The significance of mantra in the physical practice of yoga


The term ‘mantra’ conjures up images of temple priests performing yagnas or officiating over a puja. The constant patter of seemingly unintelligible words means nothing to most of us. But understanding mantras is like understanding the meaning of life. They are not mere words to speak, but windows into the rhythms and philosophies of the universe.

While many believe that they are just placebos and nothing more, regular practitioners of yoga swear by the therapeutic effects of reciting mantras. Some mantras are to be chanted by themselves, while others must be practiced with yoga asanas. When they are recited in conjunction with asanas, they may have the power to change the latent energies of a person forever.

How do mantras have such a profound effect on us? Let us consider the ways:

  1. They remove our negativity. The mantra fills the mind and heart with overwhelming energy, especially when they are chanted with a yoga asana. The yogi must surrender to God’s will and the rhythms of the mantra, and by intoning the mantra in a specific way, the yogi becomes one with it and this helps them break down the resistance in their thoughts. It leads to the inflow of positive thoughts and emotions, even as the mantra improves mental focus as the yogi chants it in sequence as instructed. When positive feelings surge through the body, all negativity is removed bit by bit. Thus, fear, worry, anxiety, stress and jealousy are also removed.
  2. They instil confidence. Since mantra chanting helps remove negativity from a person’s being, it paves the way for confidence and higher self-esteem than before. This is a primary reason why many manic depressives and those suffering from schizophrenia and depression are asked to chant specific mantras, so as to induce a calmer, more confident frame of mind. Mantras help the yogi see that the world is full of possibilities, and that one may achieve whatever one sets out to do with a renewed sense of purpose.
  3. They declutter life. Each person seeks a clear direction forward, and sometimes, we may feel lost and rudderless. Chanting mantras while meditating or practicing yoga asanas helps one see the way forward. Mantras help us remove the inconsequential thoughts from our minds and induce clarity. Once the mind is clear, the thought process becomes sharper and less prone to distraction. Constructive thoughts and affirmative actions become the order of the day. Mantras help us focus only on those thoughts that matter and remove those that drain us of our energy with their destructiveness. Thus, mantras bring more control over the mind and help us deal with our lives in a better way.
The significance of mantra in the physical practice of yoga
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