The Adi Mantra: Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo
When is the Adi Mantra used in Kundalini Yoga?
I open every Kundalini Yoga class with the Adi Mantra by chanting three times Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo. This is already part of the practice and sets the container for our Sadhana – our daily practice. We start to turn our focus inward and shift our energy, dropping into the parasympathetic nervous system. Adi means ‘first’ or ‘primal’ – meaning it’s the first mantra to use when starting your yogic practice.
It’s a powerful mantra, that connects us to the community of Kundalini Yoga teachers and students. This connection is also referred to as ‘the golden chain’.
What is the meaning of Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo?
When translating from Sanskrit you would normally refer to the meaning of the whole mantra. Because there can be several meanings for one single word. Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo means ‘I bow to the infinite divine teacher that resides within’. You can see below how each syllable can be translated.
With Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo we are opening up the three chambers of our body. The head, the heart, and the gut chamber.
The creative energy of the infinite cosmos.
In the process of birthing, you come from OM – the infinite nothing – as a consciousness without any matter. Then you are introduced into ONG – the soul energy – consolidating matter into existence.
When chanting ONG, let your tongue massage your upper palate. We are forcing the sound into the nasal captivity and up into the front part of the brain. We are also activating the pituitary gland at the center of our brain.
From the word ‘namaha’: I bow. Also from Namaste which means ‘I bend from my belly’.
With Namo we are bringing the sound down the body into the gut chamber.
We do the Namo again at the end, because the belly is where all your major emotions arise from. So we try to sooth the emotions.
GURU: A spiritual teacher, bringing light into darkness. Gu means darkness, Ru means light.
DEV: From the word ‘deva’: divine, universal consciousness.
Let the expression of Guru Dev come straight from your chest, your heart chamber.
How I experience Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo
- Opening a space for healing.
- An Invitation to let go and grow.
- A moment of full presence.
- I connect to the infinite cosmic energy within me, that brings me from darkness to light.
How to chant the Adi Mantra?
Start by finding a comfortable seat and connecting to your breath. Before we begin chanting, we rub the palms of our hands together to stimulate the many thousand nerve endings (Nadis) in our hands.
Typically the mantra is chanted on one breath, but you can also do two breaths.
Experience the Adi Mantra
Let me guide you through an opening of a Kundalini Yoga class with this short audio recording. You can find the transcript below.
I kindly invite you to sit on your Yoga Mat in Easy Pose with your legs crossed. If you know that you might need props like a bolster to sit on or a blanket, have them at hand. So that you can fully dive into the experience.
I invite you to close your eyes and breathe deeply through the nose. Become aware of your breath as it is right now. Allow your body to become very heavy for a moment.
Now rub the palms of your hands together, create a little heat.
On your next inhalation bring the palms of your hands together in Anjali Mudra in front of your heart. Exhale completely out through the nose.
Inhale place the thumbs gently against your sternum, lift the chest, relax your shoulders, exhale completely out through the nose.
And now we open our space and tune in to the sacred within and around through chanting the Adi Mantra 3 times together.
Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo
It’s a Mantra that protects us and connects us to the highest source of wisdom. It’s meant to honor our inner wisdom and the power of our community.
Exhale completely, inhale to chant.
Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo x 3
Inhale, very gently hold the breath for just a moment and feel that expansive state as if you are becoming bigger and bigger, expanding in all 4 directions above and below, filling the room with your presence, exhale – release.
Relax your hands down, experience for just a moment.
Recordings to chant along with the Adi Mantra
There are many recordings of the Adi Mantra to chant along and get to know the mantra. I still encourage you to also practice without music, getting to know your own voice.