What is it?
Mantra meditation utilizes the power of sound and vibration to create stillness in the body, calm the nervous system and ultimately transform the mind. The words typically come from ancient spiritual languages, such as Sanskrit or Gurumukhi. The sacred meanings of the words enable you to establish a connection to profound truths that have been spoken for thousands of years, explains Krishna Kaur, a kundalini yoga teacher since 1970 and founding member of the International Association of Black Yoga Teachers (blackyogateachers.com).
What’s it good for?
Because each mantra differs in its meaning and vibrations produced, you can select mantras to create specific effects— such as increasing mental clarity, developing intuition, or reducing anger and stress. Kaur suggests starting with the simple mantra sat nam because it’s easy to say and remember, yet offers profound effects. Sat translates as “truth,” and nam as “identity.” This mantra helps you identify with a universal spiritual truth in which such transient emotional states as fear, anger and doubt fall away.
How long does it take?
Start with three to five minutes, increasing by a minute at a time until you can sit and chant for a full 11 minutes.
How do I do it?
1. Sit comfortably in a chair or on the floor with your spine straight to help your breath and the sound it creates flow smoothly. Close your eyes and bring your attention to your breath for a moment to get centered.
2. Take a long, deep inhalation through your nose. As you exhale, utter an extended sat (pronounced “sut”) to almost the end of your breath, followed by a short burst of nam (“nom”). Together, the mantra will sound like “saaaaaaaaaaat nam.”
3. Inhale slowly and evenly, then repeat the mantra as you exhale. Continue this pattern.
4. At the end of your session, inhale and hold your breath for a few seconds, then exhale through your nose. Do this three times, then sit quietly for a moment and feel the energy flow through your body. Open your eyes, stand slowly and carry your sense of calm and clarity with you.