Mantra is an ancient Sanskrit term that comprises of two root words, ‘Man’ which means mind and ‘Tra’ which means to release. So, mantra basically means releasing the mind.
A mantra is a word or a phrase that you repeatedly use to get into a certain frame of mind. It helps you release all the unwanted thoughts and focus on what is important instead. Mantra meditation is especially helpful to those who find it difficult to calm down and concentrate on themselves with single-minded focus.
Benefits of mantra meditation:
Like any other kind of meditation, mantra meditation has the following benefits:
- Increased self-awareness
- Reduced stress
- A greater sense of calm
- Increased self-compassion
- A more positive outlook
Apart from these, mantra meditation also helps with the following.
Meditation is known to increase focus and chanting a mantra can make it easier. It helps to reduce the wandering thoughts as you stay focused on chanting a particular statement. When you’re repeating a mantra either in your head or out loud, it occupies the awareness and stops you from drifting.
Reinforce your goals
Chanting a specific set of words and syllabus send vibrations of harmony that trigger a deeper meditative state. This helps to release the blocked energy and helps you realign. Mantras harness the sound energy to build up the specific emotion or sense that you would want to strengthen.
You can choose a specific word or a phrase that aligns with the reason you are meditating. Such as, Shanti which means peace in Sanskrit. Meditating with a word or a phrase that you like reinforces the feeling of calm and joy.
You can also choose affirmations as your mantra. Using affirmations drives focus and awareness towards your intentions.
Changes in the brain
According to a few studies done by Kirtan Kriya Meditation programmes, which is a type of kundalini meditation that uses mantras, the study showed that due to increase in cerebral blood flow the changes in the brain led to, improved mood and wellbeing, reduced anxiety, less fatigue, and better visual and verbal memory.
According to another study in 2017, chanting specific mantras triggers specific sound vibrations which help to synchronise the left and right side of the brain. It also promotes slower cognitive decline.
It might take time to get your rhythm to adjust to the flow of your chosen mantra but matching your breath to your mantra can actually make the process easier make you feel relaxed at the same time.
How to choose the right mantra?
When it comes to choosing the Mantra there is no one right way to do it. You can either choose a power word such as peace, joy, kindness.
Sanskrit mantras are the most widely used during mantra meditation, verbal sounds such as ‘Om’ or ‘Aum’, this is considered as the primal sound of the universe by many. Another famous Sanskrit meditation mantra is ‘So hum’ which means ‘I am’. Other Sanskrit mantras can include deity names, healing mantras and chakra specific mantras.
Are you setting a specific goal or intention while meditating? You can incorporate it in your mantra. If your goal is to become calmer, you can try something as simple as, ‘I’m calm’. If your goal is success, you can use something like, ‘I’m successful’. This helps you set your intention and be specific about what you want.
How to do it?
– Get comfortable
– Set a timer
– Start with a few deep breaths
– Use your mantra
– Let your breath guide you
– Remember to gently redirect wandering thoughts
– Close the meditation
How can you improve your focus and intention?
Try mala beads
Mala beads or Japa mala, ‘Japa’ means ‘to mutter’ in Sanskrit. It is an ancient mindfulness technique used to help you stay focused on your chosen mantra and intention.
A mala is a string of 108 beads that you can roll as you chant your chosen mantra. It helps you to steady your breath and rhythmically sync it with your mantra. You can use it to improve focus and use each bead to mark a repetition.
You are free to change your mantra
Know that you do not need to stick to a single mantra. If you don’t have much success with the first mantra or it doesn’t resonate with your current state of being and goals you can change it anytime.
You don’t need to use the mantra every time you meditate as well. Maybe in the morning, you want to focus on strength and joy for the day ahead but in the evening, you just want to unwind and relax before you hit the hay. It’s completely alright to switch.
The key to mantra meditation is to find the one that aligns with you and your intention and the one you resonate with.
Don’t give up
One thing that you need to keep in mind is that meditation doesn’t yield immediate results. It takes time to see the optimal benefits and the best way to get there is consistent practice.
Instead of worrying about how long you meditate for try to make it a habit by including it in your daily schedule. Meditating daily at the same time and place sets a routine and helps you get there.
Lastly, commit to yourself and your future and know that it is going to be worth it.
How do you plan to make meditation a part of you?