YOGA: What is Mantra Yoga

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By Geeta Maraj
September 11th, 2013 Edition

Mantram is the ancient word for Mantra. A mantra can vary from a single syllable or word to a series of words which hold a sacred connection. The systemic repetition of a mantra induces spiritual cleansing of the mind. Through Mantra recitation, thoughts become more focused, thereby creating greater mental and emotional strength. Mantra also serves to control the busy mind, and can be used as a way to conquer health issues, such as depression, hypertension and cardiac problems. The ultimate goal of mantra yoga however, is to find a spiritual union with a higher consciousness.

The practice of mantric recitations is called Mantra Yoga, also referred to as Japa Yoga. Mantra Yoga is one of the approximately 40 different types of yogic practices, all of which are interconnected. Mantras can be chanted in many forms. They can be spoken verbally (Vaikhari Japa), recited mentally (Manasika Japa), whispered or hummed (Upamsu Japa), or written (Likhita Japa).

Various types of japa can be combined to improve focusing of the mind. For example, Manasika Japa, is quite subtle, yet very effective in controlling the turbulent mind. For a beginner however, it may be difficult to maintain such mental chanting. Alternating Manasika Japa (mental) with Vaikhari Japa (vocal), can be a way of preventing the mind from wandering, thereby, improving the beneficial effects of Mantra Yoga.

The words of a mantra are meant to create an energetic vibration through sound, which increases the positive energy of the body. Positive energy is essential to all living things, whether human, plant or animal. Our every thought and action is dependant upon this energy. The effect of positive energy can be experienced while in the company of others.

If we are in the presence of someone who has a naturally calm energy, their positive aura gets transmitted to us, and we experience a sense of lightness and peace. Likewise, a depressed sense of being is experienced when we are exposed to someone with poor aura. Similarly, we also affect the aura of others based on the energy we emit. Therefore, by reciting a mantra, we not only spiritually benefit ourselves, through a lighter aura, but we equally benefit those around us.

Mantra recitation serves to quieten the busy mind. A busy mind is the key cause of many ailments that are a norm in today’s society. With a calmer mind, daily tensions and frustrations are subdued and we become more accepting of our experiences. In time, one finds through mantra recitation, issues, such as, depression, stress and anxiety gradually dissipate as we learn to disconnect from aggressive and angry tendencies. With a calmer mind, we evolve into beings of greater compassion and love, consequently tapping into our natural inner state of peacefulness, calmness, courage, and patience.

An analogy of the beauteous miracles of Mantra repetition has been compared to going on a long journey. In that, while each step of the journey superficially resembles the other, each stride, uniquely takes us into new territory and moves us closer to our destination. Similarly, continuous chanting of a mantra may appear monotonous; yet, each repetition takes us slightly deeper into our consciousness, and closer to the goal of love and joyful awareness.

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