What is a Mantra?

Have you ever heard of the word Mantra? Is this a word that you commonly use in your vocabulary? or is it extremely foreign to you?

Even if you wonder "What is a Mantra?" It may be a word that you have started to hear.  Lately mantra is something that is being used more frequently.

So what is a Mantra?

Mantra means: a word or sound repeated to aid concentration in meditation.

Although Mantra's originated in Yoga, and are most frequently used there, the use of mantra's is being suggested in other physically demanding activities such as running as well.

In reality, you use an extent of mantra's daily, especially when you work out.

Have you ever been lifting weights and you repeatedly tell yourself you can do it, or you are saying encouraging things to yourself? That is a sort of mantra.

Or you are running, and you tend to use some of the same "inner dialogue" words or phrases to get yourself through the run, or on to the next mile.  That is a type of mantra.

In my opinion, a mantra is a word or phrase we use to encourage ourselves.  So although the original use of the word comes from Buddhism, I feel that we can take the use of mantra's and use them for good to encourage ourselves as we strive to get better or accomplish certain physical activities.

Many times when teaching yoga, I will give a phrase for my class to focus on, and will remind them throughout the class of that phrase.  For example, if the phrase is, "I Am Strong," then when we are holding Warrior Poses, and their muscles are SCREAMING at them, I will remind them of our class phrase.  They take this cue and begin repeating to themselves, "I Am Strong!" This takes their minds focus from their muscles and rejuvenates their body to stay strong in the pose! This is a great use of a Mantra!

I frequently use a Mantra when I am running as well.  Especially these days since it is harder than usual and I am training myself to get my miles back up there.  I will tell myself things like "You Are A Runner!" over and over, reminding myself that I can do this and that I am a runner! This encourages me mentally and physically to continue running and complete the set mileage goal for that day and not stop short.

So what is your favorite Mantra?

I would love to hear what you frequently say to yourself as encouragement when you are working hard!

or, if you don't feel like you have one, just start with this...."I AM..." and finish the sentence.  I frequently use this in my Yoga Classes, so people can learn to say positive things over themselves and remind themselves who they are!



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