Self Care Toolbox: Mantra

As most of you know, I had a really big month in March! While I came through the other side okay it was a huge challenge in handling my stress levels and doing the work. It’s really easy to talk the talk but what’s really important is how you put all of that talk into action when the only thing you want to do is curl up on the couch and be stressed out and miserable because it’s easier. I’ll be honest, I have indulged in a bit of that. You don’t have to find the energy to move, to try, to get up and be in charge, but we know better. We deserve more than that.

Discover the things that allow you to care for yourself.

This is part of a new series on the blog called Self Care Toolbox. It’s essential to know what things you can do to make your life better. You need to know the things that relieve stress, reduce anxiety, make you happy, and inspire you and encourage you.

But it’s got to be what helps YOU.

We’re all different and what helps you might not help someone else. Which is why I’m going to give you a smorgasbord of tools every week.

If you’re feeling grumpy, listless, bored with your life, sad, or anxious – I want to give you the tools to significantly lessen or eliminate those feelings!

Let me tell you a little bit about Mantra.

Mantra is the repetition of certain words, phrases, or sounds that are powerful and because they are powerful they can shift and change the feelings inside of you. The trick is finding the right mantra for you.

I was listening to the wonderful Spirit Voyage radio several weeks ago and I loved Ramdesh Kaur’s explanation of why we chant mantra. Mantra allows what’s inside of you to flow. When you hold onto anger or sadness that stuff is rattling around in your mind, affecting your life. Mantra breaks up those things and allows you to move past them.

Mantra is a great tool for letting go. Release, release, release.

A lot of mantras are in a different language and that’s actually a good thing. It lets you connect to the words on a different level. For example ‘Om Shanti Om’ translates to ‘absolute peace’. If you were to sit and chant “I am peaceful,” when you’re stressed out, guess what? Your brain might decide to be an a-hole, rebel, and let you know that you are NOT peaceful. You are stressed stressed stressed. Chanting in Gurmukhi or Sanskrit allows you to invite the concept into your life without that initial resistance. The words have meaning but at the same time are meaning-less in this beautiful way that lets them sink into your soul.

It really is worth a try if you’re looking to add something new to your repertoire.

When you find the right mantra it feels like warm water running through your insides, at least that’s how it is for me. I get chills when I find that mantra that I’m yearning for. It’s comforting and healing and one of my favorite self care tools, especially when I’m in crisis mode. Keep your favorite mantra on your phone or mp3 player or just in your head. When life is beginning to spiral out of control give yourself a five minute break. Get in touch with those words and instantly your breathing evens out and your blood pressure goes down and you begin to get back in touch with that well of inner peace inside of you.

I want to share with you the threeo mantras that I am really feeling right now.

Har Har Waheguru: The Creator is bliss, Great is the Guru. It restores balance and begins healing as well as helps cure phobias. I didn’t even know that was the purpose of the mantra when I first heard it but my soul knew that I needed it. I needed this mantra to help me believe in myself just a little bit more when I was going through the craziness of the home-buying process. All of the phone calls and stress drained me so quickly and this helped me to step back into myself. You can find my favorite version by Nirinjan Kaur.

Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo: I bow to the subtle divine wisdom. I bow to the divine teacher within. This is my mantra for days where I feel lost. It doesn’t always help me “find” myself but it helps me to be okay with not knowing where I am because I know it’s a growing pain and that the feeling of not knowing will resolve itself to wisdom eventually. Snatam Kaur sings it beautifully.

Tayatha Om Gate Gate Paragate. Parasam Gate Bodhi Soha: Also called the Heart Sutra. Gone, gone, gone beyond Gone utterly beyond… Oh what an awakening! I will always remember and love this mantra because it changed my life. When I first started this blog I was going through a really hard time and blogging was my way to hold on to sanity. I was having a rough day and decided to walk home from work. I was anticipating a sunny morning but it wasn’t, it was overcast and rainy and I lost it, walking home, tears running down my face feeling miserable and lonely. This mantra was on my playlist and I will always remember the moment it started playing and rain splattered against me. It was a moment of transformation for me. I needed to hear it so badly and didn’t even know it. It shifted things inside of me. It made things okay in that moment. Thank you Wah!

How To Mantra:

Find a mantra that works for you. Listen to all sorts of chants and music and find what resonates.
Sit in a quiet spot and close your eyes. Let the words flow into you, focus on listening, on learning the way the words sound and are pronounced.
Next, try your hand at repeating the words, of getting your mouth and tongue to learn the movement of the words. Be patient as you learn. It has never been my experience that perfection is required.
Practice mantra while allowing yourself to be in a peaceful state. Let it relax you and just go with the flow, letting yourself say the words or repeating them silently in your mind.
Bliss out.

Resources for YOU:

Spirit Voyage Radio: A free radio program that shares songs from Spirit Voyage artists. If you have a bit of time on your lunch hour go take a listen!

Krishna Das: He is one of my favorite artists and is aptly dubbed “the chant master of American yoga”. His music makes me shiver in the good way. He’s a pretty awesome dude.

Ashana: I know that a lot of my readers are Christian so I wanted to share something with you. While a lot of the chants I’ve shared honor the Divine Spirit, or God, in whatever way you see Him/It/Her without any denomination I can understand why it might not be your cup o’ tea. Ashana creates beautiful music specifically with her love of Jesus Christ in mind so definitely take a look at her lovely music!

Seek what fills you up inside.

Your Mantra

So I’d love to know about your experiences!
Have you ever tried chanting or mantra and did it work for you or no?
Do you have a favorite mantra?
If this post inspires you to try it out I would love to hear about how it goes for you!