I have a passionate relationship. It makes me to connect with my inner self. I feel like I become vibrant & full of light and love. I´m talking about mantras. Mantras are included in Kundalini yoga and MediYoga tradition (the yoga form I teach). You chant it mentally as it helps keeping focus and you chant it loudly in meditations and sometimes in the yoga poses. Actually it was the mantras that made me fall in love with yoga in the beginning. Here´s my story & why mantras is good for you.
I had practiced yoga for about one year. I felt that this was something that truly got a hold on me deeply I couldn´t explain. In the summer I went to a yoga festival in a beautiful place on an island in Sweden. It was in the beginning of June and I had just finished my first yoga therapy 40 days challenge. (Actually that was the same program as the yoga program Empower & Balance) It had sure been a challenge doing yoga every day, but those 40 days with yoga as a therapy made big changes in me. Being a total nervous wreck and close to a breakdown before the therapy I had transformed into an amazing balanced person in harmony. Steady as a rock. It was in this state I found out about the yoga festival and me and some friends went there.
The place was beautiful with long beaches. I couldn´t believe it, it was like being abroad on an island in the Mediterranean somewhere. There were a lot of activities during the days. It started at 4 am and ended late in the evening. It was yoga classes outdoors and different kinds of workshops. I was of course very curious about the yoga that started at 4 am in the morning at the beach. And I was determined that I would participate at least once in the early morning. I decided to sleep on the beach the night before. That was a bad idea, it was freezing cold as it can be in early June in Sweden by the ocean. Anyway, the yoga started at 4 am. We woke up to some beautiful raga music. (Indian music) And the yoga started directly afte that. 1 ½ hour of yoga and after that 1 hour with mantra songs. I had of course been singing mantras before but these mantras were a little bit different, more difficult to remember and to sing. Fortunately there were handouts to follow the mantras.
Next to me a man was sitting, and he had probably sung this one hour Aquarian Sadhana a thousands of times. It was beautiful. It was like the mantras flew straight into my heart. It was love at first "sight", or should I say "singing".
We were sitting there for one hour singing on this beautiful beach and I felt that I was home. I belonged there together with those mantras. I don´t know about you but I believe in reincarnation and what I felt there at that moment, was that I must have done this before somehow in another lifetime. What these mantras did to me felt like coming to heaven.
Why is it good to sing mantras?
That singing makes you feel good, may not come as a surprise. There is something in the vibrations that reaches deep inside of you and in the yogic tradition it is also said that the tongue touches points in the mouth that has an acupressure effect. It affects the brain. What I feel and what my students also say about singing mantras is that it makes you feel good.
1. It increases your intelligence
Yes you heard right! It has been shown in studies that music can increase you IQ. In a study in US the IQ numbers were increased from 110 to 119. The music they used in that study was Mozart, (so I don´t know what affect other kind of music could have).
2. It can have a huge impact on your brain
Alzheimers Research & Prevention Foundation has been making studies on one particular Mantra meditation: Kirtan Kriya. In their studies they found out that Kirtan Kriya for just 12 minutes a day can improve cognition and activate parts of the brain that are central to memory. By the way, this is the meditation in Empower & Balance. It´s a very powerful and transformational meditation everyone should do in their yoga practice at one point in their lives.
3. Mantras help you to control your mind
Mantras can be a tool to help you to control your mind. Focusing on a mantra mentally or singing it, helps you not to be in your chattering thoughts. Focusing on mantra makes it more difficult for your thoughts to wonder around.
4. It has healing effect
From a yogic perspective mantra is about healing and open up your flow of energy in your chakras. The Indian yogis carefully and in detail have investigated the mantra vibratory effects for many centuries, and with its help linked up into a higher state of consciousness in harmony with the universe. One mantra that I love, is included in the yoga program Connect and Heal. it has a very lovingly healing effect.
5. It is a kind of affirmation
When you repeat a mantra, either in your meditation or in your yoga practice, the mantra in itself has a meaning. For example: One mantra we use in my yoga form is Sat Nam. It means I am true or Truth is my name. Repeating this mantra over and over again has some effect on you. For me personally the meaning of the mantra is not so important. I rarely remember the meanings. I just have trust that the mantra will do its good work anyway.
Why use mantras and not words you use in your own language?
It has been shown in a study in Sweden mantras have a better effect than, let´s say, just ordinary words like chair or table. It affects other parts of the brain. For me singing in an ancient language makes me feel more in harmony. Sometimes it can even be an advantage not to know the meaning of the mantra. But sometimes we actually sing in English in my yoga classes, but it´s very rare. What I hear a lot from my students is that they really love mantras. It makes them feel good.
Now I know that whenever I feel a little bit out of balance I can get some help coming back in harmony again singing some mantras. It is actually one of my best medicines to come back in balance again.
Do you use mantras? What kind of mantras?
If you are curious about singing mantras I can recommend two of my recently released yoga programs. Both of them have mantras included in the meditation.
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Helen Kåselöv is a yoga teacher and yoga therapist and the founder of Healing from within with yoga & food (former Yoga for Endometriosis & Pelvic pain). Helen has a history of severe endometriosis and is today helping women with endometriosis, PCOS, uterine fibroids and other pelvic pain online, with yoga, nutrition and other lifestyle changes. Using yoga both as a tool in different kinds of healing programs, pain management, yoga has become the foundation in her work. “Yoga can help you in so many ways: Physically, mentally, spiritually and as a personal development tool.”