Mantras are an integral part of Kundalini Yoga and are repeated silently or chanted aloud. Many come from the Sikh sacred texts but the mantras are not religious: they have been chosen by Yogi Bhajan for their powerful spiritual effect, connecting us to infinite consciousness.  

Kundalini Yoga mantras

Repeating mantras is a powerful tool to clear and restructure the unconscious mind, replacing negative patterns stuck there with a new vibration.We use mantra like a tuning fork to tune into and align ourselves with a particular vibration of the Universe. 

Think of yourself as a Divine instrument with strings. When you chant, the vibration of the strings causes all thirty trillion cells of your body to resonate, to dance – forming patterns that shape you physically, emotionally and mentally.
~ The Aquarian Teacher

The music, the mantra, has the capacity to touch us very deeply, to transcend conscious thought and cut through the questioning mind. 

Many of the mantras we chant in Kundalini Yoga are taken from the sacred Sikh texts, predominantly Japji, Jaap Sahib, and the Siri Guru Granth Sahib. These are chanted in Gurmukhi, the vibratory language of the sacred texts. Other mantras are in English. Yogi Bhajan drew mantras from a wide variety of sources, choosing those that have a powerful effect. 

Many of the mantras have been sung in beautiful versions by yogis and musicians such as Snatam Kaur, Mirabai Ceiba, Jai-Jagdeesh and Nirinjan Kaur.  Here is a version of ‘Ong Namo’ sung live in concert by Snatam Kaur:

It was hearing the mantras that first got me hooked me on Kundalini Yoga (you can read more about that here). 

In class, some parts of the kriya and the meditation ask the students to join with the chanting out loud, sometimes internally, sometimes simply listening. I play mantras throughout the class.

The mantras are chanted in Gurmukhi, the language in which the sacred texts are written. This is  shabd guru, meaning that the sound current transmits the essence, it is not just in the meaning of the words.  They lose a lot in translation into English, so while it can be useful to know the sense of what we are chanting, it is important to chant in the original language. You can read more about Naad Yoga which goes deeper into the yoga of sound.

These are some of the Mantras you will hear in class

The mantras are quite easy to pick up and the majority of them repeat the same phrase or few phrases. There are others that are more like a long poem and I find a real joy and satisfaction in learning these ones (e.g. ‘Ray Man Shabd‘).

Adi Mantra

Ong namo Guru dev namo

We use this mantra to ‘tune in’ at the start of each kundalini yoga class.  It means ‘I bow to the One Creator of all creation, I bow to the infinite teacher within’.

Mangala Charn Mantra

This is a mantra for divine protection. We chant it at the start of each class.

Aad Guray Nameh
Jugaad Guray Nameh
Sat Guray Nameh
Siri Gur Dayvay Nameh

It means: I bow to the primal wisdom, I bow to the wisdom through the ages, I bow to the True wisdom, I bow to the Great Divine Wisdom

Sat Nam

Sat Nam

This means ‘Truth is my identity’ (although as with many translations, it feels that this falls short of the original meaning). ‘Sat’ is the original truth, the truth of the soul. ‘Nam’ is my name, my identity.

This mantra is used throughout the kundalini yoga class, as we inhale, as we exhale. We carry ‘Sat Nam’ on our breath to keep returning our awareness to our true nature – both in class and outside.

We complete the class by chanting 3 long ‘Sat Nam’s.

Mul Mantra

The Mul Mantra is the first part of the Japji:

Ek ong kar
Sat nam
Akal murat
Ajooni saibhung
Gur Prasaad
Aad such
Jugaad such
Hebe such
Nanak hosi bhi such

It describes that there is one Creator of all Creation and that Creator is infinite and beyond death, beyond fear, beyond the cycle of birth and rebirth.