What Are Mantras and Why Do We Use Them In Yoga?

Morgan Casavant
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Mantras are a truly powerful tool. The words, phrases, or sounds you choose as your mantra in your yoga and meditation practices can help to keep you tethered to your mat, and keep your mind focused.
 
Day to day, our lives are packed with 1,000 things to do, people to see, emails to respond to, and more. It’s no wonder our brains have difficulty slowing down! But doing just that – slowing down – is so beneficial to our minds and bodies.
 
One easy method of slowing down our minds is practicing mindfulness, the art of being fully aware and present in the moment. Slowing down and being mindful gives our brain a chance to rest and recover so we can come back to our lives full-force.
 
Mantras are one way to practice mindfulness because we focus on a word or phrase as a way to calm and center the mind. In this sense, mantras help us slow down our brains and allow for more space in breath, mind, and body.
 

The Meaning of Mantra

Mantra is a Sanskrit word that loosely translates to “vehicle of the mind.” Man means mind, and tra means transport or vehicle. A mantra is any word, phrase, or sound that helps to keep your mind focused.
 
Practicing mantras throughout life can be helpful to keep you focused, but they become especially helpful during your yoga and meditation practices. When you keep your mind focused on your breath and a mantra during practice, it can help to reduce your chitta vritti, or mind chatter.
 

 
Are you ready to try meditation, but don’t know where to start? Read Mindfulness Meditation Guide: How to Start a Daily Practice
 

Common Mantras to Use in Yoga, Meditation, and Daily Life

A mantra can be any word, phrase, or sound. The following mantras are a quick list to help you get started:

  • Om
  • Om Shanti (Om Peace)
  • I am enough
  • Bliss
  • Peace begins with me
  • I am healthy
  • I am capable
  • I am strong
  • I am present in the moment
  • Love

 
You can recite these mantras (or whatever feels right in the moment) silently to yourself as you breathe, or you can say them out loud to charge them with even more powerful energy.
 

How to Use Mantras in Meditation

It’s no secret that meditation can be difficult. For me, as soon as I close my eyes and get maybe two breaths in, my brain starts the incessant chatter. That’s where mantras come into play!
 
As you meditate and your brain starts to flare up with to-do lists and random ass thoughts, employ the focus of a mantra. With your chosen “vehicle of the mind,” you’ll be able to sit for longer, and leave your meditation with a sense that you’ve manifested whatever mantra you’ve recited.
 
Mantras during meditation can be especially helpful if you’re gearing up for a specific kind of hectic day. Know you have 10 deadlines today? “I am confident in my abilities to complete the tasks at hand.” Are you feeling distracted? “I am present in the moment.”
 
By reciting mantras that are extremely specific to how you’re feeling, or to what your schedule looks like for the day, you’ll be able to conquer the day with more confidence and ease!
 

How to Use Mantras in Your Yoga Practice

Mantras during your yoga practice work similarly to your meditation practice, but there is one key and obvious difference: you’re moving! Mantras during your yoga practice work more like an intention, where you recite the outcome you want to achieve at the beginning of your practice and work towards it throughout.
 
The mantra you choose for your yoga practice will likely relate more to your physical abilities. You might choose mantras like “I am powerful,” “I am abundant with energy,” or “strength.”
 
Then, as your mind wanders throughout your yoga practice, you can return it to your chosen mantra. This comes in especially handy during more challenging poses. Full confession: my mantra for Plank Pose is, “I am strong, I am powerful, I can DO THIS.”
 

 

Mantras: The Takeaway

Adding mantras to your yoga and meditation practices are a powerful way to slow the chatter of your mind and find some stillness. This will help you to focus, clear your head, and even manifest something you desire!
 
Through finding stillness, we are able to reevaluate what we’ve prioritized in life. After using a mantra in your practice, you may find that something you thought was super important is actually fine to live on the back burner for a bit.
 
Finding a level of clarity and focus with mantras will allow you to return to your life with more drive, focus, and ambition. So what are you waiting for? Pick a phrase that stands out to you (usually if something jumps to your mind – that’s it), and add it to your practice.
 

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Morgan Casavant

Morgan is a graphic designer and yoga instructor committed to inspiring compassion, balance, and centeredness - on and off the mat. She loves minimalism, the zero waste movement, and all the things working to protect the environment.

morgancasavant.co

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