Sat Nam; The True You
The number of mantras used in Kundalini Yoga is vast however the mantra used the most is Sat Nam. If you attend a Kundalini class you’ll hear it used as a greeting, as a part of many kriyas and meditations, and as a closing to the class. It is also the mantra suggested to have playing in your head constantly on each inhale and exhale.
So what does it mean? Why do we chant Sat Nam?
Literally, Sat means Truth, and Nam means Name so taken together the mantra simply means True Name or Truth is my Name. As we chant the mantra it is the True You which is amplified; your authentic self. As a greeting, saying Sat Nam is a bit like saying “I see your true nature”.
Sat Nam is known as a bij or seed mantra – from the very first time you chant or think Sat Nam, the seed of the True You is planted deep inside. Over time it blossoms, even if we ignore it or forget to tend to it, it still grows. A gentle awareness of the false parts of self develops – habits, labels given to us by others and society, self-limiting patterns, ego identification, affectations, relationships, habitual reactions, bit by bit we start to see through it all and to understand it. And what is left when we have stripped these false layers away is our very essence, our soul, our True Self, our Sat Nam.
And then as we continue to work with Sat Nam we are taken beyond our True Self and shown that we are part of an even bigger Truth or Essence – Consciousness, the Universe, God, the Great Mystery, whatever you want to call it.
As with all yoga, chanting Sat Nam is far more than just understanding the translation; it is an experience and only repeated chanting of the mantra will reveal its truth. By chanting Sat Nam or meditating upon it with your breath, you enter a vibration of truth. You create an internal experience of what these words represent. Truth, enlightenment, and above all awareness, becomes available for you to experience.
How to experience Sat Nam:
Silent repetition – sit comfortably in easy pose or in any meditative posture. Close your eyes, as you inhale silently vibrate Sat and as you exhale silently vibrate Nam.
On the pulse – again sit comfortably in easy pose or in any meditative posture. Close the eyes and with your fingers locate your pulse at the wrist. Begin silently vibrating Sat Nam in time with your pulse.
Chanting – begin in easy pose with the hands in prayer pose and then open the arms wide (as if you’re opening up to give someone a hug) as you chant a long Sat and bring the hands back into prayer pose as you chant a brief Nam (the ratio of Sat to Nam is 7:1)