A mantra is a word or a phrase that’s repeated silently, or out loud, to calm and focus your mind, centre your energy and cultivate how you want to feel. In episode 11 of The Prana + Patchouli Podcast, we’re talking all about how to use mantras to plant mental seeds for creating new experiences and positive change - on your yoga mat and in your life.
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The word “mantra” can be broken down into two parts: “man,” which means mind, and “tra,” which means tool or vehicle.
Traditionally, mantras are in the sacred languages of Sanskrit or Gurmukhi, but in our practice in the modern world, the word is often used interchangeably with “affirmation”; an inspirational, positive statement you say or think to yourself.
Either way, mantras or affirmations are tools to live an empowered life and change your world for the better. That’s because your point of power is always in the present moment and what you focus on, expands.
Mantras can be used to enhance your practice on your mat or meditation cushion. Use them as you set your intention, breathe, meditate, with a mudra, with a mala, write them in your journal, or, you can speak them silently, or out loud, wherever you are, at any point throughout your day.
Perhaps you already use mantras daily and have your own spiritual proof of their power? Or maybe you’ve tried to use them and felt discouraged because nothing seems to shift?
The other day I was standing in line for my decaf iced coconut latte when my phone dinged with a text from a friend. She said she’d been doing affirmations but felt so rubbish that when she started saying them, she burst into tears because none of them are actually true.
When you say a mantra, or affirmation, you’re planting a seed in the ground. This often feels untrue at first because it’s something new you want in your life. You have to nurture it and let it grow.
You can say affirmations all day long, but if your energy is out of alignment, it won’t land because there’s an energetic block.
After all, everything is energy and we attract what we are. Every word we speak, thought we think and action we take creates a ripple of energy that can be felt all around us.
So, how do you overcome that obstacle and get back into alignment?
Instead of saying “I am,” (when you feel like you’re absolutely not) and your vibe is low, try saying “I choose”.
All that’s required is your willingness to choose again. This is a lot easier to connect with than something you’re so energetically far from in the moment.
So, if you’re struggling with confidence, or the belief that you’re enough, try saying something like: “I choose to let go of self-doubt” or “I choose to shine”.
I also use these types of mantras as pattern interrupters, just like flicking an elastic band on my wrist, to stop the flow of negative thoughts or stories. This always stops me going into a downward spiral and I turn to my personal mantra: “I choose peace instead”.
Then, when I feel a shift in my energy, I let my affirmations lead me into the positive vision I have for my life. Here are some of my favourites:
All is well.
I am grounded and calm.
Inspiration flows through me.
My work serves the world.
I believe in abundance.
I am right on time.
I can do less and attract more.
I am supported and loved.
I am worthy of my dreams.
In yoga, asanas are the postures of the body and mantras are postures of the mind. When used in this way, mantras are more like affirmations to keep you connected to the feeling you want to cultivate.
That’s why I always invite my yoga students to set an intention at the beginning of class. Your intention is like a prayer or an answer to a deep inner longing. The mantra energises the intention, focuses your attention and guides you throughout your practice.
But while your mind is magic, it doesn’t speak the language of your body. The breath does. When you set an intention, let the two have a really deep conversation. Breathe into the feeling and become the embodiment of it.
Energy flows where your attention goes. When you become a magnet for what you desire energetically and choose actions that are aligned with that intention, that’s when you attract your dreams to you and manifest them into your day-to-day reality.
It doesn’t matter if it’s in Sanskrit, Gurmukhi or your own language, what matters is the energy behind it.
I don’t believe one language is more powerful than another, but the mantras can be used in different ways, so if you’re judging the words that you’re saying, changing your language and going more general may help.
“Sat Nam” is a good one from Kundalini Yoga. It means ‘truth is my name’ and helps connect you to your intuition.
When you feel yourself being moved or lifted by the energy or vibration of the mantra, you become more receptive to it and anything else that you want to welcome in.
Also, there are 84 meridians, or pressure points on the roof of your mouth. Each time you speak, you stimulate them with your tongue. By stimulating them in a certain way, with a specific mantra, you can actually change your brain cells and affect the chemistry of your brain! They’re like secret access codes and the tip of your tongue is the key!
These traditional types of yogic mantras help you to tap into and direct the healing flow of Prana. When chanted out loud, they enhance the connection between sound, body and mind.
This is something I learned about from Noah St.John. These are empowering questions that change your subconscious thought patterns from negative to positive. Afformations are basically affirmations turned into a question, such as: “Why am I so happy?” “Why am I so abundant?” “Why am I so calm?” “Why am I more than enough?” These questions focus on your deepest desires and encourage your mind to seek answers so that you can manifest them in your life.
By using these tools in a way that works for you and gives you what you need in the moment, over time, you’ll begin to reprogramme your mind and become more receptive to the mantras or affirmations you say daily.
And, when your mind, body and soul are in alignment with the actions you take in the world, that’s when your dreams will become your reality and everything you desire will flow to you, with a lot more ease and grace.
Do you have a personal mantra or favourites that you return to again and again? Share them with me, along with your biggest takeaway, over on Instagram @pranapatchouli!
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