Janet Stone: Sangha, Mantra, and Sadhana

Cultivating a community is a way to create a home no matter where you are in the world. Sangha means community in Sanskrit; we contribute and support each other whether we practice in a shared space or online. When we come together to express a shared intention—be it asana practice, mantra, or meditation—we enhance our ability to evolve through a shared and supportive experience. 

We interviewed renowned yoga teacher and bhakta Janet Stone on the power of mantra, Sangha, and Sadhana. Before COVID, Janet traveled worldwide, sharing her voice and practice as a means to create community.

“When I do mantra, my jealousy, fears, anxieties, and depression, whatever the things are, all of it falls away. Whatever’s coming up during this COVID time, whatever’s coming up in your life, when you’re willing to show up and churn and not just choose to go to sleep, Netflix, vices, all this stuff, it’s uncomfortable. So let’s do it together. My one voice mixed with all the voices. Everybody drops their story for a second.” – Janet Stone. 

To hear and discover more of Janet’s music and mantra, follow her on Spotify or Apple Music

Watch or listen to the full episode or read the highlights below.

Introducing Janet Stone

If you could be born in any era, what period would you choose and why? 

JS I would choose now because it’s ripe with knowledge. The speed at which things are evolving and growing and shifting is completely rapid fire. In every single moment, we have a choice to go forward, to enter the shadow space and the darker realms. We can pull back and see more of a context of where we are. So I’m just going to go with now.

What are three things you never leave home without? 

JSCompassion, empathy, and acts of kindness and maybe somewhere. I never leave without my intention. Intention helps me with those other three. I try to bring my kids when they’re willing to come with me, but sometimes they’re not. A snack, I’m weirdly always hungry, and turmeric, ginger, and warm water because it’s like my little security blanket. 

Janet Stone Yoga
@janetstoneyoga
What’s your superpower? 

JSMy superpower is my compassion for humanity and being able to see a larger view. I have this ability to go way out to see the macro view of things, and also really micro; I have a lens that can expand to take it all in, and I can be right here with you and see you as who you are, where you are and hold a context.

How did you come to yoga?

JS I was in the film industry, and I was there for a dozen years, and I was passionate about it. I worked with the company that did Seinfeld and worked with Larry David, who created it, and many other amazing people, and I loved it. I never meant to leave. 

My grandfather and three generations prior had been born and raised in India and what he brought back to my California childhood was enough to plant a seed for sure. Thanksgiving was curry and naan, and all the stories and something about it kind of hit me. I had that moment, you know, Saturn Return, vibes maybe. So I took a hiatus, as they call it in the film industry, and went traveling. One of the places that I stayed in was both India and Nepal, and both of those just were ripe with teachers. 

I found a teacher and took up meditation, and this is a whole new level that opened up to me. It was funny and fun and great. I returned to LA and went back to the film industry, but then there was this one moment where someone asked me to step in for them to teach.  So I taught the class, and every person in the room asked me where else and when I was teaching.

I felt like it kept going, calling me toward it. Till one day, I was at a dinner party, and I discovered that I wasn’t saying I was in the film industry. I was saying, I’m offering yoga. 

When did you start traveling? 

JS I had my babies, my little girls, with me initially. I was pretty young when I was on my own with them. It was just the three of us; I had one on my front, one on my back, and the world was just always like, come here, come here. Travel was an open invitation from the world. 

The roots of one place were all of the nutrients I received. In Sadhana, we show up no matter the elements. Rain, shine, happy, sad, divorce, marriage, birth, death. We show up; it doesn’t matter. Every single practice is different, it’s not like today. We come together to sit in Sadhana, and then we all disappear and go back to our busy lives. 

Can you share a little about your practice of mantra? 

JSI think being in India and hearing chants in the temples and even up in Nepal, the resonance was what woke something up in me. It’s when I realized I’m not going to figure out enlightenment staying in my mind. 

Through mantra, the resonance, sound, and reverberation exist within the vibration. It’s where it all makes sense. The mind drops down into the heart. The heart gets bigger. In this place, I feel that it’s not about me. It’s not about you or me; we’re not telling our story. We’re not performing. I don’t perform. I don’t even sing. I chant. There’s zero performance in Bhakti yoga. Bhakti is devotion; it’s participation. Singing is performative, and there’s zero performance in Bhakti. Bhakti is participating. 

When I do mantra, it’s like my jealousy and my fears, anxieties, and depression, you know, whatever the things are, all of it falls away. Whatever’s coming up during this COVID time. Whatever’s coming up in your life, when you’re willing to show up and churn and not just choose to go to sleep, Netflix, vices, all this stuff, it’s uncomfortable. So let’s do it together. My one voice mixed with all the voices. Everybody drops their story even for a second, 

What does your practice look like right now? 

JSI’m so geeking out on slow flow and nourish. I’m out in the world, hiking. I offered the anatomy of emotion recently; it’s this course where we dive into where we hold emotions in these places in the body. So I thought, why not, while we’re sitting here, why not go into those places. We forget that we store certain things and places in our bodies.

CROI feel like all of my practices lately have been so much slower and so much more still because it feels like the right fit. It feels like the right thing to do. I can’t move quickly right now. 

New Class – released Friday, December 11th

Block Tutorial

Join Clara for a quick prop tutorial on how to use blocks to assist and enhance your practice to create more space and strength in the body. 

In every practice, ask yourself: Where am I supposed to feel the stretch in this pose, and how can I best create the shape to facilitate that sensation?

How do you manage your time? 

JSThank goodness for my film ministry experience. I think producing, and production has helped me understand how to prioritize what to let go of. It’s about cultivating a sense of fierce boundaries. 

I was able to take the eight limbs and see how the eight limbs are actually about containment of my life force energy and directing it where I want it to go. 

I had no social life. I’ve made choices, and you’ll have to make choices. I’m not special in any way, I don’t have a different time clock than anyone else, but the reason I’m able to do so much is that I know my priorities and my intentions. You’re not seeing me out at the birthday parties that much because I choose to contain and prioritize my energy. Mothering is way up there on my priorities, and sharing my offerings; is where I focus all of my efforts. 

I’ve had amazing people from the get-go, like Hanuman people, who come and want to lift this up and want to bring their PhDs and their hearts and their practice and love to this. So much of me feels like I’m on the mountain

being carried by the love and support of people bringing in their genius. And I give all that I can, I’m like, take it, you own it too.

 How can we support each other as a global community? 

JS All of the small businesses going out of business, everyone losing their leases, or the payroll, it’s just sort of endless. And I think that by holding a place of compassion for the grieving and letting go of what was, I think we can help each other by really just sitting together. We need to look at it all; it’s like we’ve got to clean the chalkboard, wipe the slate clean.

Staying in integrity with what the teachings are is how we support each other. That means staying to the heart, staying to the root of the teachings, and giving them to other people. I’m giving endless scholarships and telling people to join my offerings and pay whatever they can. Whether you’re a teacher or a student, it doesn’t matter. Be in studentship and arrive. 

In terms of coming together, I would encourage you to ask: What do we want to create? How do we want this to go?

What are a few of your online offerings? 

JSBecause of the concessions made by Yoga Alliance, we do have a full 300-hour and 200-hour yoga teacher training online. We have a lot of live sessions. We have many social activists and environmental activists, like a lot of special people joining us.  

I have a 40-day Sadhana, a daily practice coming up, meaning we all go together. We start, we commit, and we just pour our attention into the practice once a day for 40-days. It’s a powerful practice to be kind of held and show up together.  

It’s really about ritualizing. It’s about making a little moment in your day, a ritual. The practice is to make a ritual that alleviates stress instead of jacking up our adrenals with coffee, or picking up the phone, or taking care of everybody else’s needs, or the computer’s needs. 

Some rituals involve dry brushing, abhyanga, tongue scraping, or splashing cold water on the face. Every day we do sun salutations and move the body and the joints. It’s not complex. It’s not fancy. It’s simple, just show up for yourself, stay in it day in and day out, just show up for yourself. 

A Practice for Self-Inquiry: Interview with Carolyn Anne Budgell

meditation - interview

In an interview with Carolyn Anne Budgell, we share the benefits of developing a practice of meditation and self-inquiry. 

Honoring the practices and people who assist our spiritual transformation is more important than ever before, considering the pandemic’s lingering trauma. This week, we sat down with fellow yogi and meditation teacher, Carolyn Anne Budgell, to discuss the benefits of mantra, meditation, personal reflection, and slower-paced yoga classes. 

Carolyn’s been teaching yoga and mindfulness practices for over a decade and has co-taught various workshops, retreats, and yoga teacher training with Clara in locations worldwide. Coming from diverse backgrounds and yet arriving at a similar goal, Carolyn and Clara share a passion for self-inquiry; they provide students with a well-rounded practice that asks tough questions to acknowledge the fear and lack of control over events in the world. 

“A question I’m asking right now is, how can I divert my mind from focusing on fear? There’s way more fear and anxiety within us and around us right now, more so than ever before; the fight or flight system is heightened in all of us. I understand how my questions affect my brain and my body, which is why I get more excited about the questions that I’m deciding to focus on.” – Carolyn Anne Budgell.

In the podcast episode, Clara and Carolyn share the questions they’re currently sitting with, how self-reflection impacts the mind and nervous system, and what kind of questions they pose for students. They also expanded on the people and practices who inspire, and what they’re offering their communities in terms of online or retreat-style yoga and meditation classes. 

Highlights from the discussion are below, or you can listen to the full episode.

Introducing, Caroyln Anne Budgell

What’s one of the lessons your daughter has taught you?

CarolynOne of the most recent lessons is how to allow for joy and just allow myself to feel worthy of joy. 

Name a few teachers who’ve inspired your meditation practice. 

CTara Brach would be one because she has a really sweet way of weaving in research and education and speaking to all hearts. 

Michelle St. Pierre used to live on Hornby Island and had a nice space that we would go to. She was one of the first people who inspired me to meditate and to inquire.

My family, all of the members of my family. 

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What's your process for self-inquiry?

CMy question right now is, who am I becoming? That’s one of them. Who am I becoming, and what else is possible?

Another question I’m asking is, how can I divert my mind from focusing on fear? There’s way more fear and anxiety within us and around us right now, more so than ever before. The flight or flight system is really strong right now, and it’s heightened in all of us. I understand how my questions affect my brain and my body, which is why I get more excited about the questions that I’m deciding to focus on. 

I keep asking myself, what could I replace with fear? And what comes up a lot now is wishing others well. What happens for others affects me, so  I feel like if others around me are well, or if at least I wish them well, this has a direct impact on me and how I feel. So I wish others well.

The questions I used to ask started very simple like, how can I love myself more? Now it’s evolved into, what am I becoming? More around the process of self-discovery. I think this is the beauty of almost reaching my forties. I’m really excited for this decade.

ClaraAs a new mom, I’m discovering how what was working before is not working now. I’ve been stepping back and observing because all I was doing and asking before isn’t working anymore. 

My process has been around the inquiry of, can I step back and just watch? Instead of following my first instinct of doing something, can I do nothing and wait and see if the answer arises? 

There’s been a lot of grief and sadness around letting the old part of myself go; there is a part of me that’s dying right now. I’m just witnessing and honoring that. My practice has been stepping back and observing and being with the fear that’s arising within me lately, due to what’s going on in the world and the transition within my life, and doing nothing about it. 

The questions I used to ask had to do a lot more around rage and anger. These very intense energies still move through me, but they don’t drive the bus anymore. My question has always been around managing intense emotions: how can I work with these two very strong energies in a productive versus destructive way?

meditation for compassion
New class: 
Mantra for Compassion (15-mins) Meditation

Create and connect to inner quiet through mantra; join Clara for the simple practice of chanting to feel calm and grounded. This mantra, Om Mani Padme Hum, 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 karmas. 

 

How is your practice of self-inquiry reflected in what you offer students?

CROI haven’t been teaching publicly, but I have been shooting content for the Practice with Clara Site. The classes I’m creating are very slow, methodical, and simple. My meditation practice is super simple. I’m not making anything complicated right now.

CInitially, when we were in quarantine, I was teaching live meditations every day. The response and the community that gathered every day was really sweet. I feel that people realize more than ever now that they need more slowness.

We need to do more reflection. This has been the ultimate test, the test of no control, like what you do when you don’t have control over the world you thought you had?

This is the process that we’re all working towards; those slow weeks at the beginning of the pandemic were challenging and awful and devastating, but also important. We need those slow times, which is what’s showing up for me. I’m teaching publicly in studios, and I’m also teaching on Bowen Island, like twice a month now, and host day-long retreats. And it’s interesting because the people who show up want to be in nature. They want to be still and inquire. 

There’s a big shift, and I want to be able to access those who don’t meditate; I want to make meditation more available for everyone.

yoga teachers vancouver

How would you describe your meditation practice?

CI just recently really started reflecting upon some of the larger issues around appropriation and how it feels bringing Sanskrit into the practice.  I’ve never studied Sanskrit, and it’s not a passion of mine. I’ve never been to India. And I don’t think that I have to go to a certain country to honor and respect the traditions and the language, but I know in my heart that it’s not something that gets me super excited. 

What does get me excited is like talking about neuroses and emotions and conscious parenting. I’d rather focus on what gets me excited than be resentful or harp on the negative, so instead, I’m focusing on what does work for me. When I’m teaching, I want to make it grounding for me as well. So I ask, how can I also make this practice simple for myself, so that after a class, I feel like I’ve had a well-rounded teaching experience and also make it well-rounded for the group.

I want to make things as real and relevant as possible to people who might otherwise be really turned off of yoga because, to some people, yoga seems like only spiritual people can show up to practice. I’ve just been thinking for like two or three years, how can I make this accessible?

I’m not going to make assumptions; I just want to follow my heart. For me, the practice and the offering is meditation in a really simple language. All the things that I’ve practiced and studied over the years have profoundly impacted where I am now in the best way possible. I remember I used to chant at home alone with my Mala beads; at the time, it was such a healing practice for me to do that.

It’s like an interesting time because we want to get as many people to do yoga as possible. So part of me is like, well, whatever brings us to yoga, and whatever gets us excited about yoga is awesome. Whether it’s the physical or chanting, or because you think your teacher is cute. 

I’ve even been wrapping my head around the word, Namaste, and questioning if I really understand the context of what Namaste means? There’s a working definition and in India, there’s a really simple way that people use the word Namaste, but then there’s also a more profound definition.

CROFrom my first yoga class onwards, there was always a mantra. And every class that I went to for like the first five years that I did yoga, we chanted for 20-minutes every single time. That was the standard. I used to sing in a choir, so I really enjoyed being a part of something sharing the voice with a group of seventy people with a harmonium. As Carolyn said, it really fed my soul, and I really needed it at that point. 

When I started teaching,  I dived really deep into it and got into a lot of the more complicated mantras. But I’ll say in the last year or two; it’s shifted again in terms of coming back to simplicity. And I generally only lead mantras that are a few syllables. Sometimes I bring it in longer mantras, but generally, it’s just one line, and it’s more about getting lost in the cadence of sound.

And that’s what I’ve been really exploring in my own practice. When I work with a mantra, I focus on the sound, not necessarily a meaning. And that’s what I’ve always loved about chanting, and Sanskrit is that I don’t have a very personal, intimate relationship with it, so the way that it was taught to me is to just enjoy actually the sounds themselves, the way that it kind of creates and reverberates in the body.

I find, especially if the mantra is only a couple of syllables, it has a tranquil quality to it. Through the sound, there’s an opening. I did the mantra on my own, and then I would sit in meditation because I found it really prepared me to sit. 

Touching on the piece in terms of cultural preparation. It’s a conversation that I’ve been really excited about in the yoga community; instead of receiving something blindly and saying, yes, this is what we’re all going to do, you know, to ask the question of why are we doing it? What does it mean to us and how, what is my relationship with the culture, the practices, or the philosophy? How do I create or make it my own? I think it’s important to observe before you take something in and to ask the question, what is my relationship to this? 

More About Carolyn

Carolyn fell into yoga in 1999, while living the ski bum dream in Whistler. It initially provided agility for her snowboarding, skateboarding, and trail running. Now, as a teacher in Vancouver, she continually learns how to connect with others and feel at home in one’s skin. The magic of yoga surprisingly grows quieter; towards a place where the physical, the internal, the spectacle, and the witness are all one.

Carolyn’s past career was outdoors, in environmental restoration for Environment Canada and BC Wildlife Federation. Since completing her first 200-hour YTT in 2008, she has an extensive CV: as a contributing writer for My Yoga Online and Halfmoon Yoga, filming videos with lululemon and Mala Collective, a presenter at Wanderlust Whistler Festivals, as an educator for international Teacher Training with Lila Vinyasa School of Yoga and Semperviva Yoga, managing yoga studios and guiding students through the mind-blowing practice of just being while in silent meditation intensives. 

Carolyn’s vinyasa classes are chock-full of unique alignment cues, smart sequencing, helpful touch, and lighthearted jokes to which she pays gratitude to Schuyler Grant, Ana Forrest, and Clara Roberts-Oss.  Her passion for silent meditation in forests is thanks to Adyashanti and Michelle St Pierre.   The many years of ‘being on stage’ as a teacher have shown her the importance of stepping back in order to let life happen… to do the work, connect to breath, change the perspective by going upside down, honour the emotions, and then let life continue to happen… and to remember, it’s all okay, it’s all manageable.

Rejoice in the Unstruck: Vulnerability of the Heart

The heart invites one to discover its mystery, loving wildly and unabashedly, surging forth with desire and promise regardless of paralleled demands of the mind. Without limitation, the heart reaches out into the world and reveals goodness, a sweetness, capable in all beings. Compassion resides in the heart and when left unexamined may become a space where sorrow blossoms and spreads. Tending to the heart is expressed in the tenderness and care we give ourselves and extend outwardly to others and to the world around us. Seeking the truths of the heart is to examine our inner longing and vulnerability, the tools and practices that bring us back to the deep seat of quiet within ourselves. Our vulnerabilities may be subject to exploitation via anger when we lack the awareness or direction in how to proceed. Asking for help, looking to communities for support, and exposing vulnerabilities might be successful in leading one to a path where shedding fear and witnessing desire is finally possible. To get stuck in a cycle of fear, lack of commitment, or loss of perspective, is part of the process in unearthing the courageous heart. 

Clara and I discussed the unstruck heart on the #practicewithclara podcast where we explored the heart’s capacity to expose vulnerability, establish truth, and ultimately, enhance the spread of compassion unto ourselves and others. The heart is a symbol of spiritual transformation where love and receptivity become the tools for inner alchemy. In this article, I’ve provided heart-opening practices and a

The Unstruck Heart: Anahata Chakra

The epicentre of the human body, the heart represents our spiritual evolution and ability to transcend the physical realm. The fourth chakra, Anahata is the middle of the seven chakras positioned along the spine and located at the centre point of the chest where the heart resides. The heart is where spirit and matter collide, bridging the gap between thought and action and delivering our deepest desires to the material realm as we unearth and respond to our inner truths. Anahata translates from Sanskrit to English as the unstruck, expressing this idea of a space that is pure, fresh, unhurt, and clean. Free of grief and past sorrows, we become free to accept and explore the many ways to give and receive love. 

The element that expresses Anahata chakra is air, which represents spirit, lightness, spaciousness, and equanimity. Air for the yogi, relates to one’s vitality. The Prana, or breath, is the lifeforce contained within and how our life force is created and sustained. Our breath is the initial way we link the ethereal realm with the physical realm through the energetic exchange in breathing. The practitioner who develops and controls the breath through pranayama techniques may attain higher states of awareness and consciousness. In yoga, we focus on the breath to nourish the body, settle the mind, and stimulate the nadis-energy lines, including the chakras along the spine. The evolution of our bodies and minds rely on breath, from bringing oxygen to the lungs to removing toxins, releasing emotion and purging negative energy, the breath is the gateway to addressing the subtle body and crucial factor in maintaining wellness. 

The sacred space of the heart leads us toward the power and immanence of love, the importance of establishing relationships with others and ourselves, and the means to heal old wounds and traumas. We are drawn to love, relationships, and a desire to let go and heal, and yet it requires a deep commitment to a practice that helps us address our vulnerability, fears, and pain. Working with the heart chakra asks that you delve deep into your own inner truth and address what you need. Examples of some insights that might surface include: asking for help and expressing humility; letting go of a relationship that no longer serves; receiving past pain in order to heal the wound and move forwards with more integrity. 

Our hearts may be our guides in providing access to a deeper intuition that’s felt. You cannot rush, rationalize, or dissect the desires or the lessons of the heart. The heart’s compassion and innate knowledge surpasses any judgements imposed by the mind, but together, the wisdom of the heart and the focus of the mind may deliver the devotee to a place where healing is possible, connection is intensified, and a deep understanding of the yearning we all share in accepting ourselves and each other is made possible. 

Space Within: A Mantra for Peace

A practice, purpose, teacher, or guide may assist you in your development of the heart chakra, in listening to its wisdom and honouring your inner truth. The heart’s freedom and play surges forward when we embody what it means to be human and take responsibility for our own happiness. A happiness that’s achieved when we heal, accept and receive all that is coming, and strive for balance. Happiness within is quickly transformed to happiness without, extending to all corners of our environments and those around us. When we’ve compassion for ourselves only then may we extend our compassion to others. It starts inside and moves outward as we gain clarity, confidence, and recognize our contribution to our evolving reality. 

Light up your heart chakra with a mantra for peace to all beings and elements in the universe: Join Clara and her 300-hour YTT students for call and response before diving in together in this mantra for peace

Open Your Courageous Heart: The Anahata Playlist

A curated collection of heart-opening practices, the Anahata Playlist invites the practitioner to feel and express beauty within the body through dynamic movement and breath. Open your heart, strengthen your back, visualize a lotus symbol at your heart centre, and dedicate your practice to Lakshmi, Goddess of Beauty. 

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Heart Wide Open

Heart Wide Open

Move your body to feel and connect to what’s inside, this backbending-focused yoga class opens the hamstrings and chest, and strengthens the back and deep core muscles. Flow through a series of lunges, balancing postures, and twists, before taking a variation of camel-pose from a low lunge.

A Neat Bow

A faster-paced vinyasa practice to open the front and lateral/side body while preparing you to explore bow pose, camel pose, and wheel pose. Clara guides a dynamic sequence to build heat and strength before back-bending, before cooling down with hip-openers and twists.

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A Neat Bow
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Know Thyself

Know Thyself

Explore the movement of your spine in a fluid vinyasa sequence that targets the side waist, strengthens the mid back, and inner thighs. This class is simple, short, and smooth, with opening for the heart space and shoulders as your enhance the flexion and extension of the spine. 

Beauty Within and Without

Discover your natural fluidity and balance in this Prana Flow inspired class with Clara. A practice dedicated to Lakshmi, Goddess of Beauty, you’ll start seated for a brief meditation and mudra for beauty. Enjoy a smooth and slow flow with fun transitions as you explore leg balancing poses to build strength and stability.

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Beauty Within & Without

Discover the Devotion of the Heart

Practices of the heart require a deep devotion in heart, body, and mind. When we commit to ourselves and choose to move from the sacred space of the heart, we step into our inner truth. Honouring and moving from the heart takes time. It may take years to recognize our fears, vulnerabilities, and sorrows. It may take years to shift these energies into courage, resilience, and positive forms of self-expression. Be patient and cultivate a practice for devotion to stand firm in what you feel and believe is true. Devote yourself fully to this transformation. Dedicate yourself to this process of revealing your courageous heart and fostering relationships with others that feed this process. 

Learn how to access deeper emotions in this post: Moving With and Managing Emotion
Transform fear into courage in this post: Explore Your Strength and Tools for Transformation



Mantras to meditate to or sing along with…

Robson Clara Roberts

Mantra is a Sanskrit word which is a sacred word or any kind of utterance. It can be a sound or just a syllable. Mantras have been chanted for years and people who chant these mantras believe that they help in spiritual healing and have a positive psychological effect on the body. Some mantras are meaningful while others do not have any meaning and are just sounds.

Mantras are very old, dating back by 3000 years in India. Nowadays, they are present in Buddhism and Sikhism too. Even in Japan, mantras are used for psychological wellness and they are called Shingon. There are different historical views about mantras. Some schools say that mantras are meaningless and are only instruments of mind while others say that mantras have linguistic meaning. However, both these schools believe that mantras have a melody and they influence the listener.

Mantras for Mental Relaxation

There are a lot of mantras that help you relax mentally. One of the albums made by Ravi Shankar, an Indian musician, is quite popular among people who believe in mantras. This album is called ‘Chants of India’. It was released in 1997 and contained different mantras with Vedic origin. One of the popular chants is the Mangalam Chant. Mangala means auspicious or fortunate. This chant is also associated with Durga, a Hindu goddess. It is believed that her touch would bring your luck and happiness. This chant, when translated to English, says that may there be peace in everything in the world. You have to repeat the chant tens of times and when you wish for peace to be in every element of the world including your mind and heart, you will surely feel much healthier spiritually and emotionally.

The second mantra that I have mentioned as my favorite is the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra. A legend says that Markandeya only new that mantra and there is no one else who knew it in the whole world. One time, the Moon was in trouble and he cursed King Daksha. That is when Markandeya gave this mantra to Daksha’s daughter. There are a lot of different names for this mantra.

My Favorite Mantras

You can chant whichever mantra you want but I have a few favorites. When we chant the mantra for over a hundred times, a repetitive pattern is created. This really helps in bringing mental and spiritual comfort to your body. Whether you are meditating or you are on a pilgrimage, these mantras will keep you mentally stable. You will soon start enjoying the mantra as the words are very soothing to ears and have a very serene effect on your body.

Here are two of my favorite mantras recorded in the jungle of Koh Phangan during the 300 hour Lila Vinyasa teacher training. I am sharing them with you.

We chant each one 108 times.

Either use them as you meditate or chant with us (another form of meditation).

I hope you enjoy them!

Mangalam Chant

Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra

108

online yoga classes healing 108 meaning

The Mystic Meaning of the Number 108

Throughout history, the number 108 has held a multi-dimensional meaning.  In geometric terms it is a natural division of circle (108=36+72=9 X 12). In the Eastern part of the world, different traditions talk about the108 navamsas.  The Shiva malas, or rosaries, both Tantric and Tibetan are composed by 108 beads. The number 108 is also one of great significance inside of the Rosicrucian order, since it exemplifies the time frame of some of their cycles. Interestingly enough, a leap year displays 366 days and 3 x 6 x 6 gives 108.

The number 108 is considered sacred in many Eastern religions and traditions, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism and connected yoga and dharma based practices. Even the pre-historic monument Stonehenge is 108 feet in diameter.  108 is a number known to be referring to spiritual completion, and it is no surprise that the early Vedic sages were renowned mathematicians and in fact invented our number system. 108 is a Harshad Number, an integer divisible by the sum of its digits. Harshad in Sanskrit means “joy-giver”. 108 was the number of choice for this simple reason: 108 represent the whole of existence. There are said to be 108 types of meditation. Some say there are 108 paths to God. Indian traditions have 108 dance forms.

Another interesting example, Hindu deities have 108 names, whilst in Gaudiya Vaishnavism, there are 108 gopis of Vrindavan. Recital of these names, often accompanied by the counting of the 108-beaded Mala, is considered sacred and often done during religious ceremonies. The recital is called namajapa. Accordingly, a mala usually has beads for 108 repetitions of a mantra.

In some schools of Buddhism, it is believed that there are 108 defilements. In Japan, at the end of the year, a bell is chimed 108 times in Buddhist temples to finish the old year and welcome the new one. Each ring represents one of 108 earthly temptations a person must overcome to achieve nirvana. Likewise, Zen priests wear juzu, a ring of prayer beads, around their wrists, which consists of 108 beads. The Lankavatara Sutra has a section where the Bodhisattva Mahamati asks Buddha 108 questions.

In modern Gnosticism, through the teachings of Samael Aun Weor, it is believed that  an individual has 108 chances, or lifetimes, to eliminate his egos and transcend the material world before “devolving” and having the egos forcefully removed in the infradimensions. In other words, each one of us carries the reminiscent memory cells of at least 108 previous incarnations, which constitutes the body of our incarnational selves. Inside of this essentially holographic template is stored the repository of the emotional and spiritual involvements that your Soul may have experienced and have retained the impression of, but that needed to be cleansed and  integrated in order to continue the spiritual evolution.

The Buddhism tradition talks about the 108 earthly desires in mortals, 108 lies humans tell and 108 human delusions.

The esoteric presence of the number 108 can be seen in various spiritual practices and theories: In Kriya Yoga, the maximum number of repetitions allowed to be practiced in one sitting is 108. Also, 108 Sun Salutations in yoga practice is often used to honor change, for example the change of seasons, or at a time of tragedy to bring peace, respect and understanding. It is said that if one can be so calm in meditation practicing pranayama to have only 108 breaths a day that enlightenment will come.

Energy Point

There are said to be 108 energy lines, or nadis, converging to form the heart chakra. Marma points are like Chakras, or intersection of energy, with fewer converging energy lines. On Sri Yantra, the Marmas have 54 intersecting energy lines where three lines intersect. Each has feminine, or shakti, and masculine, or shiva, qualities. 54 X 2 = 108. Therefore there are 108 points that define the human body and the Sri Yantra or the Yantra of Creation. The same rule is observed in the Sanskrit language, with its 54 letters, both representing the two genders and they are also called Shiva and Shakti respectively; again, 54 X 2= 108.

Importance in Astronomy and Astrology

The earth cycle is supposed to be of 2160 years = 20 x 108. The distance between the Earth and Sun is 108 times the diameter of the Sun. The diameter of the Sun is 108 times the diameter of the Earth. The distance between the Earth and Moon is 108 times the diameter of the Moon. The universe is made up of 108 elements according to ancient texts. The current periodic table claims a few more than 108.

There are 12 constellation and 9 arc segments. 9 times 12 equal 108. The 9 planets travelling through the 12 signs constitute the whole of existence. 9 x 12 = 108. The 27 nakshatras or lunar constellations spread over the 4 elements – fire, earth, air, water or the 4 directions – north, south, east, and west. This also constitutes the whole of existence. 27 x 4 = 108.

 

Keep reading the rest of the article here:

Source of article: http://humanityhealing.net/2011/08/the-mystic-meaning-of-the-number-108/

 

 

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Peace Mantra

Peace mantra

Peace Mantra

AUM saha navavatu, saha nau bhunaktu
Saha veeryam karvaavahai
Tejasvi naa vadhita mastu
maa vid vishaa va hai
AUM shaantih, shaantih, shaantih.

Meaning of the Sahanavavatu Mantra

Let us together (-saha) be protected (-na vavatu) and let us together be nourished (-bhunaktu) by God’s blessings. Let us together join our mental forces in strength (-veeryam) for the benefit of humanity (-karvaa vahai). Let our efforts at learning be luminous (-tejasvi) and filled with joy, and endowed with the force of purpose (-vadhita mastu). Let us never (-maa) be poisoned (-vishaa) with the seeds of hatred for anyone. Let there be peace and serenity (-shaantih) in all the three universes.

This mantra highlights the nature of the teacher-student relationship that produces ideal results for the student. The transference of mental, spiritual and intellectual energies from the teacher to the student can be achieved through a mutually nourishing relationship which is based on (mutual) respect, joy (of giving and receiving), and absence of malice or negative thoughts.

The “Sahanavavatu mantra” is one of the shaanti (peace) mantras which has its origins in the Taittiriya Upanisad. This mantra is often used as a “universal” prayer, to send the message of peace and prosperity. The mantra may also be used to invoke God’s blessings for harmony amongst teacher(s) and student(s).

Source: http://www.eaglespace.com/spirit/sahanavavatu_mantra.php

 

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Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra

Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra

This is one of my favourite chants of ALL time

 

Om tryambakam yajamahe 

sugandhim pusti vardhanam

Urvarukamiva bandhanan

mrtyor mukshiya mamritat

Translation:

Om. We worship and adore you, O three-eyed one, O Shiva. You are sweet gladness, the fragrance of life, who nourishes us, restores our health, and causes us to thrive. As, in due time, the stem of the cucumber weakens, and the gourd is freed from the vine, so free us from attachment and death, and do not withhold immortality.

 

Here’s a word by word translation of the Mahamrityunjay Mantra:

tri-ambaka-m “the three-eyed-one”
yaja-mahe “we praise”
sugandhi-m “the fragrant”
pusti-vardhana-m “the prosperity-increaser”
urvaruka-m “disease, attachment, obstacles in life, and resulting depression”
iva “-like”
bandhanat “from attachment Stem (of the gourd); but more generally, unhealthy attachment”
mrtyor “from death”
mukshiya “may you liberate”
ma “not”
amritat realization of immortality

There are very few mantras that stand on par with Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra (also known as Mahamrityunjay Mantra, Rudra Mantra, Tryambakam Mantra or Maha Sanjivini Mantra). This mantra is said to have the power to remove all sufferings, ward off all evils, remove diseases and bestow the aspirant with health and energy. And it is said that when this mantra is it chanted with great devotion and serious contemplation it is said that the knowledge of this birth and death cycle is revealed to the aspirant. And thus it helps in overcoming the fear of death.

The literal translation of this name means Great Death-conquering Mantra. This mantra is from the Vedas. It is written in the Yajur Veda (3-60). This mantra worships a three-eyed deity commonly identified with Lord Shiva. It is also called Tryambakam Mantra or Mrita-Sanjivini mantra or Rudra Mantra. The reason for it being named Tryambakam Mantra is self explanatory because it worships a three-eyed deity. Similary, since the mantra observes Shiva in His fiery aspect of Rudra, it is also called Rudra Mantra.

The name Mrita-Sanjivini mantra has a story behind it. It is said that Sage Sukracharya accepted a challenge of Lord Indra and took up a rigorous penance of hanging upside down from a tree with his face being fanned with fumes of a fire direcly beneath his hanging body. And after Sukracharya did this for Vimsottari dasa period (twenty years), Lord Shiva appeared before him and give him this Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra to restore his physical condition. Hence the name Maha Sanjivini Mantra.

The Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra can be chanted by anybody. It is important one understands the meaning of this mantra word for word before chanting it. That’s because by knowing the meaning, the aspirant can easily contemplate on the aspect of birth and death cycle.

Source: 9Dozen’s Blog

 

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Spring Equinox

spring equinox

There are different natural events throughout the year that mark some important times in the earth’s journey around the Sun. the Spring Equinox occurs twice a year, once in March and then in September. The Spring Equinox marks the time of the year when the center of the Sun is above the Equator directly. The word ‘Equinox’ comes from Latin. On this day, the day and night duration is the same all over the world.

Mantra for the Spring Equinox

The Spring Equinox marks the beginning of Spring. We can associate this with goddess Lakhsmi. She is the Hindu goddess of beauty and fortune. This is the season when we welcome prosperity and goodness. The air becomes more beautiful in Spring as flowers bloom and colors spread joy all around. It is also the season of goodness as it marks the time for new beginnings. Spring is associated with starting over. Plants and trees start all over again during this time. They lose their leaves and flowers during autumn and get them back in spring. This is hope for you that if you have lost a part of yourself, you will soon get it back or something much better.

Just like trees get back their new leaves, this is the time when we should also start new things. I hope we all can analyze what we have learned since the previous Equinox. This is the time for us to see how we have come through the past six months. Just like trees, we can also start over and grow new leaves.

Take inspiration from the trees and get new foliage. This means that you can adopt new habits and let go of the old ones. If there are any people that you might want to let go of, this is the time to make new relationships, start a new friendship and work on those people who might need you.

A Chant for You

Goddess Lakhsmi holds a high place in Hindu scriptures as she is one of the Tridevi. Every woman is her emanation, which means that she exists in every woman. Sri Kamala Stotram says that Lakhsmi is present in every woman during her childhood and her old age. A prayer to the goddess asks for spiritual and material wellness. You can use the Spring Equinox as a chance for starting over and asking for things for this new beginning. Chant the praise to Goddess Lakhsmi so that she can bring with her goodness, prosperity, spiritual wealth and material wealth to your abode.

May you step out of your cave/spiritual basement and enjoy the coming light.

 

May we remember all the internal work we’ve done in the last 6 months as we shift from our internal worlds to the external world.

Happy Spring Equinox!

 

Here’s the chant we did today:

Om sreem hreem kleem kamale kamalalaye prasida prasida sreem hreem kleem sri maha lakshmyi namaha.

 

Underlying Vibration of all creation, abundance please, cherishing your lotus feet, be pleased Great Lakshmi Goddess, I bow to You.

Source: http://www.saibabaofindia.com/gayatris_and_other_mantras_for_help_in_daily_life_welfare.htm

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Mantra to Ganesha

Mantra to Ganesha

Mantra to Ganesh

Lord Ganesh is the master of wisdom and knowledge. He is the remover of obstacles, and guardian of beauty, prosperity, grace and compassion. Lord Ganesh is the first deity to be reverenced in Hindu rites. He is a guardian of doors of houses and temples. He is the God that removes the internal and external obstacles of our success, and he is the one that grants the opening of your spiritual gifts. He is also the protector of all beings.

Stories about Lord Ganesh

There are many stories about this God as he is one of the most important Gods in Hinduism. There is a lot of speculation about his head and there is a story behind it too. It is said that Goddess Parvati, who is the mother of Lord Ganesh, carved a boy out of turmeric powder. Then, he breathed life into this idol. Lord Shiva, who is her husband, knew nothing about this. The goddess was bathing when her husband came home and Lord Ganesh did not let Shiva enter the abode. Shiva got angry and decapitated the boy’s head. Upon knowing the whole story, he went outside to get an animal’s head to replace Ganesh’s head. The first animal he saw was an elephant. This is why Lord Ganesh has an elephant’s head, which has become a mark of identification for him.

Hindu scriptures also narrate that Lord Ganesh wrote the Mahabharata. He was writing it as Vyasa was reciting it to him. They had a condition. Veda Vyasa would not stop reciting and Lord Ganesh would not stop writing. Another condition was that Ganesh would not only write it but also understand every word of this epic. According to traditions, it took both of them three years to complete this writing and recitation. When you look at Lord Ganesh’s idol, you would notice that it is broken. It is said that Ganesh broke his tusk during the time when he was writing the Mahabharata. During writing, his feather, which he was using to write, broke but he could not stop writing as it would break the condition between the two. So, he broke a part of his tusk and started writing with it.

Lord Ganesh in today’s World

Lord Ganesh is known as the Guardian of Knowledge, representing the sage, or a state of consciousness where a man reaches self-realization and plenitude of gifts. Today, he is very important for people who are out on a mission to look for themselves. It is very easy to lose ourselves in today’s world where everyone is trying to be someone that they are not. In this time and age, if you want to find your inner self and get in touch with the side of you that connects to your soul, you need to read up more about Lord Ganesh. From his stories, you can see that he is someone who would not give up. Having written the Mahabharata, he is also the protector of knowledge and traditions.

Source: http://humanityhealing.net/2012/01/om-gam-ganapataye-namaha/
 
 

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Gayatri Mantra

gayatri mantra

Hinduism is a very spiritual religion where the tales of gods and goddesses govern people’s beliefs in things like good, evil, love and strength. Even out of Hinduism, there are people who follow some values and traditions of this religion, such as the Gayatri Mantra. It is also called Savitri Mantra as it is dedicated to Savitri who is the goddess of five elements.

Significance of Gayatri Mantra

According to the Gayatri mantra, meditation is the way of purifying yourself and increasing your Divine insight. It is the way for inspiring intellect. Your aim is life is to choose the right path for yourself and to see the sun that is inside you. There are different words in the mantra that mean different things such as Bhoor, which means existence. Your existence is what keeps you here but you need to figure out the meaning of this existence and what you need to spend your life doing. Secondly, the mantra talks about Prana, which means life.

Other than that, there is tat, which means praising Him, the great Lord. What this mantra says is that you should strive for everything without expecting anything in return. You should strive for finding divinity and praise God, without expecting personal benefits. Savitur shows that God exists as a fountain, from which everyone gets nourishment. All life springs from this fountain. Bhargo means purifying your intellect and keeping it pure so that it can be used for good only. We need to purify our thoughts and words, while destroying the sins that we commit.

Gaytri Mantra in Yoga

Most yoga teachers love doing yoga, in class, to Gayatri mantra as this mantra lets you connect with the inner spirit and your God in the best way. In this mantra, you ask God to enlighten you to see things that you can otherwise not see. This mantra lets you get in touch with His light and use that light to look inside you. Bhur is the physical plane while Savithur is the Sun. With the Gayatri mantra, you get in touch with all these planes. Even when you are doing yoga at home, you can play the Gayatri manta and do your yoga exercise. The beauty of this mantra is that even if you do not understand the language, you still feel it in your bones.

The Gayatri Mantra is one of my favourite mantras EVER.

Chanting with my class or in my own practice, I feel the benefits instantly…….

In joy.

 

Gayatri Mantra

Om Bhur Bhuvah Suvah,
Tat Savithur Varenyam
Bhargo Devasya  Deemahi
Dhiya Yo Nah Prochodayat.

 

Om: primordial sound. Bhur: earth or physical plane. Bhuvah: water or mental/astral plane. Suvah: fire or celestial plane. Tat: that.  Savithur: the Sun. Varenyam:adorable.  Bhargo: luster. Devasya:lord. Deemahi: meditate upon.  Dhiyo: intellect. Yo: this light.  Nah: our.  Prochodayat: enlighten.

Meaning of Gayatri Mantra: O Lord, we meditate upon you, please enlighten us with your light that is omnipresent in earth plane, astral plane and celestial plane.

 

source: http://www.gurutalks.com/2010/04/gayatri-mantra/

 

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