Bija means seed. The Bija mantras are one-syllable seed sounds that are specific to the chakras.
When said aloud, the vibration of these sound seeds activates the energy of the chakras in order to purify & balance the mind & body. When you speak the bija mantras, you resonate with the energy of the associated chakra, helping you focus upon your own instinctive awareness of your body and its needs.
The Bija Mantras are what’s known as Nada Yoga. Nada Yoga is the yoga of sound and vibration. In other words finding a deepening of the spirit or union of the body, mind and spirit through sound.
In order to understand how the Bija Mantras work, it’s essential to look at the Chakras and how they function.
Chakras are subtle energy centres that relate to the hormonal (endocrine) system in the body and the major nerve plexuses.
There are seven major chakras in the body. The chakras are located along the length of the spine with the first chakra, the root chakra, at the base of the spine continuing all the way to crown chakra at the top of the head. The spine relates to the Sushumna Nadi, the main energy highway in the body. There are said to be 72,000 nadis or energy channels in the body. The two other principle energy channels in the body are the Ida nadi and the Pingala nadi. The Ida nadi (moon channel) starts to the left of the Sushumna nadi at the base of the spine and the Pingala Nadi (sun channel) starts to the right of the sushumna nadi. As these two nadis spiral up the Sushumna, each crossing point creates an energy plexus or chakra.
Each chakra relates to different levels of consciousness, developmental stages of life, emotions, thoughts, colours, sounds, body functions and much more. The chakras are said to develop over the course of our lifetime.
In order to bring more harmony to our entire system, sound vibration or repetition of mantra assists the individual in activating the chakras, bringing them into balance when they are blocked or overactive.
The bija mantras are chanted either as a meditation or during your yoga practice to both stimulate and balance the subtle energy body. It’s helpful to place your hands on each chakra point as you chant in order to focus your awareness. Whilst we generally start at the root chakra and work our way up, you can experiment starting at the top and working your way down or by focusing on one particular chakra.