Whether it is in Sanskrit or English, the use of mantra in my yoga practice has been very helpful in reeling my thoughts in while doing my asana postures or in meditation. A mantra is a word or phrase that you concentrate on to help in practicing mindfulness. Some of the Sanskrit chants evoke certain emotions and looking for the right mantra can be overwhelming.
To start, let’s stick to English. When beginning your mantra work, you may feel more comfortable to make your own affirmations that you can concentrate on. Some good ones are:
Loving Kindness (metta)
I am Peace
I am Enough
I am Strong and Healthy
Everything happens for my highest good
When you create your own Mantra, it should always be a positive affirmation. Speaking of things you want to change like ‘I don’t want…’ or ‘I will not do…’ is bringing your mind to that negative feeling that you DON’T like and can bring it into being more easily. Keeping to ‘I am…’ statements is a safe bet that you are using the Law of Attraction to bring good things to you instead of what you want to avoid. Your brain and the Universe don’t know the difference between a lie and the truth, so I always say to change a situation you sometimes have to ‘Fake it to make it.’ Smiling or laughing in a sad moment can switch your mindset, even for just a moment, and bring you out of the funk faster. This also works with a Mantra. When you feel weak, chant ‘I am strong’. When your thoughts are in chaos, use ‘I am peace’ to shift your consciousness and calm your mind.
Once you feel good about your own Mantra creation, you may feel inclined to try some Sanskrit out. The Mantra of the sages of India can be very powerful when you use them with mindful reverence. The language of Sanskrit is very special. Each syllable was found by listening and meditating on an object’s resonance or vibration. The chanting of Sanskrit is inherently more intense for this reason. You are speaking to the essence of the Universe. Cool, huh? Here are some Sanskrit Mantra to try:
Om (Sound of the Universe)
Shanti, Shanti, Shanti “Peace in Body, Mind and Spirit”
Om Mani Padme Hum “Praise to the jewel in the lotus”, referencing your soul
Lokah Samastah Sukinoh Bhavantu “May all beings be happy and free, and may I contribute to that happiness.”
So Hum “I am that”
I also like to visualize when I am chanting Mantra that there are countless others speaking the same words around the globe with me, magnifying its power into one of Transmutation. We can transform our world with our intention. Voices raised together will always amplify our vibrations, our ‘Good Vibes’, faster. Know that when you pray or meditate using Mantra, you are never alone. You are tapping into the inter-connectedness of all beings like a microphone, booming your love and energy throughout the cosmos! Happy Chanting!
I have been an avid gamer for most of my life, leaning more towards RPGs and Action/Adventure types. I remember in high school spending hours at a time building up my characters, or ‘grinding’, to get them to the level I needed to defeat the next big boss in the story line.
I now watch my wife playing an online first person shooter and wonder if something so violent can help to calm the mind. She has said it’s a great way for her to socialize with friends outside of our area and to concentrate on something other than today’s problems.
With RPGs I always felt the violence was so stylized that it was less like beating someone up to win points and more a way to push through to complete a hard earned goal or quest. I think that one can use these games to escape the body they inhabit and journey to somewhere else, almost like a parallel universe.
In this universe, you are no longer your body. You become the avatar you move only with your mind and a few choice finger movements. Time seems to stop when you are engrossed in a great game. I have had countless times where I ‘lost’ hours of the day in what felt like a blink of an eye because I was so focused on the game. This can also have major consequences if left unchecked. Addiction to this parallel world can sap precious time and even affect how you are in this one. In high school I was so obsessed with playing Final Fantasy VIII that my school work suffered and my parents had to forbid it for a time. But all things need balance.
Getting out of your body, out of your daily stress patterns and focusing on a task is definitely a mindfulness and meditation practice. I even watched a movie recently that showed the wife go and do yoga when stressed and the husband put on his video game. It made perfect sense to me. Every brain works differently. Find the path that works for you and find your balance.
My shadow self, my samskara (pattern), my own personal hell. It feels like I switch to a different personality, a younger more fragile version of myself. Sixteen-year-old me to be exact. This was around the first time that I realized how poor my communication skills were and when my self worth was at its lowest. I thought that it was better to hold in my emotions because I felt like it was just a waste of time to try and get someone to understand. To help someone scrape past my walls and sadness to see my inner self.
When I shift, I try and take the least amount of space in my skin, feeling unworthy to breathe or make a ripple. My eyes are glassy with unshed tears, my tongue is thick in my mouth, my breathing gets shallow. It’s so hard to escape her once she takes control.
There are certain circumstances that trigger the shift into this weakened mindset. Usually it’s feelings of failure, silly mistakes or not being able to talk out my feelings properly. I feel bitterly alone and helpless to stop the ‘gear shift’. The grooves are so worn in from years of use that I sometimes change into my pattern without conscious thought, and then the spiral turns inward.
Something benign can be the catalyst to an intense flood of pain and always creates a bigger situation than is required. Countless misunderstandings and hurt pool together and the other person in the conversation is my captive, unaware of the emotions that lurk beneath my surface ready to be unloaded and felt again.
My shadow self is why I work so diligently to find self love, the patterns and samskaras that are toxic in my life and to root them out. I do not wish to live in the past. Reliving hurts long gone does nothing to create the present happiness I seek with my practices of self-care and meditation.
Every opportunity I have to speak my truth instead of pushing it deeper is a start on a new path. One away from the worn pattern that only leads to shame and sadness. I am worth explaining myself, worth taking up space, worth being understood completely. I have faith that I will continue my journey to self expression and acceptance. The loving people around me give me strength and push me along the new path that I have to choose everyday over and over again. Love will be my fuel and I will steam ahead knowing that I am rewiring my brain to care about my own well being.
To anyone who has ever felt like this, know you are not alone. It can feel like one false move will ruin your entire day, but don’t let it. I am right beside you. I see you and love you even if we have never met. You are worth all of the struggle to find some sparkle and light in your journey. When you feel your emotions and attention drifting to the thought ‘here we go again‘, stop immediately. You are stuck in your shadow self and you are stronger than you know. You got this, and we are all together on this path with you.
Selling and Buying a house at the same time is a stressful endeavor. I really don’t recommend it, lol. We have had a complete upheaval of our lives in as little as a month and we barely have had time to breathe and take in the beauty that our new property has to offer. I think it has started to sink in finally that each morning we will wake to crashing waves and a sunrise that is never the same as the last.
I have loved sitting on my meditation cushion right in front of the windows overlooking the lake each morning and doing my sun salutations on the deck. Making that my first priority when waking has gotten my days off to a good start, regardless of my hectic to do list.
In busy times, it is crucial to cut out time for yourself. Even just taking some deep breaths when you feel overwhelmed or stressed can make a major difference. I have had to scrape time out, but I am more level and happier for it. I’m looking forward to more steady times but all of the change is welcomed and brought into being with hard work and positive thinking.
Since starting my yoga teacher training, I have looked for a self care journal that was perfect for me. Not finding one just right, I decided to make one of my own and share the PDF with anyone interested. Please send it to people in your life that you think it might help! Love and Light!
I have been trying to find a daily practice of self care, or sadhana, which is required for my yoga teacher training. I have done a meditation through our MeetUps group of going to a green place on my own before work. Even if no one joins me with an RSVP on the site, I still am holding myself accountable.
At night I have started journaling, using lavender oils on my hands, ears, and feet, and lighting a candle. I have started the audio book “Wishes Fulfilled” on Audible while I drive to and from work and some of the concepts are somewhat hard to swallow coming from my christian background, but one thing has come through very clear. In holding onto negative thoughts and attitudes, I feed the negativity that comes into my life. I can feel a bad day coming a mile away, because I WILL it into being. I know that if I put an intention out to the universe to be kind or see everyone I meet as part of the whole that is in all of us, I will be more understanding and loving in my words and actions.
This concept has completely shifted my thinking and I love the way that it redirects my frustrations, anger and even unwarranted animosity to strangers that I didn’t realize I had. There is the beautiful knowledge that we are all connected and hold within us the happiness we seek. Most look outward, but it has always been inside us, living in our higher selves before we were born and even after we die. This idea is so foreign to me since I was taught that I needed to look up, to a god or deity for help and salvation. The divine is waiting to be found, you just need to look.
This gives me such a light feeling that I cannot wait to let go of more pain and suffering that I have held on to for years. Life on this plane is fleeting, we must feel and experience every breath, every second we are alive as a gift.
I had our first 6am meditation in the park today for our Zen House Tribe MeetUp group. I was by myself, but I was able to scope the place out and find the perfect spot for next time. I understand that it may always just be myself, as 6am is quite early on a monday morning, but it is good to keep myself accountable and also give others the opportunity to join if they so desire, thus creating community.
I started my actual teacher training today, talking via Zoom to the director Lisa Ware and a very nice yogini who helped me with the registration process. It is a little overwhelming at first. They use a lot of different applications, so I spent a good two hours of my Easter yesterday downloading apps and signing up for things. But I think I have most of it down.
I took my first class on Youtube and it wasn’t as strange as I thought. I have tried yoga on Youtube alone before and I felt like I didn’t get the same feeling as I do in class. Being there in real life will never be topped, but I really enjoyed my hatha vinyasa class. After that I listened to one of the audios available, chanting with the Chakras. I miss chanting with others, it is very soothing and you feel connected on a deep level to those around you.
One of the assignments is to take a picture of your Quiet place, where you will be doing Sadhana, meaning spiritual excursion towards an intended goal. I feel quite proud of my ‘Red Room’, called that for obvious reasons. It is part of the course that I create and keep a meditation daily routine. At least I have day one down!
I have tomorrow off so I plan to delve deeper into the log I need to keep and also work on some other homework for my other three classes. (Might have bitten more off than I should have). What seems like a million books that are required reading will be coming in as well from Amazon. Where to even begin? So many possibilities!