What does it mean to master a mantra?
When you have repeated it so much, so often, and so well that you hear it within your being, and it comes handy to you.
– Yogi Bhajan, Kundalini yoga teacher and author
Mantras are self-care tools that can be used anytime and anywhere to hit the reset button.
You can use them as tools to help you change habits or ways of being.
A mantra can help you ride the emotional rollercoaster of stress, sadness, anger, anxiety, or overwhelm.
The right mantra can help you focus and tap into your creativity.
Or it can help you connect more mindfully to your partner or children or even yourself.
If you’ve gone to a yoga class that started or ended with a collective Om (Aum) then you’ve already been exposed to mantra practice.
Ancient yogis have used the power of mantra for thousands of years as a form of mental training and spiritual practice in order to access higher states of consciousness and deepen intuition.
High-profile seekers like Apple founder Steve Jobs and artist/singer Tina Turner have also turned to mantra meditation as a way to strengthen inner wisdom and creative power. (1) (2)
What the practice does – it helps you to feel better.
It helps you to think differently…
I would say it helps you think correctly.
That means you can help yourself get the things you want.
– Tina Turner on her Buddhist mantra chanting practice
If it worked for them it can work for you too.
You can use this tool in your daily life to become more inspired, calm, balanced, insightful, and loving.
Here’s everything you need to know to get started with your own personal mantra meditation practice.
What is a mantra?
The word mantra is comprised of the Sanskrit roots ‘man’ which means mind and ‘tra’ which means vehicle or instrument.
A mantra, then, is a vehicle through which you can shift your mental and emotional state.
It’s an ancient tool that helps you dissipate mental noise and negative thoughts so you can hear your inner wisdom more loudly and clearly.
Many ancient mantras have roots in Hindu and Buddhist traditions as well as Jainism.
Sanskrit mantras are found in Vedic/ Vedanta sacred texts such as the Upanishads and the Rig Veda.
According to these texts, mantras are powerful sacred sounds and sound vibrations best recited repeatedly to aid in cultivating presence, focus, understanding, and insight.
Seed mantras called ‘Bija’ mantras (‘Bija’ is the Sanskrit word for seed) are short sounds vibrations that are used as a way to fertilize your consciousness and mind.
The most common Bija mantra is Om (Aum).
What is NOT a mantra?
While words like “I am safe” or “I am worthy of feeling good” are powerful in their own right and are also useful for creating mental and emotional shifts, they are not mantras…
They are affirmations.
They can certainly be used in conjunction with mantras but don’t confuse one for the other.
Intentions like the ones we set at the beginning of a yoga asana class or a yoga nidra meditation session aren’t mantras even though it’s easy to confuse the two.
Common mantras are:
Om (Aum) –
This sound vibration is said to channel the primordial sound of the universe.
It’s also the base for other common mantras as you’ll see below.
Om Mani Padme Hum –
The mantra of benevolence and compassion.
It means “The jewel is in the lotus.”
Om Namah Shivaya –
Means “I bow to Shiva.”
Shiva is one of the three main Hindu deities.
In yoga practice, we use this mantra to help us connect to our true Inner Self.
This Self is the part of us that’s wise and intuitive.
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti –
“Peace, peace, peace.”
This mantra is an invocation for inner peace – peace of mind, peace in the body, and peaceful speech.
How do you use a mantra?
Meditation brings wisdom; lack of meditation leaves ignorance.
– Attributed to the Buddha
There are several ways to use a mantra.
In meditation techniques such as Vedic meditation and Transcendental Meditation (TM), a mantra is repeated silently and internally as a means of overriding thought waves to enter deeper states of consciousness.
The practice of repeating a mantra either silently or aloud is called ‘Japa’ in yoga practice.
Ancient yogis believed that repeating a mantra 108 times amplifies its power.
For them, it’s like a code for awakening and self-realization.
Vedic mathematicians considered the number 108 a number representing the wholeness of the universe and spiritual union.
You can use mala beads (like prayer beads) to help you stay present and keep track of the 108 cycles, but it’s not a necessary part of mantra meditation.
And you don’t have to repeat a mantra 108 times to reap its benefits and effects.
The main idea is this:
Keep your mantra practice as simple as possible.
Do whatever works best for you.
Do whatever is easiest to help you practice daily.
If, for example, repeating a mantra three times works for you, then start there.
A special mantra for increasing intuitive and creative powers:
The intuitive voice within is real.
It’s an inherent superpower we’ve all been gifted with, we’ve just forgotten how to use it.
Intuition is like a muscle, if we work with it and use it regularly it will strengthen over time.
By consistently using a powerful mantra known as the Adi Mantra we can work out our intuitive muscle.
The sound currents of this mantra have the potential to shift your state of consciousness and help you unlock your inner wisdom, intuitive knowing, and creative inspiration.
It’s short and simple, which makes it easy to remember:
Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo
Adi Mantra Meaning:
Ong: Infinite Intelligence + Creative Wisdom (Universal Vital Force Energy)
Namo: to bow or to call upon with an open heart and willing mind
Guru: wisdom, source of transformative knowledge, teacher
Gu • ru: broken into two parts:
gu = darkness, unconsciousness
ru = light, consciousness
Guru dev: the Divine teacher within, inner knowing, insight, your higher self
In Kundalini yoga it’s customary to begin every practice by chanting the Adi Mantra at least three times as a way to ‘tune in.’
The act of intentionally and consciously ‘tuning in’ to the spacein and around you helps to create a demarcation point between whathas been (the past), and whatever will be (the future).
Energetically, tuning in with the Adi Mantra functions much like hitting the reset button where you wipe the slate clean and begin anew.
Your intuitive voice cannot beheard in the midst of fear and anxiety.Intuitive wisdom can only come through a calm and grounded mind.#motherhoodcommunity Click To Tweet
By using this mantra you can increase inner calm and inner knowing.
Ong Namo… I bow to the Infinite Intelligence and Creative Wisdom.
We bow with an open heart and a humble mind.
We bow to the infinitely wise and intelligent life force energy that flows through all things.
We bow as a symbol of surrender and devotion.
Guru Dev Namo… I bow to the Divine Teacher Within.
We bow to the transformative knowledge and insight that is within us.
We bow to our higher selves, the embodiment of our fully expressed potential.
We surrender to the process unfolding
We open our hearts to trust in our ability to access the answers we seek within.
Best Practices for Adi Mantra:
You can tune in by simply sitting upright and closing your eyes.
Or you can bring your palms together at your heart to form Anjali mudra, or simply place your hands over your heart.
Or, if you really want to get your whole body into it, you can bow your head to the ground in Balasana or child’s pose like this:
Take a few deep, slow breaths.
Use your breath as a tool to anchor into this moment.
Notice the presence of this moment.
Bring your attention to the center of your chest and forehead.
Imagine a ray of white light circulating through the center of your heart center and forehead.
Repeat the mantra at least three times.
Feel the energy of its message.
Become intimate with it.
Welcome it into your daily life and allow it to awaken your intuitive and creative powers and inner guidance.
Keep in mind – these are powers you’ve had all along… you’re just tapping into it now.
This mantra can help you stay connected to your power and help you cultivate inspiration so you can unleash your creative genius.
Ong Namo Guru Devo Namo…
Ong Namo Guru Devo Namo…
Ong Namo Guru Devo Namo…