Tammy Lyons, Inner Bliss Yoga Studio Owner and Yoga Teacher explains the significance of a mantra and how it is relevant in the New Year.
What is a mantra?
The original or ancient interpretation of a mantra explains it as a word or sound that is repeated to create concentration and meditation. A contemporary interpretation or use of the term, or how the Inner Bliss team illustrates it in this video, is the mantra as a statement or group of words that represent an intention in your life.
Alternatively, it could be a Hindu or Sanskrit sound that has a more complicated or layered significance, such as the sound of om, om shanti or om namah shivaya.
Why have a mantra?
Your mantra summarizes succinctly the direction you want your life's path to go and reminds you over and over to stay on your path, follow your direction. Eventually you break old, habitual thought patterns.
How is a mantra significant in the New Year?
January is culturally understood as a time of new beginnings, therefore it is an auspicious time to commit to a mantra that will keep you moving you in the direction that you want to go in the new year. It's the idea of “OK, let’s start again.”
In this video, see how the team at Inner Bliss recently determined their own personal mantras for 2015, which they shared at our annual year end (or beginning!) gathering. At Inner Bliss the power of a mantra is deeply appreciated.
How is a mantra used?
A mantra can be repeated silently or out loud while in seated meditation. The energy of the words can begin to change your thought patterns as a result of the repeated words. This helps us become the best version of ourselves.
You can also use mala beads (the sanskrit term for garland) to keep you in concentration and on track with your chanting or silent repetition of your mantra. A strand of mala beads typically contains 108 beads, one for each repetition of your mantra. You close your eyes, rub your fingers over each bead as you repeat the mantra, and after the 108th bead, you'll feel a fringe or tassle, which signifies that your chanting is complete. It's a great tool for those just beginning a meditation practice.
What does this all have to do with yoga?
Meditation is one of the eight limbs of yoga. It’s a practice that embellishes your practice on the mat, teaching you deeper focus and concentration.
How can we learn more about mantras and meditation?
I love the book Meditations from the Mat, a great resource for beginners that demystifies meditation.