Because I am both a mantra practitioner and an editor specializing in books about dogs, I am often asked what which particular mantras would be beneficial to animals. As we know, the benefits of chanting mantra are myriad–ranging from physical to emotional to mental to spiritual. But for this particular post I want to focus on mantra music for traumatized and/or anxious animals. Whether you have a newly adopted companion animal rescued from a shelter, or a long-time family member showing signs of separation anxiety, or a group of animals showing signs of situational stress, here is a short list of recommendations. As my former beloved dogs Chloe and Wallace can attest, playing these songs will truly help create a calming, soothing and healing environment for them (and for you).
Before we get to the list, I should point out that:
Obviously, our beloved animal friends cannot verbally chant these mantras along with us (although some dog lovers would argue that barking can be a form of canine sacred chant). But in the yogic and Buddhist traditions it is said that merely hearing a mantra can benefit the listener, bringing about spiritual awakening or even enlightenment. Hearing a sacred mantra and absorbing its high, pure vibrations can also bring about profound physical and emotional healing as well. Believe me; our animal friends can feel it, whether they comprehend what is being chanted or not. I’ve used mantras to help dogs work through separation anxiety; to keep them calm during veterinary procedures; and to assuage nervous and/or aggressive behaviors. I even used mantra to help my beloved dog Chloe during her time of transition (she sadly died this past September). Now I visit my local shelter almost weekly, to recite mantras to the distressed animals in residence there. There is nothing more rewarding than to witness a nervous, frightened animal relax into a state of peace upon hearing these sacred sounds.
Also known as the “mantra for protection,” Ad Gurey Nameh can literally surround ones’ magnetic field and environment with a protective frequency. Yogi Bhajan always recommended chanting this mantra to protect one’s house, family, and pets. (Almost every Kundalini yoga practitioner I know recites this mantra three times before driving their cars.) Thus, this is another mantra I recommend for households with anxious, formerly abused and/or traumatized pets. The vibration of this mantra can help your animals feel safe and protected–especially when they are introduced into new or unfamiliar environments. When I traveled with my dog Chloe, I would play this as soon as we checked into our new hotel rooms. It became Chloe’s security blanket–an aural and vibrational cue that we were in yet another safe place.
Here’s an ethereal, calming version of Ad Gurey Nameh by the fabulous Jai-Jagdeesh:
Yogi Bhajan has said that the mantra RA MA DA SA SA SAY SO HUNG is one of the most powerful healing mantras on the planet. The first section (RA MA DA SA) aligns us with the healing energies and vibrations of the earth, while the second section (SA SAY SO HUNG) aligns us with the powerful energies of the ethers (also known as the “universal healing frequencies). Reciting this mantra not only makes us more receptive to healing on physical, emotional and mental levels; it helps calm the nervous system, boost the immune system, and heals traumatic emotions.
As far as our beloved animal friends are concerned: I find that the Siri Gaitra Mantra is particularly beneficial for animals who have experienced trauma, neglect or abuse. I also encourage those who work with animals to practice this mantra themselves, because reciting this mantra regularly can help increase and augment one’s healing abilities–especially distance healing. And remember, animals are very receptive beings who pick up non-stop on our emotional states. The more calm we are, the more calm our animal friends will be.
Here’s a link to a free download of Snatam Kaur’s version of RA MA DA SA, beloved worldwide by animals and humans alike:
Thus the mantra purifies the whole body and the surrounding.
This is a popular mantra in my household–especially given that my doctor actually prescribed to me during a period of acute anxiety. This mantra is comprised of the Five Sacred Syllables, each of which corresponds to one of the elements of earth, water, fire, air, and space. Chanting “Om Namah Shivaya” calms the nervous system, stabilizes the mind, and balances the elements–both within oneself and within one’s environment. In other words, it’s a very grounding mantra. And because dogs are typically very grounded beings to begin with, I find that they respond quite positively to it. This grounding component makes Om Namah Shivaya is another good riding-in-the-car mantra for your dog, with the caveat being that it might also might make the driver sleepy. So be aware of that.
My favorite version comes from Craig Pruess and the Art of Living Singers:
This extremely powerful Buddhist mantra is my personal favorite, and the one that I played most often for my dog. It is also the mantra that I chant for the animals at my local animal shelter. I have so much to say about this mantra and its benefit for animals that I will be writing a separate blog about this in the coming weeks. But for now, I’ll just say that Om Mani Peme Hum is comprised of the Six Sacred Syllables of the Tibetan tradition, and that each of these syllables with a corresponding emotion or realm, and that reciting (or hearing) each of these syllables heals those emotions and liberates beings from those realms. This includes the Animal Realm. When I chant or play this mantra for dogs, I immediately see its calming effects. Shelter dogs especially will stop shaking, cease pacing and/or barking, and literally melt in my lap. It’s heartwarming to witness.
Here’s a mesmerizing version by Wah!
HOW TO CHOOSE WHICH MANTRAS TO PLAY?
There are many other beautiful versions of the aforementioned chants available at Spirit Voyage and beyond, but ultimately it’s the animal’s choice. Observe your friends as you play the various songs and see how they respond. If they leave the room during certain songs–or even certain sections of a song–that’s a clear clue that the song is not appropriate at that time. Or it might simply mean that they have received enough healing from that song for the time being. Just observe.
Another thing I advise is: when selecting healing music to play for your beloved pets, keep in mind that animals are not only more sensitive to volume; they are also more sensitive to frequencies, pitches, and tempo shifts as well. In general, I advise people to avoid chant music with strong percussion, crashing cymbals, dramatic shifts in tempos, rising crescendoes and piercing sounds. While I personally enjoy all sorts of chant music, and love a good loud set of drums, my dog does not.
Another thing I want to add is that I’m starting to see a lot of CDs featuring “classical music for animals.” But people should be aware that that not all classical music is suitable for dogs. Some music that we humans might find exhilarating–such as the works of Mozart or Beethoven’s Fifth–is actually quite agitating for dogs.
Ultimately, when choosing music for your animals, it’s best to opt for music with a consistent pace, rhythm and tone. Anything augmented with sound healing tools is terrific–i.e. crystal singing bowls, Solfeggio frequencies, didgeridoo, harmonium, sitar, chimes, etc.
In addition to the songs listed above, here’s a short list of some of my dog’s personal favorites:
“Ave Maria” by Ashana (beautiful, feminine voices accompanied by heavenly singing bowls)