Imagine this. You’re sitting comfortably in a yoga class. The room is warm, your eyes are closed, you’re listening to the calming voice of the instructor as they go through their dharma talk… and then they ask you to think of a personal mantra (or set your “intention”) for the class. You freeze and are unsure where to begin.
Don’t worry, it’s happened to all of us. Setting a mantra can be somewhat daunting if you’re new to yoga or have never selected one before. In short, a mantra can be anything that aids your focus during your practice. It can range from a simple phrase like “I Am Here” or can be a more complicated yogic chant such as “Lokah Samastha.”
We find that choosing a simple mantra that best fits your needs often times is the best way to get the most out of your practice. Lucky for you, we have a few tips to get you started.
Consider your current state of emotions
Are you feeling a bit high strung or anxious? Maybe a simple reminder to slow down is what you need. Or are you feeling particularly down about anything? Sometimes a reminder to be thankful can be just the mantra needed to lift your spirits. If your emotions have been more negative, try thinking of a mantra that counteracts it. On the other hand, if you’ve been feeling particularly happy and full of love, continue that feeling with a mantra that amplifies it!
Keep It Real
Remember, this is the intention for the rest of your class. It moves beyond what you physically want to receive from your practice and taps into what your mind and soul really crave. You’re not sharing it with anyone else so there’s no need to make it fancy. If all else fails, just use the first word that comes to your mind. Chances are that’s the one you needed all along.
The Simpler The Better
When you’re huffing and puffing through various intense yoga poses and your body is wrapped up like a pretzel, it can be really easy to throw that mantra out the window. It doesn’t mean you didn’t care about it, it’s merely that your mind is focused intensely on what the instructor is making you do. That’s why a simple one or two word mantra can sometimes be the most effective.
The best way to do this is to take whatever feelings and line you came up with when evaluating your emotional state and cut out all the fluff words until you’re left with the root. So if you thought, “I need more love in my life,” your mantra can be “love” or “more love.”
We hope these tips help you with your mantra selection the next time you practice yoga or meditation! If you want to track how your mantra shifts depending on your current life events, we highly recommend writing down your mantra in a journal and reflecting back to them.
Read More: 3 Common Mistakes To Avoid During Meditation
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