You have probably heard of the word, mantra in your yoga classes, not truly understanding how powerful they can be in your practice. More than just "words to live by" or "a prayer or wish", a mantra is a method of interrupting the rythmn of the mind to acheive peace, healing and harmony.
What is the purpose of a mantra? First of all, we need to understand how the mind works. Our mind moves from one thought to another. These thoughts are brought on my either the stimulation to your senses from what is around us, or, from your memories. So, the thoughts like your breath, flow inward and outward, continuously. With each complete breath, the mind wanders further and further away.
Similarily like an LP record (vinyl), when you play a record, the needle sits on the edge and continues to move to the center of the record. The needle is the mantra. Put the needle anywhere on the record (which is your mind), and then start to repeat the mantra. Eventually, the mantra brings you to the core, your center. Your inner self.
So, therefore, a mantra pulls the mind in from the outside to it's center, in a circular motion. This is acheived by not allowing the mind to move from one thought to another to another, but from one thought to the the same thought, over and and over again.
But, how do mantras work? According to yoga history, there are 108 sound frequencies found in the universe, which ar e created by the movements of the celestial bodies in different constellations. All sounds have a frequencey, so when you repeat a mantra, you are making sound combinations of these 108 frequencies. By repeating the mantra enough and generating sound frequency with those found in the universe it brings along a connection that includes peace, healing and harmony to your mind, body and environment.
Manifestation is an added benefit to mantras by bringing about positive changes to your life by connecting to the frequency of desire through a mantra that is directed to certain wish, your intention. So, for example you might have a mantra with the intention of launching a new project, training for a marathon, buying a new house. Your mantra allows you to come back to your inner self and a connection with the universe.
How many mantras are there? Several. Some are purpose-based or is directed to a particular intentions. For example, Maha Ganapati Mool Mantra, s a very powerful mantra is chanted to invoke Lord Ganesha, the remover of obstacles. It is believed that Mool Mantra needs to be chanted before beginning any new project as it will help to remove any obstacles and gives success in one’s efforts.
Some mantras have been repeated by millions of times, like the Mool Mantra. These type of mantras get really charged with the frequency energies. Given to one for the purpose of spiritual growth, it is usually given from a mentor, teacher or guru. One is initiated into that mantra by someone who has practiced on themselves and received the power of that mantra. The transfering of a mantra from one to another is very strong and powerful.
How do use mantras? We perform a mantra in three ways. One is chanting, chanting loudly. Two, repeating to yourself at very low volume, enough that you can only hear it. Three, repeating it mentally to yourself. Of course, this one method is qute useful as you can do it anytime, anywhere and no one would be able to tell.
So people use mala beads (which have a 108 beads), when performing a mantra meditation. Each bead corresponds to a repetition of the mantra to ensure that you repeat it at least 108 times. When using mala beads, you can perform your mantra in any of the above ways. You can also set an amount of time, 10, 20 or more minutes chanting the mantra without a mala.
And, how do you choose a mantra? Well, find the purpose of your mantra and mostly important, why do you want to have one? Although, you can get a mantra on the internet, get it from a reliable source, whatever that means to you. A teacher who focuses on meditation would be ideal. You want to make sure that whatever mantra you are using, you are getting the most benefit.