Chances are you are here because you ask yourself what are mantras.
Maybe we’ve at very least peaked your interest in the world of mantras, morning routines or meditation. Well, we at BLISSFLOW absolutely LOVE mantras… so much so that we share mantras and practice tips with our community each and every morning with MORNING MANTRAS.
But we’ve been exactly where you are. We’ve heard our yoga teacher talking about mantras, we’ve even participated in a few rounds of ‘OM’ chanting without really knowing what we’re doing and why.
Our mission is to simplify these topics for you. We know you’re busy with your career, kids, and social life so we’ve created this little guide on everything mantras. You’ll be injecting them into your own morning practice or throughout your day before you know it!
So let’s get down to it, shall we?
WHAT IS A MANTRA?
With deep roots in both Hinduism and Buddhism; a mantra, whether chanted, whispered, written or silently recited is a very powerful tool in a meditator’s toolkit.
The word mantra is derived from two Sanskrit words – manas (mind) and tra (tools). Its literal translation is “a tool for the mind”. It was designed, thousands of year ago, to help practitioners access their own higher consciousness. The recitation of mantra is known in Sanskrit as japa, which literally means ‘muttering, whispering.”. The repetition or chanting of a mantra encourages the mind to enter a more focused, meditative state.
One of the most commonly used and recognized mantras is the sacred Hindu syllable AUM (spelled OM), considered to be the sound of the creation of the universe and believed to contain every vibration that ever existed and will exist. Though the roots of the mantra are deep in the Sanskrit language, modern-day mantras can take just about any form you are willing to practice. We share mantras in both Sanskrit and English, ranging in them from self-love, acceptance, manifestation, trust and more. A mantra can truly be anything you want it to be.
Mantras traditionally have two purposes; the common purpose of a mantra as an instrument of self-transformation and the spiritual purpose of quieting the habitual fluctuations of our consciousness and steering it towards its source in the SELF.
HOW DO THEY WORK?
At their core, mantras are sound vibrations through which we mindfully focus our thoughts, our feelings, and our highest intentions during meditation or other forms of practice.
Over time, and with practice and repetition, that vibration sinks deeper and deeper into our consciousness, eventually carrying us into a deeper state of self-awareness. Sounds pretty cool, right?!
Not only that, but by repeating a mantra, we introduce the vibrational frequency of that mantra into ourselves, so that we too begin to resonate with the words, vibrations, sounds. This can cause profound changes to our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual body.
WHY DO THEY WORK?
A mantra is said to be fueled by the act of consistent repetition, with consistency being the key. Used once, a mantra can leave us feeling focused, calm and present. But, by repeating a thought, phrase or idea, it starts to gain strength and energy within our psyche, helping us anchor to the present moment and our breath.
Mantras help give us a stronger foundation on to which we put our physical and mental intentions. A simple word can turn 1,000 scattered thoughts into a single thought that guides us towards peace, presence, and awareness.
If you are more of an analytical or scientific thinker, you’ll be happy to hear that there is solid research on mantras starting to surface. Neuroscientists are starting to quantify and confirm some of the benefits of the ancient practice including its ability to help free your mind of that annoying background chatter and calm the nervous system.
Research suggests that it doesn’t matter whether you recite an ancient Sanskrit mantra, the Lord’s Prayer, or any sound, word or phrase – as long as you repeat something with focused attention, you’ll achieve the desired results.
HOW TO USE MANTRAS?
There isn’t one specific way to incorporate mantras into your day to achieve the higher state of self-awareness we have been talking about. In fact, we use them in a number of different ways.
A more traditional approach is to attend a kundalini practice or meditation class where you would sit for an hour (or longer) chanting mantras in Sanskrit. If you have the time to incorporate that into your day, every day that is amazing. We also have a lot to do in the run of a day so find benefit from doing shorter, more consistent practices. We even come back to a specific mantra multiple times through the day.
Here are a few quick ways we incorporate mantras into our day:
Synchronizing a mantra with your breath
Find a comfortable seat and mindfully turn your attention to your breath. After a few slow, steady breaths you can attach the mantra for that day to your inhale, your exhale, or both the inhale and exhale. Repeating it to yourself as you breathe.
Before you start your day, sit down with a piece of paper, a pen, and your mantra. Begin writing the mantra over and over again on the paper while also repeating it in your mind, out loud or whispering it. To deepen the practice, try to write as small and neatly as possible, keeping your eyes fixed on the paper until you have completed your session.
Using Mantras throughout your day
You may find throughout your day that you are feeling stuck, overwhelmed, anxious or lost. This is a great time to come back to the mantra that you find most resonates with your true desires. If you are at work you can tuck into a private place and repeat it silently to yourself 5-6 times as you mindfully breathe. You can send it in a text to yourself or your best friend, or have it as your home screen on your phone as a constant reminder.
RELEASING A MANTRA
Several traditions suggest staying with one mantra for longer periods of time, weeks or months, before switching to another in order to deepen your practice and cultivate a sense of ease, presence, and peace. You might take this approach if you are trying to align yourself with the vibration of a new job, of deeper self-acceptance or of pure love.
There will come a time, through that practice, that the mantra doesn’t quite serve you any longer. Maybe you’ve experienced growth, change or it just doesn’t feel right anymore.
When this happens, it is time to release the mantra. We do this by approaching the mantra from a very grateful place. We express our gratitude for where it has gotten us to date, the growth and guidance we have seen, and we kindly and lovingly let it go.
So there you have it. We’ve just scratched the surface on mantra work with this article. But you are equipped with the basic knowledge to incorporate this powerful practice into your everyday routine. If you are looking for mantra inspiration, you can register for our Morning Mantras direct to your inbox each and every morning, simply subscribe here.