Have you ever been utterly transported by chanting a Sanskrit mantra? Perhaps you found yourself surrounded by awe-inspiring Sanskrit chants but didn’t know what they were or what they meant. Mantras are a kind of healing vibration for our minds. They are a powerful means of focusing the mind while filling our consciousness with positive vibrations. (Here's more on The Sacred Meaning of Mantras.)

Om Mani Padme Hum

When I was 20 years old and traveling through Hong Kong, I happened upon a Buddhist temple with the following mantra playing over and over again: Om Mani Padme Hum. This mantra, popular in the Buddhist tradition, became my theme song for the remainder of my Asian journey. It soothed my nerves when travel stress was high and connected me to a deep feeling of inner peace.

Om is believed to be the sound that was made when our Universe came to be. Chanting Om helps open your throat chakra, promoting clear communication and expression. Chanting Om can also help you let go of attachments as well as your own ego. Chanting Om by itself is surprisingly powerful and deeply relaxing.

Ma is said to destroy jealousy and replace it with moral behavior. Ni helps us cultivate patience and become less attached to our desires. Pad destroys prejudices and builds perseverance. Me is believed to instill focus and discipline while destroying possessiveness. Finally, Hum gives us wisdom and relinquishes hatred.

The melody which typically accompanies Om Mani Padme Hum is sweet and mesmerizing. I like to listen to a recording while I work or do household chores. (Learn even more about this beautiful mantra in The Meaning of Om Mani Padme Hum.)

Sat Nam

Sat Nam is often chanted during a Kundalini yoga practice. It is generally translated as: “Truth is my name.” This simple yet potent mantra helps us tap into our intuitive powers. Chanting Sat Nam gives us access to our own inner truth, which helps us lead more potent and authentic lives. When chanting silently or aloud, make the Sat part longer than the Nam.

Om Namah Shivaya

This gorgeous mantra honors the yoga god known as Shiva, who is also known as the lord of yoga. He represents deep transformation and transmutation. Chanting this beautiful mantra helps us transmute our fears into trust. It allows us to reconnect to the earth and anchor ourselves into the present moment. As you chant “Om Namah Shivaya,” over and over again, it’s as if you’re saying---Lord Shiva, please help me transform my mistrust into steadiness and stability. Please take away my fears and replace them with strong, steady confidence.

Om is the vibration of creation, Namah means to bow and Shivaya is a term for Lord Shiva. As you chant this mantra, imagine yourself bowing to your own inner truth and wisdom, while taking in the strength and confidence that Lord Shiva invokes. (Get more in-depth information on this mantra, too, in Om Namah Shivaya Mantra.)

Om Dum Durgayei Namaha

Om Dum Durgayei Namaha is a powerful mantra that invokes the Hindu goddess, Durga. She’s a fiery warrioress who wields a sword while riding a tiger. She helps us slay our fears. This mantra helps restore our solar plexus chakra, which is thought to correspond with the energy of personal power. It’s also a mantra to boost our self-confidence, burning through all our mental and emotional blocks and fears. As you chant this mantra, imagine you’re like Durga, using your sword to cut through your fears and limiting beliefs.

Hreem Shreem Kleem Paramaheshwari Swaha

The Hreem Shreem Kleem Paramaheshwari Swaha mantra acts as a meditation that can help us heal our relationships. If there’s a relationship that needs healing -- whether a romantic one or otherwise -- repeat this beautiful mantra 108 times.

Hreem is a bija mantra that invokes clear perception and clear seeing. Shreem invokes an abundance of positive, healing energy. Kleem is also a bija mantra that attracts the actions necessary for healing. Paramaheshwari represents the ultimate reality, the ultimate divine feminine. Swaha means "to offer up" or "surrender," as if you’re offering up your healing prayers to a sacred fire.

This mantra helps us surrender control to outcomes, as well as another person’s actions and behaviors. In chanting this mantra it’s as if we’re asking for feelings, thoughts and actions that will cultivate healing in a particular relationship.

One More Thing to Add

Anytime you chant a mantra, be sure you’re sitting upright. You don’t have to be in a cross-legged position, but do make sure your spine is straight. You can sit in an upright chair if you like. You can even lie down in savasana if need be. Allow your mind to be attentive and open to the particular mantra you’re chanting. (Read on in Effective Seated Postures for Meditation.)