What is a mantra?
In yoga, we use mantras as vehicles for mental training and healing.
The word mantra is comprised of the Sanskrit roots ‘man’, which means mind, and ‘tra’, which means vehicle or instrument.
We can use mantras to help shift our mental and emotional state.
They’re powerful sacred sounds and vibrations best recited repeatedly to aid in cultivating presence, focus, understanding, and insight.
A mantra to clear negative thinking
The following mantra has been used for thousands of years to create calm and clear thinking to overcome negative thinking loops.
Negative thoughts and pessimistic beliefs and expectations taint our perceptions and create unnecessary pain and suffering.
Use this mantra whenever you find yourself expecting the worst, fearful of the future, or in any stressful situations:
Tanme manah siva sankalpam astu
May my mind be calm and tranquil.
May my mind be filled with auspicious thoughts and good intentions.
This mantra is from the Shiva Sankalpa Sukta, a six-verse hymn from the Rig Veda.
The Rig Veda is a collection of sacred Vedic hymns that delineate the most ancient yoga practice and spiritual discipline forms.
In the Shiva Sankalpa Sukta, we’re reminded to place our attention and energy on auspicious thoughts and good intentions.
Other words for auspicious can be: hopeful, fortunate, encouraging, heartening, optimistic, positive, prosperous, and favorable.
Feel free to change out the word auspicious for any of these synonyms.
How to use this mantra:
You can use this mantra in several ways:
1 – Silently chant the Sanskrit version in your mind, repeating the mantra over and over again with eyes closed and a still body. (The practice of repeating or reciting a mantra numerous times is called Japa practice in yoga.)
2 – Silently chant the English version in your mind, repeating the mantra over and over again with eyes closed and a still body.
3 – Repeat either version of the mantra out loud as many times as you need to feel a shift.
4 – Write the mantra down or keep it in your phone and place it in places where you’ll be reminded to meditate on it often. (For example, on your bathroom mirror, by your nightstand, at your work desk, or on the refrigerator.)
What fMRI brain scans studies show about chanting:
Studies suggest that chanting impacts the brain in positive ways.
It can help deactivate your brain’s amygdala, the emotional part of your brain that oversees fear, anxiety, and the stress response.
In this sense, chanting appears to have a soothing effect on your nervous system, translating to a calmer mood and mind.
How this mantra can help enhance your life:
Here are 6 ways in which regular practice and meditation with this mantra can benefit you:
1 – Calm your mind and heart during stressful, overwhelming, or uncertain times.
2 – Clear your mind so that your thinking is empowering rather than destructive.
3 – Strengthen your inner resilience and resolve.
4 – Calm your nervous system and reduce the stress response.
5 – Reduce activity in your brain’s fear center.
6 – Help you align yourself with your most meaningful goals and inspired vision.