The pace of modern living can be stressful and overwhelming at times. It seems that we’ve forgotten that our bodies and minds aren’t designed to always be on the go, chasing project deadlines, financial goals while constantly being bombarded from news and social media feeds.
The good news is that mindfulness, yoga & meditation are also on the rise, offering tools & practices to bring you back to your true nature and to balance out the culture of over-doing and over-achieving.
In this article I’ll share the basics of a practice I personally love, it’s called mantra meditation. This type of meditation isn’t very popular, but it’s probably one of the most powerful yoga tools to reduce stress and anxiety.
From a physiological point of view, the sound vibrations and your breathing cadence when you're repeating a mantra have a direct impact on your nervous system, bringing a calming and soothing effect on your body & mind by stimulating the relaxation response.
Are you ready to get started? Here is what you need to know.
What’s a mantra?
A mantra is a sacred word or a sound that you repeat over and over either out loud or silently in your mind for a period of time which range from as little as 1 min to 30 mins or more.
The world mantra can be broken down in two parts: “man” means mind and “tra” means “transport” or “vehicle”. In other words, a mantra is a vehicle for the mind to reach deep states of meditation and relaxation.
How does it work?
There is a wide variety of mantras, originating from different yoga traditions. For the purpose of this article - which is to get you started - I suggest to keep it simple. You can follow these simple steps:
1. Choose a mantra
The simplest mantra you can start with is “OM” or “AUM”. “OM” is considered the primordial sound of creation. It’s the original vibration from the Universe. From this first vibration, all other vibrations manifest.
Another simple mantra you can use - which comes from the Kundalini Yoga tradition - is "SAT NAM", which means “Truth is my identity” or “I am truth”.
Alternatively, you can make your own mantra! Choose a short positive sentence in the present tense, like “I am safe & free”, or “I am calm & relaxed”.
2. Set your meditation space
Choose a room which is quiet and where you can be undisturbed for the duration of your meditation. Remove any clutter & distractions -i.e. set your phone in airplane mode. If you feel like it, light a candle.
3. Set a timer
Set a timer for your mantra meditation so you don’t have to worry how long is left! You can start with 3 mins and then increase the duration to 7 mins or 11 mins.
4. Choose your meditation seat
I recommend practicing mantra meditation in a seated position. You can choose to sit crossed legged on the floor or sitting on a chair. If you’re sitting on the floor, elevate your hips by sitting on a folded blanket or a couple of cushions; this will prevent your legs cramping halfway through the meditation. If you’re sitting on a chair, move your seat bones towards the edge of the chair, so your feet are in contact with the floor.
Find more inspiration on how to make your meditative seat comfortable with this IG VIDEO.
5. You can begin your meditation
Now, you’re ready to begin! Close your eyes and start repeating the mantra out loud or silently in your mind. Keep your gaze at the third eye point, the space in the middle of your forehead in between your eyebrows. Continue until your timer is off. Stay a moment in stillness with your eyes closed to observe the after effects of the practice.
Mantra meditation has many physical & mental benefits including:
Calming effect on the nervous system
Reducing the release of the stress hormones adrenaline & cortisol
Mental clarity & focus
Building resilience to external stressors
Improved mood & wellbeing
The beauty of mantra meditation is that it's simple & accessible to all! If you feel intimidated by chanting out loud, rest assured it's quite common at first. Start chanting mentally and as you build confidence with the practice, switch to chant out loud and observe how you feel afterwards. Hearing the sound vibrations of your own voice can be a very calming & healing experience for both your body & mind.
If you want to give mantra meditation a try, but you don’t want to do it on your own, then you can watch this 11mins Mantra Meditation on my YouTube channel and if you’re interested in exploring a 1:1 bespoke 4 weeks meditation programme you can get in touch through this contact form.
Thank you for reading until the end.
Until next time…
BE WILD, BE YOU!