Both dogs and humans are exposed to vibration generated by sounds every second of every day. Everything in creation is essentially vibration. Some sounds are toxic to our health (think noise pollution), while others (the soothing sounds of nature) are healing. We can see the effect that vibration has on matter by playing music in proximity to water - see those ripples? Most of us can also feel the effect such vibrations have on our own minds and bodies.
Consider your state of being while listening to different sounds; classical music versus heavy metal, construction noise versus a babbling brook, and even a pleasant conversation versus an agitated and loud one. When we pay attention, the importance of sound and its effect on our health becomes apparent. For thousands of years, this knowledge has been used as a healing modality by cultures all over the world. This was based on an innate knowingness and consistent positive results, and today it is accepted as scientific fact.
Meditation is known for its ability to reduce stress, lower blood pressure and heart rate, increase blood flow to the brain and improve the quality of your sleep. It can also literally change your brain by increasing gray matter in our auditory and sensory areas – two places that happen to be especially important for dogs. After just eight weeks of meditation, a thickening appears in the portion of the hippocampus associated with learning, cognition, memory and emotional regulation. This is beneficial to everyone no matter how many legs, two or four!
Ayurveda is one of many ancient wisdom traditions that incorporates the use of sound, specifically mantras, for its healing properties. The word mantra means mind-tool in Sanskrit (the ancient language of India). Ma = mind and Tra = transport. This is appropriate because mantras are healing tools and the repetitive nature, tone, and meaning of a word (or lack of meaning) a word, can transport the mind from its usual busy state to a quiet, nurturing space of rest.
Numerous scientific studies on mantras conclude that a repetitive speech pattern produces an overall reduction in brain activity. In this place of rest that the seeds of health and wellbeing are planted. There is little value to be found amidst chaos. Calming the mind allows treatment to take root. Because of these benefits, the American Cancer Society promotes meditation as a complementary therapy to help relax the body and ease the mind.
One more reason to add Ayurvedic mantras into your daily life is the discovery that DNA can be altered by frequencies and words. Yes, mantras can boost our healing potential! Of course, this includes our dogs’ DNA too. And because our pups are such sensitive beings, we could (and should) put more thought into their current environment and our own vocabulary choices.
Just like us, our dogs are living in a sensory-oriented world. Each of their senses (sight, smell, touch, taste, and hearing) are primarily used as portals that receive information, but they can also be powerful gateways to improving health and wellbeing. Our first instinct is to assume working with smell would be most beneficial, but canines have a very acute sense of hearing as well and are just as influenced by the sounds in their environment.
It might seem that your dog already has a mantra or two, such as "Get your ball," "Good dog" and "Treat." Even howling can be associated with a form of chanting, however distracting you may find it. Some canines prefer to meditate silently, and maybe you think yours doesn’t do it at all. Either way, just hearing a mantra is enough to receive the benefits.
Dogs listen to every sound we utter, and they will certainly absorb the energy emitted from a mantra’s specific vibrational quality. Mantras that have been chanted for many, many years have tonal aspects which produce particular effects without us having to know a thing about its meaning. We merely need to be in the presence of the sound.
So, we can use mantras to help our dogs with their overall health or to treat very specific conditions. In time and with practice, a body influenced by mantra will begin to move in the direction of homeostasis or balance (Sama). That is what Ayurveda as a whole strives for – to bring our body and mind back to its natural state of harmony. I’ve listed a few mantras below to get you started, but first here’s a way to practice them.
Find a quiet place and take a few mindful moments with your dog in whatever way feels comfortable for you both. A short meditation, breathing with your dog or even a little doggy massage are a few suggestions. After a few minutes and with your eyes closed, begin holding the intention of the mantra. Softly speak the sound of the mantra out loud.
Repeat the mantra seven times, while holding an intention of healing. Really feel the essence of it becoming your dog’s reality – as if it has already happened. Imagine that your furry friend is living in safety, health, and abundance. Make these aims the positive medicine you are administering, and the frequency of your meditations the dosage. After the seventh repetition, hold silence for another minute or so. Finish with a deep, audible breath in and out. Then slowly open your eyes.
Here are three powerful mantras to get you started:
Lokah Samasta Sukhino Bhavantu is a Sanskrit mantra that translates to “May all beings everywhere be happy and free” and “In some way, may I contribute to that happiness and freedom for all.” It is an intention of peace and compassion.
Om Namah Shivaya – honors the divine within oneself and others – destroys negativity and replaces it with the positive. It eradicates past experiences and creates an opportunity for something new.
Om mani padme hum – the jewel of the lotus of the heart (Buddhist). This represents purification and unity.
Ayurveda teaches many other mantras as well as other holistic techniques that lead us back to Sama (balance) and a healthier, more vibrant way of being. To discover mantras and/or other healing techniques that would be most beneficial for your dog’s particular circumstances, consider a private consultation with me.
With an open mind, knowing that there’s no way to do it “wrong”, give vibrational healing for your dog a try. You might be quite surprised with the positive effect the good vibrations have on you both. And who doesn’t need a little more gray matter?!
by Amanda Ree
(top of page) Photo Credit : Jamie Fields @ Shutter Pup Photography