Mantra For Me And You

Mantra for Me and You

Mantra is Sanskrit for a word or phrase that the yogi repeats during practice or meditation. Its benefits include anything from improved concentration to “feats making the impossible possible,” according to Dr. Gautam Chatterjee, a prolific Indian author who claims to have coined the term “positive mantra.”

An empowering and healing word-based mantra starts as an exercise of mind but over time and with steady use, a mantra can become important for more than yoga practice. Think of a mantra as a text brought down from sacred hills delivering a genuine gift of centeredness to the yogi – or to any person.

The power of Word has always been recognized in philosophy and by leadership. John’s Gospel states, “In the beginning was the Word.” The Rik Veda strikes the same tone, “In the beginning was Brahman, with whom was the Word.” There are other examples, but the centrality and power of Word is the common insight.



An active yoga practice does not demand that practitioners choose a mantra, yet it can help center both an specific yoga session and our long term identity.

Historically, for advanced yogi’s, the mantra was a gift from their guru. It was a vehicle that assisted the yogi in his/her soul’s drive to oneness with God. Most of us do not profess such a grand spiritual teleology as union with God, but a well-chosen mantra can help us reconnect to a healing place and find a mother lode of peace and contentment, perhaps even moving us to make the impossible, possible.

My mantra has proven its efficacy, even when I resist. I concentrate and silently repeat it with faith that important work is happening. I believe my mantra slowly and steadily lifts me, and in ordinary and arduous moments, I assure myself with a single word.

I repeat my mantra and my inner mind answers to me in Yoda-like fragments, reversing subject and verb, instantly messaging me from the periphery of correctness. I ask:

Is this really worth it?

My mind answers, “trust it is.”

Is this really necessary?

My mind answers, “trust it is.”

Can I put myself through the challenge of a difficult yoga session one more time?

My mind answers, “trust you can.”

Isn’t there another – easier – way?

My mind answers, “trust there isn’t.”

Using a mantra to find peace in a busy world

The typical mind going through daily life is a mishmash of impressions as it works to sort through memories, sensations, stimulations, discomforts, joys and sort out negative energy. Our hyperactive minds distract easily during yoga, and that is why a well-chosen mantra steeled in the mind over time, actually quiet ourselves empowering a new reality.

By repetition and concentration, the yogi’s mind is affected. In part, one becomes more aware of continuous inner chatter deliberately replacing it with a far better target.

I hold fast to my tested and proven mantra. It has grounded me, and I see it in the way I apprehend the world and in the way the world apprehends me. I will not reveal it, except to say my mantra is not selfish, it is spoken to benefit me and the community.

A good mantra is good for me and also for you

Once, after a graduation speech Muhammad Ali gave at Harvard University, the commencement crowd began chanting, “We want a poem, we want a poem.” Acceding to the crowd’s request, Ali went back to the microphone, looked out and said, “Me, We.” He then sat down.

Ali’s poem showed his unique understanding of the word’s power to strengthen an individual and a community; his was a simple yet profound mantra, demonstrating that its power is revealed not in complexity but in focus.

Our yoga, and every generative mantra, is about each of us individually, but it’s also about all of us. Put your mantra to work and listen carefully; Yoda may speak, “trust it is so.”

References:

“A Mantra can Make the Impossible Possible. “ Discover India 7 January. 2001. Print. Retrieved Nov. 12, 2017

Dr. Gautam Chatterjee’s writes that a positive mantra helps one draw energy from within in to perform powerful feats.

When We Were Kings is an Oscar winning Polygram Video documentary of the world heavyweight boxing championship bout between George Foreman and Muhammad Ali, held in Zaire in 1974.

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Gregory Ormson

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Gregory Ormson saw yoga during his first trip to India 40 years ago. He teaches at MOTTO YOGA in Queen…

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