“Everything that is manifest vibrates, and if it vibrates then it is bound to have sound, even if the human ear does not hear it. Sound is the root from where vibrations emerge. In the experience of stillness lies the beginning of sound.”
– Swami Muktidharma
The world is composed of vibration. In a forest, the natural vibrations induce relaxation. In a city environment, the noises have a different effect. Thus, by chanting positive vibrations, or mantras, there is a positive affect on the body and mind.
The word mantra has two roots: “man” from the word for “mind” and “tra” meaning “tool” or “to release”. So the idea behind mantra is a tool to release the mind. Mantras are combinations of syllables or words that are chanted to stimulate and awaken the faculties of different chakras. They have a purifying effect, clearing the body-mind of negative impressions and tendencies. The meaning of the words in a mantra is not important; the impact of a mantra lies in the effect each particular sound vibration has on the body. The most common short mantra is Om. It is possible to demonstrate scientifically the benefits of chanting Om for the human mind.
If we connect the electrodes of an ECG machine to the scalp of a yogi who is chanting Om for some time, we can see how the sound vibrations create alpha waves, which are the brain waves of deep relaxation. This type of deep relaxation has a tremendous effect on our health and well-being. Other sounds and practices of yogic meditation techniques also have the capacity to create alpha waves.