Deepen Your Yoga Practice With a Mantra – #MovementMonday By Sam Bederman
Mantras, intentions, invocations, chants, and sutras are just a few Sanskrit words that have become more mainstream and perhaps still somewhat intimidating for those who are unfamiliar with a yogic approach to life. But if you were to think of these terms as the ‘sacred language of Sanskrit’, it may have a more inviting and spiritual draw to why we practice yoga.
Let’s examine the mantra by going back to the ancient root of it, originally in Hinduism and Buddhism a mantra was simply a word or sound repeated to aid in concentration and meditation. Mantras are a regular part of the Iyengar yoga practice. In fact, the Iyengar family opens every class and important event with an invocation or a chant. The chant is a like a song but more like a rap than a melody. Mantras are said to have the ability to help alter your subconscious impulses, habits, and afflictions.
With spiritual practices like yoga and meditation becoming more popular, the mantra is now almost a household term. But what exactly is a mantra and how are you supposed to use it? We can think of our mantra or spiritual practice as the framework for your garden. When planning a garden, you have to study the sun patterns, know which plants will prosper and those that will wilt without full sun exposure, and understand which plants are early bloomers and those that are late, to ensure a continuous blossoming effect. Similarly, your mantra is a tool of the mind—a powerful sound or vibration that you can use to enter a deeper state of concentration and meditation so your intentions can come to fruition without an “unbroken thread of awareness”.
“Ohm”, for example is a mantra that can easily be practiced regularly. This vibration is considered to have spiritual and creative power. It is a rich sound and symbol and can be recited by anyone. It is not a religious prayer or a mandatory aspect of asana (yoga postures) practice. However, the vibrations from chanting Ohm have a physiological effect on the body greater than asana, and can slow down the nervous system resulting in a calmer mind. The vibrations we create with a chant allow us to connect deeper with our universe than if you only have a physical practice. If you think of it again in terms of your growing garden, everything on earth has a vibration and pulsating energy. Chanting is a way of communicating on a similar frequency that is found in nature.
Ohm, pronounced “AUM” is part of a spiritual practice and should be done on a regular basis for several months for its desired effects to take place. Symbolically, these three letters resemble creation, preservation and liberation. Just like a flourishing and thriving garden that resembles nature, conservation, and release. Deepen your yoga practice by adding a chant into your sequence. Your heart and soul may just experience a deeper sense of focus and pulsation leading you towards a clearer mind and calmer spirit.
Movement Monday: “Ohm; a Mantra” ~ Ohm is a sound that is beneficial when repeated several times to aid concentration in meditation. When pronounced correctly it has 4 syllables. “AUW” is the first sound that comes from the back of the throat as it stretches out making it noticeable in the body across the chest and nerves of the sympathetic system at the pit of the stomach. “UOOH” is the second syllable that is prolonged and forms along the upper palette gradually rolling forward vibrating in the throat. “MMM” is the third and final sound that is also extended. Here the front teeth are gently touching the inside of the lips increasing the facial and skeletal vibration. The last syllable is a merge from “MMM” to deep silence of infinite intelligence that rises from quietude.
Sam Bederman: Certified Yoga Instructor, (CYA-RYT) and Iyengar trained, uses Yoga to assist with healing injuries, aiding in recovery from surgeries, managing chronic and degenerative issues, and as a preventative measure to increase stability and mobility for overall well-being. Sam is a mother of 2 kids, two dogs and the founder of Yogabodii. Visit: yogabodii.com