“…No matter how far the wild gander flies, at some point it remembers, and migrates back to its home, always at the proper season. In the same way, we as spiritual beings following a spiritual principle must, like the wild gander, remember, and migrate back to our spiritual home…” – Goswami Kriyananda
When I began exploring a meditation practice some years ago, I found it difficult to remain present at first. Who hasn’t? Luckily there are a myriad of techniques available for generating awareness. And, through trial and error, it’s possible to discover a method that speaks to you. In the end, a meditation practice should give you energy, enthusiasm, peace and joy.
Today I am introducing what may be the most effective concentration/meditation technique that I have encountered in my training and practice. It frequently helps to remove the attachments and fluctuations from my mind so that I can focus on my breath and generate positive energy.
What is it?
Hong Sau Kriya is a form of meditative breathing. The practice is simple – you mentally chant Hong as you inhale and Sau as you exhale. When the breath is still, the chanting stops. As your breath elongates, so does the word.
The word Hong is pronounced like “hong kong” & Sau like the word “saw.”
Hong Sau originates from the Sanskrit word Hamsa which means Holy Gander (that migrates back to its spiritual home). Its concept is symbolic. Geese migrate or wander; yet no matter how far they fly from home, they always return. Like the gander, we strive to migrate back to our higher self or spiritual nest so that we may experience joy and contentment.
In order to progress we must adapt to our environments. Although the goose lives on water, its feathers are not wetted by it. Similarly a practitioner of Hong Sau learns to live in his/her physical world, without grasping for things, physically, mentally or emotionally.
Use of Hong Sau technique for concentration & meditation:
Hong Sau is explained in ancient yoga scriptures as the sound of the subtle breath itself. The entry of prana (energy) into the body (during an inhalation) creates the sound “hong.” While the ejection of prana out of the body (during exhalation) generates the sound “sau.” Each word is said to have a meditative effect on the mind when connected to the breath.
How to Practice Hong Sau Kriya:
Although Hong Sau Kriya can be practiced anywhere and at anytime, it may be best to set up a regular schedule to get the most of its regenerative benefits. So, a quiet place in an upright seated position with no distractions is ideal. If you already have a yoga practice, then place this technique at the end of your session so that once the mantra fades, you can sit quietly and enjoy the stillness. I find it provides the most benefit when performed after my pranayama (breathing) routine. If you would like more guidance on developing a full breathing/meditation practice, click here.
Hong Sau Kriya
Begin in a comfortable seated position, with your hands resting in your lap, palms facing upwards.
Closing your eyes, gaze gently at the area between your eyebrows.
Allow yourself to focus on the breath:
- With each inhalation, silently chant the word Hong (pronounced like the city Hong Kong).
- As you exhale, silently chant the sound Sau (pronounced like the word saw).
When the breath stops, the silent mantra should cease. Likewise, when the breath flows, the mantric sound flows.
After 2-3 minutes, permit the mantric vibration to recede and sit quietly.
Remaining still immediately afterwards will give the mind time and space to receive any new thoughts. This may only occur during the next few breaths (or sometimes just for the length of time between breaths). During this brief period, a solution to a problem may arise. Or, you might feel a great burden lift and a new sense of clarity emerge. I have also experienced a general attitude change – one that is more enthusiastic or accepting. Not everyday will produce the same result. Be patient and kind, realizing that the practice is slowly unfolding you.
Try to practice the Hong-Sau Kriya technique for a few minutes daily. Keep it a passive process by allowing the breath to breathe you. The less effort you put into it, the more you will enjoy it. The more you enjoy it, the more it will become a habit you look forward to doing. When you approach it with positiveness and joy, it will bring you serenity.
The most important quality of a practice such as Hong-Sau is its effectiveness. Not the technique itself but the outcome. Essentially, the ritual’s intention is to empty your mind of its gripping and distractions so that you may migrate back to your original home – a place of stillness, peace and contentment.
That’s what the Hong Sau Kriya technique has given me. Hopefully you will attune to it as well.