Mantram Vocal Cultivation

A mantram is a religio/magical recitation used by the Hindus. It is repeated over and over in rhythm. The Yogis pl"ce great emphasis on the beauty of the voice and cadance in such performances.

Swami Vivekananda has this to say on the matter, "By right practice a beautiful voice will come to you. The Yogis are noted for their wonderful voices, which are strong, smooth, and clear, and have wonderful trumpet-like carrying power."

This impressive archway overlooking the harbor in Bombay is known as "The Gateway to Western India." F rom here one can travel to explore the far corners of India in the search for her magic.

An illuminated front view of the Maharaja's Palace at Mysore. Seen at night in glowing splendor it forms a never-to-be-forgotten memory of Oriental beauty.

Among the numerous breathing exercises employed by the Yogis for developing the desired quality of voice, the most famous is known as The Mantram Pathfinder. This exercise is practiced as follows:

1 Assume the stable and easy Asana.

2 Inhale as usual for 6 units.

3 Retain the breath for three units.

4 Opening the mouth as in singing, exhale through the opened mouth for the usual 6 units, at the same time sounding the notes described below.

5 Repeat the exercise seven times, avoiding haste and overtiring your voice. Then rest for a few minutes before practicing futher.

The sounds or notes used during the exercise consist of seven droning or humming sounds produced with the exhaled breath; one sound for each exhalation. The drone or hum produced is like a whirring sound, and the concluding humming sound of "m-m-m-m-m-m-m" must always be quite marked and persistent. The vowel sound of the hummmmmmm is varied with each of the seven repetitions of the exercise, as follows:

1 Sound "Hah" followed by the "m-m-m-m-m" hum so as to sound like "Hahm-m-m-m-m-m-m-m."

2 In the same way sound "Haw" followed by the hum, as "Hawm-m-m-m-m-m-m."

3 In the same way sound "Hee" followed by the hum, as "Heem-m-m-m-m-m-m."

4 In the same way sound "High" followed by the hum, as "Highm-m-m-m-m-m-m."

5 In the same way sound "Hoe" followed by the hum, as "Hoem-m-m-m-m-m-m."

6 In the same way sound "Hoo" followed by the hum, as "Hoom-m-m-m-m-m-m-m."

7 In the same way sound "Hum" followed by the "m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m," thus making the full sound of "Hum-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m."

The droning or humming sound of "m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m" will easily follow the vowel sound in each instance when you close your lips after making the latter, and continue the hummmmmm with closed lips. With practice, "The Mantram Pathfinder" will bring you a beautiful voice.

Yogi Ramackaraka suggests another vocal exercise used by the Hindus which will cultivate an outstanding voice. You can use this exercise in combination with the foregoing, if you wish. The exercise consists of puckering up the mouth as if you were about to whistle through it (or to say "Whew") and then, while holding that position of the lips and face, sing naturally through the puckered lips, sounding the notes through them without distrubing the position of the lips. Practice this exercise a little each day, and note how your speaking voice improves.

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