Mantras of the month

In my new holistic yoga class I have included a mantra each week. Mantras, and particularly OM, are mentioned in the Vedic scriptures such as the Upanisahds as well as in Pantanjali’s Yoga Sutras and the Bhagavad Gita. A mantra is either one or more words which is/are repeated and is regarded as being capable of transforming a person’s mind over time, working on the principle of sound vibration. Mantras can be used as a form of meditation but don’t have to be done in a ‘formal’ setting – I often say a mantra on my walk to work (normally silently but sometimes it’s out loud by mistake!).

Traditionally a mantra was given to a student by their guru, but other people may wish to evoke different emotions or focus on specific issues at different times e.g. from month to month or year to year.

These are the mantras we’ve done so far in the first four weeks of the class.

Week 1: So Hum

So Hum (or sa ham)

This translates as ‘I am that’ and is a silent mantra. It is also said to be the sound of the breath. On the inhale ‘so’, and on the exhale ‘hum’.

Week 2: Sa Ta Na Ma

Sa Ta Na Ma

Sa – infinity; Ta – life; Na – death;  Ma – re-birth.

I have done this as walking mantra meditation in a garden at 8am, touching thumb to each finger for each syllable.

Week 3: Loka samasta sukhino bhavantu

Loka samasta sukhino bhavantu

May all beings be well and peaceful, may all beings be happy and free.

(And may the thoughts and actions of my own life contribute, in some way, to that happiness and to that freedom for all.)

This mantra is one that I’ve enjoyed at Taraloka and on retreat with Andrea Kwiatkowski. It is one that is used by Jivamukti teachers who are particularly concerned about compassion to all living beings.

Week 4: Om Namah Shivaya

Om Namah Shivaaya, Om Namah Shivaaya

Shivaaya Namaha, Shivaaya Namah

Om Namah Shivaaya, Om Namah Shivaaya

OM x 3

Lord Shiva is the Lord of Destruction but is also representative of the inner Self (soul, spirit, consciousness) inside ourselves. In this mantra chant we are honouring Shiva as well as the inner Self. We did this one as a call and response which I think worked well.

If you want to listen to samples of different mantras you could try here, or just on YouTube.


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