Mantras are powerful tools. They're a sacred word, sound or phrase that help us focus our minds. Mantra means "tool of thought" in Sanskrit. These words or sounds help us to enter into the meditative state and connect with the Divine within ourselves.
The coolest thing about mantras is that they resonate differently with everyone. Think of mantras like different tastes; everyone has a different palate, a different set of taste buds that like and dislike different things. And it's the same for mantras. A mantra may resonate strongly with one yogi, and not at all with another. They're incredibly personal.
We find the personality of mantras fascinating, and so we reached out to some yogis and asked them "What's your mantra and how did you find it? Why does it resonate with you?" Find their very different answers below. And who knows, maybe you'll find your favourite flavour of mantra in the words below!
"I allow myself to trust in the process of life"
The mantra that has resonated with me for the past 28 years is “ I allow myself to trust in the process of life”. This mantra was “given” to me by my Yogi Master 28 years ago after I was diagnosed with infertility issues. Being diagnosed with infertility is a challenge and having to go through procedures, endless hormone injections, IVF, blood tests and negative results caused me to go through anxiety and days of depression. This mantra literally lifted the depression and helped me cope. For anyone who experiences infertility, there’s a loss of control. By saying the words “I allow”, I learned that I had a life choice to make that gave me the control.
Trusting the process of life is a deep concept. The human condition is to realize that pain is inevitable but suffering is optional. By understanding the concept of trusting the process of life, the anxiety and suffering was no longer a part of my life. I’ve been teaching meditation for several years and at some sessions I repeat this mantra with the participants. At the end of each session, one by one, they say how this mantra resonates with whatever they are going through in life. In today’s world of uncertainty, stress and anxiety, allowing ourselves to trust in the process of life is healing.
Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
I have been blessed to create, find and often use many mantras. One of my favorite go to mantras is written in the ancient language of Sanskrit: Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu. Something about this mantra rolling off my tongue in Sanskrit allows me to feel connected to every being past, present and future.
Translated it means "May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all."
All of life to me is yoga, which is finding the union of opposition. Our ability to balance the yin and yang or to find unity in opposition is key to our health, success and happiness. In my day to day work, I am sometimes challenged with finding the balance between that which is my purpose to serve the greater good and that which is necessary to succeed in this world of consumerism as we know it. This mantra encourages me to do the work I need to do while still remembering the values that I feel are important including; cooperation, compassion and living in harmony with the environment, animals and our fellow human beings.
I can't imagine my practice without the Pavamana Mantra. I first learned this mantra from my teacher in India, Vinay Kumar. Every single practice we used to start with this mantra, and later on I found myself repeating the same mantra in my mind, whenever I wanted to gain focus. The translation of this mantra reads:
Om, from falsehood lead me to truth,
From darkness lead me to the light,
From death lead me to immortality,
Om peace peace peace
For me, the essence of my yoga practice and self-search lies in the words of this mantra. I practice to keep my eyes, my heart and my mind open, so that I can learn to see the things as they really are, and to see myself the way I really am.
It is indeed the hidden meaning behind the words in Pavamana Mantra, finding the way from darkness to the light, from death to immortality. I sing the mantra several times at the beginning of each meditation, and I feel how my concentration increases with every word. I visualize the words as I pronounce them and very slowly I get a feeling, that I start seeing the nature of things as it really is.
-Anastasia Sharova, Yoga Practitioner and creator of Happily Globalized
Om Gan Ganapataye Namo Namah
Om Gan Ganapataye Namo Namah, is a yogic mantra that has resonated with me for years. I was given this mantra to study by a mentor. At first I wanted something prettier or more ornate, but when I studied it, I loved it. I have had to persevere through difficult times, recently and when I’m feeling like I cannot continue on, this mantra has helped me keep my cool and know that any obstacle can be handled. This mantra helps me hone my focus and feel empowered to persevere, instead of listening to my often chatty negative mindset. From owning my own business to moving constantly, I have learned that the key to getting through hard times is positive thought and planning. I carry a small Ganesha with me to remind me of that fact. The mantra often one of the first thoughts to pass through my mind. I keep it on my mind or close to the forefront because I’m often overrun with anxiety, it helps keep me cool calm and collected.
The mantra I use is the Sanskrit, Tryambakam mantra.
Om Tryambakam Yajamahe
Sugandhim Pushti Vardanum
Mrityormuksheeya Maamritat Swaha
The Tryambakam is a healing mantra. I do it daily, as well as for new moon and full moon meditations. I say it silently and aloud. The vibration of the words calms my mind, and chanting it continuously gives my body a great healing. I chant it in the woods and feel the heartbeat of Mother Earth beat in sync with mine. The animals love it! I chant it driving to the grocery store, driving in rush hour traffic, during important meetings, and while caring for sick family members.
I learned about this mantra from my teacher; Vedic Master, Sri Charles. This mantra resonates with me because of the universal meaning. It translates to healing the spirit, body, and the Earth. It’s about conquering obstacles, clearing out energy that doesn't serve you anymore, and ushering in energy that lifts you to the highest level. And of course, when you meditate on healing the ailing planet, you heal yourself since you are a part of the planet. And meditating to heal the planet is a Kriya yoga necessary for all life.
A Secret Mantra
I have been meditating and have taught meditation for over 50 years. I started Transcendental Meditation in 1967, and I practiced and taught that practice for over two decades. I lived in the ashrams of the founder, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, for 22 years, and I served on his personal staff for six years in the Swiss Alps, Mallorca, Austria, and Spain. When I learned TM, I was given a mantra, and I was told to keep the mantra secret. So in that case I did not choose the mantra. It was assigned to me. The mantra and the TM method were very effective in helping me experience the transcendental state, a.k.a. samadhi. My TM mantra was a typical Tantric mantra used in India—a bij mantra associated with the goddess Saraswati.
I also chant the Gayatri Mantra and the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra. The Gayatri Mantra helps develop creativity, wisdom, Intuition, clear communication, and elevated consciousness. The Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra helps to bring health, longevity, prosperity, and a profound connection with Spirit. I enjoy chanting these mantras because they clear my mind and connect me with my true self, the divine presence that dwells within my heart.
-Dr. Susan Shumsky, Meditation Teacher and Author of Maharishi & Me: Seeking Enlightenment with the Beatles' Guru