Repeating mantras can calm your mind
Do you ever wish you could silence the thoughts that frustrate or distract you? Have you heard about the power that repeating mantras has on quieting your mind? Have you ever experimented to see what would happen after vocalizing one of these sounds, words, or phrases? Believe it or not, any mantra recited or sung with confidence and respect is capable of calming the mind.
“Mantra” is a sanskrit word that means ‘tool or instrument of the mind’. These are words, phrases, or short sounds that are repeated. We can use them as a form of relaxation or meditation. They can be sounds as simple as the popular Om or sayings and longer phrases.
Mantras work as a spiritual formula. When repeated continuously, they have the ability to transform consciousness and activate our energy centers. This allows us to reach deep states of concentration.
How can repeating mantras calm the mind?
Different studies have investigated the benefits of mantras. For example, Brain and Behavior magazine found in their new study that silently repeating a words for oneself calms the part of your mind that is constantly thinking about different things.
Although it’s known that meditation can change the brain, scientists are still deciphering what happens when we repeat a simple word, phrase, or sound. This study used functional magnetic resonance to observe patterns of cerebral blood flow when people who were new to meditation tried to repeat a single word in silence.
The images showed a general reduction in the activity (or lack of activity) in the brain during the silent repetition, particularly in the default neural network. This network is responsible for our self-reflection and self-control. In other words, the simple repetition of sounds seems to really calm our inner thoughts.
The default neural network of the brain is responsible for the thoughts we have when we’re alone and nobody is bothering us. In those moments the mind is busy, although we feel as if we’re not doing anything. The default neural network makes the mind wander, think about the past, wonder about your future, and imagine what others think of us, for example.
In this way, repeating simple mantras can reject this network of wandering thoughts. This may explain the calming effect of mantras.
Do a test with the mantra ‘Om’
The syllable Om is considered to be the mother of all the seed syllables or mantras. It’s believed that this type of mantra contains creative power and primordial energy, like a seed of a tree.
Practice Om at the beginning and end of a yoga sequence or during a breathing, relaxation, or meditation session to relax and calm your mind. You can even add more mantras to see what will happen.
- Sit in a comfortable posture. For example, use a meditation position (including the chair meditation position).
- Inhale deeply through your nostrils.
- Close your eyes.
- Begin to pronounce the syllable Om.
Om has the following sounds: A + O + M
- A: open the mouth. Start the sound in the back of the mouth and direct the air flow to a point between your eyebrows. Continue emitting the sound with your exhale. Don’t be afraid of making noise. You should feel the vibrations in your mouth and throat.
- O: the sound and breathing should continue to resonate and spread through your entire chest and body.
- M: place your tongue on the roof of your mouth when you arrive at the end of your exhale. Once you finish, there should be a slight final nasal sound.