I introduce people to meditation and teach how to start off with a small and simple practice. Meditation is beneficial in so many ways, but it is very overwhelming for many people. I frequently get feedback like “I tried to meditate, but I can’t empty my mind and have no thoughts”. Many also believe that meditation means only to sit in quiet stillness for an extended period of time.
But, really there are lots of different types of meditation and you can customize your practice to fit your needs. The intention is to settle the thoughts and direct the mind to one thing so that there isn’t as much processing happening in the brain. We are giving the brain a break from analyzing, planning, worrying, and thinking so much.
A simple way to begin a practice of meditation is with intermittent meditation- short periods of checking in throughout the day. And an effective way to direct the mind away from all of the thinking is by using a simple mantra.
A mantra is a sound, word, or phrase that is repeated over and over in the mind or aloud to give the mind direction. It can be in any language that feels comfortable to the user. However, I would suggest that if you choose to use a mantra in Sanskrit, (the language that yoga was originally written in), you do explore the meaning of the mantra. The intention is more important than the language.
Here I will offer 2 simple mantras that you can try.
The first is a simple Sanskrit mantra that is used silently with the breath. The mantra is ‘So Hum’. Simply think So on the inhalation and Hum on the exhalation. It means “I am that” or “I am that which I am becoming”. This mantra is about acknowledging our connection to the energy of the universe and leaning in to our evolution into the next, best version of ourselves.
If you would prefer to try a mantra in English, ‘Just This’ can be used in the same way. Inhale and think Just and exhale and think This, bringing yourself into the present moment just as it is. This enables the mind to let go of all distractions in the moment and to be fully present.
Both of these mantras can be practiced anytime, anywhere, and for any length of time. It might be that you default to one of these mantras multiple times per day for just a few repetitions to calm the mind. Or you may sit and set a timer for 5-10 minutes for a more formal practice.
I have found that mantra is helpful all throughout the day no matter what I am doing as a way to keep my mind from wandering off to unhelpful places. I repeat mantra as I walk my dogs, as I do housework, as I drive, and in a seated practice.
So, try it out. Write the two words (and you can make up your own if the suggested mantras don’t fit for you) on a notecard and stick it in your dashboard or on your mirror. Repeat it when you see the card or every time you feel your mind wandering off to worry or stress. Breathe into it and see how your body feels in the moment.
Taking this short time out from our usual stressful thoughts can have amazing mental and physical effects on the body.
And, I will definitely be using mantra right along with you.
Chat again soon,