Mantra? What is it?
You enter a yoga class, the room is warm and inviting, students are mingling and you're just so happy to be on your mat finally, ready to relax.
Then the teacher starts to play some beautiful music...in another language. And you have know idea what the words mean.
The yoga begins, you start to flow through familiar poses then BAM, the instructor asks you to chant out loud a strange word or phrase during a yoga pose or meditation.
Are you comfortable still?
You worry that it could conflict with your religious beliefs or your intellect just doesn't like foreign words if it doesn't know them so the ego's job is to help you become fearful. Now any hope of truly relaxing has gone out the window.
These unfamiliar words and chants are known as Mantra. The creative projection of the mind through sound. Man = mind, Tra = wave or projection.
The science of Mantra is based on the knowledge that sound is a form of energy having structure, power and a definite predictable effect on the chakras and the human psyche.*
Mantras are formulas that alter the patterns of the mind and the chemistry of the brain. The power of the mantra is in its sound vibration. They are not words, but sounds that can help clear the sub-conscious, elevate you and connect you to the Infinite.
They are powerful; YOU are literally a divine instrument tuning up.
Don't worry. Mantras are not religious.
They are universal sounds to dial all living beings in to the universe, God, whatever you choose to call it. So they are beautifully universal for all, no matter what your personal belief or faith.
Yoga "tunes" us up through physical poses, sound current, meditation and breathing. It allows our energies to become balanced: earth, fire, water, air and ether.
By vibrating a particular combination of sounds, we tune into various levels of intelligence, or consciousness. You can literally get a "higher" operating system by practicing regularly. Yay! An operating system of love, joy, happiness, compassion, abundance.
By immersing in the higher frequencies of mantra regularly, you will become "saturated" in these higher vibrations and sounds. i.e. You will carry now a higher frequency in your personal energy field. You will radiate positive thoughts, feelings, emotions, words and actions more than anything else.
Common mantras (and their "vibrational" translation):
Wahe Guru - wow, wonderful remover of darkness; supreme ectasy
Sat Nam - Truth, your true identity
Om Gum Ganapataye Namaha - to remove obstacles and protect
Shanti - peace
You've been going to class now for awhile and you don't really know why but you feel so good! You noticed you're sleeping better, have fewer negative thoughts and your energy is back. Your tastebuds have changed, noticing how different foods affect you and more and more, you're at the right place at the right time.
It's no coincidence.
You're in sync with the universe. This is crazy!
*Source: The Aquarian Teacher Textbook Yogi Bhajan, PhD