Chakra Vowel Sounds

Chakra Vowel Sounds & Toning

Chakra vowel sounds and toning allow you to connect to the universal sounds of creation. Many sound healers use this approach to channel healing energy or to serve as a vehicle for releasing imbalanced energy from the body or to clear the external environment. Since every sound literally vibrates the cells, bones, organs, and fluids in the body, each tone can be used to revitalize the physical body as well as the emotions and the more ephemeral spirit.

Toning utilizes extended vowels in an improvisational fashion without adherence to a specific rhythm or melody. This can be similar to keening or wailing in grief. At other times, it is simply a beautiful song without words. Many indigenous peoples use a variety of toning in rituals and ceremonies. When used as a spiritual practice, sacred toning is the conscious use of extended tones for spiritual elevation.

Spiritual traditions worldwide view sound as the activating force in the universe. Sound is referred to as the Word, a fundamental force or vibration. These sounds can be chanted on a single tone or sung using a simple melody for easier repetition. In this article, you will learn more about:

  • how toning is done
  • vowels and consonants in toning
  • sounds for each of the chakras
  • connections to physical organs & health
  • toning, chakras and the five elements

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How Toning is Done

Toning is done by vocalizing one of the given syllables on a particular tone. Hold the tone for a single breath without strain. If you have an instrument to accompany you, drone on a single note during the exercise. If you have a keyboard, most people are comfortable starting on the A below middle C. You can use the same note for each of the chakra sounds.

If you prefer, you can gradually move up through the scale. You may be able to concentrate more fully staying on a single tone. On the other hand, moving up the scale may be more interesting and thus encourage you to extend the time that you spend in toning.

If you are a man, you may want to start a step or two lower in pitch. Likewise, a woman may want to sing in slightly higher pitches. Keep the instrument volume low to provide a foundation that supports but doesn’t compete with your voice. The emphasis is to stay within the note rather than trying to sing over a musical instrument.

Toning is like a warm up for the chakras. This practice can be a stand-alone exercise or a precursor to singing mantras or other devotional music. If you have the opportunity to practice toning in a group, participants may want to sing on pitches that harmonize with each other.

Chakra Sounds, Sacred Toning and Singing
Vowels and Consonants in Toning

The impact of vowels and consonants on the body and the mind is a fascinating science. Every sound literally vibrates the cells, bones and fluids in the body. In addition, each organ in the body is associated with one or more chakras or energy centers.

As a result, chakra vowel sounds and toning can have healing effects on physical well-being as well as mental and emotional states. At a fundamental level, vowels are feminine energy: consonants are masculine energy. Vowels are generic and formless. Consonants set parameters around the feminine energy to create form from formlessness. In other words, consonants create a container.

In addition to single syllables or the vowel sounds described below, more complex mantras can be used. Mantras are coded formulas that stimulate the chakras and meridians. In turn, the chakras energize various systems and organs in the body. This is one aspect of the healing power of mantras.

Root Chakra Toning & Vowel Sounds

Root Chakra Vowel Sounds & Toning

The root chakra vowel sound of “UH” creates a grounding energy, expressing latent potential. This chakra governs the lower part of the body, including the legs, hips, lower back and lower spine. These areas of the body establish balance and stability. These are the organs and systems that provide a strong foundation for physical health and a platform for your presence in the world.

Understanding the Root Chakra

The name for the root chakra in Sanskrit is Muladhara.  “Mula” means “root” and “adhara” means “base or support.” A balanced and strong root chakra affords the ability to stand your ground and feel safe in the world. In the Hindu tradition, the root chakra is depicted as a lotus flower with four petals. The four petals of the root chakra are generally viewed as mind, intellect, consciousness and ego. 

The root chakra is your connection to the earth and the environment. This is the chakra of safety and security. The root chakra can also be seen as connected with your personal and ancestral history. These are the roots that can either bind you to the earth in a negative sense or give you a strong base and presence in the world. 

Root Chakra Toning

In additional to the chakra vowel sounds, there are musical notes, instruments, mantras, and bija seed syllables associated with each chakra. In the Eastern system, the note for the root chakra is SA. The full scale is SA, RE, GA, MA, PA, DHA, NI, SA. In the Western system, the note for the root chakra is DO and the full scale is the familiar DO, RE, MI, FA, SO, LA, TI, DO.

Likewise, the notes of the musical scale connect to each chakra. The root chakra would be the lowest note on the scale. This is often viewed as the note C. This could vary by individual. What will remain stable is that the other chakras and their notes will build harmonically from your fundamental note or vibration based on your physical size, bone structure and so forth.

Additional Root Chakra Sounds

The instruments associated with the root chakra are drums and other percussion instruments. Learn about all of the chakras and associated instruments in Chakra Sounds. Mantras for the root chakra are based on the bija seed syllable (LAM) or on Hindu deities associated with the root chakra such as Indra, Brahma, and Ganesha. Find out more about Chakras and Deities.

Chakra Article Resources

Sacral Chakra Vowel Sounds & Toning

The sacral chakra vowel sound is “EW.” This is felt energy, awakening energy, or the energy of creativity. The sacral chakra is focused on relationships. This includes your relationship with yourself. This chakra is associated with reproduction and the creation of new life. The sacral chakra is the realm of exchanges not only in sexuality, but also connected to work and finances. 

Sacral Chakra Toning & Vowel Sounds
Understanding the Sacral Chakra

When purified and balanced, the sacral chakra is the chakra of inner peace. The sacral chakra is connected the following physical organs: the reproductive organs, the lower back, large intestines, hips, kidneys and bladder. Besides the positive effects of using the chakra vowel sounds, there are also healing stones and essential oils for each chakra. Stones that are useful for the sacral chakra include pearls, citrine, carnelian and moonstone. Helpful essential oils include patchouli, jasmine and ylang ylang. 

Sacral Chakra Toning
In the Eastern natation system, the sacral chakra is related to the sound “RE.” Interestingly, in the Western system, the sound is also “RE,” as in DO-RE-MI, etc. The note of the musical scale would be D. The instruments associated with the sacral chakra are the woodwinds, including the clarinet, oboe, bassoon, and saxophone.
Additional Sacral Chakra Sounds

Mantras for the sacral chakra may include the bija seed syllable VAM. The seed syllables and related mantras are covered in the article Chakra Mantras & Seed Syllables. Two of the deities associated with the sacral chakra are the goddess Parvati and the god Vishnu (an incarnation of Krishna).

Parvati is the Hindu goddess of fertility, love and devotion as well as divine strength and power. She is the gentle and nurturing aspect of the goddess energy and the consort of Shiva. Learn more and listen here to a Parvati Mantra.

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 Solar Plexus Chakra Vowel Sounds & Toning

The solar plexus chakra vowel sound of “OH” is the sound of gathering energy and the power of the emotions. This chakra governs the action of transformation. In the physical realm, this is digestion and adrenal function. The solar plexus is sometimes viewed as the “third brain” due to the “gut feelings” that can help us make decisions and avoid danger. Additional information can be found in the article entitled Solar Plexus Chakra Meaning.

Solar Plexus Chakra Toning & Vowel Sounds

Understanding the Solar Plexus Chakra

The solar plexus is symbolized as a ten-petaled lotus that resembles a sun. The fire of the sun is similar to the physical energy needed to digest and transform food. Each petal corresponds to a specific Sanskrit letter and the overcoming of a negative tendency.

The influence of the moon on the solar plexus chakra is also recognized. The Hindu symbol of the chakras includes a crescent stroke and a dot to represent the moon. Explore all of the details of these traditional symbols at Chakra Symbols.

Solar Plexus Chakra Toning

The solar plexus is also closely related to wealth and abundance. Using the chakra vowel sounds will help to master your emotions. This can give you a huge leap forward in the business world! In addition to the vowel sound “OH,” the solar plexus is stimulated by the Eastern sound “GA” and the Western “MI.”

Additional Solar Plexus Chakra Sounds

The Hindu goddess Lakshmi is associated with the solar plexus. She is the goddess of fortune, wealth and abundance. Lakshmi is usually depicted sitting on a lotus flower with a bowl of gold coins just in front of her. Read stories from the Hindu tradition in Chakras Gods and Goddesses.

The instrument most closely related to the solar plexus chakra is the organ. In kirtan or mantra music, this is often the harmonium, a small acoustic instrument also known as a hand organ. The instruments used in kirtan are explored in What is Kirtan Music?

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Heart Chakra Vowel Sounds

The heart chakra vowel sound of “AH” carries the energy of devotion and compassion. As the seat of love, the heart chakra expresses charity and kindness. The heart chakra is also a focus for beauty and culture. The energy of this chakra integrates opposite forces to bring two parts together. The vowel sound “AH” also assists with the health and strength of the lungs and energizes the mind. Additional information about the heart chakra can be found in Heart Chakra Meaning.

Heart Chakra Toning & Vowel Sounds

Understanding the Heart Chakra

The sound “AHA” is an extension of the chakra vowel sound AH. This exclamation is often used in English when a sudden solution or insight is gained (aha!). “AHA” is also stimulating for the hormonal system. The Sanskrit translation means something very similar: indeed, it is true, certainly, surely, it is granted.

When this sound is extended even further (a ha ha ha ha ha ha), the effect is similar to laughter therapy, which has been proven to relieve stress and depression. Indeed, laughing with friends is a powerful group bonding experience. We are thirty times more likely to laugh in a group context than when alone.

The Sanskrit word “namaha” combines the “aha” sound with two controlling consonants (n and m) and means “it is not about me; I submit to a higher power of control in my life.” This word is utilized at the end of many Eastern chants.

Heart Chakra Toning

In addition to the heart chakra sound “AH,” the sound from the Eastern system is “MA” and the corresponding sound from the Western system is “FA.” The instruments associated with the heart chakra are the strings: violin, cello, bass, guitar, mandolin and so forth. The heart chakra is also believed to have an inner chamber on the spiritual level where the flame or spark of life resides. The instrument for this inner chamber is the harp.

Additional Heart Chakra Sounds

In the Hindu tradition, the heart chakra is related to the deity known as Hanuman. Hanuman is a money-faced god reminiscent of Western superheroes that combine human and animal characteristics: Spiderman, Batman, Catwoman and so forth. Hanuman has amazing powers. One of his foremost personal characteristics is loyalty. Learn more and listen to an example of a Hanuman Mantra.

Chakra Article Resources

Throat Chakra Vowel Sounds & Toning

The throat chakra vowel sound of “EYE” is associated with the energy of fearlessness and the capacity for communication. The throat chakra is associated with self-expression, speaking and chanting. This chakra energizes the neck, thyroid, esophagus, teeth, mouth and ears. The throat is the power center in the body, the seat of creation through prayers, affirmations and songs.

Throat Chakra Toning & Vowel Sounds

Understanding the Throat Chakra

The throat is the place of greatest vulnerability and greatest strength. This is revealed in many common expressions and idioms:

  • To attack someone else with lethal intent is to “go for the throat.”
  • To be deeply moved by unexpressed grief or sadness is to have “a lump in your throat.”
  • To be self-destructive is to “cut your own throat.”
  • To be forced to do something unwillingly is to have something “shoved down your throat.”
  • To put forth great effort is to “grab something by the throat.”

To maintain the thyroid in balance, we have to have the ability to speak up for ourselves without causing harm to others. In addition to using the chakra vowel sounds, setting appropriate boundaries with others is a way to do this. Explore more connections between body symbolism, chakras health and spirituality in the article Spiritual Meaning of the Body.

Setting boundaries is particularly challenging for women, who tend to take the role of assisting others no matter what the cost to themselves. I spent approximately a year healing my throat chakra and thyroid with chanting, essential oils, journaling, and other life changes. This story is included in the video “My Healing Journey: Mantras, Money and the Thyroid” in the Throat Chakra Meaning article.

Throat Chakra Toning

In addition to the sound “AYE,” the throat chakra sound in the Eastern scale system is “PA.” In the Western system, the sound is “SO.” The instruments associated with the throat chakra are the horns. Horns have been traditionally used for announcements, to call people or animals home, or for initiating battles. The horns include the trumpet, trombone, French horn, euphonium, tuba, cornet, and bugle.

Additional Throat Chakra Sounds

One of the Eastern deities associated with the throat chakra is Sadashiva. This deity is a combination of five forms of Shiva, one of the deities in the Hindu trinity (Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva). Shiva is somewhat akin to the Holy Spirit in the Western Trinity. Sadashiva is usually shown seated in a lotus position, wrapped in an animal hide and hold a three-pronged staff called a trident. Chants and mantras to Sadashiva are useful for balancing and healing the throat chakra.

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Third Eye Chakra Vowel Sounds & Toning

The third eye chakra vowel sound of “AYE” is related to intuition and spiritual vision. The third eye, usually associated with clairvoyant abilities, can be developed with yoga, meditation and the practice of chanting. The vibrations of chanting and singing are felt in the skull and can be consciously directed to the third eye.

Third Eye Chakra Toning & Vowel Sounds

Understanding the Third Eye

The connection between the pineal gland and altered states of consciousness has been well-established in the traditions of yoga and meditation, but little scientific investigation has focused on this tiny gland. Long revered by mystics, the pineal gland has often been considered a useless, vestigial organ by medical doctors.

An imbalance in the third eye chakra may appear as ear and eye issues, learning disabilities, inability to make decisions, or feeling stuck. A positive affirmation for the third eye chakra is “I trust my intuition.” Learn more in Third Eye Chakra Meaning.

Third Eye Chakra Toning

In addition to the vowel sound “AYE,” the sounds associated with the third eye for toning are “DHA” in the Sargam or Eastern system and “LA” in the Western or solfeggio system. The musical instruments associated with the third eye are keyboards including the piano, harpsichord, and celesta.

Additional Third Eye Sounds

The Eastern deity associated with the third eye is Krishna, one of the avatars or incarnations of Vishnu. Vishnu is one of the three deities in the Hindu trinity. His place is similar to that of the Son in the Western trinity. To listen to a related mantra, visit Krishna Mantra.

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Crown Chakra Vowel Sounds & Toning

The crown chakra vowel sound of “EE” stimulates the nervous system. The crown chakra is the seat of enlightenment. This is the place of merging with universal divinity. According to Eastern traditions, the crown chakra is related to higher consciousness (samadhi) and the transforming powers of the divine. There is also a connection to the pineal and pituitary glands (similar to the third eye) and to the hypothalamus.

Crown Chakra Toning & Vowel Sounds

Understanding the Crown Chakra

The crown chakra is represented by twenty layers of fifty petals each. This chakra is sometimes thought to be a combination of a cluster of chakras on the skull, such as the back of the head where monks may gather their hair or shave a bare spot. The crown can be viewed as the father, or spirit energy, drawing the mother, or earth energy, upward from the lower chakras. Learn more in Chakra Symbols.

Crown Chakra Toning

In addition to the vowel sound “EE,” other sounds for toning the crown chakra are “NI” in the Sargam or Eastern system and “TI” in the Western or solfeggio system. The musical instrument associated with the crown chakra is the conch shell. You can hear the conch shell played as an instrument in the final verse of the Chakra Chant Meditation.

Additional Crown Chakra Sounds

One of the presiding deities for the crown chakra is Shiva— often depicted in a dancing form known as Nataraja—Lord of the Dance. Shiva is one of the principal deities of Hinduism, part of the trinity composed of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Another form of Shiva known as Sadashiva is described above and is connected to the throat chakra. 

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Chakra Vowel Sounds & the Five Elements

The vowel sounds of the chakras can also be correlated with the five elements system. This is the system utilized in feng shui and acupuncture. The five elements vary a bit between the Chinese and Vedic systems. However, the idea of energy transformations is similar. The chakra vowel sounds and the Chinese five elements are outlined below: 

Wood Element & Third Eye Chakra: A (AA), spiritual opening, passion, anger, liver and gallbladder
Fire Element & Crown Chakra: E (EE), discernment, joy, disappointment, heart and small intestines
Earth Element & Throat Chakra: I (EYE), energy, concentration, will, brooding, spleen and pancreas
Water Element & Solar Plexus Chakra: O (OH), mental activity, confidence, fear, kidneys and bladder
Metal Element & Sacral Chakra: U (EW), potentiality, physicality, grief, lungs and large intestines 

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Other Related Practices: Color Breathing

You may find that the quality of your toning and voice changes with various forms of stress. Your voice may get hoarse or weak. In addition to chanting for stress release, a closely related practice is “color breathing.” This can be done at a regular time before or after toning, when you can’t sleep or when you first wake up in the morning.

As you breathe in, visualize a supportive color filling your entire body. Then release everything else when you are breathing out. My color of choice is gold. I fill myself with a beautiful golden light. I also like pink and green for color breathing because they are symbolic of breathing in love and healing.

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Author Kathleen Karlsen

Kathleen Karlsen is a musician, artist, writer and speaker. She is the author of two books (Flower Symbols and Vocal Medicine) and over 200 articles. Kathleen, her husband Andrew and their five children live in Bozeman, Montana. More about Kathleen Karlsen.

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