Tuning in with the Adi Mantra


Tuning in as we do it for Kundalini yoga is actually a kriya. It's the first kriya we do. It's not just the particular repetition of several different sounds in order to create some sort of bogus affect, tuning in actually through chanting the mantra Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo is a particular kriya which opens up all of the centers of the body, all of your chakras.

This is relatively important because we do Kundalini Yoga, which is all about raising the energy up the spine. If you have read anything in the more popular readings on kundalini yoga, it's enough to make you not come to class. Because it talks about very scary things happening to people, people winding up in mental institutions, inability to move their hands and all kinds of neurotic nonsense.

But although some of these things do happen to people when the kundalini rises suddenly, and it happens because their centers are not open and they have this rocket explosion of energy going up their spine and the nervous system cannot
handle it.

The practice of tuning in is so perfect and pure, that even if you are someone who has messed up your body and nervous system and never meditated a day in your life and your centers are 97% closed, this "tuning in" actually opens up the energy centers just enough so as to allow the purity of this energy to travel up the spine at a pace that it is meant to.

So whether you become enlightened in your first class or your 14,000th experience in yoga, there is energy that is moving up the spine. It is very powerful. By chanting this mantra correctly it opens these little stars, these little centers, these circles of light, these chakras that are on the path of the spine and allows the energy to move and balance itself.

Our aim is not to just be totally up here (in the head); we want a perfect flow between the chakras. You may know people who have meditation practices, they may do "Transendental Meditation," or they may do this practice or that practice, you may sense or even be told that they may be very enlightened people, but their physical form is a mess, their nervous systems aren't great, they are all up here and down here they have serious imbalances in their energetic being. Our aim is to create some sort of a flow. There is enough energy down here (gestures to groin) already, and if it could all wind up here (gestures to "third-eye", that's great, but we need to move it up so there's a balance.

The mantra Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo has to be chanted in a particular way. In chanting a mantra one of the most important things you can do is to have neck lock. Neck Lock is one of the four bhandas or four locks (jalandhara bhanda) and it is accomplished very simply. Your head moves slightly back and it perfectly aligns your spine. You just lift up from the back, and what will happen is, the chin will come in. Your chin is not down here, you don't want some sort of strange angle going off to the front of the room, the neck is straight, your chin is in and your face is forward. This accomplishes a couple of things.

The first thing it accomplishes is that it opens up the throat center and in doing so it allows the vibration of the sound (which is created herein the vocal cords by passing prana from the lungs through them) it allows that vibration to move up into the sinuses, that vibration in the sinuses has an effect on the third eye and the pituitary. So as you chant there is a very specific thing that is taking place, the chin is in and you are chanting from the navel. Ideally you may notice that you don't have enough breath to make it all the way through Ong Namo.

Originally this was taught as a kriya, it is done with one breath and it is a particularly short breath, it's a long powerful chant. Now you can take a little breath after Ong Namo. What that is translated to after thirty years of being in the West is that people take enough time to go get a cup of water between this Ong Namo and Guru Dev Namo - you take a little sip. You may go and take a class somewhere else and it may be a totally different teaching, but the original way it was done is one breath and the idea is that you build up the capacity of your pranic body so that you have enough breath and strength in your lungs, so you can do it one breath. But if you can't, you just take a little breath and you complete the rest.

Your eyes are focused at the third eye as you do this and your spine is very straight. So let's tune in so we can begin. Sit in a comfortable meditative pose, your hands resting on your knees for a moment and begin to breathe long and deep. Eyes are closed. Use your awareness to know this is no small endeavor to tune in, because it is the foundation for the work that will do. A concentrated action to clarify your energetic body. Consciously try and prepare yourself for this, in many ways, most important kriya. To acknowledge yourself for even creating the time in your life and the space in your life to work on yourself.

It's a noble act. Feel yourself prepared and ready for all that comes, because the mantra itself will invoke your highest self (Ong the Namo - the infinite is identified, Guru dev Namo - the teacher within - that aspect of me which will move me from my darkness into my light is identified).

An invocation of the self. Perfect! Bring your palms together, rub your hands, the hands are in prayer pose, palms are together, the sides of the thumbs against the fingers and now the sides of the thumbs are going to press against the sternum. This is the area known as the mind nerve.

Straight spine shoulders back and down, eyes are closed and feel yourself solidified as a perfect yogi, prayerfully ready to invoke the inner self. Spine is straight, eyes are closed and the focus is within and up at the third eye (seat of the soul). Inhale deeply, exhale, inhale, and exhale, inhale deeply, and exhale completely! Inhale to tune in.

Now inhale, suspend the breath, draw your focus within and up and meditate. Exhale and inhale, exhale and gently relax your arms down, your wrists once again to your knees, your hands in receptive gyan mudra (the index finger touching the thumb) and connect to the breath. Slowly open your eyes (if you like).


To center yourself before a set of Kundalini Yoga we chant the Adi Mantra 3 - 5 times. Adi means the first or primal; Mantra is the creative projection of the mind through sound. This mantra is the first creative action. It centers you into the higher self and reminds your lower minds that it is not your ego that will practice or teach Kundalini Yoga. Technically it is the linking mantra for the Golden Chain. The golden chain is the inner spark of Kundalini that is passed person to person; teacher to student; guru to teacher; cosmos and God to guru. By chanting this and linking, the exercises and meditations that you practice are guided by your higher consciousness and all the teachers that have brought this opportunity to you. It makes you very receptive and sensitive to the messages of your body, mind, and intuition.

HOWEVER, it is only to be used as a link when you are to teach. It is not like an individual mantra which is complete in itself.
It is a hook that creates a flow which you serve. If your need is spiritual linkage and guidance then there is another form that is used: the complete Adi Mantra. The complete individual form of the mantra immerses you in awareness and guidance for your personal situation. It establishes a guiding beam between you in your immediate state and your higher consciousness that is true through all states. It is very useful if you are entering Shakti Pad in Kundalini Yoga. It is also excellent as a means to gain perspective and direction. Yogi Bhajan explained this when he said, "Use this mantra in its complete form anytime you have a lack of faith or any similar thing: Many of you will enter Shakti Pad, or you are in it, this mantra will help: With the grace of Guru Ram Das, when this mantra is chanted five times on one breath, the total spiritual knowledge of all teachers who have ever existed or who will ever exist on this earth is beseated in that person."

HOW TO RECITE: Sit in an easy pose with your spine erect. Bring bothpalms in front of the heart center of the chest facing upward. Touch the sides of the palms along the little fingers and sides of the hands, as if you will receive something in them. Form Gian mudra in each hand by gently touching the tip of the first finger to the tip of the thumb.

Focus your eyes on the tip of the nose. Inhale deeply and chant the words as you exhale. Chant the entire mantra three to five times on one breath. Keep the number of repetitions per breath constant. The sound Dev is chanted a minor third higher than the other sounds. The sound of devaa carries slightly on the 'aa' sound.