What is a mantra in relation to Yoga?

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In Yoga a mantra is a sound that has significance but may not necessarily have a meaning. A mantra can be a word, a syllable or a sentence that is recited or chanted in repetition. It is the physical vibrational frequency that is emitted when chanting or reciting the mantra that gives it meaning.

Once we know what the effect of the vibration is then that word may come to have meaning which is associated with the effect of saying that word. When the mantra and physical vibration is coupled together with a mental intention then the vibration contains a mental component which influences the result of saying it.

The mantra’s effect on the body

Our bodies have different systems that work together to create the whole, such as the digestive or endocrine systems. Each system vibrates at different frequencies as does the whole.

Mantras begin a powerful vibration that corresponds to both a specific spiritual energy frequency and  state of consciousness that is in seed form. Over time the mantra process starts to override all of the other smaller vibrations which ultimately become absorbed into the mantra.

After a period of time which varies from person to person the great wave of the mantra stills all other vibrations. Eventually, the mantra creates a state where the body vibrates at the rate completely in tune with the energy as well as spiritual state which represented by and contained with, the mantra. At this point, a change of state occurs in the body.

The word ‘mantra’ is derived from two Sanskrit words:

  • The first is ‘manas’ or ‘mind’, and
  • the second syllable is drawn from the Sanskrit word ‘trai’ which means to protect or to ‘free from’.

Therefore, the word mantra means ‘to free from the mind’. Mantra is a tool which is utilised by the mind that eventually frees one from the constraints of the mind.

Mantras help the mind to focus on one point as well as help the mind to expand and deepen and eventually delve into the essence of cosmic existence. Mantras eventually quieten the mind.

Om: One of the most-used mantras

Om is the symbol for the whole universe. It carries three basic sounds: A-U-M through which all other sounds from the universe have evolved. Om is thought to be the greatest mantra because it implies the whole existence, it represents the sounds of silence, consciousness, subconsciousness and unconsciousness, waking, dreaming and sleeping.

According to tradition, everything manifests from primordial vibration which is symbolised by OM:

  • All material objects,
  • All living beings,
  • All spiritual teachings.

Our minds and souls are deep in totality when all our opposites are in balance and we are in complete harmony.

Om is often changed three times at the start and finish of a yoga session. OM is the whole universe merged into a single sound and represents the union of the mind, body and spirit that is at the heart of yoga. It is made up of three sounds:

  • ‘Aaah’ which comes from the abdominal area,
  • ‘Ooo’ which comes from our chest area, and
  • ‘Mmm’ that resonates in our head area.

When you chant these three sounds together they create harmony in our bodies and this helps to soothe our nervous systems.

Finding a certain level of clarity and focus with mantras will enable you to return to your life with more drive, focus as well as ambition. So what are you waiting for? Select a phrase that stands out to you (often if something jumps to your mind – this is it), and add it to your practice.

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