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10 Powerful and Simple Mantras to Encourage Change

Mantras are an instrument to focus the mind and facilitate change. 

Mantra comes from the combination of two words, manas and tra.

Manas translates from Sanksrit as mind, and tra is an instrument.

The effect of mantras on the body is expressed on many levels, from the cellular structure to the spiritual resonance; a mantra has the power to transform how you breathe, think, feel, and interact. 

Keep reading to learn the benefits of mantras, how to perform japa, healing mantras, and mantras to inspire courage and transformation! 

About Mantras

“Chanting is a way of getting in touch with yourself. It’s an opening of the heart and letting go of the mind and thoughts. It deepens the channel of grace and is a way of being present in the moment.” – Krishna Das.

Mantras are repeated to instill a sense of clarity and calm to prepare for meditation.

Similar to how movement rids the body of excess energy and tension, mantras cleanse the mind of the ego’s negative thoughts and desires. 

Every time you repeat the sound, word, or phrase, you might think of it as charging yourself up with the sound to create a space and awareness from the inside.

Mantras are powerful in that they bring an intention and focus to whatever you wish to manifest in your life—be it compassion, kindness, love, detachment, acceptance, etc.

Chanting is a form of Bhakti yoga, the practice of devotion.

The power of vibration is contained in each syllable and sends a message of the quality of life you wish to manifest. 

The benefits of mantra on the mind are vast as it influences the brain’s emotional center, the amygdala. The amygdala is part of the limbic system. It plays a vital role in processing fear and anger and coordinating responses to events and the environment, explicitly triggering an emotional response.

When we feel angry, fearful, or anxious, the amygdala is activated and initiates a stress response via the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight). 

Chanting initiates the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest) to deregulate the mind and body.

When chanting, delta brain waves are increased. Delta waves assist the person in detaching from their surroundings to focus on the present task at hand and harmonize the equilibrium between the brain and body. 

Benefits of Mantras

We can see the fully crystalline structure of muscle fiber, waving like wheat in the wind, pulsing many trillions of times a second.… As we move closer to the nucleus, it begins to dissolve. It too is nothing more than an oscillating field [that] upon our approach dissolves into pure rhythm.… Of what is the body made? It is made of emptiness and rhythm. At the heart of the world, there is no solidarity; there is only dance.

The Silent Pulse, George Leonard

A mantra is a powerful tool to focus your mind and attention on a specific word or phrase. Chanting mantras helps you release positive energies into the universe.

Sanskrit is the oldest language of India. It considers how vibration affects the body, so the sounds drawn together are placed in a specific way to activate a particular sensation.

The mantras can be seen as medicine as they engage the body on a cellular level. 

The sounds affect the energetic body, the Pranic body; it is a medicinal language that connects us to the vital body on an unconscious level. Sound affects us; it is a divine speech and a way to express the human spirit. 

Mantras may decrease stress and anxiety and calm the mind and body.

Mantras are shown to slow down the sympathetic nervous system into the parasympathetic nervous system—meaning your body moves from fight or flight mode into rest and digest mode, where you feel more calm and creative. 

5 Benefits of Mantra:

  1. Focuses the mind to improve concentration
  2. Charges the Pranic (energy) body with vitality 
  3. Harnesses the power of the creative force within
  4. Connects us to the environment and those sharing the space
  5. Recalibrates the body on a cellular level to heal and transform 

A scientific study from 2016 showed that mantras have the power to improve mood, attention, and social cohesion. 

In 2022, researchers showed how mantra meditation affected many aspects of a person’s health, including stress, anxiety, and immunity. 

In a study from 2015, it was decided that part of the documented calming impact of Mantra mediation may be due to its repetitive speech aspect.

Thus, the power of mantra via the repetition of sound through words and phrases significantly impacts brain activity, which affects the body on a cellular level.

The body’s nervous system, endocrine, respiratory, muscular, and circulatory systems are affected by stress and respond positively to mantra. 

Mantras break up unhealthy or negative energy patterns stored in the physical and subtle bodies and help create new, positive energy patterns. This “clean” energy animates the body and mind and can act as a magnet for other positive energy to come into your life.

– Ashley-Farrand, Thomas. 

About Japa 

The earliest mention of mantras dates back to the Vedic Scriptures in 1000 B.C.E. Japa is the repetition of a specific bija seed sound, word, or phrase.

Patanjali emphasizes the importance of consistency, discipline, and contentment in The Yoga Sutras. The Yamars and Niyamas outline the moral codes and rituals that help the individual align with the practice.

No matter what you practice, it is about showing up each day, no matter what arises. 

Japa is the recitation of one mantra.

Japa Mala is the use of mala beads to count the recitations of the mantra. There are 108 beads on every mala, and Japa Mala involves using the beads to count how many times you have said your mantra.

As your mind counts the mantra, it allows the body to relax because the mind has something else to focus on. It allows us to step out of the ego-self and connect with the spiritual self (Atman). 

Listen to this podcast with Clara to learn more about Japa Mala and the spiritual significance of 108! 

“Mantra meditation is not only something one practices but a radical re-envisioning — of ourselves, our lives, and our ability to create the future we desire. The principles of mantra meditation are based on a classical Eastern model of how the universe operates, and our place and purpose in it. In this model, the universe is composed of energy, and the most important thing we can do in order to manifest the kind of life we want is to tap into that energy, specifically in this case, through the power of sound.”
– Ashley-Farrand, Thomas. 

Ways to recite your mantras

There are many ways to work with your chosen mantra.

You can move throughout the day, chanting your mantra silently to yourself, or establish a specific space and time to recite your mantra each day. 

Here are some of the ways to chant and stick to your mantra. 

  • Say it quietly to yourself inside your body by repeating it in your mind. 
  • Whispering or muttering. 
  • Japa Mala – using mala beads to recite the mantra for 108 cycles.
  • Sing it, make it a song. 
  • Chant in a circle with your community. 
  • Incorporate it into a moving meditation or seated meditation. 
  • Dance with it!

There is no right way to work with your chosen mantra. Let the process come to you – try the suggested ways to recite your mantra and see what fits.

Sticking with it and seeing how the mantra affects your mind, body, and spirit is essential! 

How to choose your mantra:

Selecting a mantra you want to invoke is a simple and personal process. To begin, consider what you want to work with or invoke. 

10 questions to consider as you choose a mantra:

  1. What energy do I want to invite into my life?
  2. What themes am I drawn to – healing, inspiration, courage, and creativity? 
  3. How do I want to feel?
  4. What is happening in my life right now, and how can I work with it?
  5. Do you want to work with a universal concept, deity, chakra, or scripture? 
  6. What is the intention I want to set? 
  7. Do I want to chant in English? Sanskrit? Or some other language? 
  8. What mantras am I drawn to? What feels good in my body?
  9. What are my favorite songs? 
  10. What are my favorite words? 

“The power of sound, the power of music, the power of vowels, and the power of speech are the great creative forces of the universe: as custodians of these, human being possess tremendous spiritual power. For centuries, mystical scriptures and teachers of the East have taught mantra as a means for harnessing this power.”

– Ashley-Farrand, Thomas. 

4 simple mantras to recite 

Aum 

Meaning: Alignment with divine power

The primordial sound that connects us to infinity – the first uttered mantra that is

Sat Nam 

Meaning: I am Truth; I am that. 

 

Aham Prema
Meaning: I am divine love. 

 

Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu

Meaning: May All Beings Everywhere Be Happy and Free

Try it out: in this class, this class, and this class on Practice with Clara. 

 

Bija seed mantras for the chakras 

The mystical sounds activate the energy centers (the chakras) located along the spinal column. They are monosyllables that engage a specific focus, feeling, or theme. 

 

Mantra works with the chakras in several ways. First, it clears them of blockages so that they can function efficiently. Second, mantras working in specific chakras “attract” energy from a usually dormant feminine power cell in the first chakra located at the base of the spine. This gives the chakras large amounts of energy to work with in restoring health, improving life conditions and circumstances, and eliminating karmic conditions that may have been hampering us in some way. Third, mantras draw on the ambient energy that is ever present around us but not available to the chakras.

– Ashley-Farrand, Thomas. 

Aum 

Meaning: Alignment with divine power

The primordial sound that connects us to infinity – the first uttered mantra that is

Sat Nam 

Meaning: I am Truth; I am that. 

 

Aham Prema
Meaning: I am divine love. 

 

Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu

Meaning: May All Beings Everywhere Be Happy and Free

Try it out: in this class, this class, and this class on Practice with Clara. 

 

Bija seed mantras for the chakras 

The mystical sounds activate the energy centers (the chakras) located along the spinal column. They are monosyllables that engage a specific focus, feeling, or theme. 

 

Mantras to Heal, Inspire, and Transform

Take a mantra class on Practice with Clara Virtual Yoga Studio to experience the power of chanting. 

About each of the mantras:

Mantra for Bliss: 

Om Shri Anandaye Namaha 

Meaning:

Chant this mantra to remind yourself of the sensation of joy in the body. This mantra offers blessings and salutations to the bliss within; it calls upon the state of bliss to fill our bodies and light us up. 


Om = primordial sound

Shri = blessings and salutations

Anandaye = bliss

Namaha = I bow to thee

 

The Bliss Body of the Koshas 
According to Vedic philosophy, the individual has five layers of the self known as the koshas. The koshas represent the five unique bodies that create each individual. This meditation focuses on the fifth and most subtle layer of Anandamaya kosha, the bliss body. 
The first and grossest kosha is the Annamaya kosha, being the physical body. It deals with everything we take in, such as what we feel and eat. 
The second kosha is Pranamaya kosha, being the layer just below. Pranamaya kosha is your energetic body. We work with this kosha through the body’s energy lines; in yoga, we call the energy lines nadis; in TCM and acupuncture, they’re called meridians. 
The third kosha is Manomaya kosha, which represents your emotional body. It defines the mind and emotions and who we think we are. 
The fourth kosha is the Vijnanamaya kosha, representing the intuitive or wisdom body. 
The fifth kosha is Anandamaya kosha, the bliss body, or what some might call the soul. 
Vedantic yoga deals with all the layers and various bodies that contribute to the individual. Generally, we’re more preoccupied with one of the layers, so for example, for those of us preoccupied with the physical body, we would be working with Annamaya Kosha. The koshas can be a gateway in your practice to connect you with a specific body.

 

Mantra for Compassion:

Om Mani Padme Hum

Meaning: it is a Buddhist chant that translates from Sanskrit as “Praise to the Jewel in the Lotus.” It’s said that the entire teachings of Buddha are contained in this six-syllable mantra. Ideal for beginners, repeat this phrase to simmer in the sweetness of vibration, clear the mind, and release negative karma. 

Om: The primordial sound of the universe that connects us to the divine. 

Ma: Represents ethics and releases jealousy.

Ni: Represents patience and releases desires.

Pad: Represents discipline and releases ignorance.

Me: Represents concentration and releases attachments.

Hum: The unity of the collective consciousness that represents wisdom and releases hatred. 

 

Gayatri Mantra

Generally chanted to revere and bless the beginning of something we are about to embark upon. It’s also a profound remembering and honoring of the teachers, both seen and unseen, to remind us that we don’t walk this path alone. We have teachers and guides that we don’t know who support us as we move forward. 

 

Gayatri Mantra

oṃ bhūr bhuvaḥ svaḥ

tat savitur vareṇyaṃ

bhargo devasya dhīmahi

dhiyo yo naḥ pracodayāt

 

One translation I love: 

The eternal, earth, air, heaven

That glory, that resplendence of the sun

May we contemplate the brilliance of that light

May the sun inspire our minds.

*Translation by Douglas Brooks

 

Saraswati Mantra for Creativity 

Om Aim Saraswataye Namaha

To be blessed by Saraswati is to be able to transform the world through words.” – Sally Kempton.

 

Saras means “flowing.”

Vati means “one who is associated with.”

Another translation is “one who bestows the essence of self.”

Saraswati is the Hindu goddess of creativity, speech, wisdom, knowledge and learning.

We chant to her when we embark on a new creative project for inspiration, when we are studying for an exam, OR when we want to find the right words to express our feelings.

I call her the Muse of Creation.

Chant along with us, or use our voices to anchor your meditation.

 

Lakshmi Mantra for Abundance 

Om Shrim Hrim Shrim Kamale Kamalalaye

prasida prasida Shrim Hrim Shrim Aum

Mahalakshmyai namah.

Meaning of the mantra

Om, Shrim, Hrim = cosmic vibration sounds

Kamale Kamallaye = one who resides on the lotus flower

Prasida = be pleased

Mahalakshmiyai Namaha = Goddess Mahalaxmi, I bow to you.

Mahalakshmi is also known to preside over 16 forms of worldly wealth: Fame, Knowledge, Courage and Strength, Victory, Valor, Gems and Valuables, Grains in Abundance, Happiness, Bliss, Intelligence, Beauty, Higher Aim, Morality and Ethics, Good Health, Long Life.

Lakshmi is the Hindu goddess of beauty, abundance and fertility.

We chant to her when we want to shift our perspective from scarcity to abundance. We also chant to her when we want to birth something into the world–whether that’s an idea, project, or child.

 

Krishna Mantra for Blessings

Hari Krishna Hari Krishna

Krishna Krishna Hari Hari 

Hari Ram Hari Ram

Ram Ram Hari Hari 

This chant praises Krishna and honors the divine. 

Radha is the feminine aspect of Krishna – an all-loving force. 

Through this mantra, we chant to the feminine and masculine versions in ourselves, this creative force, celebrating and praising the joyous union. 

Hari = is one of the names for Vishnu.

Krishna = honors Krishna

Ram = honors Radha, Krishna’s consort

 

Shiva Mantra

Aum Namah Shivaya 

A powerful mantra that can be traced back thousands of years; it appeared in Shaivism literature in the Shiva Puranam, composed somewhere between the 1st and 3rd Century CE. 

Shaivism believes that Shiva is the single most important God. Shaivism is one of the oldest sects—over 2500 years—and influences India. In the Shaivism tradition, Shiva is seen as the Atman (soul) of all beings.

Aum Namah Shivaya translates from Sanskrit as ‘praise to the auspicious one,’ as Shiva represents eternal consciousness; he lives in the collective consciousness of all beings and in each person. Therefore, this mantra means ‘I bow to myself, to my inner divinity.” 

Aum – the primordial sound that connects us all.

Namah – to bow.

Shivaya –  Shiva’s formal name also means the inner Self or eternal consciousness. 

In Siddha Shaivism, Namah Shivaya contains five syllables that are said to represent the five elements:

  • Na – earth
  • Ma – water
  • Shi – fire
  • Va – air
  • Ya – ether 

 

Ganesha Mantra 

Om Gam Ganapataye Namaha 

Om = the primordial sound that connects us all

Gam = the bija seed sound for Ganesha 

Ganapataye = another (formal) name for Ganesha

Namaha = I offer myself to you, I bow to you

The mantra loosely translates to “salutations to the remover of obstacles” for Ganesha. 

 

Durga Mantra

Aum Durgaye Namaha 

“Durga is the power behind dramatic breakthroughs; she’s the strength you can draw on when you face challenging situations or deep backbends.” — Sally Kempton. 

We call on Durga when we need strength and a single-pointed focus to move forward. She is the Goddess for Transformation and reveals what is truly important. 

Invoke Durga For:

  • Physical, mental, and emotional strength.
  • Personal empowerment.
  • Starting or completing a project.
  • Help in a challenging situation.
  • Facing the negative side of your ego.
  • Protecting other people or yourself.

 

Agni Mantra 

Om Agnaye Swaha
Translated as: “I offer it to the fire.” 

Fire is powerful in that it transforms all that it touches. 

As you chant this mantra, consider what you will offer to the fire to transform.

Om = the primordial sound → take hand to the heart

Agnaye = the spiritual and digestive fire → take hand to the lips

Swaha = I offer/ I give to thee → extend palm toward the fire

Every time you say Swaha, this is an offering to the fire of whatever you want to transform. If you have nothing you want to transform, the Swaha is simply an offering of yourself to the fire. 

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