If you’ve always struggled with meditation, you might want to try using a mantra. Doing so will see you repeating a word or phrase during the meditation as a tool to help you clear your mind. You’ll be boosting your awareness and improving your concentration, both of which will lead to better results from meditation. Sounds pretty ideal, right?
But how do you actually practise it? Well, firstly, let’s chat about what exactly meditation is. “Meditation helps to keep me grounded and present with what is, rather than be caught in the emotions of the past and future,” says Kirra Michel, an Australian instructor at Peloton who are aiming to make meditation accessible to those who may have been hesitant to try it previously, in the comfort of their own homes.
“It helps me notice the narratives that run through the mind for what they are rather than being emotionally dragged around by them. It’s a training to redirect myself from my mind into my heart and breath and to gain a deeper understanding of the self.”
Michel explains that because of the energy in sound and the power of words, repeating a mantra (a sound vibration) can alter the patterns of the mind. It can help us to stay focussed and allow us to stay better connected to the present.
As for how to use mantras, Michel says they don’t necessarily need to be designated only for formal meditation practice. “I encourage people to use mantras, which are similar to affirmations, throughout the day to help retrain the patterns of the mind to become more positive, loving and focused,” she says.
When it comes to using mantras during meditation, there are three key ones that you may come across when following a class.
This is a mantra that’s traditionally chanted at the beginning and end of yoga sessions. With roots in Hinduism, it’s both a sound and a symbol rich in meaning and depth. When pronounced correctly, it sounds more like ‘Aum’ and consists of four syllables: A, U, M, and the silent syllable. Om is considered the vibration or sound of the universe. It represents divine energy and generosity and purifies the ego.
This is often the mantra given for those new to the practices of yoga and meditation to try. So Hum is a phrase comprised of two Sanskrit words. The literal translations are So = ‘That’ and Hum: ‘I’. Therefore, the translation of ‘So Hum’ is ‘I Am That’ which symbolises the fact we are all connected to the universal energy that is constantly supporting and nourishing us in the ways we need and desire.
“Just This Breath”
This meditation technique as one that helps to centre yourself by putting all your focus and attention on your breath.