Don’t you love it when your friend reminds you of your strengths? Last week, I was back in NYC for some work, and during my short trip, I was able to visit with three very dear friends who I hadn’t seen in ages. Each of these amazing people reminded me of things that I’d lost sight of – bits of my power that, in the current chapter of my life, I’d forgotten. The simple affirmations elated me… they reassured and helped me remember the dynamic being that I really am.
When I arrived back home, I pulled out an old journal, one that I used to use to log mantras. I decided that it was time to revisit a few of these gems. Flipping through this worn-out paperback was like visiting another dear friend.
The word “mantra” has become wildly hip, thanks to mainstream yoga. A word of Hindu origins, it seems to resonate with magical qualities. Mantra is simple magic: alchemistic, actually, if practiced regularly with true intention, and allowed to resonate.
A mantra is a slogan, word, Motto or sound, that when repeated, assists concentration or focus.
“Is it a religious thing?” asked my Roman Catholic Mom; in her world, mantra is foreign. I explained that it’s similar to a prayer – but rather than appealing to a higher source for help, the user has full control; you can direct it upon yourself. My client asked me: Is it brainwashing“? Hmm – interesting, I thought. “I suppose it is – washing the bad stuff out and leaving fresh residual thoughts behind“, I responded. Self- hypnosis, anchoring, – it’s all very similar… but in the end, it’s a practice to reset your thoughts and actions.
The power of mantra can be exponential in your life. You can understand the meaning of the mantra, but most probably cannot measure its strength. It permeates cognition, action, and emotion. It circulates through your central nervous system and can redirect your physiology at a bio-chemical level. It has the power to stabilize and focus. It can help you transcend confusion or a bad habit, it can strengthen, invigorate, inspire.
Mantras are personal reminders of what you need to make happen – or reinforcements of how you need to steer your thoughts.
yeS YOU CAN.”
I frequently take a yoga-fusion class at CorePower with a sharp, talented and adorable instructor in Denver. Marnie Crowe‘s classes pack a hefty punch, but her voice is always kind, her spirit nurtures, inspires and uplifts. Her “go-to” line is almost too simple: “Yes You Can.” In a recent class (let’s say 15 minutes into the one-hour workout) I’d recognized that she had already said “Yes You Can” once or twice… so, just out of curiosity, I started counting exactly how many times she’d revert to it. Before the end of class, I was 100% sure that Yes, I Could… pretty much do anything. Yep, in one-hour I was transformed into a complete believer in myself. By this point (which was still not the end of the workout), I’d counted Marnie’s signature slogan 13 times. (Yep, really. 13!) Too much? Not for me. Her tone and inflection were wise and convincing. She meant it. She knew it… and after 13 times, I did too. Yes – yes I certainly can! Why not turn this magic into a self-use tool?
According to the NLP Model, our experience is recognized through our senses. So, to heighten the resonance of your mantra’s message, consider adding a sensorial effect. For example, many of the affirmations in this article are shown on a photo. Using a visual image may help you to remember – or reinforce. As you speak the words in your mind, you will also see a picture in your mind’s eye. If you consider yourself to be a physical person, you can also add a “touch” sensation, by tapping your finger, or another hand position (mudra), or some other quick and easy body position. For your other senses, you could experiment by adding color or scent to the first one or two mantra repeats of your day.
When choosing a mantra, develop something that speaks to what you need – but frame the statement from a positive perspective. The mind struggles when processing negatives.
As an example, I’ve seen George Bernard Shaw’s quote listed as a potential mantra in many blogs and articles: “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” But, why spend time reinforcing the negative piece of this message? Just get to the good stuff! My adaptation would be simply: “I am creating myself”.
A few other greats:
- “I have a purpose in this life.”
- “I am overflowing with abundance”.
- “I am enough.”
Of course, you can also opt for one of the most widely-used mantras: Om. Om is meant to be repeated aloud, allowing the vibration resonate with you. The soothing sound might be reminding you to exhale, be patient, focus, or simply just be. A trinity of sounds, “AAH” “OOH” “MMM” – the “true meaning” of Om is widely interpreted, but loosely represents The Sound of the Universe. (Yes – it’s a big one, worthy of another post.)
Give mantra a try. Start gently by using the same mantra for an entire month – so that you digest and marinate in its meaning. It will resonate deeply and profoundly, permeating your cells. Use it in moments of stress, weakness or discomfort. Try it as a sleep aid. Repeat it to yourself seven times upon waking. It’s a personal practice, so see where it fits into your life most comfortably.
It is said, “Mantra protects the one who repeats it.” Just remind yourself of what you need, and remember, you had the power all along, my dear.