What's Your Mantra?
My students often ask me what they should focus on in meditation. Have you ever asked this question?
Enter the mantra.
If you've heard "Om" in yoga class, then you've heard a mantra. And probably like me, you have no idea what you’re saying and it never really hits home for that exact reason. It always goes like this, “Ommm - wait, did I turn off the oven? No, self. Focus! Okay, Ommm - did I wash my jeans? I think tomorrow is jeans day at work...”
I know, I know! I know because I’ve totally been there, too! So don’t worry - your secret is safe with me and I won‘t be calling the yoga police on you for admitting that out loud.
So, back to our question: What do you focus on? What mantra do you use? A mantra "is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of creating transformation." Some people use mantras while others turn to prayer; it's really up to you to decide. It’s my belief that meditation is for receiving, and the only thing I ever ask for from God or the Universe is this:
Every day I pray that I remain sensitive and receptive to inspiration. That’s it. That’s my “mantra.” My thought is if I’m continuously inspired, I will move from a place of authenticity and be more effective than if I forced it. When we’re inspired we take action, and action - even slightly inaccurate action - will still yield forward movement. This is key, because even if you’re bumping into sh*t and stubbing toes along the way, at least you’re a few steps out of the muck you were standing in before. In this way, we move forward and closer to knowing where our strengths lie, how to hear our intuition, and ultimately see our true direction.
When it comes to creating your own mantra or intention, get the “end goal” out of your head for your meditation. Keep in mind you don’t have to reach enlightenment, you just want to hit the reset button which is way easier than we often make it. The simplest direction I can give you for creating a mantra comes down to two things:
1. It belongs to you. Make it up. You don’t have to pull it out of any yogic text for it to be “real” or effective at all. Imagine that you bring your attention to something that lights your soul on fire versus bringing it to something you can hardly pronounce. Which of these things will leave you walking away from your mat feeling fulfilled and productive and inspired?
2. Listen to your intuition. What’s your ideal picture of relaxation? Is it lying on a beach in solitude? Is it around the dinner table with your family? Does it even have words? Maybe this isn’t “official,” but I think a mantra is a very fluid concept. If you think in images instead of speech, go there instead. Remember, it’s yours. Personalize it.
There’s no right or wrong answer. If it feels good, let it flow! So tell me, what’s your mantra?
To learn more about meditation or yoga, check out The Essential Guide To Meditation With Charlie Knoles and The Complete Guide To Yoga With Tara Stiles.
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