Mantras are a relatively newer addition to instructions provided during your yoga practice. More and more instructors are asking students to set an intention at the start of their session. However, mantras are not intentions. An intention is used to set the tone of the rest of your meditation practice, while using a mantra during meditation has a different meaning and purpose.
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What is a Mantra?
A mantra is a sound or expression of a sanskrit character. A mantra is used in meditation to help the wandering mind to focus on something. It helps with concentration during meditation.
Since our minds are always churning, a mantra is recited and repeated to stop your mind from thinking. A mantra can also be referred to as a Vedic hymn, chant, or a prayer.
Mantras have been used in many traditions to assist in the reaching spiritual states of consciousness. Hinduism and Buddhism (among others) derevied the use of mantras during the Vedic traditions of ancient India.
What does Mantra Mean?
The word mantra is derived from 2 characters in sanskrit. “Manas” which means mind, and “tra” which means “delivering” or “transcending”. Together, mantra is a tool for transcending beyond the mind.
What is an Example of a Mantra?
Mantras can take the form of a single sanskrit character such as “Om” or a string of characters that become a hymn or prayer such as the “Gayatri mantra”. Depending on the spiritual awareness you require, there are many mantras to choose from.
The most common of mantras is probably the chanting of the “Om” mantra. “Om” is said to be the sound of the creation, and it can be chanted to renew your energy and bring you back to the source of all creation.
What do you Call a Mantra in English?
In simple terms, in English a mantra is a prayer or a hymn. Although purists will rightfully state that a mantra is a sound, for all intents and purposes to understand this in context, you can assume it is a prayer, hymn, or a chant.
What is the Purpose of a Mantra?
The purpose of a mantra is to transcend the activity of the mind during meditation. You can also silently chant the mantra anytime when you don’t want your mind to wander.
However, chanting a mantra is powerful enough to stop thoughts, transcend your mind, and take you to a higher state of consciousness. This practice of chanting a mantra needs to be done consistently over time to get to these higher states.
Another purpose of using mantras during meditation is purely for those who just want to create stillness in the mind. Meditation is a process of going in deeper, and this is only possible if you are able to shut down the thought process.
A Lot of people who just practice mantra chanting alone experience mental and physical benefits.
What are the 7 Mantras?
There are many mantras to chant or recite. However, the most popular 7 mantras are the mantras that are associated with your subtle chakras. You can recite these mantras for chakra healing.
Each of these mantras are referred to as bija mantras. Bija mantras are called seed or single syllable or 1-character mantras. Each chakra has a purpose, and restoring the energy of a chakra can be achieved by reciting the mantra associated with it.
By reciting the bija mantras of the chakra that is out of balance, you activate the energy of the chakras and purify the energy in them. This brings balance to the karmic, subtle, and physical bodies. Here are the 7 mantras and their respective chakras.
- Aum: Crown Chakra – mantra for healing spiritual connection
- Om: Third Eye Chakra mantra for healing intuition, imagination, openness
- Hum: Throat Chakra mantra for healing communication, ability to speak ones truth
- Yum: Heart Chakra mantra for healing relationships, love, self-love
- Ram: Solar Plexus Chakra mantra for healing will power, personal responsibility, self-esteem
- Vum: Sacral Chakra mantra for healing creative, sexual energy
- Lum: Root Chakra mantra for healing insecurity, lack of grounded-ness, stability
Which Mantra is the Most Powerful?
It is not as simple to explain the most powerful mantra since the power of the mantra is directly related to what is not in balance in your body. If someone needs more grounding, then the Lum mantra is more powerful than the Om mantra.
On the other hand, if someone needs to connect more with higher consciousness, the Aum or Om mantras are more powerful than the Lum mantra. In everything in the Vedic tradition, balance is important. So the power of the mantra depends on what is not in balance.
Why are Mantras Said 108 Times?
During meditations, mantras are usually recited 108 times. This is directly related to the number of marma points in our body. The marma points are energy centers that are spread all across our bodies.
In simple terms, these are where the nerves, tissues and muscles meet in the body. There are 107 marma points in our body, with 1 in our mind.
Reciting a mantra 108 times is said to cover all the points in our body to bring our whole/complete selves closer to consciousness. Each chant from 1 to 108 is said to be a journey from our lower self towards our higher Self. Basically from our egoic-self to our Soul-self.
What is a Good Mantra?
There are different mantras for everything. Mantras for meditation, mantras for money, mantras for health, mantras for anxiety, mantras to live by, mantras for healing, and the list goes on. You want to pick a mantra that is right for your purpose.
If you are not sure about what mantra to chant or recite, use the Om mantra. Recite “Om” 108 times daily.
Since most people cannot reliably chant their mantra and keep count, using a mala bead that has 108 beads will help keep your focus on your mantra.
Should you Chant your Mantra Out Loud?
There are different schools of thought on when to chant mantras out loud. Some practitioners of yoga will say that you should chant a mantra out loud daily.
Ayurveda however states that you should only chant a mantra out loud if you have the ojas or physical immunity to withstand the power of the mantra. Those who have low ojas can mentally recite the mantra. Those whose ojas is high and can sustain the practice, can chant out loud.
Chanting a mantra out loud creates a vibration frequency that changes the balance of the subtle energies and bodies. The harmony of the sound and the rhythm of a mantra is said to cause changes in our nervous system, even lowering blood pressure.
While the modern medicine jury is still out on this, Vedic traditional teachers such as those in the Ayurvedic field, will advise you not to chant out loud if you have low immunity.
Mantra chanting is an amazing tool to silence your mind, and enhance your meditation practice. It is also a great stress reliever that can be done throughout your day. Since there are many mantras for different causes, you can chant the mantra that is right for you.
Get you mala beads and start reciting a mantra today!
What mantra are you going to recite?
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