Every day I like to wake up and think about a mantra for the day. It is interesting what word pops in my head, and often it is a word that I don’t expect. For example, this morning the word “be gentle” came to mind, and I repeated that phrase in my morning meditation. This is known as mantra meditation.
So, what exactly is mantra meditation? Mantra Meditation is a process of meditating using a single word, sound or short phrase that is repeated throughout the meditation session. This is known as a mantra. The purpose of repeating a mantra is to refine focus by continuously reminding oneself to be in the present moment with whatever is arising. It is a way to bring your distracting thoughts back to center throughout the meditation.
Mantras are a great tool to use in your meditation practice, as they can help keep you focused and in a meditative state while a whirlwind of distractions vortexes all around you. It is like staying centered in the eye of a storm, to await the storm to pass away.
There are many types of mantras that can be helpful depending on what distractions you are fighting against. This article will go into various types of mantras and how to use the power of this tool to refine your focus.
What Types Of Mantras Can I Use In Meditation?
There are many different types of mantras you can use during your meditation, depending on what your goals are for that session. There are affirmation mantras, sound mantras, mantras to relieve anxiety or stress, and many more.
As an example, earlier I mentioned this morning I woke up with the phrase “be gentle” in my mind. I decided to use this phrase as my mantra. Throughout my meditation session, I kept repeating this phrase: “Be” on each inhale, and “Gentle” on each exhale. My goal was to feel a sense of peace and self-awareness by the end of the session.
Mantras can be literally be anything you can think of. If you have an emotion you want to feel, someone you want to forgive, or something in your body that you want to heal, these can all be turned into mantra phrases to refine your focus in meditation.
Here is a great video that goes over an easy mantra meditation for beginners:
Affirmations as Mantras
Some popular mantras are affirmations, such as “I am” statements. Examples are
- I am abundant
- I am beautiful
- I am joyful
- I am healthy
- I forgive myself
- I love myself
This idea of affirmations is that you begin to train your subconscious mind to believe what you are repeating. Once this phrase becomes a core belief in your subconscious, you begin to manifest that into your reality.
If you repeat this affirmation mantra throughout your meditation, you will notice the core beliefs around this phrase will come to the surface so you can finally see them and move past them. Your thoughts arising may be very negative, which are the good ones to finally push out of your subconscious. It is very powerful.
Sounds As Mantras
Vibrations and sounds can be used as a mantra too. The most popular and said to be the most powerful is the sound of “Om” repeated. This sound is believed to raise one’s vibration to achieve enlightenment.
The vibration of “Om” vibrates at the frequency of 432 Hz, which is the same vibrational frequency that flows throughout everything in nature. When this “Om” is repeated as a mantra, it brings your vibration into alignment with the essence of life-force all around you.
Other sounds that are common mantra are vibrations that connect with each of the 7 chakras in the body. These include:
- “LAM”- chakra 1 (root)
- “VAM”- chakra 2 (sacral/navel)
- “RAM”- chakra 3 (solar plexus)
- “YAM”- chakra 4 (heart)
- “HAM”- chakra 5 (throat)
- “OM”- chakra 6 (third eye/brow)
- “OM”- chakra 7 (crown)
Here is an example of how each of these sounds in order:
Mantra Meditation Benefits
There are many benefits to mantra meditation, and people do it for all sorts of reasons.
The main reason is that it does enhance your focus and give you the ability to meditate for longer periods of time. Having a phrase to come back to again and again will allow distractions to release their hold on your mind.
Other people do mantra meditation because it makes them feel more spiritually connected to themselves and whatever divine source they are connected to. In Hinduism, this can be a specific diety. In Christianity, this mantra can increase the feeling of connection to God or Jesus. In Buddhism, this can be a phrase to keep one in the present moment.
Some other benefits of mantra meditations include:
- Mantras can get you in a deep meditational state which can promote relaxation and all the health benefits that come along with that.
- Certain mantra, particularly the sound “om” can have cardiovascular benefits. As the mind relaxes, so does your blood pressure.
- Mantra meditation can help you have better control over your emotions by helping you become less reactive to them.
- Regular mantra meditations can help you have a sustained sense of peace, calm and overall happiness. This drastically increases your quality of life.
- Mantra meditation can increase your internal positive energy and cleanse your aura, which gives your external appearance a very healthy glow.
- Your back and posture are strengthened through regular sitting, and the vibrations caused by the sound of Om can strengthen your vocal cords, throat, thyroid gland, abdomen, and spinal column.
Mantra Meditation for Beginners
Getting started doing Mantra Meditation sounds more intimidating than it actually is. It is very simple to get started, considering that you do not need any special equipment to do it. All you need is a comfortable place to sit, a quiet atmosphere, and the willingness to do it.
A good place to start is to figure out what mantra you want to repeat for your meditation. A reminder of which ones you can choose:
- A simple word or phrase: “Let Go,” “Be Gentle,” “Love Life”
- An affirmation: “I am healthy,” “I am abundant,” “I radiate beauty”
- A sound: “Om,” “Yam,” “Lam”
- Sanskrit Phrases: “Om Namah Shivaya,” or “Hare Krishna”
Don’t overthink it, and if you can’t think of a word, use the sound “Om” to begin. Here is a great video that goes over how to chant the sound “Om:”
Next, find a comfortable place to sit. You can sit in a chair to begin, with your back supported and your feet flat on the ground. Place the palms of your hands relaxed on your thighs or in your lap – either palm up or palm down.
It is a good idea to start small to get a habit established and increase your time. I recommend starting at 5 minutes. So grab a timer or your phone, and set it for 5 minutes.
Close your eyes, and take a big deep breath in. On the exhale, say your mantra. Take an inhale, and on the exhale, say the mantra again. Keep repeating this for the entire 5 minutes.
If you notice your mind wanting to wander, don’t worry about it. Just keep bringing your attention back to your mantra on each exhale. It is not about being hard on yourself, it is all about training your brain and increasing your focus. It is normal to get distracted. The mantras are there to bring you back.
How do you feel? Pretty great, right?
Meditation Chant “OM”
Because the sound “Om” is so powerful, I feel like it needs its own section in this article.
The sound “Om” is pronounced AUM and is a long, drawn-out sound that starts from the belly and moves all the way up through the energy channel, out your throat and vibrates outside of you.
“Om,” or AUM, is said to be the sound that contains all possible frequencies that can be created in audible form. Swami Sivananda Radha says, “The cosmic sound AUM, or its condensed form, OM, is the origin of all other sounds. OM is everything. It is the name of God.”
It is sort of like colors – all other colors can be created from the primary colors red, yellow and blue. The sounds A-U-M are the primary colors of the sound frequencies.
Following the idea that “Om” is the name of God, AUM is found in the form of Amen in Christianity, Judaism and ancient Egyptian, where it seals a prayer that is wanting to be manifested “in the name of God.”
Because the sound “Om” is the base of creation and is the foundation for all life-force on this planet, it brings a powerful vibration up throughout your body, starting from the place where you were created.
Sadhguru, an Indian yogi and mystic, notes that the sound “Om” starts at your belly button, and moves up through your energy channels and out into the world. This is why the umbilical cord is attached to the belly – it is the center where all things were created.
“Om” is the power of creation. And because it precedes anything that we can conceptualize with our minds, such as semantic meaning, it is able to resonate in all different parts of the mind and body, creating new interactions and events that would not occur with the limited semantic meaning of a single word.
This semantic freedom gives “Om” the power to create meaning wherever it is needed in your body, which studies have shown stimulates your nervous system, which manifests wherever you need it most.
Now that is sOMething powerful…ok, bad pun.
Meditation Mantras for Anxiety
Meditation Mantras are especially helpful if you have anxiety and are wanting to calm down. This is because the repetition of a phrase, matched with controlled breathing, helps calm the nervous system.
The repetition of mantras interrupts whatever dialogue has taken over the brain to make it ramp up into a panic. This is powerful because it dismantles those automatic thoughts that pop out of nowhere which leads to anxiety.
Using the sound frequency “Om” might not be as powerful here, so it is best to use simple words or phrases that you can conceptionally latch onto for support.
My favorite phrase to use when I am anxious or stressed is “it arises to pass away.” This is a classic phrase used in early Buddhist Vipassana meditations. The idea is to switch the track of my anxious thoughts to the reality of the situation: nothing lasts forever.
This grounds me in reality, knowing that nothing is permanent, and even the anxiety has to go away eventually. Surprisingly, this usually gets rid of my anxiety attacks fairly quickly.
Affirmation mantras are also a great tool to use for anxiety, as they can switch not only the dialogue, but also the imaginations that go with them.
If you repeat “I am powerful” over and over again, soon, you will begin imagining yourself in powerful situations. While this is not being in a meditative state, it can help bring you out of anxious despair.
Meditation Mantras for Healing
Mantras in meditation practice can be a helpful tool when trying to move stuck energy as a way to heal the body.
For healing mantra meditation, the mantras that I would recommend are sound, as you speak the sound and let the vibration shake away any energy that needs to be let loose.
This is not about control – it is about allowing. Allow the vibrations to go where they need.
The best vibration for healing is the sound “Om” as discussed earlier in this article. However, you can use sound mantras specific to certain areas in the body, as related to their energy centers – or chakra centers.
Here is a list of the different sounds you can use as a mantra healing:
|1st Chakra/ Root Chakra||Pubic bone area, base of spine, legs, and feet||Survival energy, financial security, domestic issues, feeling grounded||LAAM ?|
|2nd Chakra/ Sacral Chakra||Below the navel, pubic bone area, sexual and reproductive organs||Sexuality and sexual desires, emotional fluidity, creative inspiration||VAAM ?|
|3rd Chakra/ Solar Plexus Chakra||Below the sternum, the gut, and stomach||Personal power, ego, manifestation, abundance, self-worth||RAAM ?|
|4th Chakra/ Heart Chakra||Heart, center of the chest, lungs, arms||Unconditional love, compassion, connection||YAAM ?|
|5th Chakra/ Throat Chakra||Throat, thyroid, tonsils||Communication, creativity, speaking our truth||JAAM ?|
|6th Chakra/ Third Eye Chakra||Forehead, pineal gland, sinuses, ears||Intuition, insight, higher knowledge||KSHAAM ?|
|7th Chakra/ Crown||Crown, above the head||Spiritual center, spiritual connection, union with spirit self||OMM ?|
If you have an area in your body where you need healing, try chanting these sounds in a mantra during your meditation to get the energy flowing and induce healing.
Meditation Mantras for Sleep
If you have trouble falling asleep, mantras may be one of your new favorite tools. The repetition is a lot like counting sheep, but with a mix of relaxing meditation.
Repetition has been known to cause almost a hypnotic effect on the brain, making it switch to a different brain wave that induces sleep or a trance-like state. It switches your brain waves from active Beta brainwaves to deep meditative Delta brainwaves.
You can use meditation mantras for sleep in two ways: 1) during your active hours, or 2) as you fall asleep.
Doing meditation mantras during the day will help relax your brain during the day so that you aren’t so ramped up by the time you go to bed. Regular meditation strengthens the nervous system, increases the functionality of your pineal gland which secretes melatonin, balances your serotonin and dopamine, and helps interrupt the automatic dialogue of anxiety and stress.
If you have trouble sleeping, try to start a regular meditation practice during the day to see if it may help.
Another way to use mantra meditations for sleep is right before bed. As you are lying down trying to catch some z’s, start repeating a mantra. This can be anything you want: a phrase, a word, a sound, a made-up string of noises. The key is continued repetition.
A great one is “with every breath I fall deeper into sleep.”
You can also listen to repeated mantras, such as Om. Silently follow along to the mantras as you listen to them, to bring you deep relaxation. There are about a million Om meditations on Youtube, so just do a quick search to find one.
While it may seem boring and monotonous, repetitive mantras can have powerful effects on the body, mind, and spirit if incorporated regularly. They help refine your focus, strengthen your nervous system, and increase the overall quality of your life.
The power of healing and relaxation is usually more simple than we think it is – it just takes repeated effort and hard work on those simple tools. Mantras are a great example of this.
May the power of “OM” be with you today.