Mantras and Malas

Welcome to Mindfulness Mondays! In my second Mindfulness Mondays post, I want to talk about Mantras and Mala beads and how it can help you focus your mind during meditation.

According to Deepak Chopra, “The word mantra can be broken down into two parts: “man,” which means mind, and “tra,” which means transport or vehicle. In other words, a mantra is an instrument of the mind—a powerful sound or vibration that you can use to enter a deep state of meditation.”

Simply put, when chanting a mantra – a repetitive sound or phrase – during meditation, it allows the mind to focus on the mantra instead of distracting thoughts that might. For those who find it difficult to bring the mind back to the breath in mindfulness meditation, having a mantra to focus on can help keep the mind centered on meditation.

Some people even like to use mala beads or meditation beads (which are traditionally used in prayer) to keep track of their mantras. Similar to a rosary used in the Catholic tradition, Buddhists also use meditation beads to repeat prayers or mantras. Mala beads can also help calm your mind, put you in a meditative state and keep you on track with your mantra. It is another added sensory or tactile guide to help your mind focus in meditation. As you repeat your mantra, you glide your finger along each bead.

Repeating a mantra or prayer with mala beads
Mala Beads or Buddha Beads

Some popular mantras to repeat include:

  • OM – which represents the sound of the universe
  • Om Mani Padme Hum – from Tibetan Buddhism, this is an ancient mantra that is related to Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva of compassion
  • Namo Amitofo – from Pure Land Buddhism, it means “boundless light and boundless life”
  • Om Shanti Shanti Shanti – this is a mantra you may have heard in yoga and “shanti” means peace
  • Om Namah Shivaya – a Hindo mantra meaning “I bow to Shiva”, where Shiva is the inner, true self and consciousness; also heard in yoga

You can also make up your own mantras based on your own intentions or take from inspirational quotes. For example:

  • I live in this moment, in my breath
  • I inhale peace, and exhale stress
  • With each breath I release…
  • “I love and approve of myself.” – Louise Hay
  • “Every day in every way I’m getting better and better.” – Laura Silva
  • “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Gandhi
  • “I change my thoughts, I change my world.” – Norman Vincent Peale

Please drop me a line and let me know if you were successful in the last week with starting a meditation practice. Are you able to focus solely on your breath? Or do you use a mantra to help? I hope this helps start your week off strong. Happy Meditating!

XO, Amy

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