With our busy lives taking the front seat, it’s important to find ways to bring some calm into our chaos. Yoga and meditation practices continue to rise to the top of the list on ways to channel that inner peace. Mantras are an important part of these practices and can help them to be more effective. Ready to discover how mantras can increase awareness and bring focus to your life?

If you ever investigated or explored spiritual practices like meditation or yoga, you may have come across the term “mantra”. These powerful, simple phrases can be such a valuable asset to moving forward on your personal and spiritual journey. But what is a mantra and how do you use it?

The word “mantra” can be broken down into two parts:

  • Man: referring to the mind
  • Tra: meaning transport or vehicle

A mantra is an instrument of the mind. A powerful sound or vibration helping you enter a deeper state of meditation. In Western spiritual practices, mantras are often confused with intentions. Mantras are different from intentions. Mantras can, however, be a means towards reaching your intentions.

Think of a mantra as a seed. If you put the seed in the ground, with proper care and nourishment, it becomes a beautiful plant, flower, or tree. Mantras are a seed planted in the mind. With the nourishment of regular practice, the “seed” can bear the fruit of your intentions.

Let’s take a look at 3 common ways to use mantras in your spiritual practice.

Mantras and Meditation

Using mantras during meditation is a fairly common practice. There are several techniques, but I want to talk about one that can be very powerful. Mantras used during Primordial Sound Meditation can help you access heightened levels of awareness.

Students are given a personalized mantra–their Bija. This is the sound vibration the Universe was making at the time of their birth. During meditation, this mantra is repeated silently over and over again to help a student transcend the activity of the mind. Since the mantra is silent and has no meaning, the mind doesn’t focus on any particular quality or outcome–just creating a greater awareness of your existence.

Why is this important?

Awareness, in this context, refers to the ability to focus on the choices you make during everyday life and recognizing when something needs to be changed.

Think about it: we often go about our daily routines in sort of a habitual haze. Wake up, feed the kids and take them to school, go to work and deal with your many duties, get home, tend to chores, and (if you are lucky) spend a little free time vegging out. By the end of the night you are spent…ready to crash. The cycle repeats each day. It almost seems like you are on auto-pilot week after week.

Instead of sleepwalking through life, developing a daily meditation practice helps give you a chance to live a more present, peaceful, and balanced lifestyle. Mantras help bring you back to that present state of mind. Once you gain this awareness, you start noticing ways to make positive changes in your life.

Mantras and Yoga

In many Western Yoga studios, the class begins with sharing a theme and setting an intention for the practice. The instructor may even suggest a mantra for the session such as:

  • I am strong
  • I am focused
  • I am able
  • I am connected
  • I let go and surrender

How does this help?

Using mantras during yoga can help you maintain a connection to the state you wish to enter during your time on the mat. By silently repeating mantras during your yoga session, you set the intention to remain focused as you move through the Asanas (postures). In fact, in yoga, Asanas are considered postures of the body while mantras are postures of the mind.

Mantra: The Sacred Language of Sanskrit

The mantra has a rich history and is the basis of all religious traditions, scriptures, and prayers. In fact, some mantras date back thousands of years back to Veldic times. They were created by sages and practitioners of early Buddishm and Hinduism.

Using a mantra based on the sounds and syllables that make up the Sanskrit language can be transformative. Mantras, when spoken or chanted, can help alter your subconscious impulses, habits, and afflictions by directing the healing power of Prana (life force energy). Also, in traditional Vedic practices, a mantra can be used to energize and access spiritual states of consciousness.

Mantras are not an overnight cure for whatever is ailing you. Using a mantra takes dedication and practice. So work it into your daily routine. In time, the desired effects can help change your life.

The mantra is meant to bring you back to simplicity. Into the present. These modern times are so filled with details, distractions, and complexities. A mantra can be an anchor to help you circle back to a more simplistic approach to life. This allows you to focus on the things that inspire you and bring you happiness.