How can we practice yoga mantras for different purposes? To some people, mantra practice is sacred, but to others mantras are an invasive practice from a foreign culture. For centuries mantras have been taught outside India, but the reason for the practice mystifies the public. Is it senseless babbling, prayers to demons, part of a New Age counter culture, or is there a calculated reason for mantra practice? Let’s look deeper into why mantra practice could save your mind and definitely will train your mind in preparation for life’s challenges.
Achieving Non-Thought or Focused Thought?
To fully understand the purpose of the mantra in a yoga practice, it’s essential to first understand the mind state in which we’re trying to reach. The ultimate goal in meditation is to clear the mind of negative thoughts and place our mind in the present moment. To embrace the feelings and sensations that are in play within our surroundings at the current moment. Yogis in the past wanted to develop a tool in order to aide students to achieve this mind state in a more uniform way. This is where the mantra was created. The term mantra actually means “mind instrument.” The mantra is a phrase or thought that we can place our focus on during our yogic practices to be more mindful in the present moment.
Practicing Different Mantras
The most common belief is that mantras are words that are repeated out loud during meditation sessions or during our yoga sessions. This is about half right, however the mantra can be spoken and repeated out loud or you can simply focus your thoughts inward on to a phrase or idea in your head without making a sound. Regardless of your method of using mantras, both of these techniques will still the mind and promote happiness and positivity within the student.
Mind Chatter and Random Thoughts
On a side note, there is also a common idea that we should get rid of all thoughts during our meditation sessions. This assumes a practitioner is capable of reaching a state without thoughts. Now, consider the practice of yoga mantras for different purposes. Let’s say we practice mantra to keep all thoughts from passing by and it actually worked. The problem is some level of the mind will focus on the mantra. I don’t see this as a problem, but a purist who wants to reach a state of “no mind,” might be upset over it.
This conflict over controlling our thoughts will only cause more thoughts to arise in the mind thus defeating the purpose of our mantra and/or meditation practice. Instead, one should allow random thoughts to arise, serve their purpose, and give them room to leave. The key is to not associate with the thought or allow it to control our emotions. Allow yourself to relax and become indifferent to the random thoughts and ideas that spring up during mantra and meditation sessions.
To Wrap Up
When you practice yoga mantras for different purposes in your sessions, you will soon find yourself slipping into areas of one dimensional or non-thought much easier. The mantra is designed as a focal point for the mind to rest during your sessions and simply to become still. Yoga and meditation are beautiful gifts that each and every one of us can practice on a daily basis to become more in-tune with who we are. We often lose the true self under all the ideas and emotions that we experience on a daily basis. The mantra is the catalyst that allows us to calm ourselves, focus the mind, and become more positive in life. Yes, we practice yoga mantras for different purposes, but we should gently guide the mind as we plan for the next session.
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