Mantra (Man= mind, Tra = thread) The word mantra literally means "thread for the mind". Chanting a mantra repeatedly steadies the mind by giving it a single pointed focus. Each yogic mantra holds a special sacred vibration that is medicinal for all layers of your being.
One of the most popular mantras is "Om Gam Ganapataye Namaha" - a chant to Lord Ganesha, remover of obstacles. This mantra is often chanted before chanting any others. Ganesha (the elephant headed god), represents the strength within to overcome any obstacle in our path. Although we often perceive obstacles as "bad", we can see how obstacles help us grow and get stronger. Therefore, each obstacle is actually a tool to bring us a certain medicine in our life. The frustration of meeting an obstacle and the determination to overcome it is the exact fuel needed for growth.
The practice of repeating a mantra is called "japa". Traditionally one uses a string of 108 beads called a "mala" to count the reptitions. 108 is a sacred number to yogis and chanting a mantra 108 times is said to bring out the full power of the medicine of the mantra. Chanting not only brings you personal healing but also sends much needed positive vibrations out into the world.
After chanting mantra, sit quietly and receive the silence. You may choose to repeat the mantra silently in your mind or you may find it does it all on it’s own - like getting a song stuck in your head. Practice feeling the energy of the mantra but also the silent space within which your experience is occurring.
The above recording was made at Ojas Yoga Center in November 2016. Listen along or join in! Many blessings to you on your path. We are all together as One.
Author, Nicole Becker
Yoga Therapist, Retreat Leader, and Heart of Yoga Teacher, Nicole Becker offers yoga and self-care insights and tips.