom; the middle finger to the thumb gives focus; the ring finger to the thumb gives energy; and the little finger to the thumb boosts connection. Yep, I am happy to take an extra dose of those!
Each of the sounds has a yogic interpretation too: Sa means birth, Ta means life, Na means death and Ma means rebirth. So as you repeat the mantra and the corresponding hand action you are theoretically reciting the circle of life: birth, life, death and rebirth.
Another element of the practice is the use of volume and silence. For the first part of the chant, use the same volume as your regular speaking voice. Then, continue at a whisper level. Next, repeat the mantra (keeping up the hand movements) silently to yourself, keeping the pace even. Then reverse the order until you are back to repeating ‘Sa Ta Na Ma’ aloud. This is a fun meditation exercise to do in a group or with the kids - try a round really loud!
I’ll be honest - I find meditation tricky. But I love a practice that keeps both the mind and body busy enough to let the relaxation happen … and here it is. Here’s a recording so we can do the practice together, then you should be all set to try it out on your own sometime.
I'm Bronni. I love to lie down. On a mat, perhaps with a blanket and yoga bolster. A 20 minute session can help me go from chaos to calm... These musings are all about finding calm, Restorative Yoga and it's amazing benefits.