The word mantra has taken on many different meanings in the western world. First off, it is difficult to perfectly translate a word that does not exist in the English language. The beauty of a mantra is that it takes on many different meanings and forms. Let’s explore further.
- : is a sacred utterance, a numinous sound, a syllable, word or phonemes, or group of words in Sanskrit believed by practitioners to have psychological and spiritual powers. A mantra may or may not have syntactic structure or literal meaning
- : general name for the verses, formulas or sequence of words in prose which contain praise, are believed to have religious, magical or spiritual efficiency, which are meditated upon
- Man- means to think or mind
- Tra- means transport of vehicle
Mantra- instrument of the mind.
3 Types of Mantras
- Reciting a personal affirmation to empower and create presence
- Chanting Sanskrit words that have specific meaning
- Connecting with sound without defined meaning
I listed them from easiest to hardest…in my opinion.
Have you ever tried to sing out loud at the top of your lungs to your favorite song while driving and contemplate world peace?
I’ve tried and it just doesn’t work. Overall, repeating a phrase in your head or out loud or focusing on the sound of the moment helps create presence. It forces you to be in the moment and that is the first step to connecting with yourself and world.
What Mantra works for you?
If it’s your first time using a mantra, start with a simple phrase you can easily connect with. Maybe repeat it throughout the day to yourself or during yoga or during a seated meditation practice.
- Nothing can stop me today—I can only stop myself.
- I am Fullfilled. I am Enough.
- I am Present. I am Here. I am Breath, (MY personal favorite)
If you have a little more experience or find it easier to get lost with chanting, then take a common Sanskrit mantra that not only creates a specific vibration, but holds strong meaning. Here are just a few you can start with. I highly recommend looking up a YouTube video not only for pronunciation, but for the added rhythm. Better than anything would be to attend a Kirtan class.
- Sat Nam || Saaaaaaaat| Nam || Truth is my name
- Om || A-U-M || Represents first sound of the universe often linked to fostering better communication.
In the beginning, it might be easier to just listen and then eventually chant in your head or out loud. Check out Yoga Journal’s mantra article for more ideas.
If you are up for the challenge or already have a gifted ability to rest your mind with just sound try listening to different meditation music.
And yes, using mantras can very much be a form of meditation! And you might totally hate hearing OM repeated over and over again, but really resonate with personal affirmations. You just gotta find your flavor and sometimes that means you have to do a lot of tasting!.
The Power of Mantra
Mantras help keep us present,assist with manifestation, and create calmness. But not only do we know this from personal experience, but have evidence based research. Yes there is science to prove it for all you skeptics! Functional MRI studies have shown decreased thought processes suggesting increased concentration during the of mantra. I’ll put links to a few articles under my resources!
I read, “Asanas are postures for the body, Mantras are postures for the mind.” Mmm. Ruminate on that!
How do you use mantras? Tell me about your mantra practice.
There’s No Better Time Than Now,