What is a Mantra?
The word mantra is a Sanskrit word that translates to “mind release.” Mantras have traditionally been used in Hinduism and Buddhism and are often used in meditation. Traditionally, a mantra, which is a word or phrase, is repeated out loud or in the mind during meditation and is used as an anchor or focal point for the mind’s attention. In mainstream meditative practice today, they are also often used as a way to set intention.
Why I love Mantras
I particularly appreciate and love traditional yogic mantras for a few reasons:
- They are in Sanskrit which is a sacred language that feels beautiful and spiritual to speak and recite out loud or in my mind.
- I have no conscious linguistic attachment tied to Sanskrit so I do not have to worry about jostling up memories or previous experience that may lead to mindless distraction when I am meditating.
- Mantras create vibrations that resonate in the mind and body which are deeply calming.
Mantras for Meditation
Some of my favourite mantras to use and that I suggest to women who are starting their meditating journey are:
Om – the most commonly known and used mantra in meditation and yoga. It is believed to be the original sound that vibrates through the Universe and heard at the moment of creation.
So-hum – an empowering connective mantra that means “I am that”. This is a great mantra if you want to bring more spirituality into your practice.
Om shanti, shanti, shanti – this mantra literally means peace. I liken it to a calm prayer for peaceful uniting energy.
Sat nam – means “truth is my identity,” and is a beautiful remembrance that we are divine beings which is our ultimate truth.
Ra ma da sa sa say so hung – a beautiful intentional song of personal connection with the Universe. Ra means (Sun), Ma (Moon), Da (Earth), Sa (Infinite Energy), Say (Sacred Universe), So (Union) and Hung (I am Thou or the Cosmic Intelligence is Within Me). Pretty powerful stuff eh!
If you aren’t down for a mantra in another language or want to align your spiritual beliefs with your practice, you can always create your own or use an empowering affirmation to repeat while you meditate. Some of my favourites include:
I am Love – can help reinforce self-love and manage insecurities and judgement, while offering yourself compassion.
Be the Change – inspired by my favourite quote “be the change you want to see in the world” from Mahatma Gandhi. This intentional affirmation reminds us that real change starts from within and then expands outwardly expansively. Change your life and you will change the world Sister!
I am Enough – can be used as a reminder and helps to transform and empowers you to know how truly remarkable and capable you are – as is.
Let Go – a simple cue and reminder that I encourage you to use with exhalations, to remember to not get caught up in the drama of life and instead let go of whatever is holding you back which is usually our own self-limiting beliefs.
I am Sacred and Divine – a call to awakening the divine goddess that is within every woman. Using this phrase helps to connect with our divine feminine energy and life force that connects us to the Universe.
How to Use
These examples can provide a starting point for you to begin a mantra-based meditation. Traditionally, mantras are recited with the use of a mala – a string of beads (usually 108 to be exact!) which is used to count your mantra repetitions, as well as help keep your mind focused for the duration of your meditation.
However, the most important thing is to find a mantra that has meaning to you. Whatever mantra you choose, make sure it resonates with you and where you are at presently. My use of mantra changes with the ebb and flow of my life.
Although I have a primary mantra I use that was bestowed on to me by one of my yoga teachers in India, I use other mantras based on what I need to manifest into my life. The fact of the matter is, you don’t always have to use the same mantra all of the time. It can change, as you change and evolve.