In a study published by the BMC last year, researchers found that 3.6 million adults in the United States practise mantra meditation.
Each one of those 3.6 million people may have had a different reason for bringing mantra into their lives, but they are all undoubtedly experiencing benefits that they didn’t expect.
A mantra is a word, phrase, or sound that is repeated as a way to focus concentration and achieve a meditative state of mind.
Chanting mantras is a really wonderful way to start meditating if you’re new to such practices.
It can be a kind of ‘gateway meditation’, as it removes the fear and frustration that comes with the idea of silencing the mind — which many people assume is the purpose of meditation.
Actually, very few people meditate with the intention of completely emptying the mind of thoughts.
Instead, meditation allows us to hone our skills of awareness so that we can observe the vrittis; the vortex of disturbances that become habitual in our minds.
When we develop this skill of observation, we can disentangle ourselves from the vrittis. Eventually, this might lead to an understanding of the Ātman — ones true self.
But in the short term, benefits include:
- Reduced stress, as chanting lowers stress hormones and releases endorphins.
- Changes in brainwaves which improve wellbeing and happiness. A study by Bangalore’s National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences used Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to show that the vagus nerve stimulation which occurs while chanting Om physically affects a number of different areas of the brain.
- Improved immune function: research shows that chanting can aid healing.
- A buzz! Chanting, particularly in a group with other people, feels incredible. No matter your mood, chanting will make you feel awake, inspired, and happy to be alive.
You can chant mantras out loud or silently in your mind; on your own, or with a group.
Chanting mantras in a group setting creates a powerful, often joyful, emotional response — it’s a bit like singing in a choir, except that there’s no need to worry about singing in tune.
The rest of the world drops away, and you forget about your worries and obligations for a while.
It brings a sense of freedom; a feeling of lightening as you shed the weight of impressions you pick up in your daily life.
In my classes and courses, there’s a focus on tongue placement and breath. I use my training in classical Indian singing and instruments to offer authentic, heart-centred guidance to working with mantras.
A group of people chanting together build vibrations, layer upon layer, that resonate deeply both in the physical body and through the subtle bodies, too.
The effects of this are long lasting — you’ll find yourself equipped with a new ability to tap into the positive energy within you!
If you’d like a thoughtful introduction to mantra meditation, you’d be very welcome on my 4 Week Mantra Meditation immersion starting 7 March!
Click here for more information.