What: Practiced in a variety of spiritual traditions, mantra meditation is the act of silently or audibly repeating a mantra—a special word, thought, or phrase—either in an ancient, sacred language, or in your native tongue.
Benefits: More than 500 studies have been conducted on Transcendental Meditation alone, writes Paul Roland in How to Meditate. Research suggests the practice can reduce blood pressure and stress; help smokers and drug users during addiction treatment; and have a positive impact on psychosomatic disorders, he reports.
Keywords: verbal, mentally focusing, calming
Try this: Before you sit, choose a mantra or use one that your teacher has given you.
Sit in a comfortable meditation pose on the floor or in a chair. Close your eyes and take a few deep, centering breaths. Begin to mentally recite your mantra, over and over again, until it becomes effortless. When your mind wanders, don’t scold yourself; simply bring your attention back to the mantra by silently reciting it again. Continue in this way for at least 5 to 10 minutes. When you’re finished, sit quietly with your eyes closed for a few minutes longer. Has your breath deepened? Is your mind quieter? Then you’re on the right track.
Not sure where to start? You can listen to a guided meditation practice with a simple mantra from the yoga tradition called so’ham (pronounced “so hum”).
© 2015 Omega Institute for Holistic Studies