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In modern yoga, affirmation instead of mantra is a viable option. Yoga therapy has turned out to be a worldwide phenomenon over the last two centuries as its teaching and acceptance is spreading globally. At present, new and modern techniques are integrated by yoga trainers in practice especially in western countries whereas traditional yoga therapy is closer to tradition.
Modern yoga generally emphasizes more on bodily postures (asanas), paranayama and mantra meditation for releasing stress of daily life and to attain mental calmness. The deep meditational practice is itself a complete science helpful in exploring inner levels of their being and for experiencing a state beyond the levels of intellect like thinking, feeling and responding etc. It is also stated by expert yogis that meditation and mantras are like two sides of identical coin. According to ancient yoga text meditation and chanting of mantras is a systematic procedure, a practitioner should follow to attain highest level of consciousness.
Practice of mantra meditation or japa is related with a word, phrase or set of words repeated by practitioner as by precise instructions with heart and soul. Sometimes a soft music or sound is also used instead of words for the meditation process, as the aim of this approach is to offer mental focus or concentration and allows mind to become still and quite. There are many classical mantras which are very valuable and powerful like OM, OM namah shivaya and OM shanty OM etc. All of these have profound meaning and are spoken or recited in Sanskrit during practice. It is especially suggested by gurus that chanting of these sacred words will only work when their meanings are understandable by the practitioner and recited with feel and complete awareness.
In the modern world where Sanskrit language is a barrier and not well known by new trainers, contemporary mantra meditation approach is applied during practice for bringing more intention in their performance. This type of approach brings positive vibes in an individual’s life and act as a best method to slow down emotional turmoil by offering serenity to mind. The latest innovation in this technique of yoga comprises of short, easily chanted English phrases or group of words that are recited and remembered with their essence of meanings to convey affirmative feel of sensation throughout body. These sentences are not muttered physically with loud voice instead of it recite internally with mental focus to achieve the goal of conscious state of mind.
Following are some sort of modern phrases or group of words that provide affirmation and positivity towards life and for gaining deeper level of consciousness,
- Where I am right now is where I need to be
- I have a purpose in life
- I am enough
- I always enclose myself with those who make me better
- I am a magnet for joy and love
- I forgive you and I forgive me
- I am at peace
- I change my thoughts I change my world
- day by day I am getting better and better in everyway
What should modern yoga teachers know about Mantras? The ancient beliefs of yoga methodology referred recitation of mantras as sacred words or sound that should chant repeatedly in traditional Sanskrit language to attain deep consciousness. These sacred words or verse work like a medicinal tool for soul and transmit spiritual elements of yoga approach. The correct chanting will offer an insightful and mindful admittance of yoga therapy also.
Mantras are said to be a key instrument for self evolution as it is the habitual fluctuation of consciousness towards own self and help in shifting negative thoughts and behaviors in positive attitude. The mantras or sound may be practice loudly or heard internally by attaining deep meditative state. According to the earliest spiritual tradition, the universe came into existence by a loud sound or bang from God and chanting of these words guide us towards a way to focus on this vibration in ourselves. Generally building blocks of all mantras are fifty letters of Sanskrit alphabets and may consist of a single letter, syllable or sequence of rhyming words or a complete sentence.
Yoga technique of meditation is mostly practiced with chanting mantras that allows an individual to create strong connection with energy fields and to enhance levels of constructive energies within body. These sacred words lay great impact in developing strong synchronization among mind and body, eliminating unpleasant feeling with love and positivity. There are other innumerable physical, spiritual and mental advantages such as reduction in stress, negative thoughts and anger. Latest scientific research and investigations in the field of neuro-plasticity of brain show that neural corridors are either strengthened by repetition of mantras or weakened by lack of practice. Moreover spiritually the chanting of scared words or sound is helpful in purification and opening of inner soul or chakras.
Teaching of yoga techniques incorporate all physical, emotional and spiritual elements, in this day and age practice and teaching of mantras in a yoga session is becoming widely popular. Therefore teachers should encompass complete awareness and much more focused approach on this technique. The teacher must have his/her own personal practice and competency in this form to direct practitioners correctly because not any practice is completed without setting deep intention. Chanting is performed while meditational process as repetition of mantras itself is related to meditation. During taking the regular yoga session teacher should advise students to sit in a relaxed and comfortable posture with cross legs. At first the practitioner should try to spend few moments in following their breathing pattern and for settling down itinerant thoughts. Teaching correct pronunciation is also important to attain deep state of meditation.
Some of the favorite and commonly practiced mantras by expert yogis are mentioned as follows,
OM: This word is referred as basic, standard and powerful one, chanting of OM brings harmony or reverberation between universe and practitioner.
Maha Mantra: It is called as a great verse that helps to achieve deliverance and eternal peace of mind.
OM Namah Shivaya: This verse reminds practitioners of their own divinity, encourages self confidence and empathy.
Mantra meditation is referred as chanting of a single word or group of words with spiritual significance and meanings. These words are repeated again and again generally in ancient Sanskrit language also known as Devanagari, the language of gods as acknowledged in Hinduism.
The practice is a pure power in form of stillness or sound which provides a vital tool to attain self realization or enlightenment. Mantra practice is highly effective to focus or concentrate on a single point and for achieving a state of deep rest. Essentially mantra chanting should be performed with complete devotion and assurance by students therefore it is better to consult an experienced professional and should perform under his/her guidance to ensure proper method and truthfulness which the approach requires.
Before reciting these sacred words or sentences the students should be well aware of their literal meanings and fully convinced of their significance related to physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing. Parrot like chanting is not required as we know that mantra meditation is a basic element of ancient yoga tradition of Vedas and mostly practice in sub-continent or Asian region. At present it is widely popular all around the world and commonly practiced in western region as well in its modern version. Many students from young generation avoid repetition of these words because of ancient Sanskrit language, they associate the sacred terms such as OM, OM Namashivaya, OM Shanti OM as religious text also consider them as foreign or strange ones. Sometimes students criticize that we don’t recite these terminologies because they are similar to funny and fiction verse, according to them we are secular minded or follow some other belief and this content belongs to mystical Vedic teachings of Hinduism.
It is the foremost responsibility of a teacher to clear students mind from all these views or objections. The teacher should guide them on correct path and give awareness about unlimited benefits of reciting mantra. It is better to clarify in detail the actual meanings of these sacred words in their native language so that they can easily incorporate mantra chanting in their practice with deep inner feel to calm their mind and to attain mental focus. As for example explain students about the popular mantra OM that this word is called the sound of universe and also describes birth, death and re-birth. It is proven scientifically that repetition of OM brings practitioner in harmonic resonance with universe and advantageous in calming mind. The benefits of shanti mantras are also observed scientifically as these japas are requests to lord for providing its blessings and protection on practitioner also asked for giving strength, nourishment to work together and love humanity. Shanti mantras are said to be the best mantras for beginning the day.
Nowadays many trainers integrate modern version of mantras during their class in English which are short, easily spoken and remembered like every day in every way I am getting better and better, I have a purpose in this life or love is the only miracle there is. These modified versions also offer optimistic and remarkable effect on an individual mood, behavior and overall mindset.
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