Some describe it as "medicine for the soul" or as a way to prepare the mind to enter a deep meditative state.
Mantras come in all different shapes and sizes, though remain strongly rooted in their ancient traditional purpose. I believe we can maintain the sacred practice of mantras, while at the same time adapting and integrating it into our modern day lifestyle.
What is a mantra?
In Sanskrit, it means "instrument of the mind". A mantra is an ancient practice, rooting back to the Vedic period, approximately 1000 BC to 500 BC. It's use has since been adapted by many other cultures. I like to think of it as a "sacred utterance". It is sacred because each mantra has been created and established based upon an individual, a personal experience and relates directly to our soul purpose and deep desires. A mantra can also be compared to a prayer. They are similiar in that they both are a series of repetitive words that ignite an inner adoration and good intentions for others and our surroundings.
The ancient mantras
The true and original purpose of a mantra is to act as a connection to the conscious universe and prepare the body and mind for a deep meditative state. The sound "OM" is a familiar example and a commonly practiced mantra. "OM" hovers around a frequency of approx. 432 Hz, resulting in a vibration similiar to that of the earth's natural state. Our nervous system chemically and physically reacts to this vibration and in turn creates ease in our ability to concentrate. The purpose of this mantra is to connect with the universe from a focal point within.
Applying mantras in modern-day
Following ancient traditions, the goal of a mantra is to establish a divine connection from the universe to the inner-self. It is important to keep this tradition as the base ingredient, but we can transform the mantras ever so slightly, applying it to our modern lifestyle. We can reap the benefits of mantras without having to formally set aside time and space for a long meditation. You've probably heard this phrase, "You are what you eat". But have you heard this one, "You become that which you tell yourself"? It is a scientific fact that we can persuade ourselves of anything if we say it enough and believe it. A mantra is in fact this very concept; a series of words we say in repetition, painting a picture within, and then enacted outward into the world. I believe we should each create our own personal mantra, and repeat it with intentions of improving our life and positively altering our emotional state.
How do I choose a mantra?
How do I choose what to say? There is a simple answer to this question. First, know that mantras can change as often as you want them to. It doesn't have to be the same phrase for the rest of your life. We are all constantly changing and moving like blades of grass in an open field. When it rains, we become heavy, wet and low. When the sun shines, we become perky, tall and vibrant. When the wind blows, we sway and dance in the chaos. Since we are ever-changing, our mantras can be as well. Back to the main question. "How do I choose a mantra?" The answer is to answer these questions: What do you desire, in this very moment? How do you want to feel? What do you want to ooze into the world around you? Look deep. Look beyond the fact that your work day sucked. Peel back the layers of the superficial and discover what you truly desire. Create a short and simple mantra, and say it throughout the day as you need it. Repeating the it several times a day will force you to check in with yourself to make sure that every breath you take is a reflection of your truest and deepest intention.
By seeking and creating mantras often, you will find yourself growing and learning more about the world around you and the world inside you. I like to think of them as personal sacred intentions that work to better myself and make room for more joy in my life. You know what they say, right? When you better yourself, you can offer more to others and the world. That is the whole point, right? If you are brave enough to think ahead to the end of your life, you will realize that what truly remains is only that which you have given to the world you leave behind.
Note: Mala beads are a great way to spark your mantra intentions. The beads can be used as reminder to say your mantra a certain number of times each day. Mala beads come in various sizes (18, 27, 54 or 108 beads) depending on how much repetition interests you.
Hello, I'm Julie.
Yoga to inspire preventative health and better quality of life. Bring wisdom, nourishment and a deeper connection to all aspects of your life.