Before we get into the how of Mantra in a yoga practice, we should spend a little time in the WHAT?
So often these days the word Mantra gets thrown in with in with Intention (which we discussed last week) and at times with Affirmation.
The word Affirmation comes from the Latin word “affirmare” which means ‘strengthen or to make steady.’
Affirmations are a regularly used tool for self-improvement, as they have been shown to rewire our brain, and even prepare us for action.
Often by putting our affirmations to paper, or sharing them with loved ones, we can begin to look towards these words as a guiding principle, and something to come back to when we feel anxious or adrift.
If there is a quote or affirmation that you come back to regularly, let us know! We are always looking for inspiration from our yoga community.
Mantra stems from Sanskrit with “man” meaning mind and “tra” meaning transport/vehicle. Mantra in the yogic tradition is a tool to assist with transporting the mind for meditation to that place of stillness, that place of peace.
A Mantra that is probably familiar to most of us, seasoned and new yogis alike is the OM mantra. OM is considered the most sacred of mantras, and aligns itself with the highest of chakras, and represents a great deal of connections within the body and the realms beyond.
Beyond the Mantra of OM there is a bija, or seed mantra for each chakra, and if we have noticed an imbalance in a particular area of the body, we may choose to engage in a use of that particular mantra. They are:
There are certainly Mantras beyond bija mantras that practitioners find useful. One that Courtney has reflected upon in previous e-mails (have NO fear if you do not recall it) is SO HUM, which translates to “I am that.” This can attach to so many meanings, that the practioner has the ability to choose.
When guided, it is often described as being one with the universe, or one with the breath (which is the connection to the universe).
When practicing this Mantra we often take the SO on the inhale and the HUM on the exhale, drawing out the syllables, allowing the vibrations to settle the mind.
One additional tip when dealing with Mantras, the Yoga Sutras recommend that any tool for meditation and quieting the mind is that when we find a tool that fits, try sticking with it for awhile.
So often, we see ALL these tools and tricks, and we want to try them on for size (maybe even here 🙂 ).
If we find a Mantra that works with our practice, give it a good solid effort before moving on.
Developing that resource is key to creating that strong foundation.