The belief that we have everything inside us we will ever need to succeed in our lives is a hard thing to grasp. Every day, situations arise that make us question our abilities, thoughts and actions. These moments of stress and emotion are the perfect time to introduce a mantra.
Often, the thought of a mantra brings to mind a class of yogis sitting with their eyes closed in utter silence and stillness. While mantras are often tied to meditation, they do not have to be.
A mantra serves many purposes. It can be a “mind protector,” helping you to keep your mind from wandering as you begin meditation; it can be a favorite word, phrase, prayer or poem fragment that helps you center and calm yourself; or it can be a “shut off” you use to go inward and block out the constant motion of the world to “recharge” yourself. All of these options lead you back to something that is meant to engage your heart and calm your mind.
Each time I come to my mat, I try to take a few minutes to center myself and let go of the day. I spend no more than three to five minutes sitting comfortably in a cross-legged position, focusing on my breathing and repeating my own personal mantra: I am willing to change the patterns within me that created this condition. I love and approve of myself. I am safe. This mantra was given to me after telling my instructor about the constant jaw pain I was dealing with. While it felt awkward at first, with each visit to my mat I found myself sitting taller, relaxing the muscles of my face and neck automatically, and instantly feeling calmer.
Now, I find those same words appearing in my mind as I encounter stressful situations in the rest of my life. Though they were meant to help with a singular condition, they have impacted my life as a whole. All in just a few minutes, a few times each week.
Finding your own mantra can be as simple as choosing a few words that feel powerful to you – like “I am everything I need.” Or you could spend some time with a few different books and find mantras that correlate to a specific need you have right now in your life. You can also talk with your Yoga or Nia instructor and they can help you choose a mantra that is fitting to your life or your practice. The most important aspect of your mantra is that it creates a positive atmosphere for your heart to shine. Taking just a few minutes before your practice, before bed or first thing in the morning as you prepare for your day can have profound impact.
Below are some possible mantras pulled from Living Your Yoga by Judith Lasater (a great resource for yogis beginner to advanced):
- My life is a work in progress.
- All the answers are within me.
- I commit to living my life fully in this moment.
- This moment is the perfect moment to let go.
- I will do what is possible.
- The only real control I have is the choice for my own thoughts, my own words, and my own actions.
- I can do this.
- I love and approve of myself.
Do you have a mantra or resource to find mantras others could benefit from? Please share your words of inspiration and encourage positive thinking in our community.