*Before beginning this post, I’d like to point out that the information provided in this post is all to my knowledge- what I’ve learned in my yoga practice and from the internet. It is in no way all-inclusive or a representation of all there is to know about mantras and the spiritual practices behind them. I do not identify with any particular religion; therefore, I realize my inability to explain mantras in a spiritual context as well as others could. I would love to learn from those who can provide a cultural, spiritual context (among others), and am open to making changes and corrections to the post if need be. Drop a comment below to let me know how to improve my understanding of mantras. Thanks guys! -Kayleigh ♥
Maybe you’ve heard of this word before, but what does it mean?
A traditional practice in Buddhist and Hindu religions, mantras are repeated sounds or phrases to help induce a certain state of being. When mediating, mantras can be extremely helpful in keeping concentration and bringing attention to your being.
You can probably think of a time you saw a person in a movie or tv show siting criss-cross with their hands on their lap and their eyes close saying “ohmmm” to themselves. This is a popular and important mantra in the spiritual practice of Buddhism, Hinduism, and other religions, that refers to the soul and the divine truth, but represents a handful of different symbols.
But ‘ohm’ is not the only mantra out there. In fact, there are many different kinds of mantras. It’s said that, when used correctly, mantras have the power to alter your subconscious in a number of positive ways.
Mantras play a huge role in spiritual lives across the globe, and are particularly helpful in yoga and meditation practices, but perhaps you don’t consider yourself spiritual, and you don’t normally participate in yoga or meditation? What purpose do mantras serve for you?
Western culture has taken the term ‘mantra’ to mean any intention you set for yourself. Western yoga classes often set an intention at the beginning of the practice to help students attain a certain meditative goal. Examples of these are “I am strong,” “I am powerful,” “Good things flow endlessly through my life,” etc.
It would be more appropriate to label this practice as positive affirmations, since the religious and cultural aspect is removed from the experience. If you do not identify with a religion where mantras are present, positive affirmations might be a better choice for mediation. If you do decide to try mantras, be sure to research their cultural and religious significance to practice them correctly without culturally appropriating them.
The good thing about positive affirmations is that anyone can use them, and you don’t necessarily have to believe in what you’re saying right away to get positive affects. For example, you can repeat the phrases “I am loved, I am safe, I am protected” to yourself even though that may not be how you actually feel. Just saying the positive phrases in your head or out loud will put you in a better mood. Fake it ’til you make it!
Mantras can provide positive affects without understanding their context, but having a deeper understanding of their meaning definitely strengthens their power and pays homage to those religions that regard them as sacred sounds.
When meditating or practicing yoga, try setting an intention for yourself through positive affirmations. Below are some sample positive affirmations to repeat to yourself during meditation or yoga practices.
Which affirmations work best for you? Leave a comment below or on Facebook, IG, Twitter or Pinterest!