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M is for Mantra

M is for Mantra

Mantras are a useful addition to a meditation practice.  You can silently, or aloud, repeat a word or groups of words to help your mind stay focused.  You can repeat the mantras through out your meditation, to re-connect when your mind wanders, or to begin or end a meditation practice. 

Here are some commonly used mantras, their definitions and ways to incorporate them into your practice.   

OM/ AUM:  Probably to most recognized mantra in yoga.  It has many translations, but most often refers to the divine universe, or the union with the universe.  It is the sacred sound of the universe.  Can be chanted several times to begin and/or end a yoga or meditation practice. 

SAT NAM:  This mantra is very common in Kundalini classes, but is beautiful for all meditation practices.  Often translated as “I am truth” or “the truth is you”, this is excellent for cultivating courage and strength.  A wonderful practice to add to physical movements.  Begin in mountain pose.  Inhale and gently lift your arms overhead, looking up if comfortable, as you repeat SAT silently in your mind.  Exhale and release your arms down by your sides as you repeat NAM silently.  Repeat several times, building strength in body and mind.    

OM SHANTI:  As we already know, OM means “universe”.  SHANTI is translated as peace.  These mantras together mean peace to the universe, humankind, all beings, the world over.  I like to end my yoga and meditation practice with gently chanting OM SHANTI SHANTI SHANTI.   

Mantras can also be personal words or phrases that have meaning for you.  It can be helpful to assign a word or words to the inhale and to the exhale when using mantras in meditation.  Inhale, PEACE.  Exhale, LOVE. Inhale, DEEPENING THE BREATH.  Exhale, SOFTENING THE BREATH.  Give it a try and notice the effects on your mind, body, and breath. 

Do you have a personal mantra?

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