5 Benefits of Chanting Mantra
I was lucky to grow up with mantra as a big part of my life. If you didn't grow up around it, you might think that mantra is just like prayer or singing religious songs. Although it might seem similar, mantra has some unique benefits that distinguish it from other religious rites.
At its essence, mantra is a sound, an alphabet, a syllable, a word, or a group of words set in a specific order. These sounds produce vibrations or reverberations. Mantra is based in ancient Sanskrit, and most mantras are thousands of years old, designed by ancient sages who knew the power of words, sounds, and vibrations. They created mantras as a form of transcendental vibration to act on specific aspects of human wellbeing.
As society has become modern, we've established different perspectives on why mantra is important. Here are what I consider to be the top five benefits of chanting mantra.
1. Mantra Affects You Physiologically
While chanting mantra may have mystical and religious origins, the physiological benefits and effects are not magical in nature. Many physiological effects have been scientifically documented. When you chant mantra, you fall into a sort of repetitive trance. This in and of itself helps regulate your breath, deepening it and training it into a consistent rhythm.
Regulated breathing helps in calming the mind and the nervous system. Some studies have even shown that chanting mantra can help lower blood pressure, increasing overall wellbeing and health.
Many mantras were also designed to affect specific chakras, or energy points, throughout the body. The vibrations from chanting particular sounds and mantras can help activate or balance the different chakras, aligning them or helping to improve the flow of energy throughout the body.
2. Mantra Changes Your Vibration
Everything in the known universe is made up of vibrating energy. Sound is simply vibrating waves that enter our ear canal, vibrating our eardrums, which our brain then interprets. When different vibrations come into proximity with each other, they will often sync up.
When you chant mantra, the ancient sound vibrations carefully designed by the sages impact your vibrational frequency. Some Sanskrit mantras were intended to have precise effects on different parts of your body and energy levels. Some improve overall well-being in the body.
For instance, the repeated chanting of Om Namah Shivaaya is said to soothe aggression that might be felt in the body and increase your sense of concentration.
3. Mantra Impacts Mental Wellbeing
Just as mantra affects the body, it has a pronounced effect on the mind, as the two are deeply intertwined. Mind follows matter — as you create different vibrational frequencies in your body, you also affect your mind. In the same way, certain breathing techniques positively affect your physical well-being, manifesting itself as well-being in the mind, so it goes with mantra chanting.
Like the previous example, if you were to chant Om Namah Shivaaya, you would likely experience a soothing sensation in the body — your breath would be more regulated, and any physical tension might dissipate.
Paired with that physical experience would be a mental experience. Your temper would be calmed, and you might feel more connected with your deep inner self, experiencing a sense of calm instead of agitation.
4. Mantra Helps You Learn to Meditate
Meditation can be a challenging endeavor. Attempts to quiet the mind and find stillness often end up with beginner meditators feeling frustrated by their inability to master meditation quickly. Chanting mantra is an amazing way for beginning meditators to shift into a meditative state of mind, as it provides your brain with something to focus on, allowing your other mental chatter to quieten.
Anyone can chant mantra, and with time, this increases your concentration and ability to remain open yet focused. From this state, traditional silent meditation is often much more accessible.
Mantra itself is a form of meditation — it's a tool that helps you release your mind and connect more deeply with yourself and the higher mind by finding a sense of stillness in the repetition. Chanting mantra is a great introduction to meditation if you've ever felt frustrated by your inability to keep intrusive thoughts at bay during silent sitting practice.
5. Mantra Is Effective in Small Doses
One of the most amazing things about mantra is that you don't have to chant to experience the positive effects. Simply listening to mantra as an ambient companion sound will offer some benefits from the vibration sound frequencies. You can listen to mantra when you are cooking, in the shower, or driving and still feel the positive effect of these ancient vibrational frequencies.
So many ancient practices that help improve the state of body, mind, and spirit require you to practice regularly and make them an essential aspect of your life. Yoga and meditation both serve you best when you're doing them consistently. Mantra is unique because it can have a significant impact on your life without having to make it a big deal. You don't have to dedicate hours and hours to a mantra practice; you can start to feel the effects just by listening to others' chant and allowing the resonance to affect your vibrational frequency.
Try this course, The Power of Mantra Meditation by meditation teacher Sowmya Raoh, to learn how to verbalize each syllable for an optimal experience.
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